Paul’s Steadfastness 1 Cor. 15:58 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Paul could not be stopped in his work for the Lord. He was steadfast and abounded in the work of the Lord, as 1 Cor 15:58 says. Once he got going for Jesus, he didn’t quit. Rather, he approached his work with determined zeal. Certainly, we know that the grace of God strengthened him. But why was he so steadfast? Paul was steadfast because he:
Was given a personal course to run – Acts 20:24; 9:15 – God had committed the preaching of the gospel of the grace of God to Paul and, thus, he had a course to finish. You don’t run to quit; you run to finish. And in Paul’s case, he also ran to win. And he finished his course [2 Tim 4:7].
Owed a personal debt to the Lord – 1 Tim 1:12-16 – Paul had been a blasphemer and God saved him. He obtained mercy as an example to others. He owed his life to the Lord. He believed telling others what the Lord had done for him was a debt he owed the Lord.
Felt a personal responsibility for others – Acts 20:25-27 – see also Acts 18:6. Paul believed that the blood of those to whom he was sent was on him until he told them the whole truth about Jesus Christ. He would have blamed himself if they had died without Christ because he hadn’t preached the gospel to them. I believe that he accepted the same burden that God put upon Ezekiel in Ezek 3:17-19. Russell Deibler felt this same responsibility for the Kapakau tribe in the Wissel Lakes region of Irian Jaya, Indonesia. He had flown over this area and spotted the tribe. He nearly died hacking his way through underbrush along the river to reach them. Yet, he never gave up. He reached them and, in time, established a mission station for them.
Had a personal desire to reach the lost – Rom 10:1; 9:1-3 – Paul did everything and would have done anything to save his own people. That was his desire. He wanted their salvation more than he wanted his own life. Jim Elliot was like this.
From his childhood in Portland, Oregon, Jim Elliott desired to be a missionary. His desire was to tell others who did not know Jesus how to be saved. In February, 1952, he moved to Quito, Ecuador, with Pete Fleming, another missionary. After learning Spanish in Quito, they moved to a Quichua Indian village to replace a missionary. Three years later, many Quichuas had been saved and so they decided to reach the Auca Indians, now known as the Waodani. This was very dangerous since the Aucas had killed all outsiders caught in their area. Missionary pilot, Nate Saint, flew over the Aucas for months, dropping supplies to them in a bucket and speaking friendly Auca phrases to them using a microphone and an amplifier. After the Aucas returned a gift to them, they felt it was time to land in the territory to meet them. Five men, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, Nate Saint, Pete Fleming and Jim Elliott, landed on a beach in the territory. After four days an Auca man and two women came to meet them. They shared a meal together and Nate even took the man up in the plane. Two days later, Auca warriors appeared with spears and killed all five men. However, in less than two years, Elisabeth Elliott, her daughter Valerie, and Rachel Saint, Nate’s sister, moved to the Auca village. Today, many Aucas have become Christians and they are now a friendly tribe. Jim Elliott fulfilled his desire.
Made a personal commitment of his life – Phil 1:20-21 – “as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Paul committed his life to the Lord and to the Lord’s work. It didn’t make a bit of difference to him whether he died working for the Lord or not. He was all in. Missionary Perry Demopoulos said that when you make a commitment, you are certain to encounter adversity. There is an unseen adversary who will do whatever it takes to stop you. If you are sincerely committed, he won’t be able to stop you. If you aren’t, you will quit.
Conclusion: You should consider y0ur own steadfastness. The Lord has a course for you to run and you will run it well if your indebtedness to Christ, your responsibility for others, your desire to reach the lost, and your commitment are personal. If you find that you are weak in any of these areas, ask the Lord to strengthen you so that you can finish your course with joy.