What Made Paul an Apostle?

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: Galatians 1:11-24


I.         Paul was different from the other apostles

            A.        He wasn’t with Jesus when he was on earth

            B.        He was not among the original twelve apostles - Luke 6:12-16

            C.        He started out as a zealous persecutor of the church

            D.        How is it that Paul claimed to be an apostle?

II.        Paul did claim apostleship

            A.        He was called to be an apostle - Romans 1:1

            B.        He was an apostle to the Gentiles - Romans 11:13

            C.        He was an apostle of Jesus by God’s will - I Corinthians 1:1; II Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; II Timothy 1:1

            D.        He was an apostle by God the Father and by Jesus Christ - Galatians 1:1

            E.        He was an apostle by God’s command - I Timothy 1:1

            F.        He was appointed an apostle - I Timothy 2:7; II Timothy 1:11

            G.        He was an apostle according to the faith - Titus 1:1

            H.        Notice that Paul didn’t just claim to be an apostle, he claimed that it was by God’s will and God’s command.

                        1.         No man made him an apostle, and that includes himself

                        2.         And he said it was according to the faith

III.       What made a person an apostle?

            A.        The word “apostle” means “one sent. In the Bible it is a person sent by Christ to witness to Christ and represent him.

                        1.         Sent to be witnesses of the resurrection - Acts 1:8

                        2.         Peter and the other apostles were witnesses - Acts 2:32

                        3.         Paul also was a witness to the resurrected Christ - I Corinthians 15:1-11; 9:1

            B.        They were not self-appointed, they were tasked by the Lord himself

                        1.         Paul was sent to the Gentiles just as Peter was sent to the Jews - Galatians 2:7-9

                        2.         Note that this was accepted by the leading men in the church at the time.

            C.        The message would not be left to them. God would give them the words to speak - John 15:26-27; 16:13

                        1.         Paul learned directly from Jesus - Galatians 1:11-12

                        2.         He was not instructed by the other apostles - Galatians 1:15-17

                        3.         Paul was given the words to speak by the Spirit - I Corinthians 2:10-13

            D.        The message would be confirmed by miracles - Mark 16:14-20

                        1.         The testimony was done with power - Acts 4:33

                        2.         God was behind the signs - Hebrews 2:4

                        3.         Paul performed miracles - II Corinthians 12:11-12; Romans 15:18-19

            E.        The apostles alone among men were given the right to pass on the gifts of the Spirit - Acts 8:14-18

                        1.         An ability that Paul demonstrated - II Timothy 1:6

            F.        Apostles were ambassadors for Christ

                        1.         An ambassador speaks on behalf of the ruler of the country he represents. He is the voice of the ruler, representing the ruler’s desires and acting with the ruler’s authority on his behalf.

                        2.         The apostles bound and loose according to heaven’s decrees - Matthew 18:18

                        3.         Paul spoke with such authority - I Corinthians 14:37

                        4.         He was among the ambassadors - II Corinthians 5:20

IV.      The Evidence

            A.        False apostles were around even at the beginning - II Corinthians 11:13-15

                        1.         Their deeds will show them to be false

            B.        Paul referred to himself as an apostle born out of due time - I Corinthians 15:8

                        1.         There was a proper time for apostles to come and Paul came later

            C.        He saw himself as the least of the apostles, not in ability but in deserving to be an apostle - I Corinthians 15:9

                        1.         For that matter he saw himself as the least of all Christians - Ephesians 3:7-8

            D.        But he wasn’t an inferior apostle - II Corinthians 11:5-6

                        1.         It just meant he worked harder - I Corinthians 15:10

            E.        The evidence of Paul’s apostleship was shown in his work -II Corinthians 12:11-12; I Corinthians 9:2

            F.        He was recognized by recognized by the other apostles and leaders - Galatians 2:6-10

                        1.         They recognized that the gospel was committed to Paul to be delivered to the Gentiles – something that only Jesus could commit.

                        2.         They recognized the grace given to Paul. They saw the gift given to Paul by God

            G.        Peter said he was an inspired writer - II Peter 3:15-16

V.        Paul’s writings, though comprising half our New Testaments, have caused difficulties for those who wish to bind the Old Law today

            A.        Messianic Jews, and others, try to discount or reject Paul

            B.        Yet, the evidence remains that Paul was an apostle, selected by God and Christ, speaking by inspiration to command on behalf of the King

            C.        Rejecting Paul is to reject Jesus because Paul was Christ’s ambassador.

            D.        I Corinthians 14:37

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