Summary: In the 30th chapter of The Story, we will see the end of the great ministry of Paul. He finished strong!
• SLIDE #1
• As we are closing in on the end of our series, “The Story,” I pray that we are starting to be aware that as we live in the lower story, a story at times filled with chaos, confusion, struggles, sickness, and injustice, there is an UPPER STORY!
• The Upper Story is God’s plan along with God’s plan for your life. A plan that will exist long after we leave this earth to be with Him.
• God is using His Upper Story to oversee the lower story, and even when it seems that all is lost, God’s plan is not laid in ruin.
• Living in the lower story can be stressful and difficult because we do not always understand the “why’s” and how’s” of God.
• As we look at the final days of Paul’s ministry, we can gain some insights from Paul that will help us to be able to endure until the end, and not only can we endure, but we can be victorious and joyful in the process.
• Life can be a joy when we grasp that we are a part of God’s Upper Story.
• When you examine the life of Paul, one would think that since Jesus called Paul to His service that the path would be made smooth for Paul. But for the most part it was far from smooth.
• When you look at your life and think that God has abandoned you or does not care for you, we need to take a peek at the life of Paul.
• Never forget that Good is ALWAYS in pursuit of you and really that is the theme of the Bible.
• Let’s turn to the book of 2 Corinthians, we will begin our journey this morning in chapter 11, verse 23-29 as Paul describes some of the issues he faced while serving Jesus!
• SLIDE #2
• 2 Corinthians 11:23–29 (NIV) 23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
• SLIDE #3
• From this passage we see that…
I. Paul had a dynamic life that was not without difficulties.
• From this passage we see that life was not easy for Paul as he served the Lord. When I have seen so many servants of the Lord today abandon their call because someone was mean to them makes me feel bad for them.
• In the passage I shared with you, Paul tells of his tumultuous life!
• Look at the list of things he went through as he was striving to serve Jesus!
• Prison, flogged, exposed to death, 5 times he received 39 lashes from the Jews, 3 times beaten with rods, pelted with stones, shipwrecked x3, spent a night and day on the open sea.
• He was exposed to dangers from the Jews, and gentiles alike! Gone without sleep, gone hungry, thirsty, been cold, naked.
• AND on top of that, he faced the daily pressure of his concern for the church!
• O.k. at what point would you have abandoned ship? The stoning? The lashes?
• The hunger? MAYBE THERE
• How much person take?
• Paul was so active in his service, he just kept on serving no matter what.
• How easy would it have been to rationalize at any point that maybe he was mistaken in his calling based on the circumstances he was continually facing!
• Paul walked in the major cities of the known Roman world. He was relentless in his pursuit of following his calling!
• Paul also had to make a living while doing all he did for Jesus. And we tire if we are called to do a couple things to serve the Lord.