Ephesians 3:8-13 NKJV To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. 13 Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
A2 Past and present life
B1 Before salvation
D1 Studied under Gamaliel
E1 Acts 22:3 NKJV I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers' law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today.
E2 Acts 23:6 NKJV But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, "Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!
E3 Acts 26:5 NKJV They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
D2 Zealous (this is a partial list from Torrey Topical)
E1 Zealous for Law
E2 Zealous for tradition
E3 Outwardly moral
E8 Believed in the resurrection
E9 For the most part hated Jesus
D3 Tent Maker
C2 Accomplice: Acts 7:58-60 NKJV And they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
B2 After salvation
D1 Called by God: Acts 9:15 NRSV But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel.
D2 Commissioned by God: Acts 13:2 NRSV While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.
D3 Gifted by the Holy Spirit: Acts 9:17 NRSV So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.
D4 Witness of the resurrected Son of God, Jesus: Acts 9:4-5 NRSV He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" 5 He asked, "Who are you, Lord?" The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
D5 Signs of an Apostle
E1 Seen the resurrected Jesus
E2 Signs and miracles: 2 Corinthians 12:12 NKJV Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.
E3 Anointed preaching (this is NOT the so-called anointed preaching today which is just a compliment, not reality): 1 Corinthians 9:1-2 NRSV Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? 2 If I am not an apostle to others, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
E4 God’s strength to do this work (by application, we can do what God calls us to): Philippians 4:13 WPNT I can handle anything through Christ who strengthens me.
D1 To Jews: Acts 22:1-5 NKJV Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now." 2 And when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they kept all the more silent. Then he said: 3 "I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers' law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, 5 as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished.
D2 To Gentiles (primarily)
E1 Acts 13:2-4 NKJV As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, "Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. 4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.
E2 Romans 11:13 NKJV For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry.
B1 Mystery: Salvation/redemption
C1 Hidden and need to be revealed: Matthew 11:25-27 NKJV At that time Jesus answered and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. 27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
C2 Hidden from teachers of Israel: John 3:8-10 NKJV The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." 9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, "How can these things be?" 10 Jesus answered and said to him, "Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?
C3 The future blessings for believers: 1 Corinthians 2:6-9 NRSV Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. 7 But we speak God's wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.
C4 Salvation, fellowship, and indwelt by God: Colossians 1:25-27 NKJV Of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, 26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
C5 The suffering Messiah: 1 Peter 1:10-12 NKJV Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.
C6 The finish of the mystery: Revelation 10:7 NKJV But in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.
B2 Purpose: to show the plan which was unknown (and cannot be known) by wisdom or search.
B1 His did
C1 Stephen: Acts 7:58-60 NKJV And they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
C2 Christians: Acts 22:4 GW I persecuted people who followed the way of Christ: I tied up men and women and put them into prison until they were executed.
B2 He received
C1 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 NKJV Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.
C2 As all Christians do: 2 Timothy 3:12 NKJV Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
B1 What God calls us to, He will give the strength and ability to accomplish it. Philippians 4:13 WPNT I can handle anything through Christ who strengthens me.
B2 Boldness to pray: Hebrews 10:19 NKJV Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus.
B3 Comfort and encouragement
C1 Romans 8:35-36 NRSV Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.
C2 John 16:33 NKJV These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.