1. The four most important things that characterized the man Paul as an apostle of Jesus Christ. (A list with evidence for each one from both Acts and his letters).
1. Paul was a man full of divine commission
After the conversion and commission on the Damascus road (Acts 9:3-6, 15, 16), Paul was a changed man and acted as one who had been personally sent by the Lord and rightly so. Throughout his letters we see that very clearly he acknowledged that he was sent by God (Rom 1:1-6), having received His revelation (Gal. 1:12) and was an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ as he has it in most of his letters Rom. 1:1; 1& 2Cor. 1:1; Gal.1:1; Eph1:1; etc). So his strong compulsion is evident throughout
(Cor.9:16). With this divine commission, Paul having experienced such a great measure of grace and mercy from Christ, sought to do everything possible to channel this grace to others. His great zeal is inspired by the commission from God.
2. His love for the conversion of sinners
His love for the conversion of sinners made him to be willing to do anything possible to bring people to faith. Therefore, he travelled extensively and suffered a great deal for it, but by God’s power brought many to Christ. He preached to the Jews as well as to gentiles with the same urgency. He preached in Palestine as well as Asia and Europe. He was willing to work with his own hands to support his ministry (2Cor 4:12). He was willing to suffer and be nothing for the sake of the elect. This is clearly seen in his commission to Timothy to preach the Word always – in and out of season (2Tim 4:2)
Even in cases where people did not like him, he was still eager to go to them and show them that he did what he did because of his love for them. E.g. the church in Corinth had many misgivings and prejudices against Paul, but kept on pursuing them again and again in order that he might bring them to God unblemished (2Cor 7:7).
3. His life of faith and godliness
Paul lived a godly life and so he could strongly tell people to follow and imitate him as he followed and imitated Christ (2Tim 1:13; 2Thess 3:7, 9). This is his own testimony, “But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God.” (2Cor. 4:2). Paul was a minister who lived a life of faith and trusted on the Lord daily in his walk with the Lord.
4. His physical strength in endurance, patience and steadfastness
Paul endured a lot of hardships to make it where he reached and achieved. Paul greatly labored, and had many imprisonments, with countless beatings, stoned, shipwrecked, and often near death because he was in danger from rivers, robbers, his own people, Gentiles, in the city, in the wilderness, at sea, from false brothers. He was always in toil and hardship, sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, in cold and exposure (2Cor. 11:23-28). As a result, the lord greatly blessed his ministry.
This is presents us with the following applicatory questions:
- Are you a Christian with a divine mandate to spread through all the earth the honors of our God and King like Apostle Paul?
- Who have you impacted with the gospel of the grace of God in Christ?
- Do you live in such a manner that will attract men and women to Christ?
- Is your faith obvious and conspicuous to others?
- What have you endured for the sake of Christ?
Most of the preachers today are so full of themselves that in the end they preach themselves instead of preaching Christ. There are those who are making endless financial demands to their hearers. Others are deceiving and conning their hearers by making all sorts of promises including healing, financial prosperity etc. Others demand "holiness" from their hearers, which is simply demanding that their hearers conform to their whims. Please look at the Lord Jesus Christ. Consider His Apostles and the life that they lived... Make it you ambition to consider the older generation of Christians and see whether you are in the same path.