6-Week Series: Against All Odds

Sermons

Summary: Paul was raised a Jew. He focused on keeping the Law. Persecuting people in Judaism who were part of any unaccepted sect was his chief pastime. He was a zealot. He had status, respect, academic prowess, wealth-God had better plans for him.

aul was raised a Jew. He focused on keeping the Law. Persecuting people in Judaism who were part of any unaccepted sect was his chief pastime. He was a zealot. He had status, respect, academic prowess, wealth-God had different plans for him than he had for himself.

What are your plans for yourself?

When I was 20 I knew I wanted to be a musician, and to use music for God’s glory. I also knew I loved science, and thought maybe instead I could be a doctor-maybe a medical missionary. I saw politics in the US, and thought of getting a law degree & pursuing public service. God had other plans for me. He made those plans clear.

In Paul’s case Jesus had to meet him on the road to destruction and knock him off his donkey, and blind him to get his attention. What does He have to do to get yours? Are you willing to take this moment, this time of year, to reflect and reconsider God’s purposes for your life? Are you willing, if necessary, to take a complete about face-a U-turn in life, if that is what He directs? Are you willing to do what He has called you to do and become what He has called you to become, no matter the cost? If you are, then one day you may be able to say with Paul you are what you are & do what you do “by the will of God”. I think this is the life God calls each of us to pursue, but very few of us do.

Apostle means “one who is sent”-the implication is the one sent has a mission, and represents the Sender in that mission. I think the office of Apostle faded with the Paul and the 11 Disciples-they defined apostleship as requiring a face-to-face with Jesus (Acts 2). Yet God still sends us on missions, therefore, in that sense any one of us can become an apostle-sent to be and do as God calls. I am sent a teacher by the will of God. What is your calling? What has God called you to do and be? If you don’t know, you are missing out on His best for you. You need to rectify that now.

Shared Responsibility and Credit

Paul wrote this letter with Timothy. We discussed Paul’s propensity for sharing leadership with others (Ephesians 1 and Philippians 1). Even in this letter, it seems he was sharing the process with his mentee-Paul was sharing the responsibility with a lesser as if he were an equal, and he gave Timothy credit for his participation. How often are we who have administrative responsibilities and authority too insecure to share responsibility and credit? Any worthwhile work requires a team and is much larger than any one person can handle. Paul understood this. What are you doing that would be better done as a team than by a lone ranger? You want to be the Lone Ranger or a participant in a team? The Bible teaches the team is better.

Prayer for Today

Father,

Open my heart, soften it, so I can hear Your voice and embrace Your will, no matter what. Teach me to do Your purposes with those You’ve inspired to work together with me. Teach us to serve You well and obediently.

In the name of the One who obeyed You and gathered Twelve to do Your will

Amen

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