Summary: You cannot live life effectively without a purpose.
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Delete Discussion Intro:
1. John Piper, “Pastors have the job of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry. But the work of the ministry. But ordinary Christian does the ministry. What ministry looks like is as varied as Christians are varied. It’s not an office; it’s a lifestyle devoted to advancing other people’s faith and holiness. In this sense the only life that counts for anything is a life of ministry – whether you’re a banker or a bricklayer. Fulfilling your ministry is more important than staying alive…
You may think you need to save your life in order to do your ministry. On the contrary, how you lose your life may be the capstone of your ministry. It certainly was for Jesus, at age 33. We need not fret about keeping ourselves alive in order to finish our ministry. God alone knows the appointed time of our service.”
2. Everyone has a God-given ministry because every believer has a spiritual gift. Many Christians today are joyless and full of complaint because they are more concerning about being ministered unto than ministering to others.
3. Living Life with Purpose – fulfilling your God appointed ministry.
1 Corinthians 1:1 (NKJV)
1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
I. First, Paul’s Identity.
A. Method – today when we write a letter we write our name at the end of the letter, but in that day people always began a letter by identifying themselves.
B. Meaning – Paul meaning “little” no doubt he was born somewhat puny and apparently remained so all of his life (I Cor. 2:1-5/ 2 Cor. 10:10; 11:6).
The impression you get is that Paul was not very impressive to see or hear, and yet, God called him to a ministry which involved public speaking. How? 2 Cor. 12:9-10/2 Cor. 4:7
It is God not the vessel He uses that is important.
I’m told in some places in Arkansas it’s very dry, and they have issued a fire band. Imagine someone watering his dry lawn in hopes of preserving it. The ground gladly takes in the water.
Now that man’s little 5 year old daughter sees daddy watering the lawn so she gets her little toy sprinkling can and goes outside and begins to water the grass. Now it doesn’t matter to that grass whether the water is coming from Dads hose or his daughters toy can! The ministry is in the water.
God does not care whether the vessel is handsome or ugly or whatever, the ministry is related to God…
II. Next, we have Paul’s Legitimacy.
called an apostle…
A. Determined by God.
1. The Source – called is a verbal adjective in the passive voice. Lit. a called apostle, not so-called, but one whose apostleship is due not to himself or to men. The intermediate agent between Paul’s not being Christ’s apostle and becoming one, was God’s will. It’s God’s command (I Tim. 1:1).
a. A call to Salvation. Rom. 8:30
b. Also a call to Service. I Cor. 12:4-7,11
2. The Service.
an apostle – from apo meaning “from or away from” and stello meaning “to send forth. Paul, like the Twelve were sent forth from by Jesus Christ to establish churches with great authority and power [sign gifts].
Today there are no more apostles in this sense (Eph. 2:20), and no qualifications for apostles given in the scriptures, that can be met today (Ac. 1:21-25). It is odd that requirement is laid down for Pastors and deacons, but none given in the epistles for apostles.
Swindoll, “The skeletal system provides the body’s basic support, making mobility and activity possible. The work of the apostles corresponds closely to the Skelton’s function of providing a sturdy framework for the body. The apostles ministry was foundational to the establishment of the Church and appears to have been given only during those early groundbreaking days.”
Trans: The point is this, Paul had a ministry, something that God wanted him to do, so do we! We need to be able to say, Fred called to teach the Word of God by Jesus Christ; Joe called to be a financial planner by Jesus Christ; Mary a homemaker by Jesus Christ; Ruth a nurse by Jesus Christ; etc.
B. Doubted by man.
As we shall later discover many people doubted Paul’s apostleship because he was not one of the Twelve (I Cor. 9:1-2/2 Cor. 10-13).
“Paul was not a part of the Twelve. He had not been called by Jesus during His earthly ministry…Beginning at Pentecost the apostles were clearly the authorative voice of the gospel. When Peter gave his message at that time, he did so “taking his stand with the eleven (Ac. 2:14, 37). The infant church in Jerusalem devoted itself to the “apostles teaching (Ac. 2:24). The apostles were the Lord’s supreme earthly representatives, and they preached and taught with authority…