Paul the servant of God
Paul was not a superman (see sheet) – Galatians 2:20
Quote the verse and also Ch. 6:14. Paul expressed two important concepts in these verses. (1) That he had been crucified with Christ. Dead. (2) That it was Christ that now lived in him. These two truths had a great impact on his life.
Paul had been crucified with Christ…he hung on the cross with Christ. The recognition of this and truth and Paul’s acceptance of it brought drastic change in his life. The self-righteous…self-centered…self-seeking…egotistical Saul…the old man…the man of old was crucified. Crucifixion with Christ ended Paul’s enthronement of self. He yielded the throne of his life to Christ, and he declares that it is Christ who now lives in him.
At Calvary God not only dealt with the “question of sin”, but He also dealt with the “question of self.” This truth to most of us is familiar, obscure, and misunderstood/misconstrued. Without a true understanding of this vital truth we can never hope to experience deliverance from the dominion of sin and have power over sin in our lives.
Romans 6:6 “knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Christ that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ.”
Galatians 5:24 “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
In Galatians 6:14 Paul speaks about being crucified to the world and the world being crucified unto him. Prior to this the Lord had taken a very stringent attitude regarding discipleship, He said, and I quote…
Matt. 10:38 “He that does not take his cross, and follow after Me, is not worthy of Me.”
Matt. 16:34 “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (see sheet no. 2)
Secondly, Paul lived a new life by faith in the Son of God who loved him and gave Himself for him.
Phil. 1:21 Paul said, “For me to live is Christ.”
These were the two distinguishing characteristics which dominated Paul’s life. He had been crucified with Christ. It was Christ who now lived in him.
Describe the practical application of these truths to our lives.
The conversion of God’s servant.
Paul’s conversion was the turning point in his life…he became a new creature. From this point Saul, the old man, was crucified…Christ lived out His life through Paul, the new man. The persecutor became a preacher…The scatterer of the sheep became the succorer of the flock…the servant of men became the bond slave of God.
Paul seemed to be converted and consecrated at the one time. Hear him say…”WHO ART THOU, LORD?” (“who are you?”). “LORD WHAT WILT THOU HAVE ME DO?” (“What do you want me to do?”). Immediately after his conversion Paul acknowledged Jesus as Lord…as his MASTER…OWNER..AND COMMANDER.
Peter admonishes “to sanctify the Lord God in your hearts.” (1 Peter 3:15). “Sanctify on your hearts Christ as Lord.”
1. Lordship demands my total submission to the Lord’s will (Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God.)
2. The desire to please the Lord becomes the controlling passion of my life. (I do always those things etc.)
3. I say from the core of my being, “Lord what wilt thou have to do.” (Not my will, but Thine be done.)
4. The Lordship of Christ includes absolute obedience to His Word and a complete surrender of my body to Him. “I have glorified Thee on the earth.” etc. At this point He becomes my MASTER…OWNER…AND CONTROLLER.
As Paul worked out these truths in his life, he became one of the most powerful and fruitful servants of God. Anyone of us who is willing to acknowledge Christ not only as Savior, but Lord, own Him as Master – Owner – Controller, and can live a powerful and fruitful life for God. To be a chosen vessel and to be used so mightily did not come easily. First, he was called of God, and then separated unto the gospel of God. For every true servant of God there is a call subsequent upon that call there is a separation from the world. There is no other way. Secondly, Paul spent three years in the wilderness alone with God. Thirdly, from the wilderness God took him back to his own city of Tarsus where he continued to train him for an unprecedented work. Fourthly, at the invitation of Barnabas he spent a year in Antioch. Paul’s training lasted 12 years. When the church in Antioch was gathered together to plan how to reach the world for Christ, the Holy Spirit said “Separate unto Me Barnabas and Saul for the work unto which I have called them.”
Give the practical application of this to our lives.
We need to be educated at St. Mary’s college at Jesus’ feet.
As God’s servant Paul was an evangelist. He was a teacher, but primarily he was an evangelist. Whether he was a free man or incarcerated in prison he was reaching out and finding men for Christ. (Phil. Praetorium – Imperial Guard, etc.) He was completely dedicated to the preaching of the Gospel. He said in Acts 21:13. “Woe is unto me if I do not preach the Gospel.” Misery – wretchedness – agony of mind and heart would be mine. “For I am not only willing to go up to Jerusalem and be put in chains, I am prepared to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.”
The Personal Life of The Lord’s Servant.
Paul was a holy man…I have been put to death in the Cross with Christ…this is the reason why God used him so mightily. Though Paul was holy, he was not a recluse, nor a austere, ascetic man…he was continually reaching out to others. Personal holiness is important. Though he was a man of prayer, he mixed freely with friend and foe. Paul crucified the flesh…he died daily to the world, the flesh and the devil…He figuratively hung on the Cross with Christ. He subjugated the passions of his body…see 1 Corinth. 9 (see sheet)
Paul could have boasted of many worldly matters. He had reached the peak of academic and social achievement. Some of his awards are described in Phil. 3:4-6. Verse 7 and 8 states that he sacrificed everything he had gained in the flesh…he counted them less than nothing, and as rubbish so that he might win Christ. He wrote in Gal. 6:14 “God forbid that I should boast about anybody or anything except the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” etc.
Dr. Horatious Bonor wrote “forbid it Lord that I should boast.” etc. Give the practical application of this truth at this point.
The challenge of God’s servant. I have fought the fight. I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.
“Be ye followers of me even as I also am of Christ.” (1 Corinth. 11:1) Die to sin – crucify the flesh – consecration – Lordship of Christ – evangelism – total commitment – filling of the Spirit – surrendering of one’s life. Be ye filled with the Holy Spirit. (Eph. 5:18)
He also urges us to present…yield…surrender our bodies to God. The young man at Keswick – the boy in Scotland (Romans 12:1-2)
Paul became God’s child…then he became God’s servant. All believers are God’s children…but not all believers are God’s servants.
Paul was separated unto the Gospel of God.
The man most effective in the service of God is the one who is separated unto God and has burned all his bridges. Soon after the Spanish soldiers landed on the shores of Mexico, their brave captain ordered their boats to be burned on the beach. From then on it was victory or death.
Paul separated himself from the world, and all compromise, to take the Gospel to the regions beyond. To the hurting men and women of the world. The result of this uncompromising stand and Herculean effort was, that when he died 30 years after Calvary, there was a Christian church for the worship of God, in every major city of the Western Roman Empire.
Being separated unto Christ, Paul’s whole horizon was dominated by Christ. All his boundaries in life were determined by Him. Paul was separated by God before his conversion. (Gal. 1:15). He was separated by the Holy Spirit after his conversion. (Acts 9:15). Of a truth he was separated unto the Gospel of God.
The believers commitment embraces the thought and makes him conscious that he has been separated from everything and every one in creation to belong to the Savior alone.
The bruised body of the athlete. (1 Corinth. 9:27)
I buffet my body – I bruise my body. The Greek word here denotes to strike under the eye. To make the face black and blue. This is not a physical thing. This was a conflict waged in the mind and soul. “I suppress the passions and lusts of my body.” It suggests rigid self-denial in order to keep oneself spiritually fit.
Paul was determined not to allow the passions and lusts of his flesh to master him.
Paul did all this lest he be disqualified – disapproved. Paul seems to live his life in the fear that he would make some mistake and be disqualified from receiving a reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
He was afraid that he would hear the Lord say to him. Paul I had a crown for you. For a while you ran well. Then you became self-indulgent and careless. I cannot crown you Paul; stand aside and let someone else have the crown. Disqualified – laid aside – Story.
Dear brothers and sisters, you may be in fellowship and take part in the activities of the assembly, but be very careful that the flesh, the world, and the devil do not take control of your life and deprive you of your crown.
Hebrews 12:1-2 Prayer will solve our problems. Lordship.
Lay aside: weight – hindrance – tangles – snares. Runners strip themselves of all excessive weight.
Lay aside the sin that doth so easily entangles (story) us love of money, TV, sport, pleasure, ease, lethargy. Sins of the flesh – sin of unbelief
Looking unto Jesus etc.
The moment we get our eyes off the Lord, there is the certainty that sin in general or a particular sin will entangle us, so that we will fall. “Fix your eyes upon Jesus.”
Matthew 14. Peter looking at the Lord said to Him, “Bid me come to Thee.” Then he stepped out boldly with his eyes on Jesus. Then he looked away from the Lord and saw the huge waves, became fearful and began to sink. Then he cried “Lord save me.”