Wednesday, September 23, 2009

PAUL, THE GREATEST EVANGELIST


“You may never see me again,” Paul spoke with a heavy heart.

The great evangelist had travelled thousands of miles to faraway lands way beyond his hometown, Tarsus, furiously preaching the gospel of Christ like there was no tomorrow. At the port where Paul was to travel to Jerusalem, the elders of the church in Ephesus were already sobbing even before they heard this shocking remark. Somehow they understood their beloved apostle, who never let opportunities slip without a fight. He had to go where the Holy Spirit led him, no matter what!

Churches endeared to the apostle sprang forth, like this one in Ephesus, all across Europe and Asia Minor where his anointed gospel feet trod. His first concern was always the proclamation of the gospel, his last, building strong churches. Consolidating and mobilising Christians were the two-pronged strategy of Paul in order for the gospel to reach even farther and with a wider “fishing” net!

The Gentiles-reaching call of Paul was the turning point of the gospel, thus fulfilling the promise of God to Abraham many thousand years ago, that all nations will be blessed through him. Abraham’s name itself conspicuously reminded of that great promise, the father of many nations. ‘Salvation came from the Jews’ was depicted not as a favouritism from God but a source of God’s miraculous working out of His promise. Anyway, the sovereign God constantly chose servants for his ongoing redemptive plan. When Paul became a disciple of Christ, he could never contain the good news to Jews alone. As far as he was concerned, Paul had a universal dream, as long as there were humans at any place on the planet, the gospel must be preached.

“I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace,” the apostle to the Gentiles spoke with steely passion. From the time he fell from the horse to rise up in faith in Christ, Paul did not escape hardships from all sides. Nor did he run from them. He confronted them head on. There was once right here in Ephesus, he had to be pulled away from the mob that prepared to lynch him to pieces. The gospel of God became like his staple diet of life, a cause he was willing to die for. His motto, “If Jesus is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all”. His religious passion never left him, from the days of persecuting the church as a non-Christian to a high-riding apostle to the Gentiles. Even while he was in prison, Paul never stood watching from afar, he was busy writing to and praying for the saints.

“I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock,” Paul spoke with a tone of urgency. The fight for Christian followers had also begun with false teachers rearing their ugly heads. Obviously the main concern of this great evangelist would be the narrowing flow of rapid evangelisation if the churches were to be disrupted. He knew he would be stopped too on his way to Jerusalem. Never the one to fear anything, Paul continued his journey. His life was not life if it had not lived for God’s glory!

Knowing the end might be near for him, his concern turned towards the churches. He envisioned attacks would come from within and without. To Paul, the gospel must never be altered nor adulterated. He defended the gospel so fervently that he even rebuked Peter, his immediate leader in Christ. He wrote that even angels who changed the gospel must be condemned severely by God. Such was his fire for Christ and for his good news, igniting the churches, fanning their flames even brighter.

The day at the port where Paul bid farewell, the elders were deeply moved. They were powerfully impacted by his ministry, but more than that, they would never forget a life that lived out so fully for Jesus Christ right before their very eyes.

This article ends the Bible Actors’ Series. From the day when Adam and Eve sinned against God, God promised the world a Saviour. Redemption’s plan was thus in place and carried along throughout every book of the Bible. The miracle of the Bible was that it was written by more than 40 authors (Most of them did not know each other) spanned over so many thousand years, yet it has only ONE THEME – that mankind has fallen and God will save the world!

5 comments:

  1. Paul teaches us SO MUCH! And of course, he is the author of the love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13. What a powerful man of God to emulate.

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  2. I say Amen to that! Christlike living to the hilt! Tks for visiting.

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  3. Great article. You wove together well the heart of Paul.

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  4. Amazing post Ronnie!

    May we all have this same passion Paul had. When all Christians get this and live this, then the world will be saved in no time! I pray to the Lord of Harvest to send workers for the harvest is already ripe and is plentiful!

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  5. Jeanine and Mikes, Tks for the comments. May we all have the same heart and passion like Paul! God bless!

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