The Power of Experience

Jesus healed a man who had been blind since birth. The religious authorities believed that Jesus was using magic to deceive the people and sought to discredit him.

They asked the formerly blind man if he thought Jesus was a sinner and he said, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see” (John 9.25).

This man’s experience was far more convincing than the reasoning of the authorities.

Paul knew the power of having a personal experience with Jesus and emphasized it in his letter to the Galatians.

After spending three years in the Arabian desert, he met Jerusalem church authorities empowered by the time he spent with the Lord.

Galatians 1.18-24 Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days, but I did not see any other apostle except James the Lord’s brother.

In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!

Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia, and I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea that are in Christ;

They only heard it said, “The one who formerly was persecuting us is now proclaiming the faith he once tried to destroy.”

And they glorified God because of me.

In today’s YouTube video, Rudy Ross encourages us to read Acts 7-15 to become familiar with the background to Paul’s story.

Paul’s experience with Jesus turned him from a persecutor of the church to its greatest proponent.

Paul wrote to the churches about his three years with Jesus and two weeks with the church authorities to defend his actions.

No, Paul was not a “people-pleaser” as accused. Yes, he was a devoted servant of the Lord and his actions proved it.

A Deeper Experience

I enjoy listening to Dallas Willard speak on YouTube. His books and messages have been very influential in my spiritual development.

One characteristic of Willard is that his teaching comes from excellent scholarship and a vibrant personal relationship with Jesus.

His daily practice of prayer, Bible study, and surrender to the Lord affects his words and actions. He is gracious, spiritual, and wise.

The kind of personal relationship I have been describing in this article is available to us all.

We may not devote three years with Jesus in the desert, but we can take time each day to speak to the wisest and most loving Being of all.

Stealing Freedom

Paul experienced approval in Jerusalem, but conflict with false leaders in the Gentile world.

Galatians 2.1-5Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me.

I went up in response to a revelation. Then I laid before them (though only in a private meeting with the acknowledged leaders) the gospel that I proclaim among the gentiles, in order to make sure that I was not running, or had not run, in vain.

But even Titus, who was with me, was not compelled to be circumcised, though he was a Greek.

But because of false brothers and sisters secretly brought in, who slipped in to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might enslave us —

We did not submit to them even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might always remain with you.

Genuine leaders are able to detect the work of God, even when the approach is different. Paul’s visit with the Jerusalem leaders ended in a more unified church and greater expansion of the gospel.

The false leaders divided the church and hindered the good news. False leaders are characterized by the way they seek to capture others to serve their selfish interests.

False leaders in our era tell people . . .

— Only their followers have the correct form of baptism and everyone else is false.

— Only people of their group will make it to heaven.

— To be filled with the Holy Spirit, you must have an experience that is similar to theirs.

— The true church agrees with their understanding of current cultural hot-topic issues.

It is important to be knowledgeable about false leaders because every generation has them.

It is more important to imitate Paul. He combined a deep personal relationship with Jesus and a complete grasp of the Scriptures. Let’s be like him.

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross always adds important information to our discussion. In today’s YouTube video, Rudy provides excellent background information to understand this passage. It can be found on the Bob Spradling channel.

Please email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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