The apostle Paul always seems like a hoary headed preacher when I read the Bible. Especially as he writes to Timothy, Titus, and the churches, I believe Paul is beginning to feel the years that he has spent on the mission field. After ten years of missionary work, the apostle Paul had planted at least ten churches throughout his corner of the world. That is a lot of walking, a long time to be spent sailing, or even a lot of riding depending on how Paul accomplished this.
One would think that this must have been done out of some special communication with God, but although I believe Paul had a special relationship with God he said of himself that he was “chief of sinners.” Maybe Paul had a certain power that normal man cannot have? No, Paul was allowed some miraculous experiences, but his accomplishments were not from some unique power to him. Paul states very plainly what I believe to be the secret, the mystery, or the key to his success in his first line of a letter to young Timothy. 1 Timothy 1:1 “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;”
What made Paul an apostle? What changed his name? What gave him power? From where did he derive his relationship with God? It comes down to Paul’s obedience to the commandment of God. Christianity has become so politicized, organized, and even demonized in the United States today, but when we go “back to better” a reset button should be hit in the heart of every Christian person. Christianity is not in the beautiful clothing that can be worn. Christianity is not in how good our prayers sound when asked to pray. It is not in the piano playing, the singing, how funny we can be, how good we can look, or how many people like us. Christianity is by the commandment.
1. All you know about God comes from the commandment (The B-I-B-L-E)
2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Modern day Christianity is moving away from the Word, but if we want to please God we must go to the Word. The Word tells us everything we know about God, Christ, and everything we should know about what He wants.
2. The sincerity of our relationship with Christ rests in the commandments
John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” We are not in the dark about what Christ wants from us. We know exactly what to do to please Him, and to show Him our love. Follow what the Bible says, and we are demonstrating our love for Christ.
3. The greatest commandments are about love (and anyone can do that)
Matthew 22:36-40 “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. All the law hangs on love. God so loved us He gave His only begotten Son. Reading this may give the feeling that so many doors need to be knocked, or so much strength is needed, but in reality “the commandment” is about a personal relationship with God through the Bible and prayer. Paul had a thorn in the flesh. He considered himself weak because of it! No matter what strength, no matter what ability, and no matter what heritage, if we work on our relationship with God through the Bible we can be like Paul.
Paul had a great heritage as a Jew, but he counted them loss for Christ. Paul was intelligent, spiritual, and zealous, but these were counted dung for the excellency of Christ. What made him an apostle? By the commandment. What planted those ten churches? By the commandment. How can we be “successful” or please God in our own lives? Just follow the commandments of God, and one day we can write our own epistles.
Pastor Jesse McCammon
Calvary Baptist Church | Flora, IL