Summary: True Success is Found in Following Paul as He Imitated Christ
Some Reasons For Paul’s Success
Illustration:Someone once asked Paul Harvey, the journalist and radio commentator, to reveal the secret of his success. "I get up when I fall down," said Harvey.
Bits & Pieces, March 3, 1994, p. 16.
Characteristics of Paul’s Successful Ministry
1. Paul focused on Christ and Kingdom priorities (The glory of God, the love of God and serving the Lord through the great commission). Too many people fail bcause they have wrong perceptions and practice of proper priorities.
Illustration:To succeed in life you need not only initiative, but also finishiative.
Zaida Jones Blaine in Chicago Tribune.
2. Paul was empowered by God to be a cross-cultural apostle (a sent forth messenger) and to raise up a band of apostles who would help complete Christ’s great commission. (Matt. 28:18-20)
3. Paul refused to rely on his superiority of speech or wisdom, but did everything as a demonstration of the Spirit and power. Then his converts faith would not rest on the wisdom of men but on the power of God. (I Cor. 2:4-6)
4. Paul emphasized multiplication through FRAT (Faithful, reliable, available and teachable) men. (2 Tim. 2:2) He wrote, The things you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses the same commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
5. Paul demonstrated resilience (the ability to bounce back from adversity) in all situations. He wrote, "As unknown, yet well known, as dying yet behold we live. As sorrowful yet always rejoicing as poor yet making many rich. As having nothing and yet possessing all things." (2 Cor. 6:4-8)
6. Paul knew how to build bridges instead of barriers to the elders of each community for the qualitative and quantitative growth of the church. (Acts 20:17-31)
7. Paul did not hesitate to do what God told him to do because of adversity (Phil. 3:10) He wrote, I count all things to be loss for the sake of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ."
Illustration:Dan Crawford (1870-1926) spent most of his adult life serving as a missionary in Africa. When it was time to return home to Britain, Carwford described to an old Bantu the kind of world he was about to return to. He told him about ships that ran under the water, on the water, and even those that flew above the water. He described English houses with all of their conveniences, such as running water and electric lights. Then Crawford waited for the old African to register his amazement. "Is that all, Mr. Crawford?" the aged man asked. "Yes, I think it is," Crawford replied. Very slowly and very gravely, the old Bantu said, "Well, Mr. Crawford, you know, that to be better off is not to be better."
W. Wiersbe, The Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, p. 188
8. Paul’s ministry was more pro-active than reactive. He wrote, "I press on for the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Be more more progressive than merely maintenance in your orientation.
9. Paul focused on Christ and Kingdom priorities (The glory of God, the love of God and serving the Lord through the great commission). Too many people fail bcause they have wrong perceptions and practice of proper priorities.
10. Paul’s goal was to please the Lord in all respects and to bear fruit in every good work as he increased in the knowledge of God. (Col. 1:9-11)
11. Paul knew how to apply Romans 12:1-21 principles taught to him by God in all of his relationships. "Let love be without hypocrisy, do not be overcome evil but overcome evil with good."
Practical Demonstrations of Paul’s Success in the Ministry:
1. Why do you suppose that Paul was arguably one of the most successful Christians who ever lived? The great apostle realized that whatever man does without God he will fail miserably or succeed even more miserably. Before Paul met Christ, he had fooled himself in to believing he was successful in persecuting Christians.
ILlustration:What is success? In my book, one ingredient of success is meaningful time with my children. As a friend of mine observed, "I have yet to hear of anyone who, on his deathbed, wished he’d spent more time at the office."
Joseph Stowell, Moody Monthly.
Too many people in our world are led by a misconception of true success. His memory of the antithesis of success motivated him to say, “For to be to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Paul was successful in God’s work because he aligned himself with Christ’s will, word and worship. Above all things, Paul succeeded because the Lord blessed, empowered and directed him through the inspiration of the Spirit.