Dream word – EMBRACE
1 Corinthians 15:9-11
“For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.” NKJV
“Eimi Ho Eimie” - the resolute declaration of self
We know from his writings that the apostle Paul, one born out of due time, a late birth delivery if you will, was almost always having to defend his destiny, his calling, his apostleship. Our text for tonight is the summary of one of those several defences he gave in his writings and the capstone of that summary, was that most marvellous statement,
xa/riti de\ qeou= ei)mi o% ei)mi,
“By the grace of God,” says Paul, “Eimi Ho Eimie – I am what I am.”
I have on the whole heard this statement used in but one way by Christians and that has always been in terms of “resignation!” “Oh yes,” we whimper, “by the grace of God, I’m just a humble servant of the Lord, just a door keeper in the house of my God. Do you want sugar in your coffee?” The apostle Paul however, uses this term in sharp and pointed crashing wave-breaking resolution. “By the grace of God I am an apostle, so get out my way pumpkin, I’m a comin’ thru!”
There is, as always, a world of difference in the fruit of these two words resignation and resolution. If I might examine the roots of both of them in our hearts, I would say that resignation is rooted essentially in abandoned and dog beaten depression, whilst resolution is rooted in revealed and pursued, focused determination.
By the grace of God, Paul here is most resolutely declaring who he is by the grace of God, “Like it or not,” he says, “and many of you don’t, I am an apostle of Jesus Christ the Lord!” Paul knew his calling. Paul knew both his commission and his destiny. Believing it and despite a multitude of overwhelming obstacles, he pursued the same with his whole being, his whole heart and his whole body soul and spirit. “Those other apostles, those you consider the more authentic ones, the real ones, well listen mateys all,” says the great apostle Paul, “I laboured more abundantly, more abundantly than them all!”
Let me ask you tonight? “By the grace of God who are you?” If you don’t know dear friend, then you had better find out and once you do, well every day, you too need to hone the point of your calling, your commission and your destiny, with the sharp and pointed resolution to the apostle Paul.
Listen: “Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.” - Luke 9:51-54 NKJV
Pray: Lord of the church, Jesus Christ my Saviour, please come and show me Your calling and commission for my life. Glimpse to me my destiny and then pour in to me, the strongest spirit of resolution, in Your great name I pray, amen.
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