Overview--1 | Overview--2 | Early Paul--3 | Mature Paul--4
The Missionary Heart of the Apostle Paul: Mature Paul--4
compiled by Bob Young
Note: The lessons in this series were originally developed for presentation at Seminario Baxter (written in English to be presented in Spanish). The lessons treat the life of Paul with an introductory overview, a survey of the early life of Paul, and conclusions drawn from the later, more spiritually mature Paul.
Because of the context for which the lessons were prepared, the focus is on evangelistic and missionary endeavors. Paul's letters served as a primary source of information, coupled with background knowledge of early Christianity, and selected missions resources.
Paul, Apostle of the Heart Set Free, by F. F. Bruce, was used as a primary resource in determining the outline of the series and much of the content.
Paul, the Mature Christian
What is the essential character and thinking of the Apostle Paul? How can we adequately expose the thought and teaching of Paul? This section focuses on two of his epistles, both relatively late. Ephesians, included among the Prison Epistles is variously dated, but certainly is near the 7th decade A.D. (the 60's), regardless of the site of the imprisonment. The second letter to Timothy is generally regarded as Paul's last letter.
When life is near the end, one generally finds maturity, growth, and development. In the texts before us are some of the great Christological and ecclesiological passages of the New Testament.
Salvation, experienced by both Jews and Gentiles, comes to those formerly dead, through the lavish love of Christ, changing our nature, changing our relationship with God, changing our purpose, changing our relationship with one another. All of this is by grace through faith, God working within us so we are his workmanship and we are ourselves doers of good works.
AT THE END OF ONE'S LIFE, ONE SHOULD BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND WHAT REALLY MATTERS
I. The GLORY of God
Christ's work is to bring us to glory without spot or blemish (Eph. 5:26). He is the savior of the body. Here is no cheap salvation but a salvation so broad in its scope that any narrow treatment misses it entirely.
II. HEAVEN--Sharing the Glory
In Ephesians is the heavenly ascent, and the multiple references to the heavenlies, Eph. 4:7ff
III. HOLY SPIRIT--The power of the Glory
The Holy Spirit is the seal, the promise, the earnest, the source of our unity, and the foundation of our togetherness in the body. This Spirit makes unity possible (Eph. 2:19-22).
IV. Seeking RECONCILIATION and UNITY
The broken wall.
The one new building in which the Spirit dwells.
The divine mystery (Ephesians 3) is togetherness as God is at work in his church to accomplish his eternal purpose.
V. Experiencing NEWNESS
The new life, the new man, full grown (Eph. 4:11ff); with Christlikeness (4:17ff), living in love, light, and wisdom (5:1-15).
VI. Understanding SUFFERING
Life's ebb and flow brings one from darkness to light.
Finally Paul came to Rome, likely the place from whence the prison epistles were written. Then if tradition can be believed, he was released and perhaps went to Spain. He likely came again to Rome in the late seventh decade under Roman condemnation.
We can confidently accept that Paul's life was brought to an end in Rome by Roman execution.
General agreement places as his last writing that labeled 2 Timothy.
Here is the mature Paul.
Last updated November 3, 2011