From the man who authored most of the New Testament, we learn many lessons of the Christian life. Paul seemed an unlikely candidate to spread the gospel, but God is in the business of taking the unqualified, unwanted, and unlikely and using them in big ways for His glory.
1. Embrace the calling on your life.
God had a specific calling in mind for Paul when he appeared on the road to Damascus. Acts 9:15 says, “But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel.’”
Paul, previously known as Saul, was a persecutor of anyone following The Way of Jesus of Nazareth. But God had a plan for Paul to be a proclaimer of that Way. God even used Paul’s persecution of believers to spread the church (Acts 8:3-4). Instead of hanging his head in defeat because of his past, Paul immediately picked up the gauntlet to become a warrior of Christ.
Jesus doesn’t look at your past and see you as unfit to share the gospel. He looks at your past and sees it as a tool to show how the gospel can change a life. Walk forward in confidence knowing that He who called you is faithful and will accomplish His purpose for you (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
2. Preach the gospel to everyone.
Paul never discriminated by race, region, or even understanding. The church consistently needed to be challenged and reminded of the things that were true. Jews who had been raised according to the Old Testament Law needed to know that Jesus had come to break the Law and be the fulfillment. The Gentiles needed to know that there was One God who was the answer to all their unknown questions and lack of satisfaction (Acts 17). Paul unashamedly shared the gospel with everyone and saw every opportunity as a moment to tell of Jesus.
Just like Paul, you can unashamedly share the gospel with those around you. Remind believers of the goodness of God and His plan for their lives. Boldly share the gospel with your neighbors, coworkers, family, and friends who do not know Christ. If a man who once murdered believers can be one of the most vocal followers of the faith, you can walk into every situation without fear knowing the Lord goes with you.
3. Make disciples who can carry on the gospel.
Paul spread the gospel through discipleship. He knew the Christian life isn’t lived alone. Everywhere he went, he took people with him or met with other believers upon arrival to grow the gospel message. He had a very specific pattern of disciplining others as seen in Acts 14. Paul preached the gospel, made disciples, spent time strengthening and encouraging them in the faith, acknowledged that trouble would come, appointed elders to help the local church lead wisely, was in turn encouraged by them, prayed for them with fasting, commended them to the Lord, and then moved on to the next assignment. Everywhere he went, Paul was leaving a legacy in the form of other believers!
You too are leaving a legacy. Your job as a believer is not only to share the gospel but also to help spur other believers on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). Invite them to church, share what you are hearing in God’s Word, encourage them where they are doing well, speak truth where they can grow. By discipling other believers, you are carrying on the gospel.
Paul was a murderer of Christ-followers, yet God made him one of the chief proclaimers of the Good News. God wants to use you right where you are to further His kingdom and transform the world with God’s Word…one life at a time. You were created for a purpose. You are called to live with a mission.