GRACE BIBLE CHURCH

8-28-2022

EPHESIANS 0290-001

Title: The profile of the apostle Paul; EPH 1:1 

PDF:GBC08282022NOTES

 

If there is one word that describes the book of Ephesians it is the word “Supergrace.”

 

In EPH 1:1 we read, Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:

 

We begin with verse 1 with the word Paulos referring to the apostle Paul.

 

Let’s look at;

 

The profile of the apostle Paul.

 

  1. (Y) Paul is the Roman name of the Jew named Saul of Tarsus and while he was a Jew and one of the greatest genius’ in all of history, he was also the all-time greatest Roman.

He was a Jew by race but a Roman by citizenship, the greatest Roman genius of all time, next to him, the greatest Roman citizen was Gaius Julius Caesar, an unbeliever.

 

# 2 At the time Paul wrote the New Testament epistles.

 

  1. Everyone in the world was trying to acquire a Roman citizenship because it was considered to be one of the greatest privileges in the world at that time.

 

Paul was a third-generation citizen of Rome, so it had run in his family for years.

 

  1. There have been many famous Roman citizens, but Paul and Caesar are by far the greatest, and Paul is placed above Caesar because he actually did more for SPQR than Caesar did.

 

What does SPQR mean in the Roman language which was basically Latin or Italian?  (You know, like “Tony Soprano!” – (Bo-Bo)

 

SPQR stands for Senatus Populusque Romanus, which translates to the Senate and People of Rome.

 

Caesar is responsible for the administration and the political perpetuation of the Romans into the Empire and for another 350-400 years, they were strong people at the time through military victory.

 

Military victory gave Rome 50 years of peace and prosperity.

 

And not only that;

 

Paul is responsible for SPQR becoming the first Gentile client nation to God, and for its perpetuation up through 500 years.

Between them, these two made it possible for SPQR to be the greatest Gentile client nation in all of human history.

 

Paul was a believer with maximum invisible impact; Caesar was an unbeliever with maximum visible impact.

 

  1. The Roman name Paul occurs first in ACT 13:9 where his real name Saul was also known as Paul, having been filled with the Spirit.

 

ACT 13:9 But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit,

 

Saul was known as Paul all his life.

 

It’s interesting that Paul was named after King Saul whose name means king but he changed his name to Paulus whose name means “little one.”

He apparently recognized how little he was compared to the One he would dedicate his life to for the rest of his life.

 

Because he lived among Jewish circles, he generally did not use his Roman name as Saul of Tarsus, who became the #1 man in the Sanhedrin, which was the supreme counsel of the Jews where he was a Pharisee.

 

In fact, look at PHI 3:1-11:

 

PHI 3:1  Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.

 

PHI 3:2  Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision;

 

PHI 3:3 for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,

 

PHI 3:4 although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more:

 

PHI 3:5 circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee;

 

PHI 3:6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.

 

PHI 3:7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.

 

 

PHI 3:8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value 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,

 

PHI 3:9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,

 

PHI 3:10 that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;

 

PHI 3:11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

 

Now, that is the best passage in the Word of God that describes the apostle, Paul.

In fact, a very important principle emerges.

 

He held all the offices of the Jews except that of high priest for;

 

His tribe of Benjamin was not qualified for the priesthood, only those who were from the Tribe of Levi or what we call the Leviticus priesthood could be priests.

 

We noted that about the priesthood on Wednesday evening, when we finished the series on the Christian soldier with the Doctrine of the Rapture.

 

But his Roman name Paul was given to him at his birth by his father. (In those days, fathers named their children.)

 

Under the profile of Paul;

 

Paul’s original name was Saul of Tarsus, named after his ancestor King Saul, who was also from the Tribe of Benjamin.

 

It’s interesting that both Paul and Caesar were genius and aristocrats.

 

  1. The Jewish profile of Paul is given in Eph 3:5. Paul was the only Roman citizen who was also a Jewish Pharisee, Act 22:28; Phi 3:5.

 

In Acts 22, (quoted Wednesday) Paul was the only Roman citizen who was responsible for the pivot at the time.

 

Paul means a lot of things.

 

As a zealous Pharisee and an unbeliever, Paul was the persecutor of the Church until his conversion, 1Co 15:9; Gal 1:13.

1CO 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

 

GAL 1:13 For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure, and tried to destroy it;

 

While many famous Church-age believers of the first century contributed to the formation of a pivot and the establishment concepts in SPQR, the city and the people of Rome;

 

As the first Gentile client nation in history, people like John, Peter, Titus, and Timothy, Paul was the only one of the apostles who was a Roman.

 

All the apostles were Jews by race; eleven were Jews by nationality.

 

But Paul was a Roman by nationality.

 

Therefore;

 

When Paul begins to write the most important of all chapters in the New Testament, he says that he is PAULUS,” which means “I Paul” - the Roman citizen.

 

What he is about to say in Eph 3 is the key to the perpetuation of the times of the Gentiles, which we are, during the Church-age.

 

Paul was the only Roman citizen responsible for the pivot that began client nation SPQR.

 

In Acts 22:1-29, we have the record of the Roman brigade commander in Jerusalem.

 

His headquarters was at the Mark Anthony barracks; the military organization stationed next to the Temple.

This is a passage that doesn’t tell us who Paul is as in Phi 3:1-11, which is what we just noted, but this is a passage that tells us what he did or what he went through.

 

It is a long, but big deal, where else do you need to be today?

 

ACT 22:1 "Brethren and fathers, hear my defense which I now offer to you."

 

ACT 22:2 And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew dialect, they became even more quiet; and he said,

 

ACT 22:3   "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God, just as you all are today.

 

ACT 22:4 "And I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons,

 

ACT 22:5 as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders can testify. From them I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished.

 

ACT 22:6 "And it came about that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me,

 

ACT 22:7 and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?'

 

ACT 22:8 "And I answered, 'Who art Thou, Lord?' And He said to me, 'I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.'

 

ACT 22:9 "And those who were with me beheld the light, to be sure, but did not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me.

 

ACT 22:10 "And I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me,   'Arise and go on into Damascus; and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.'

 

ACT 22:11 "But since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.

 

ACT 22:12 "And a certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,

 

ACT 22:13 came to me, and standing near said to me, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight!' And at that very time I looked up at him.

ACT 22:14 "And he said, 'The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear an utterance from His mouth.

 

ACT 22:15 'For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard.

 

ACT 22:16 'And now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.'

 

ACT 22:17 "And it came about when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I fell into a trance,

 

ACT 22:18 and I saw Him saying to me, 'Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.'

 

ACT 22:19 "And I said, 'Lord, they themselves understand that in one synagogue after another I used to imprison and beat those who believed in Thee.

 

ACT 22:20 'And when the blood of Thy witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing by approving, and watching out for the cloaks of those who were slaying him.'

 

ACT 22:21 "And He said to me, 'Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'"

 

ACT 22:22  And they listened to him up to this statement, and then they raised their voices and said, "Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he should not be allowed to live!"

 

ACT 22:23 And as they were crying out and throwing off their cloaks and tossing dust into the air,

 

ACT 22:24 the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, stating that he should be examined by scourging so that he might find out the reason why they were shouting against him that way.

 

ACT 22:25 And when they stretched him out with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman and uncondemned?"

 

ACT 22:26 And when the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and told him, saying, "What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman."

 

ACT 22:27 And the commander came and said to him, "Tell me, are you a Roman?" And he said," Yes. "

 

ACT 22:28 And the commander answered, "I acquired this citizenship with a large sum of money." And Paul said, "But I was actually born a citizen."

ACT 22:29 Therefore those who were about to examine him immediately let go of him; and the commander also was afraid when he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had put him in chains.

 

When there was a riot in the temple, this brigade commander is equivalent to our divisional commander.

 

The Roman military sent a detachment to the Temple under a centurion who had purchased his own Roman citizenship.

 

You could actually buy your way into the Roman heritage.

 

So;

 

The Roman soldiers went into the riot in the temple, pulled Paul out, and Acts 22:24 picks up the story.

 

Note that in verse 24, “The tribune ordered him to be brought to the barracks, saying that he should be examined by scourging, so that he might find out the reason why they were rioting against him that way.”

 

A sure way to be executed is to scourge a Roman citizen.

 

Scourging was a way that Romans got a lot of information in hurry, for their whips had bits of bone and metal in it.

 

But they could not do this to Roman citizens; they could only do it to non-citizens.

 

Also, in ACT 22:25 when it And when they stretched him out with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman and uncondemned?"

 

Note that;

 

When the Roman soldiers reached out with the thongs, which are made of narrow leather strips of whips,  Paul said to the centurion who was supervising; “Is it lawful for you to scourge an uncondemned Roman citizen?”

 

The thongs were to tie his hands behind his back, or sometimes over a barrel so as to skin him alive all the way down his back.

 

It was the Roman way to scourge first, so they could  make sure the truth was being told once they began questioning the suspect.

 

If not, more scourging!

 

Imagine the expression on the centurion’s face upon hearing that Paul was a Roman citizen and because of that, he cannot be scourged.

If you do, you are punished or put to death!

 

Then in verse 26, “Now when the centurion heard this, he ran to the tribune and reported to him saying, `What are you about to do? This man is a Roman!’”

 

They could all lose their jobs, be punished and even executed for this!

 

Court-martial meant execution.

 

And, if you made the mistake of maltreating a Roman citizen, that was a very serious mistake!

 

“This man is a Roman” emphasizes what is in Eph 3  for the Gentiles.

 

Basically,

 

It is found in EPH 3:8, which tells us that Paul was sent to the Gentiles, while the other 11 were sent to the lost house of Israel.

EPH 3:8 To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,

 

Now,

 

The other apostles taught gentiles but none of them are ever called an apostle to the Gentiles but rather, apostles to the lost house of Israel; Mat 10:1-6.

 

MAT 10:1 And having summoned His twelve disciples, He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.

 

MAT 10:2   Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;

 

MAT 10:3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax‑gatherer; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;

 

MAT 10:4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him.

 

MAT 10:5   These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them, saying, "Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans;

 

MAT 10:6 but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

 

Paul was Jewish but he became a Roman (Gentile) citizen, the greatest of all.

 

In fact,

 

When Nero put Paul to death, he had to do it Roman style which is to have his head cut off.

 

If you look at verses 27-28, you will see that Paul had to use a large sum of money to become a Roman citizen which didn’t come easy.

 

Back to ACT 22:27 And the commander came and said to him, "Tell me, are you a Roman?" And he said," Yes."

 

ACT 22:28 And the commander answered, "I acquired this citizenship with a large sum of money." And Paul said, "But I was actually born a citizen."

 

You could get it by serving in the military for twenty years, provided it was honorable service.

 

So, remember that Paul was a Roman citizen.

 

He was also one of the most successful young men in the Jewish body politic in Judea.

 

At a very early age, he became a Pharisee.

 

And as we have noted many times before;

 

The eleven apostles, who were the apostles to Israel, were all Jewish citizens and Jews by race.

 

They live under SPQR and the rules of citizenship in Rome, but they were not Roman citizens.

 

But….

When God appointed the twelfth apostle, He appointed a Jew by race but a Roman by birth.

 

Therefore, only Paul among the eleven had a ministry to the Gentiles.

 

Now, still under our profile of the apostle Paul, we also need to note his Spiritual Gift of Apostleship.

 

Therefore, let’s notice 12 principles on the apostleship of Paul.

 

  1. (Y) The gift of apostleship is the first and highest of all spiritual gifts ever given and it is given in 1Co 12:28 and Eph 4:11.

 

1CO 12:28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.

By the way, notice that the gift of tongues is last on the list.

 

And then in the fourfold ministry of the gifts of communication are given in that very important passage in EPH 4:11.

 

When we get to this verse it will look something like this in the original language.

 

EPH 4:11  “And he gave some [all are in the masculine] members of the Royal Family, apostles; and others, prophets; and others, evangelists; and still others, pastor-teachers.”

 

  1. The apostles possessed supernatural power which were to be used to draw attention to the message and not the man with the supernatural power.

 

After 12 men in the early church who had the spiritual gift, eleven of these were carried over from being the apostles to Israel, as named in MAT 10:1-6.

 

By the way,

 

Go back to Matthew chapter 7 this time.

 

When MAT 10:1 says that our Lord gave His disciples  authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. it is also for Judas Iscariot who also performed miracles.

 

He will be part of those who are mentioned in Mat 7:21-23.

 

Where our Lord says MAT 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.

MAT 7:22 "Many (like the apostle Judas) will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'

 

MAT 7:23 "And then I will declare to them, (like Judas) 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'

 

The only one not carried over on that roster of apostles was Judas Iscariot.

 

Therefore;

 

  1. The Bible distinguishes between the apostles to Israel and the apostles to the Church including Paul, who replaced Judas Iscariot according to 1Co 15:8-10.

 

Speaking of the appearances of our Lord in His resurrection body in the first seven verses of 1Co 15, Paul goes on to say as an apostle in 1CO 15:8.

 

1CO 15:8 and last of all, as it were (our Lord appeared)   to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.

 

1CO 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

 

But when you have humility and you are a genius, you recognize what the next verse says;

 

1CO 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.

 

Paul fulfilled exactly what he told to Timothy in 1TI 5:17;

 

1TI 5:17   Let the elders (the presbuteros’ such as Peter and Paul) who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, (and then note what made the apostle Paul the greatest apostle of all ) especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.

 

Paul worked hard studying the Word of God until he was exhausted.

 

  1. The spiritual gift of apostleship carried the highest authority God has ever delegated in the Church Age.

 

The apostle had authority over all local churches, in contrast to the pastor whose authority extends over only one local church.

 

In 1Co 12:28, the gift of apostleship is first in order of merit; 1CO 12:28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles,

 

The apostleship was designed was designed for two purposes.

 

  1. The formation of the Canon of Scripture, the New Testament.

 

This absolute authority was restricted to the pre-Canon period of the Church-age, from 30 to 96 A.D when the Bible was completed.

 

In 30 AD, our Lord began His ministry.

In 96 AD, the Bible was completed; 1Co 13:10.

 

The second purpose of the gift of apostleship was;

 

  1. The establishment of local churches, the communication of the mystery doctrine of the Church-age until the Canon was completed.

 

The gift also functioned in training pastors, sending out missionaries and making policy prior to the completion of the New Testament.

 

  1. Apostles were not appointed until after the resurrection of Christ when in Eph 4:8, “And He has distributed spiritual gifts to men.”

 

  1. The spiritual gift of apostleship was temporary and discontinued after the completion of the Canon of scripture; 1Co 13:10.

 

1CO 13:10 says in my amplified translation that “when the perfect word comes the temporary gifts will cease.” 

 

The removal of the temporary gifts, like miracles healings and tongues, began with the post-Canon period of the Church Age.

 

Post-Canon means after the Bible was completed.

 

  1. 1Co 12:11 says the Holy Spirit sovereignly bestowed the gift of apostleship and 1Co 12:28, God appointed the apostles first on His list of gifts.

 

1CO 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

 

1CO 12:28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.

 

Again, note that tongues are the least of all the gifts mentioned in the divine order of gifts.

 

This is why the apostle Paul wrote;

 

1CO 14:19 however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind, that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.

 

So;

 

The apostles are mentioned first in God’s divine order which means first in order of authority and power.

 

  1. Peter, James, and John were apostles to the Jews, Gal 2:7-9.

 

 

GAL 2:6 But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)‑‑ well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me.

 

For in GAL 2:7 we read But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised (Gentiles), just as Peter had been to the circumcised (Jews),

 

GAL 2:8 (for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles),

 

GAL 2:9 and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we might go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised.

 

  1. The twelfth apostle was Paul, but before he was recognized as such, a farce occurred in Act 1 where  Peter suggested that they elect someone to take the place of Judas Iscariot.

 

You remember that if you studied the book of Acts verse by verse with me, or if you recently studied the Christian soldier where that passage is taught as well.

 

The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ gave the first spiritual gifts to the Church on the Day of Pentecost.

 

After that they are sovereignly bestowed by the Holy Spirit; 1Co 12:7-11.

 

1CO 12:7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

 

1CO 12:8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit;

 

1CO 12:9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,

 

1CO 12:10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.

 

1CO 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

 

Notice that God the Holy Spirit is sovereign just like God the Father and God the Son are sovereign.

 

This means that Peter was wrong in Act 1 because;

You do not elect what is sovereignly given by God! The church voted for Matthias. But Matthias was not appointed by God to replace Judas, Acts 1:15-27.

 

The volition of mankind is never involved in spiritual gifts.

 

The twelfth man was to be the apostle Paul says 1Co 15:7-10, which we just read.

 

The Lord appeared to him on the Damascus Road and he would learn that by the grace of God I am what I am.

 

One of the requirements for this spiritual gift was that the apostle see the resurrected Christ.

 

Paul saw the resurrected Christ on the Damascus Road, according to Acts 9:3-6, 22:6-11, 26:13-18.

 

We will read one passage that covers all of these in ACT 9, the other two passages basically same the same thing.

 

ACT 9:1 Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest,

 

ACT 9:2 and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

 

ACT 9:3 And it came about that as he journeyed, he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him;

 

ACT 9:4 and he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?"

 

ACT 9:5 And he said, "Who art Thou, Lord?" And He said, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,

 

ACT 9:6 but rise, and enter the city, and it shall be told you what you must do. "

 

ACT 9:7 And the men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice, but seeing no one.

 

ACT 9:8 And Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus.

 

ACT 9:9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

 

ACT 9:10  Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Behold, here am I, Lord."

ACT 9:11 And the Lord said to him, "Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying,

 

ACT 9:12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight. "

 

ACT 9:13 But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Thy saints at Jerusalem;

 

ACT 9:14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon Thy name. "

 

ACT 9:15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;

 

ACT 9:16 for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake. "

 

ACT 9:17 And Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit."

 

ACT 9:18 And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he arose and was baptized;

 

ACT 9:19 and he took food and was strengthened.   Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus,

 

ACT 9:20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God."

 

ACT 9:21 And all those hearing him continued to be amazed, and were saying, "Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?"

 

Next, being an apostle and having to see the resurrected Christ. He appeared to Paul again in Arabia according to Gal 11-24.

 

GAL 1:11   For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.

 

GAL 1:12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

 

GAL 1:13 For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure, and tried to destroy it;

GAL 1:14 and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions.

 

GAL 1:15 But when He who had set me apart, even from my mother's womb, and called me through His grace, was pleased

 

GAL 1:16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood,

 

GAL 1:17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus.

 

GAL 1:18   Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days.

GAL 1:19 But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord's brother.

 

GAL 1:20 (Now in what I am writing to you, I assure you before God that I am not lying.)

 

GAL 1:21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.

 

GAL 1:22 And I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea which were in Christ;

 

GAL 1:23 but only, they kept hearing, "He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy."

 

GAL 1:24 And they were glorifying God because of me.

 

 

Then He appeared to Paul in the Temple, Acts 9:26-30, 22:17-21.

 

Both passages we have noted.

 

Finally, He appeared to Paul in prison, Acts 23:11.

 

ACT 23:11  But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, "Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also."

 

So, Paul saw the resurrected Christ on four different occasions.

 

  1. In 1TI 1:12-15, Paul is described as the worst of all sinners before his salvation.

 

 

In genuine humility, Paul wrote that he was the worst sinner who ever lived, and here that he was the least of all the apostles.

 

As an unbeliever, Paul murdered many Christians and yet he became the greatest believer of all time and one of the reasons is that he recognized he was sinner or chief sinner that ever lived.

 

You say;

 

What about people like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Attila the Hun, Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, Jack the Ripper, or YOU! 

 

In fact, he even tells us this in 1TI 12-16.

 

1TI 1:12   I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service;

1TI 1:13  even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. And yet I was shown mercy, because I acted ignorantly in unbelief;

 

1TI 1:14  and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.

 

1TI 1:15  It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.

 

1TI 1:16  And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

 

Paul became an apostle as a result of the sovereign decision of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Eph 4:11.

Paul was given the spiritual gift by the Holy Spirit according to 1Co 12:11.

 

  1. After his salvation, Paul is described as the least of all saints; Eph 3:8.

 

EPH 3:8 To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ.,

 

  1. From this we learn that humility is the secret to attaining greatness, no matter what the field, without humility, greatness cannot be sustained.

 

Arrogance creates a tragic flaw and destroys anyone’s success or prosperity.

 

No one can be an invisible hero under arrogance, the greatest corrupter in life.

 

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