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The Character, Calling &

Ministry of the Apostle Paul

 

By Bart Nelson

 

 

 

 

Copyright ©2003 – All rights reserved

 

Copying and translation authorized for free distribution. 

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Scott & Jeanine are friends of mine who minister in Tijuana, Mexico. Recently, Jeanine was ordained. I felt led that I was to do this study about Paul as an encouragement and guide for them. I believe that Paul is an awesome example for many of us and his life can provide guidance and direction for our ministries as well. For that reason, I am including this in my packet of teachings so that all may benefit.

 

I pray that God uses this to thrust us forth into even more fullness of His plans and purposes for us. (I know that doing this study has done that for me.) Just as God had plans for Saul that he could never dream of, so it is for you. Man will not understand it all, just as they didn't for him, but that's all right. We are living for an audience of one anyway, just as Paul did, we have to please or fear no man, only God.

 

v      Paul was mentored by others: Acts 11.25 Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. 26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. 27 And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch. 30 This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

 

v      Paul's calling: Rom. 1.1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God 2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. 5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, 14 I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. 15 So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. Gal. 1.11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. 15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. 1 Tim. 1.1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope. 2 Tim. 2.1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,

 

v      Paul was always working with and mentoring others: Acts 12.25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark. Acts 15.40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. Rom. 16.21 Timothy, my fellow worker, and Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my countrymen, greet you. I, Tertius, who wrote this epistle, greet you in the Lord. Gaius, my host and the host of the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets you, and Quartus, a brother. 1 Cor. 1.1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother. 1 Cor. 4.17 For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church. Eph. 6.21 But that you also may know my affairs and how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you. Phil. 2.19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. 25 Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need. Col. 4.7 Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. 8 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts, 9 with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here. 10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are of the circumcision; they have proved to be a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has a great zeal for you, and those who are in Laodicea, and those in Hierapolis. 14 Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you. 1 Thes. 1.1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Tim. 2.2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 2 Tim. 3.10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me... Tit. 1.4 To Titus, a true son in our common faith.

 

v      Paul's message: 1 Cor. 1.23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Cor. 2.4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 Thes. 2. 3 For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit. 4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. 5 For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness— God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.

 

v      Paul's ministry began and continued to be led by Holy Spirit and in the supernatural: Acts 13.1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. 4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. Acts 13.9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Acts 18.9 Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision,  “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.” Acts 23.011 But the following night the Lord stood by him and said,  “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.” 1 Cor. 2.1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Ø      Paul was persuasive and bold in ministry: Acts 13.43 Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. Acts 17.4 And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas. Rom. 1.16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 1 Thes. 2.2 But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict.

Ø      Deliverance was part of Paul's ministry: Acts 16.18 And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.

Ø      Paul ministered the baptism in Holy Spirit: Acts 19.6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

Ø      Healing was part of Paul's ministry: Acts 14.9 This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked. Acts 19.11 Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.

Ø      Raising the dead was part of Paul's ministry: Acts 20.10 But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, “Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him.” 11 Now when he had come up, had broken bread and eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak, he departed. 12 And they brought the young man in alive, and they were not a little comforted.

Ø      Intercession was a major part of Paul's ministry: Rom.1.9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers. 1 Cor, 14. 15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. 18 I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all. Eph. 1.16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers. Eph. 3. 14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, Phil. 1.3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, Col. 1.3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. 1 Thes. 1.2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers. 2 Thes. 1.11 Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power. Philmn. 4 I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers. 2 Tim. 1.3 I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day.

Ø      Impartation of spiritual gifts by prophecy and laying on hands was part of Paul's ministry: Rom. 1.11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established. 1 Tim. 1. 18 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare. 1 Tim. 4. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 2 Tim. 1.6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

 

v      Paul had a constant burden for churches and individuals as indicated by Acts and his letters, Romans through Philemon. He was consistently encouraging, correcting and teaching them whether in person or via letter.

 

v      Paul's Character…

v      Paul was often persecuted by the religious folks for his ministry, but he just got back up and kept on going: Acts 13.50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them, and came to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Acts 14.19 Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. 20 However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. 2 Cor 4.8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. Col. 1. 24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God. 1 Thes. 2.2 But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict.

 

v      Paul was truly a humble servant and never wanted to be exalted: Acts 14.14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out 15 and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them. 1 Cor. 3.5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers (Greek=servants) through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 1 Cor. 4.1 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! 1 Cor. 9.19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

 

v      Paul ministered in compassion, as a parent would towards a child and strove to meet the needs of others: I Cor. 4.14 I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. 15 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church. 1 Cor 16.1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also. 2 Cor. 12.14 Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls. 1 Thes. 2. 7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. 8 So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; 11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children. 1 Tim. 1.2 To Timothy, a true son in the faith. 2 Tim. 1.2 To Timothy, a beloved son. Philemon 10 I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains.

 

v      Paul received ministry from others: Rom. 1.12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Phil. 4.14 Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. 2 Tim. 4.9 Be diligent to come to me quickly; 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. 13 Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come—and the books, especially the parchments.

 

v      Paul rejoiced and ministered in the midst of trials and persecution: Acts 16.25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

 

v      Paul stood his ground when he needed to: Acts 16.36 So the keeper of the prison reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Now therefore depart, and go in peace.”37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.” Acts 22.25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who stood by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?” Gal. 2.11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed;

 

v      Paul was not afraid to work to financially support his ministry: Acts 18.3 So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers. 1 Thes. 2.9 For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.