Saturday, April 30, 2016

Paul who was sent away by Jesus

1 Timothy 1:1
  • Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, according to the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope. 

Paul was clear about his identity as a person who was sent away by Jesus the Messiah, according to God who saved Paul. 

Paul introduces himself as an apostle (apostolos in Greek) which derives from apostello. It consists of apo and stello. Apo means "away from" and stello means "send."

Therefore, apostello or apostle means someone who has been sent away (by someone). In his case, as in the case of all the other apostles, he was sent by Jesus Christ.

Matthew 28:19
  • Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

The Great Commission could also be called "the Great Apostello." An apostle is a commissioned person who is sent on a mission by God.

It is important to note that the Great Commission was not only for the apostle Paul, and the eleven disciples but also for all of us.

Remember what Jesus said, following the Great Commission in Matthew 28:20.
  • "teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

This commandment of Jesus includes the Great Commission itself!

Jesus also prayed this way in John 17:15-21
  • 15 I do not ask that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from evil. 
  • 16 They are not of the world, as I am not of the world. 
  • 17 Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth. 
  • 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also sent them into the world; 
  • 19 and for them I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
  • 20 But I do not ask for these only, but also for those believing in Me through their word, 
  • 21 that all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.

God the Father sent Jesus into the world. Jesus also sent his disciples into the world. This prayer of Jesus was not for his disciples only but for us as well who believed in Jesus through the word of the disciples of Jesus who descended from the disciples of Jesus before them throughout the centuries.

Jesus also prayed for more workers into his mission of salvation.

Luke 10:2
  • And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.

Matthew 9:37, 38
  • Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

I do not mean that we all have to go somewhere as missionaries (apostles in a more literal sense), for we know that 1 Corinthians 12:29 says,
  • Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?

Not all of us are sent away somewhere else in a geographically different location physically. However, we have all been called by God to be his witnesses whether it be through our love, word, deed and motive. In that sense, we have been sent away by Jesus to be his witnesses. We are, in a spiritual sense, apostles. We are Jesus' witnesses wherever we live, because the Holy Spirit lives in us.

Peter said in Acts 2:38, 39
  • And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off (Gentiles, us), everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.”

And we know what happened when the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus' disciples in Acts 1:8.
  • But you will receive power, the Holy Spirit having come upon you, and you will be my witnesses, both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth."

We are like Paul in that God called us to Himself to be Jesus' witnesses. The Holy Spirit has come upon us, just as He did on Jesus' disciples, when we believed in Jesus. We are Jesus' witnesses wherever we live and wherever God leads us to.

We are the apostles (sent away by God, whether it be in a spiritual sense, or more literal physical sense) like Paul, called by God to be Jesus' witnesses, and we have had the Holy Spirit come upon us, helping us to be the witnesses of God.

Notice how frequently Paul uses the title, "apostle," in his letters when he introduces himself to his congregations in different parts of the world. His other favourite titles to designate himself were "a servant and prisoner for Christ." These titles were used in all his letters except, the Thessalonians which were his early letters.

Romans 1:1
  • Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,

1 Corinthians 1:1
  • Paul, a called apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Sosthenes, our brother.

2 Corinthians 1:1
  • Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother

Galatians 1:1
  • Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead

Ephesians 1:1
  • Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:1
  • Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons.

Colossians 1:1
  • Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother.

1 Thessalonians 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.

2 Thessalonians 1:1
  • Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Timothy 1:1
  • Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, according to the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope. 

2 Timothy
  • Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus.

Titus
  • Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness.

Philemon
  • Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved fellow worker.

Additional resource: What is an apostle?

1 Timothy

1 Timothy 1:1  Paul was sent away by Jesus