Summary: Paul passed many tests to graduate.
Paul kept surrendered so he could graduate! 2 COR 4:7-12, 16-18
A father was filling out an application form for his daughter, who was seeking entrance to a very exclusive college. He came to the question on the form which asked whether the applicant was a leader. In honesty, he wrote, "No, but she is a good follower." The application was sent in, and a month later a letter arrived notifying him that his daughter had been accepted. At the bottom of the page, the dean had written, "Since the entering class of 500 has 499 leaders, we thought that there ought to be room for one follower."
Some false prophets had been saying that they were just as good as Paul in what they were doing. He was not wanting to boast but he wanted to show what serving Christ had cost him. He had higher claims to the office than they had. 2 Cor. 11:6 “I may not be a trained speaker, but I know what I am talking about. I think you realize this by now, for we have proved it again and again.” He had been called to it in a more remarkable manner, Acts 9: 3-14, 16, 22-23, 26, 28-29. He tells by his labors and trials, that he had more of the true spirit of a minister of the Lord Jesus than what they had. He tells in detail what he had to endure in spreading the knowledge of the Savior. He did not do this to receive praise but that Christ might be glorified through what he did. With all that we are going to talk about this morning we want to test ourselves as to whether we are surrendered to Christ. His work was not to get the praise of man. He did it because He knew there was a graduation that was out of this world. It was worth more than all this world had to give. He did not have a car or plane to go around holding meetings. When he went out he had to walk or ride a donkey and at times he traveled by ship. He did not have a consistent income but depended on God to have people take care of his needs.
Here are four things to consider as we go through Paul’s course in living for Jesus. Have you had to take classes like these? 1. He claimed to have worked harder. 2. He had been in jail. 3. Whipped many times. 4. Faced death many times.
Would you still follow Christ if you had to go through the class course he had to go through?
A. He had to work hard. We read that he was sent out by the church through the Holy Spirit to reach places where the Gospel had not yet been heard. He was to talk to people that were much different than he was in culture and customs and language. He was to communicate the gospel. He as I see it worked some 30 years. Have any of us been in school for thirty some years?
B. He was whipped with thirty nine lashes five times. The Jews would do this but did not go past 39 because the law allowed 40. The Law of Moses expressly limited the number of stripes that might be inflicted to forty. In no case might this number be exceeded. There was another reason still for limiting it to thirty-nine. They usually made use of a scourge with three thongs, and this was struck thirteen times. We see proof here of his being a minister of Christ, because he remained committed to Christ in these times. When we choose to follow Christ it takes commitment no matter what the test.