Summary: Done as first-person, in costume and character, summary of Paul’s teaching; built on acronym of the name PAUL -- prayer, avoidance (of immorality), understanding, love. Montgomery Hills Baptist Church
Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. As an apostle, charged to preach the Gospel, I am here today to say to you ...
What?! You challenge me? You challenge my right to speak? Am I not an apostle?! Am I not, though born at the wrong time, nonetheless one whom God has chosen to proclaim His unsearchable riches? You will not set me aside! You will not forget what I have done among you! You will not! You must imitate me; you must hold fast to what I have taught! Do I not, as an apostle, have this right?
Oh, great Christ, how foolish I am to boast in this way! How foolish to claim anything at all for myself, for I am the chief of sinners. I am the very least of the saints whom Christ has brought into His church. I must correct myself – imitate me where I have imitated Christ. Hold fast to what I have taught where it has lifted up Christ and Him crucified.
So let me begin again: Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit. I speak to you, beloved Montgomerians, just as once I wrote to the Romans, the Corinthians, the Philippians, and all the others. I write to you, and with my own hand, not through Tertius or other scribes, so that I may strengthen you and make sure that you know my heart. See with what large letters I write my own name – P A U L – Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, a preacher of the good news, a teacher of the Way, and a shepherd to the flock.
Know today that I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, and there is now ahead of me an open door. So I must lay open my heart to you, Montgomerians, my joy and my crown, my beloved.
Again, be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. I am the very least of all the saints. But to me was this grace given, that I might make you see the mystery of the plan of God, how through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety is made known.
You do know the story, do you not, of how I came to be in this place? Do you remember how I was moving in another direction, but how God, in His grace, arrested me, and turned me around? You do know how I was en route to Damascus, that great city of learning, that seat of skepticism; but the Lord interrupted me and gave me a new focus, to bring the knowledge of Christ to you. And surely you also know that for a time I was in the desert, struggling to understand my call. Did you know those things, did you see them? But it was for your sake, and I am fully satisfied. I have been paid in full. For to me to live is Christ and to die – that would be even more Christ. I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
I, Paul, was born as one out of due time. Who would have imagined that at my age, and my not being of your tribe, I would even have been heard? But there are some themes we have heard together. Today I would underscore those things with you, so you may go from strength to strength.
See again, with what large letters I sign my own name, my Montgomerians, so that you will know that every word in it I stand behind! Let my very name carry my message.
I was once called Saul, but am now Paul. A word, by the way, which means “small” in the Latin tongue. Small, as in “the very least of all the saints”. That name begins with the letter “P”. Let “P” remind you of prayer, the power and the possibility in prayer.
First, you must have known that I have prayed for you. I have prayed with thanksgiving. Indeed, I thank my God every time I think of you. I thank my God because I am so much in your debt. I am debtor to the Greeks among you, whose knowledge has been a source of astonishment and a reservoir of strength. I thank my God for those who have stepped forward to use their knowledge for Kingdom purposes. Without you few good things would have happened. I am debtor to the Greeks.