There is no doubt in my mind that Paul would have struck out on his second missionary trip had it not been for a strong intrusion of heresy. How this really started, we are not sure, but the writing of Paul’s letter to the Galatians (Spring of 50 AD) comes right after the date of the Jerusalem counsel (Winter 50 AD). There must have been persons who were jealous of Paul and the way he planted strong churches so quickly. ‘There must be something wrong with his teaching!’ might have been their thinking.
It took eye-witnesses to God’s work among the Gentiles to convince the church in Jerusalem what “God had done with them, and that He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27). The other key to this truth was “by giving them the Holy Spirit just as He did to us, and He made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith” (15:8-9). This should be a warning to those who preach a “second blessing” is required to receive and be filled with the Spirit. God does not have ‘second class disciples or churches’! If there is any lack, it is we who have failed to understand the gift.
This interlude between Paul’s trips only added energy to this man of God. As we will see, he has a fire under him that puts him ten steps ahead of his opposers. By the late spring of 50 AD, Paul was ready to return to churches that had been planted and deepen their roots in the gospel. From there, he and Silas would push on to plant other churches. We will see this in the next blog.
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