David Limbaugh on Why Christians Must Learn About the Apostle Paul, His Work, and the Early Church

The Christian faith cannot be understood apart from the radical obedience and transformation of a persecutor-turned-Apostle, Paul, whose life and words shaped the early church more than any other man.

And author David Limbaugh believes it’s vital that Christians understand the importance of Paul’s missionary journeys and work as he testified to the miraculous event that was the physical resurrection of Jesus.

While the first believers in the risen Lord were based in Jerusalem, the faith spread remarkably amid persecution and suffering, Limbaugh explains in Jesus Is Risen: Paul and The Early Church. Limbaugh explores the book of Acts and six New Testament epistles, navigating the activities and thinking of the earliest believers, particularly Paul, as they faced intense opposition, violence, and setbacks because of their zeal to advance God’s Kingdom.

Written with passion for the furtherance of the Gospel, Limbaugh equips Christians hungry to know more about the roots of their faith, who will no doubt notice his love for Scripture.

The following is The Christian Post‘s Q&A with David Limbaugh about his book and what Christians can learn from Apostle Paul.

CP: You write extensively about how the Apostle Paul was particularly effective at debating and making good arguments for belief in the resurrected Messiah. What can modern Christians learn from his example?

Limbaugh: Paul was uniquely equipped to evangelize because of his sincerity, his intellect, his passion, his intimate knowledge of the Scriptures, his flexibility, and most of all, his love for Christ and for all those to whom he was delivering His life-giving message.

Paul kept his focus on Christ and on his direct commission from Christ to preach the Gospel. He studiously avoided self-promotion; his singular mission was to be an obedient vehicle for the Holy Spirit, through Him, to win converts for Christ.

So as dogmatic as Paul could be on matters of doctrine, he was quite adaptable in his approach to evangelism. He was adamant that the small issues — those that wouldn’t affect one’s salvation — not interfere with his presentation of the message. It was critical not to impose any artificial barriers that could impede the message. So he intentionally couched the message in terms that would most likely appeal to his particular audience, but never at the expense of right doctrine and the true Gospel message.

In his first letter to the Corinthians, he wrote: “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the Gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.”

Paul knew that not all people are alike — they come from different cultures, different religions, and different worldviews. He was determined to meet them where they were. Ravi Zacharias employs the same technique in his approach to evangelism and apologetics, reminding his students that when someone asks them a question about the faith they must be attuned to the questioner as much as the question he or she is asking. Try to assess what is really troubling the person and then tailor your answer accordingly, being careful always to honor the truth and God’s Word.

CP: You note the importance of the book of Romans, which has been called “The Cathedral of the Christian Faith.” It’s arguably the most substantive theological treatise in all of Scripture. Given its density, it’s also a book where its meaning is most vigorously debated among theologians. Though Paul speaks to many things in it, in your study of the book what emerged as its most glorious truth?

Limbaugh: There are so many glorious truths in the book of Romans it is difficult for me to rank them. But I agree with most commentators that the book’s theme is summarized in this passage: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith’” (Romans 1:16-17).

As I explain in the book, in this epistle, Paul masterfully articulates the interrelationship between righteousness and salvation. Eternal salvation is available to all people — Jews and Gentiles — through faith in Jesus Christ, not through one’s works. Through faith the sinner is declared righteous — Christ’s righteousness is imputed to him in a judicial sense — and he is also empowered by the Holy Spirit to become more righteous in fact. All people are joined as one people in Christ.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter