Your Past, Present, and Future
The apostle Paul was called by God to bring the gospel to his generation. He had perhaps the most unexpected conversion in human history, as he previously had set himself to effectively destroy the Christian faith. But when Paul, known then as Saul of Tarsus, met the living Jesus, that all changed.
Among other things, this is what Jesus said to him:
“Now stand up! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and my witness. You are to tell the world about this experience and about other times I will appear to you. And I will protect you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am going to send you to the Gentiles” (Acts 26:16-17 NLT).
Christ’s commission of Paul took the form of three words. . .
- Paul’s Past. Verse 16 says, “I have appeared to you.” In other words, Paul had seen with his own eyes the risen Christ.
- Paul’s Present. Verse 17 says, “I will protect you.” Nothing would stop Paul from completing his life and ministry. He would not be silenced until his God-appointed work was done. That did not mean it would be easy, for Jesus also told him he would “suffer.” But he would finish his work or, as Paul said earlier, “finish his race with joy.”
- Paul’s Future. Jesus tells Paul in verse 17, “Yes, I am going to send you to the Gentiles,” or more literally, “I Myself apostle you.” Jesus was personally commissioning Paul to do this.
In the same way, we too have our past, present, and future.
1. Our Past: Jesus has “appeared” to us.
No, not in the same way as He did for Paul, but He has made Himself known to us. There is even a special blessing for the person who has not “seen Him” in John 20:29: “Then Jesus told him, ‘You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who haven’t seen me and believe anyway.’”
2. Our Present: Jesus will rescue us.
We will finish the life God has given us to live and the task He wants us to complete. In Isaiah 54, we read that “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper” (NKJV). Psalm 91 has even more promises of protection for the believer.
3. Our Future: Jesus is calling us.
We all have a calling to fulfill, a task to complete, a race to run. We all have been called to live godly lives that glorify Him. We have all been called to “preach the gospel.” We have been commissioned by Jesus Himself to “Go therefore into all the world . . .”
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