"… I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power…."
Key point: We are to be bold for Christ, not to our conceit. It is imperative that we live what we preach; being a hypocrite is a disgusting obsession in the face of our loving and gracious Lord as well as our witness!
As ministers and church leaders we are first and foremost called to be servants of the Gospel by knowing who we are in Christ, His gift of magnificent grace, and His empowerment. We work in our faith by His power; yet, we do so in humility and with the knowledge that Jesus rescued us, we who are undeserving of it. Why? To know Him wholeheartedly, and to model and present this to our church. To make Him known to those around us with passion and purpose. Paul realized all of this; he even suffered for this, and he held a very humble view of his leadership and role in Christ and in the Church. His example, we must follow.
What we exemplify and teach is we can carry the knowledge of Christ to others! We can share who Jesus is and what He accomplished on our behalf. Now, we have a deep, meaningful relationship with God, and we can even approach Him directly without the mediation of sacrifice or priesthood. We have an empowered faith that is real. We can have confidence and never be discouraged in our relationship with God (and others) all for God's glory!
What we exemplify and teach is we as leaders and Christians are a servant of the gospel! This is a call to serve as a worker for Christ. With all Paul's accomplishments and positions, he calls himself a "servant" to Christ, at His disposal. This gives us a picture of his total surrender and complete devotion. Paul is a disciple of the Lord with a will that has been sacrificed to God's Will and is totally at the disposal of our Lord! Paul's motivation was not just his passion and character, but his realization of the debt he owed Christ and his response of overwhelming gratitude. This should be our central purpose in our relationship to Christ. If we focus only upon ourselves, we will fail badly (Acts 9:1; 1 Cor. 15:9; Rom. 1:1; 9:3; 11:13-14; Gal. 1:15; 2:20; Eph. 3:1-8; Philp. 1:1; 3:4-14; Col. 4:18; 1 Tim. 3:8-12; 2 Tim. 1:15-16)!
What we exemplify and teach is God's favor! This is how God gives us unmerited favor, which is our duty to convey. This is about The Person and Work of Christ, His life, death and resurrection, how He delivered us out of sin and into our new life with salvation that we did not earn or deserve. It is by His life and sacrifice that we have deliverance, forgiveness, preservation, the Kingdom and abundance of life here and forevermore. All of this that we do not merit, earn or deserve (John 1:17; Rom. 3:22-24; 10:9-10; 11:6; 2 Cor. 5:21; Eph. 1:7; 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7; Heb. 2:3; 4:6).
What we exemplify and teach is that "God delivers!" As to proclaim salvation is from, and only from, God, Christ as Lord. The person and Work of Christ, delivered us out of sin and into new life. It is by His life and sacrifice that we have the Kingdom and abundance of life here and forevermore. To proclaim Christ, we have to receive His work; we have to believe Who Christ is and what He did for us. Now we, as His servants, can preach this Good News and Hope, heralding to all, just as Paul did. Paul was a missionary to the Gentiles. He was a prayer warrior and servant for the Lord. He was passionate and concerned for others. His realization of what Christ did for him drove him to the ends of the world in Christ's service (Col. 1:19-23; Heb. 2:3; 4:1-11).
If we just live our lives with the attitude of how things affect "me" rather than "others," we are living with the devil and or with pride, and not with God! Instead, we are to live for Christ, by faith and our faithfulness. Our faith will produce real authenticity; this comes from believing that God will do what He says and looking to Him, not our circumstances, fears or desires. It is about control--if it will be God or me. It is trusting in His tug on my soul and not mine or the world's, so I can make the best righteous decisions. It is like a switch that turns God's power and Holy Spirit into us. Faith is the key to removing hypocrisy from our church because it focuses us on Christ, whereas insincerity and pretense focus us on our personal, sinful agendas.
© 2016 R.J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/