One of the responses I regularly hear after I attempt to share the mystery with people is that I am “worshipping Paul.” What I am actually doing is attempting to help people see that they were taught to demean Paul’s position to an unbiblical one. You most likely have been told that Paul is a “missionary” just like I was. Do you know that missionary is not a Bible word? It’s not in scripture. This “Paul the first missionary” myth has been perpetuated over centuries. What we actually should be doing is letting the Bible define Paul’s God given position, authority, and titles. The title given Paul by scripture and thus the Holy Spirit is “Apostle.” Paul no-doubt understood that men with an agenda would demean his character and authority. This is rampant today. We find Paul regularly defending his apostleship throughout his books. Scripture affirms Paul’s apostleship without doubt or debate. Scripture goes beyond this declaring Paul as the “Apostle of the Gentles” (Rom 11:13 + II Tim 1:11) Scripture proves Paul himself had the “signs of an apostle” (II Cor 12:12) Scripture uses the word “apostle” at least 16 times for Paul. What I do is give Paul the position scripture does. What I do is give Paul the authority scripture does. What I do is give Paul the respect scripture does, no more and no less. I am not concerned with the fact that modern Christianity has for hundreds of years not recognized or purposely not given Paul the position scripture does. Modern Christianity is wrong on dozens of points. God has always worked through men in scripture. Moses, Abraham, Judges, Prophets, and Apostles alike. The scriptural FACT is that Paul is the man of authority in this dispensation, because Jesus GAVE HIM that position. I follow Paul so I can be pleasing to Jesus my Lord and Savior. You will be ashamed someday if you do not follow this scriptural command to build upon what Paul built. (Rom 2:16, I Cor 3:10) Tradition has taken the place of proper direction today in churches. Agenda has taken the place of proper instruction in churches. Pride and arrogance keep Christians today from building upon what Jesus is doing through Paul in this dispensation. My intent and desire is for you to fulfill what God desires for your life today. You will NEVER accomplish this outside of giving Paul the place scripture does. He is YOUR APOSTLE. You are to follow HIM today to be pleasing to Jesus. This is the clear teaching of scripture. I pray you would see through all the haze of church agendas and find the liberty we have in Christ.
This past July 2nd was our 6-year anniversary here at Abundant Grace Bible Fellowship. Each year has brought challenges and opportunities. Challenges are to be expected. Paul tells us specifically to expect problems if you plan on sharing the clear gospel. The world is full of preachers promising earthly blessings and prosperity. Paul did no such thing. Preachers make millions of dollars telling people that God will pull you from tragedy and trials. Paul does no such thing. Paul tells you that if you plan on being a bible believer and actually teaching the mystery that you can expect the “afflictions of the gospel.” It’s no wonder many preachers steer clear of Paul’s books. There’s not much “good preaching” in his books. The reason you can glory in tribulations as Paul tells you to is that these can be an indicator that you are doing exactly what you should be doing. I often tell our church that you don’t need to pray for God’s will and then “wait” as I was told my whole Christian life. This is horrible advice. “Wait on the Lord” is horrible teaching in this age. God has a purpose, and you have the opportunity to help. God has a plan in place, and he is working out that plan right now. You sitting around praying for God to show you his will is a waste of time. This might sound harsh, but it’s something that drives me crazy that I was told my whole life to pray for God’s will and then wait for him to show me it when it’s actually very clear in plain English in the Bible that was sitting in my lap. God’s clear will at this time is to build a body. He is calling out a people to restore dominion in heavenly places. God’s will is for you to reconcile the world to Christ. God’s will is for you to come to the knowledge of the truth. God’s will is for you to make all men see the fellowship of the mystery. I promise you this. If you start DOING these things, you will never pray for God to show you his will again because you will be doing it. When the challenges come, don’t be surprised. When the opportunities come, TAKE THEM. Terry McLean once said when you hear the boos and jeers, ignore them and when you hear the cheers and applause ignore them too. Just keep moving forward doing the things you know to be right. GOOD ADVISE!! If you plan to get on board with God’s clearly revealed will, expect to use this advice.
Steve Schoenberger is a student of the Bible and the teacher at Abundant Grace Bible Fellowship, A Mid-Acts Dispensational Bible church teaching the Bible rightly divided according the revelation of the mystery delivered to the Apostle Paul