Summary: When he opened his heart up to the people of Ephesus, we see some qualities inside which we all should cultivate. We also find 3 things which made him cry. Link included to formatted text version, handout, and PowerPoint Template and Presentation.
Inside the Heart of the Apostle Paul
We discussed on Sunday the need for faithfulness…to our families, in our finances, to the fellowship of the church, and to the faith.
See entire message on this first point at: http://gbcdecatur.org/sermons/ComeBeFaithful.html
v. 19 In spite of all his greatness, Paul was a humble man. He is perhaps the greatest Christian in all of the Bible, but didn’t strut around saying, “Yes, I’m Paul, writer of half the New Testament…from Romans and Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, and maybe Hebrews! ” No, here’s what he said…
I Cor. 15:9
For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
I Tim. 1:15
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
Humility means you are aware that you are unworthy. You understand that apart from Christ you are nothing and can do nothing.
It’s not in talents…but in the touch of God. It’s so easy when God blesses us to develop an over-inflated opinion of ourselves. We “glory” in it…but God is the One Who deserves the glory!
Joke—flea on the back of an elephant…they crossed a wooden bridge. On the other side, the flea whispered in the elephant’s ear, “did you feel her move when we walked across?!”
Humility is tough to cultivate in your life, esp. if God does something great thru you!
Ill.—woodpecker working on a tree, then it got struck by lightning, obliterating it into a smoking, splinterery mess. He flew away in shock, came back after a few minutes w/ 5 other woodpeckers and said, “there it is boys, right over there!”
And isn’t that the way we are when God does something great and we’re nearby? We get to thinkin’ we’ve done something! No, “He that is mighty hath done great things…glory to His name!”
Without Him, we can do nothing. Jesus said in John 15, “I am the vine, and ye are the branches.”
II Cor. 3:5-8
Not that we are sufficient of [adequate by] ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.  But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:  How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
Paul says, it’s the Holy Spirit that does the work. I understand that we should work hard, and try to use every tool at our disposal, and we should work like it all depends on us…but thru it all we must pray like it all depends on God, for it does!
v. 19 “with many tears”
Some men think it’s not manly to cry. This man Paul was no weak minded man/basket case/crybaby…he was one of the greatest men of all time. He was a man’s man, brave and bold as a lion, enduring incredible things for the cause of Christ. Beaten on several occasions and tortured, imprisoned, maligned and stoned. He never backed up and never backed down. Never gave up and never gave in…he was a tough cookie!
Yet, in spite of all of his toughness and tenacity, he had a heart of compassion.
v. 31 “with tears”
v. 37-38 3 things made Paul cry, and the same 3 things ought to bring us to tears…
• Paul wept at the very thought of backslidden Christians—living in sin.
II Cor. 2:4
For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.
This is a reference to I Cor…his 1st letter to them. Have you read I Cor. Lately? It’s a scathing rebuke! He rebukes their schisms and cliques, for taking one another to court, for sexual immorality, for abusing spiritual gifts and not following the rules of tongues…but he did not write it mad, but in love. And his tears stained every page.
When is the last time you wept over an erring believer/backslidden Christian, rather than gossiping about them or feeling superior to them? When is the last time you went to someone away from God and w/ tears begged them to get right w/ God?