Summary: Paul was an Apostle of Jesus Christ.
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Delete Discussion Intro:
1. In July of 1863 President Lincoln and members of his cabinet had gathered awaiting the outcome of an important battle near Gettysburg Pennsylvania. A messenger came running with a telegraph, it read, “The Army of the Potomac holds the field; General Meade has won!”
Everybody broke out in cheer except President Lincoln, he cautioned, “No celebrating is in order yet. Who wrote this telegram? Can we trust the source?” It was signed by Byington. No one in the room had any idea who that was! Lincoln had them telegraph the Secretary of the Navy for identification.
Eventually he was identified as a legitimate newspaper reporter. The message was thus verified to be credible.
2. The contents in this epistle are so amazing, so glorious, so wonderfully incredible that it is important to make sure the message is reliable. That is why Paul mentions the fact that he was an apostle of Jesus Christ.
3. His Authority.
Trans: We have looked at his Identity many times, Paul, so lets just look at his Authority.
Ephesians 1:1 (NKJV)
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:
I. First, he was Supplied.
An apostle – the root means “to set in order, to equip.” It pictured a ship that had been fully equipped, loaded, supplied for a journey. Paul was equipped for everything he would possible need to fulfill his commission in life. Part of that included power to perform miraculous works to authenticate his message.
We are not apostles, but we have also been equipped by God, to accomplish everything that is His will for us, as we make our journey through this life. Phil. 4:19
“With the goodness of God to desire our highest welfare, the wisdom of God to plan it, and the power of God to achieve it, what do we lack?
II. Furthermore, he was Sent.
An apostle – the prefix means “away from, to send off.” Not only was his ship supplied for the journey, but it was sent off on a mission by Jesus Christ Himself.
A. LXX – this is found only once. I Ki. 14:6
B. Judaism – denotes one who is sent out on a foreign service, usually to collect the Temple Tribute.
C. N.T. – has the definite, official sense of a delegate, a messenger with a commission.
Paul was sent by God Himself! Gal. 1:1
“Although the Gospels call the same people "disciples" and "apostles" (Mark 3:7, 14, 20), the terms are not synonyms. Disciple means "pupil, learner"; apostle means "emissary, representative," in the sense of one who is sent with the full authority of the sender. The "twelve apostles of the Lamb" (Rev. 21:14), as distinct from the apostles ("representatives") of the churches (2 Cor. 8:23) and from the rest of Jesus' disciples, were chosen and sent by Jesus (Mark 3:14) just as Jesus himself, "the apostle ... whom we confess" (Heb. 3:1), was chosen and sent by the Father (1 Pet. 1:20). Just as rejecting Jesus is rejecting the Father, so rejecting the apostles is rejecting Jesus (Luke 10:16).
The New Testament shows the apostles functioning as evangelists, church planters in the sense of community founders, and pastors, just as Jesus himself had functioned in these three roles during his earthly ministry. As Jesus claimed the Father's divine authority for his words (John 12:49-50; 14:24), so the apostles claimed Christ's divine authority for theirs (1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Thess. 3:6; cf. 1 Cor. 2:12-13; 14:37).
Acts 1:15-26 shows us the church before Pentecost prayerfully asking Christ through the casting of a lot to choose a successor to Judas. Whether they were right to do this, and Paul was Christ's thirteenth apostle, or whether Paul was Christ's intended replacement for Judas and the choice of Matthias was a mistake, is not clear in Acts; Luke himself may not have known. Paul, the "apostle to the Gentiles" (Rom. 11:13; Gal. 2:8), who announces himself as an apostle in the opening words of most of his letters, insisted that, because he had seen Christ on the Damascus road and been commissioned by him (Acts 26:16-18), he was as truly a witness to Jesus' resurrection (which an apostle was to be, Acts 1:21-22; 10:41-42) as were the others. James, Peter, and John accepted Paul into apostolic partnership (Gal. 2:9), and God confirmed his status by the signs of an apostle (miracles and manifestations, 2 Cor. 12:12; Heb. 2:3-4) and by the fruitfulness of his ministry (1 Cor. 9:2).
The apostles were agents of God's revelation of the truths that would become the Christian rule of faith and life. As such, and through Christ's appointment of them as his authorized representatives (2 Cor. 10:8; 13:10), the apostles exercised a unique and functional authority in the infant church. There are no apostles today, though some Christians fulfill ministries that are in particular ways apostolic in style. No new canonical revelation is currently being given; apostolic teaching authority resides in the canonical Scriptures, of which the apostles' own writings are the core and the key. The absence of new revelation does not, however, put the contemporary church at any disadvantage compared with the church of apostolic days, for the Holy Spirit interprets and applies these Scriptures to God's people continually.” Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs.