αποστολος

“παυλος δουλος ιησου χριστου κλητος αποστολος” — Paul, Romans 1.1

Paul was an apostle of God. The word “apostle” (αποστολος) means a person who is sent forth. An apostle is a representative, or an ambassador. Three things are true of the apostle:

First, he belongs to the One who has sent him out. Second, he has been commissioned to be sent out; he didn’t just go of his own accord. Third, he possesses all the authority and power of the One who sends him.

There is a forceful lesson here. Paul says he was called to be an apostle. He wasn’t in the ministry because he chose to be. He wasn’t in the ministry because he enjoyed working with people, nor because he had the ability in his own right. Paul had not been encouraged to choose the ministerial profession.

He was an apostle, a minister of the gospel for one reason, and one reason only: God had called him.

“But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you…” — Jesus, Acts26.16 (emphasis mine)

It is important to note that Paul heard and answered the call of God. God didn’t override Paul’s will. God wanted Paul in ministry, so he called him; it was up to Paul to hear and respond.

“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry…” — Paul, 1 Timothy 1.12

Paul was called to be an apostle, that is, to be a minister of God’s grace. He wasn’t called to occupy a position of authority or to be honored by men.

Ever servant of God is called for two primary reasons:

First, he is called to serve and to minister.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” — Paul, Galatians 6.2

“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” — Paul, Galatians 6.10

Second he is called to go forth and bear fruit.

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” — Jesus, Gospel of John 15.16

“Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.” — Paul, Romans 7.4

Advertisements

About this entry