Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, a called apostle, separated to the gospel of God
Apostle literally means "sent one, a messenger, an envoy, ambassador of the Gospel, a commissioner of Christ". Men down through the ages have given it that a real Apostle was taught by Jesus in person. Most people give the 12 disciples the title Apostle and hold back from giving that title to anyone else today because of this. Yet, Jesus was given the title in Hebrews
3:1 For this reason, holy brothers, called to be partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,
I have heard many arguments against Paul being a true apostle of God. I think that Paul was not thinking about his old name Saul which has a nuance of being called for. No... I am thinking that Paul was a true blue Apostle with a capital letter A. Although, Paul had to defend himself and the title because, it seems that many in his day refuted his claim to the title else why would he write, 1 Corinthians 9:1 Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen our Lord Jesus Christ? Are you not my work in the Lord?
Jesus sought him out. Paul tells us this when he gives his testimony in Acts 9. Saul was on the road to Damascus breathing fire and brimstone with murder in his heart for Christians. Jesus found him on this road. (The Light). Jesus spoke to Him. "… Arise and go into the city, and you shall be told what you must do."
Then Jesus sent Ananias to Paul, Acts 9:15 But the Lord said to him (Ananias), Go! For this one is a chosen vessel to Me, to bear My name before nations and kings and the sons of Israel. Therefore he was to be sent on a mission, to be an emissary, a messenger.
So, do you think it is for this reason that no one today is called an apostle – because it is too lofty a position to be held by us mere mortals? Missionary has the same definition, but semantics have encroached upon all our definitions as well as the “modernizations” of language.
However, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:9 that he wasn't sufficient to be called an apostle because he persecuted God's assembly. Seemingly, he gave it a higher standard than the literal definition. Or, perhaps, his humbleness overwhelmed him when he thought of those days of persecution.
I can’t help but think he may have had John the Baptist in mind as well as many prophets of old. John was called from before birth. He recognized Jesus before he was born. How marvelous that little passage is Luke 1:41 And it happened, as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the babe in her womb leaped, and Elizabeth was filled of the Holy Spirit.
But then, it is really interesting, Paul says in Galatians that he is an apostle not from men nor through a man but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead. That is an incredible amount of power there.
Therefore, I'm thinking it most likely is not semantics in that Paul is talking to the Galatians, but a definition of an apostle that transcends what we think or propose to think. Something in the neighborhood of "This is a done deal by God Himself, and who can undo any work that I AM does?"
Separated to the good message, the good news, of God. Separated means: Set off by a boundary, also meaning exclude, divide, appoint. When I look at the definition of separated, I see a goodly portion of Paul's teaching summed up in a few words. The Divine message sets us apart from the world and Paul used a lot of words to tell the Corinthians, the Galatians, the Ephesians and even Titus and Timothy this. He reminded Philemon of it as well.
Paul recognized there is a huge difference between the secular world and the Kingdom of God of which we are citizens, being merely sojourners in the secular world. He didn’t exactly harp on the theme, yet he certainly made sure that it was expressed in several different ways.
Romans 1:2 Which he promised before through his prophets… This is huge.
Only God has proven to be the most accurate future-teller. God didn’t just pop the plan out of a think tank and then stand back to watch events unfold. God promised ages before that His Son would come, and that there would be resurrection of the dead… and it came to pass. Paul reminds us at every turn how faithful God is, was and always will be. This encouragement also riddles his writings. I often wondered why Paul's writings had such long sentences. It seems to me that he has a sermon in every phrase. Each phrase he wrote has a tremendous sermon and is full of meat that satisfies the soul. Amen.
Paul’s authority comes from Jesus. He is very clear and certain of this and makes mention of it in numerous places, but he never camps there. As an apostle should, Paul dwells on the message proclaiming Christ.
Paul calls attention to the fact that Jesus was in the beginning, only in terms that mortals could understand straight away. He recalls to mind those prophecies (which I am sure that He taught to the Romans), and he gives a huge degree of authority to the Gospel simply because it was written in Scripture many years before.
How fascinating that different men, both contemporary as well as from different ages, told the story in bits and pieces, then when it was time for it to all unfold, all the bits and pieces came together and made complete sense. It reminds me of those collages made of hundreds of photos and graphics that you can clearly see up close and when you step back, you suddenly see a famous face or “big picture.” I am constantly amazed at my LORD God, who is so meticulous to explain each nuance of the greatest story ever told in wonderful detail over centuries so that we know beyond doubt it is all true.
Even though Paul speaks with all the authority that Jesus gave him three days after he saw the light on the road to Damascus, he still points toward Scripture, and the prophets of ancient days. It is an excellent lesson that we sometimes seem to forget, but Scripture really is the final authority.
Paul’s point is always the gospel of Jesus and the resurrection.
Romans 1:5 BY WHOM WE RECEIVED GRACE AND APOSTLESHIP TO OBEDIENCE OF FAITH among all the nations, for His name's sake, 6 among whom are you also, called-out ones of Jesus Christ;
Uh-oh... does Paul actually say we received grace and apostleship? Was he using a Royal We?
Why did our church forefathers dictate a distinction for the word Apostle? The Apostles were gifted with incredible gifts which they used to plant as many churches as would receive them. But, lest we forget, the Apostles also had extreme faith in the power of God. They also had obedience as their number one priority. Their commission was to spread the Gospel, as they went about their daily tasks, to make disciples, to baptize them, to teach them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Do we truly keep that first in our priority list? Do we truly teach in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Please excuse me a moment. I must go change my shoes for I have stomped all over my own toes.
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