5. He was not vain-glorious, nor dictatorial, nor oppressive. Some men care nothing for money, but they care mightily for power and place and the glory that men give. But Paul was free from this spiritual itching. Listen to him: “Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome” (or “used authority”) “as the Apostles of Christ.”
Said Solomon, “For men to seek their own glory is not glory,” it is only vain-glory. “How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” asked Jesus.
From all this Paul was free, and so is every man who is full of the Holy Ghost. And it is only as we are thus free that with the whole heart and with a single eye we can devote ourselves to the work of saving men.
6. With all his boldness and faithfulness he was gentle. “We were gentle among you,” he says, “as a nurse cherisheth her children.”
The fierce hurricane which casts down the giant trees of the forest is not so mighty as the gentle sunshine, which, from tiny seeds and acorns, lifts aloft the towering spires of oak and fir on a thousand hills and mountains.
The wild storm that lashes the sea into foam and fury is feeble compared to the gentle, yet immeasurably powerful influence, which twice a day swings the oceans in resistless tides from shore to shore.
And as in the physical world the mighty powers are gentle in their vast workings, so it is in the spiritual world. The light that falls on the lids of the sleeping infant and wakes it from its slumber, is not more gentle than the “still small voice” that brings assurance of forgiveness or cleansing to them that look unto Jesus.
Oh, the gentleness of God! “Thy gentleness hath made me great,” said David. “I beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ” (2 Cor. x. 1), wrote Paul. And again, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness” (Gal. v. 22). And as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are gentle, so will be the servant of the Lord who is filled with the Spirit.
I shall never forget the gentleness of a mighty man of God whom I well knew, who on the platform was clothed with zeal as with a garment, and in his overwhelming earnestness was like a lion or a consuming fire; but when dealing with a wounded or broken heart, or with a seeking soul, no nurse with a little babe could be more tender than he.
7. Finally, Paul was full of self-forgetful, self-sacrificing love. “So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the Gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.”
No wonder he shook those heathen cities, overthrew their idols, had great revivals, that his jailer was converted, and that his converts would have gladly plucked out their eyes for him! Such tender, self-sacrificing love compels attention, begets confidence, enkindles love, and surely wins its object.
This burning love led him to labour and sacrifice, and so live and walk before them that he was not only a teacher, but an example of all he taught, and could safely say, “Follow me.”
This love led him to preach the whole truth, that he might by all means save them. He kept back no truth because it was unpopular, for it was their salvation and not his own reputation and popularity he sought.
He preached not himself, but a crucified Christ, without the shedding of whose blood there is no remission of sins; and through that precious blood he preached present cleansing from all sin, and the gift of the Holy Spirit for all who obediently believe.
And this love kept him faithful and humble and true to the end, so that at last in sight of the martyr’s death, he saw the martyr’s crown, and cried out: “I am now ready to be offered,... I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day.”
He had been faithful, and now at the end he was oppressed with no doubts and harassed with no bitter regrets, but looked forward with eager joy to meeting his Lord and beholding the blessed face of Him he loved. Hallelujah!
“Have you received the Holy Ghost?
’Twill fit you for the fight,
’Twill make of you a mighty host,
To put your foes to flight.
“Have you received the Holy Power?
’Twill fall from Heaven on you,
From Jesus’ throne this very hour,
’Twill make you brave and true.
“Oh, now receive the Holy Fire!
’Twill burn away all dross,
All earthly, selfish, vain desire,
’Twill make you love the Cross.”
Characteristics of the Anointed Preacher (Pt. 4)
These past few days I've been sharing parts of Samuel Logan Brengle's chapter on the Apostle Paul as a preacher in his book, When the Holy Ghost is Come, with the readers of the Desperate Pastor blog. Here's the final part, in which he says, speaking of Paul: