A portrait of Paul
Scripture: Ephesians 3:1.
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The sentence that begins here does not end until verse 14 where you have a reiteration of this these opening phrase.
In this verse 1 we are given a miniature portrait of Paul. His words are well worth our consideration.
I. THE WONDERFUL CHANGE THAT GRACE MAKES
The persecutor has become the persecuted. Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-2. For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it, Gal 1:13.
Thus God manifests His mercy, His grace and His power.
II. THE LORD SOMETIMES PERMITS HIS SAINTS
Paul was a prisoner in Rome and of course, he was later put to death for the gospel.
1. Such would be the constant state of affairs did not God intervene. Acts 9:31. The world is at war with God and His people.
2. The fierce of opposition of the world does not absolve ministers from their duty. Paul did not remain silent in the face of opposition but preached Christ. When he could not preach, he wrote.
3. God is often pleased to give the church its greatest advances in the midst of opposition. He is thus all the more glorified through the weakness of the instruments He uses.1Cor 1:27-29.
4. Paul considered himself the “prisoner of Jesus Christ.” It was for the love he bore to Christ that he was a prisoner. He was a captive of the Saviour before he became a prisoner in Rome. But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison, Genesis 39:21. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king, Daniel 3:17.
III. PAUL DEEMS HIS SUFFERINGS TO BE AN HONOUR
He does not hide the fact that he is in prison. He calls himself “the prisoner.” John Bunyan in like fashion gloried in his reproaches.
IV. HIS IMPRISONMENT INDICATED HIS DEEP LOVE FOR SOULS
Such devotion to the souls of men indicate how precious the soul is and how important it is that men and women repent.
Paul in prison is a pale reflection of Christ on the cross. Both testify of the value of the soul.