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Tim Hornibrook: Categorical Statements of St Paul

by timhornibrook on 2/7/2018 6:34:08 AM | Views: 51

Paul's calling was to teach and preach Jesus Christ

Paul's calling was to teach and preach Jesus Christ. Paul affirms, "Jesus Christ abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles" (2 Tim 1:10). Paul's categorical statements reflects the manner of life he lived. The three categorical statements of St. Paul include:

1. I have fought the good fight

There were many oppositions in his ministry. He was driven out of some synagogues after he shared the love of Jesus Christ. Some times he was stoned. At other times he was dragged and beaten. He was in the deep night and day. He was let down through the basket. In his letter to Timothy, "I have endured persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra - what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me" (2 Tim 3:11). People who helped him also left him. For example, in 2 Tim 2:10, it says, "Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica - Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia". Individuals also opposed him such as Alexander the Coppersmith, of whom Paul says, "Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. The Lord also delivered me out of the mouth of the lion". Through it all, Paul persisted in preaching the gospel of salvation in Jesus' name.

2. I have finished the race

Paul reminds us that we are in a race. An Athlete disciplines himself to run the race. In his letter to Timothy, Paul says, "If anyone competes in Athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules" (2 Tim 1:5). In order to complete our race and receive the crown, we must be disciplined and also keep the rules (the commandments of God).St Paul says, "There is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Tim 4:8)
3. I have kept the faith

Paul never wavered from faith. In every opposition he grew stronger in faith. He commended Timothy to keep the faith and endure afflictions by saying, "you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry"(2 Tim 4:5). He wants us to stir up the gift of God which is in us. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind. We must continue in our faith and bring others to faith. Paul encourages Timothy by saying, "Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you" (1 Tim 4:16).

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