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Summary: PAUL’S PASSION FOR PROCLAIMING JESUS CHRIST DROVE HIM TO FULFILL HIS CALLING TO SACRIFICIALLY MINISTER TO THE GENTILES

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BIG IDEA:

PAUL’S PASSION FOR PROCLAIMING JESUS CHRIST DROVE HIM TO FULFILL HIS CALLING TO SACRIFICIALLY MINISTER TO THE GENTILES

INTRODUCTION

Acts 9:4-6;15-16 – What was Paul’s ordained ministry? His Calling? His special role in the Body of Christ? Paul’s reflection back on how he has lived out this special calling:

- remembers the personal involvement of Christ in persecutions directed against His body

“Why are you persecuting me?”

- remembers the privilege of intimacy with Christ involved with suffering for the cause of the gospel

(Why did Christ choose him to be the “Apostle to the Gentiles”? Why not choose a Gentile believer?)

What is our passion in life?

cf. the language of quest or adventure … such as the movie: Raiders of the Lost Ark where

“the hero sets off on an extraordinary challenge, questing for something that is of great value,

sufering and being deprived, but extending himself because the challenge is so worthy of the

effort” – Zeisler

I. (:24) THE MISERY OF PROCLAIMING JESUS CHRIST TO THE GENTILES –

SUFFERING PHYSICALLY FOR THE CAUSE OF CHRIST

Hymn: “Must I be carried to the skies in flowery beds of ease,

while others fought to win the prize and sailed thru bloody seas.”

A. Physical Suffering – “in my flesh”

1. “sufferings”

2. “afflictions”

B. Spiritual Joy – “Now I rejoice” – so he didn’t look at it as Misery

What gave him cause for such surprising joy?

Didn’t love to get beat; but rejoices in his sufferings because they are purposeful

cf. in house arrest at Rome so he had oppty to write letters such as this

giving up his physical life so that others might have the privilege of spiritual life

“Now” is emphatic by position

C. Unselfish Orientation

1. “for your sake” (repeatedly emphasized in this passage)

2. “I do my share on behalf of His body (which is the church)”

D. Fellowship with Christ – “in filling up that which is lacking in Christ’s afflictions”

1. Privilege of suffering for the cause of Christ

2. Distinction between Christ’s suffering for our sins on the Cross and His sufferings for righteousness sake by virtue of His identification with the Father;

Difficult phrase here – the word “lacking” does not refer to something negative, but rather to the concept of quantity – there is some sum total of suffering for the sake of righteousness which has yet to be completed; call it a predestined amount of suffering until we reach the culmination … just as there is a predetermined number of the elect that will eventually be saved

2. Contrast between physical body of Christ and spiritual body of Christ

II. (:25) THE MINISTRY OF PROCLAIMING JESUS CHRIST TO THE GENTILES –

SERVING AS A FAITHFUL STEWARD OF THE GOSPEL

(vs. 23 had called himself a minister of the gospel – to make the word of God fully known …

here a minister of Christ’s church – to make the people of God fully mature -- Lucas)

A. Ministry Characterized by:

1. Servanthood – “of this church I was made a minister”

NT concept of “deacon” vs. how Christendom has applied the term “minister” to that of a special office of church leadership; Should one man be called “the

minister” of a specific local church?

one who gives up his rights and take a subordinate position to benefit others

(not one who asserts his rights and takes the highest position to benefit himself)

2. Stewardship – “according to the stewardship from God”

B. Ministry Fulfilled by:

1. Divine Calling and Giftedness – “bestowed on me for your benefit” (cf. spiritual gifts)

freely we have received, we need to freely give

2. Human Responsibility – “that I might fully carry out” (human initiative and follow thru)

C. Ministry Focused Around:

the Proclamation of the Word of God -- “the preaching of the word of God”

cf. Acts 20:27 – Paul proclaimed the entire counsel of God; did not pick and choose certain sections and neglect others

III. (:26-27) THE MYSTERY OF PROCLAIMING JESUS CHRIST TO THE GENTILES –

SHARING THE SECRET OF THE INCLUSION OF THE

GENTILES ON AN EQUAL BASIS WITH THE JEWS

A. Definition of Term – “Mystery”

not something that we try to figure out by searching thru all the clues and reaching a brilliant conclusion

B. When was it Hidden and Why?

“hidden from the past ages and generations”

C. When was it Revealed and Why and to Whom?

“but has now been manifested to His saints”

“to whom God willed to make known”

D. Substance of the Mystery –

“Christ in you, the hope of glory”

Lucas: “it seems that the walk of faith was being disparaged and something more immediate

demanded. Did the new teachers offer something more dynamic, centred not at God’s right hand

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