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Summary: A sober look at the ministry of Paul

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WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A REAL WITNESS FOR CHRIST.

INTRODUCTION: THIS WEEK I POSTED AN ARTICLE BY JAROD MOORE ON MY FACEBOOK ACCOUNT THAT WAS ON THE TOPIC OF WHY MINISTRY IS NOT FOR WIMPS. THIS ARTICLE GAVE TEN REASONS. HERE THEY ARE:

IF YOU ENTER PASTORAL MINISTRY…

10. NOT EVERYONE WILL LIKE YOU.

9. YOU WILL MAKE PEOPLE ANGRY REGARDLESS OF HOW GODLY YOU HANDLE YOURSELF; IT COMES WITH THE POSITION.

8. YOU WILL FEEL LIKE A FAILURE OFTEN, AND WHEN YOU DO APPEAR TO SUCCEED, THE FRUIT THAT IS PRODUCED CANNOT BE ACCREDITED TO YOU. GOD ALONE GIVES THE INCREASE (1 COR. 3:7). THUS, THERE IS LITTLE “SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT IN MINISTRY” THAT YOU MAY BE ACCUSTOMED TO IN OTHER VOCATIONS.

7. YOU WILL FIGHT LEGALISM AND LIBERALISM, ALONG WITH LAZINESS, IGNORANCE, TRADITION AND OPPOSITION. YET, YOUR GREATEST ENEMY WILL BE YOUR OWN HEART (JER. 17:9).

6. NOT EVERYONE WILL RESPOND POSITIVELY TO YOUR PREACHING, TEACHING, OR LEADERSHIP. YOU WILL BRING PEOPLE TO TEARS WITH THE SAME SERMON: ONE IN JOY, ANOTHER IN ANGER (I HAVE DONE THIS).

5. YOU WILL BE CRITICIZED—RARELY TO YOUR FACE AND FREQUENTLY BEHIND YOUR BACK. THIS CRITICISM WILL COME FROM THOSE THAT LOVE YOU, THOSE THAT OBVIOUSLY DO NOT LIKE YOU, AND PASTORS AND CHRISTIANS WHO BARELY KNOW YOU.

4. YOU WILL THINK ABOUT QUITTING YEARLY OR MONTHLY, IF NOT WEEKLY OR EVEN DAILY.

3. YOU WILL BE PERSECUTED FOR PREACHING THE TRUTH, MOSTLY FROM YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN THE PEWS. YOU SHOULDN’T BE SURPRISED BY THE SIGHT OF YOUR OWN BLOOD. YOU’RE A CHRISTIAN, AFTER ALL (MATT. 16:24).

2. YOU WILL FEEL VERY LONELY ON A CONSISTENT BASIS, FEELING LIKE NO ONE TRULY KNOWS YOU OR CARES HOW YOU FEEL, BECAUSE YOU DO NOT WANT TO BURDEN YOUR FAMILY, AND TRUSTWORTHY PEERS ARE FEW AND FAR IN-BETWEEN. BECAUSE OF THE ”SUPER-CHRISTIAN” MYTH ACCREDITED TO PASTORS LITERALLY, YOU WILL FIND IT EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO DISCLOSE YOUR DEEP THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS TO OTHERS. THUS, YOU WILL STRUGGLE WITH LONELINESS.

1. YOU WILL PROBABLY PASTOR A CHURCH THAT IS BARELY GROWING (IF AT ALL), IS OPPOSED TO CHANGE, DOESN’T PAY WELL, HAS SEEN PASTORS COME AND GO, DOESN’T RESPECT THE POSITION AS BIBLICALLY AS THEY SHOULD, DOESN’T UNDERSTAND WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS A PASTOR’S OR A CHURCH’S JOBS IS, AND WILL ONLY FOLLOW YOU WHEN THEY AGREE WITH YOU (THUS, THEY’LL REALLY ONLY FOLLOW THEMSELVES).

AFTER UNDERSTANDING THESE REALITIES, DO YOU STILL WANT TO BE A PASTOR? IF SO, THEN GOD HAS PROBABLY CALLED YOU TO THE MINISTRY!

WHEN I LOOK AT THE MINISTRY OF PAUL THE APOSTLE, WHAT I SEE IS A MAN FAMILIAR WITH THESE REASONS, AND YET GOES ON ANYWAY. IN ADDITION, THIS TEXT TELLS US THAT EVEN IN JERUSALEM, GOD IS NOT FINISHED WITH PAUL. PAUL WILL HAVE FAR GREATER THINGS TO DO,; THINGS THAT WILL TAKE HIM TO ROME!

HERE IN THIS TEXT WE CAN DIG OUT FOUR FOUNDATIONAL CONCEPTS PAUL HELD DEAR (EVEN IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY); THAT ALLOWED HIM TO BE THE MINISTER FOR CHRIST THAT HE WAS.

TRANSITION: WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT FOR US? WE ARE ALSO MINISTERS FOR CHRIST. WE ARE HIS CHOSEN PRIESTHOOD ACCORDING TO PETER, AND HIS AMBASSADOR ACCORDING TO PAUL.

I. PAUL WAS CANDID ABOUT HIS WALK WITH CHRIST

a. PAUL SPOKE OPENLY OF HIS LIFE BEFORE CHRIST

i. ZEALOUS IN HIS PERSECUTION

ii. ZEALOUS IN HIS FAITH

iii. ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE IN WHAT HE WAS DOING

b. PAUL SPOKE OPENLY OF HIS ENCOUNTER WITH CHRIST

i. MET THE RISEN LORD WHILE ON HIS WAY TO PERSECUTE OTHER BELIEVERS

ii. TAUGHT BY THE LORD IN THE DESERT BEFORE ENCOUNTERING THE CHURCH

c. PAUL SPOKE OPENLY OF HIS LIFE AFTER MEETING CHRIST

i. PAUL WAS AN APOSTLE TO THE GENTILES

ii. PAUL PLEADED HIS CALLING TO THE CHURCH AT JERUSALEM

iii. PAUL WOULD TESTIFY TO ANYONE WHO WOULD LISTEN OF WHAT JESUS DID IN HIS LIFE.

d. WE ARE COMMANDED TO DO LIKEWISE

i. BE READY TO GIVE AN ANSWER FOR THE HOPE THAT IS WITHIN YOU

1 Peter 3:15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

ii. HOW MANY OPPORTUNITIES ARE MISSED SIMPLY BECAUSE WE ARE NOT PREPARED

II. PAUL USED COMMON SENSE IN HIS WALK WITH CHRIST

a. PAUL WOULD QUESTION HIS SCOURGING

i. THE BIBLE TELLS US THAT WE ARE BLESSED WHEN WE SUFFER FOR CHRIST

ii. YET, WE DO NOT NEED TO SUFFER NEEDLESSLY!

b. PAUL WOULD OBEY THE LAW, YET USE THE LAW FOR THE CAUSE OF CHRIST

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