Prisoner of Christ

27 Mar
Prisoner of Christ

We’re now starting chapter 3 in the letter to the Ephesians. Here Paul talks a little about his ministry to the Gentile people.

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles…

Ephesians 3:1 NIV

This is an interesting way for Paul to refer to himself. Not an apostle or an elder, but a prisoner of Christ. Why would he use this terminology? What causes someone to view themselves this way?

There was a reason that he considered himself a prisoner of Christ. Prisoners of Christ have a purpose. It was for the sake of the Gentiles. That’s what we need to know.

The word, prisoner, means to be bound or captive by someone. In this case, he’s a captive of Christ Jesus.

That’s why Paul is a prisoner. It wasn’t by his will, but the will of the Lord. If it were up to Paul – the Pharisee – he would go to the Jews. Many times, Paul had an argument with the Lord over this issue. Listen to his own testimony.

When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw the Lord speaking. ‘Quick!’ he said to me. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’”

Acts 22:17-18 NIV

What was Paul’s response?

“‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these men know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’”

Acts 22:19-20 NIV

Really? Did he just tell Jesus that He was wrong? That’s how we get sometimes when we’re too focused on what we think we should be doing for God. We need to listen to what the Spirit speaks to us.

“Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'”

Acts 22:21 NIV

Sometimes my will and God’s won’t line up. That’s when I have to remember I chose to be His prisoner. I need to bow my knee to His desire for my life, even when it’s not convenient.

This is how Paul viewed himself. He saw no life other than the calling of God. We need to walk in that same view. We’re captive to the plan of God for our lives.

Paul continued with this theme later on in his letter.

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

Ephesians 4:1 NIV

As a prisoner of Christ, he urged others to live worthy of their calling. He’s urging us, right now, to live a life worthy – deserving – of our high calling in Christ.

Yes, I know we’re made worthy of entering the Lord’s presence. We’re also worthy of eternal life in Christ. That’s not what he’s talking about here.

According to this verse, you’ve received a calling. Now you have to live a life deserving of it.

Think about it in the natural. You might be a great surgeon. You spent years of study and internship. Now, do you get drunk all night, and in the morning operate with a hangover? Absolutely not!

You have a calling. But do you see yourself as a prisoner of Christ? Paul could have said, “I don’t care about the Gentiles. I’ll preach the Gospel to who I want to reach.” But instead, he surrendered himself to Christ.

Some Christians have treated their calling like dirt. All for the sake of money, difficulty, or because they were treated badly. Paul had all of these issues, but he lived worthy of his calling.

There’s a great work to do for Christ. Don’t let the distractions of the world sidetrack you. It’s time to commit all to Christ. Like the song says, “I have decided to follow Jesus – no turning back.” Take on the attitude of a prisoner of Christ.

Question: What does being a prisoner of Christ look like in your life?

© 2023 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on March 27, 2023 in Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk


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