Paul the Prisoner
For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, ~Ephesians 3:1
Would you listen to the words of a prisoner? When we think of a prisoner, we might tend to think of a criminal who has been incarcerated. We might question the credibility of the prisoner and disregard what he says or be very skeptical. However, we hear the words this morning of “Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ.” He is not a prisoner for breaking the law, but for the advancement of the gospel message. He is in the right place at the right time by the Lord’s doing. Let us consider the words of the Lord’s prisoner.
We see the assignment.
“Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.” When the Lord saved Paul, He gave him his assignment at the same time. Paul was made a preacher, an apostle, and a servant of our Lord Jesus Christ. He received a divine call by the Lord. The Lord makes no mistakes in whom He calls. The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. He was the Lord’s servant, irrespective of location or circumstance. Paul could address the believers at Ephesus with confidence and credibility because of his calling.
We see the ambition.
“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” Most prisoners have the ambition to get out of prison. Paul saw his imprisonment as a stepping stone to share the gospel. First, we see Paul’s humility. He considered himself the least of all saints. In another place, he called himself the chief of sinners. He knew that his calling was all by the grace of God. Second, we see Paul’s heart. He ambition was to preach Christ to the world. He desired that Jew and Gentile alike would hear the message of salvation. He wanted all men to receive the gift of eternal life.
We see the advice.
This advice was two-fold. First, it was that each believer would be strengthened with might by God’s Spirit in the inner man. He wanted them to know God’s power and passion for reaching fellow Gentiles with the gospel. Satan’s power was running amok in Ephesus through idol worship, worldliness, drunkenness, immoral lifestyles, and demon possession. Paul prayed that the believers would realize that God’s power in their life was greater than Satan. Second, his advice was that they would be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ. We are most like God when His love consumes and controls us. His advice was that they needed the Lord’s capability and the Lord’s compassion in order to be victorious.
We see the acknowledgement.
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Paul makes a powerful emphasis about the power of God in Ephesians 3: see verses 7, 10, 12, 16, and 20. He emphatically declares that Jesus "is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us." There is no limit to what we can pray for, exercise faith in, or imagine doing for the Lord. He is able! Then, he acknowledges that all glory belongs to Jesus. Unlike a criminal who takes credit for what he does, Paul gives acknowledgement of the greatness and glory of the One to Whom he belonged. Would you listen to this prisoner? Yes, I would! He reminds me that God can take our circumstances and use it for His glory. Don’t be “bound” by the power of the chain. Be unlimited in the power of Christ!
Have an enriched God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Psalms 103-105