Now Paul wrote to only seven churches. Now that’s not because there weren’t more than seven churches. Just as John the apostle, recorded Christ’s words to seven churches, Paul the apostle recorded Christ’s word to seven churches and that is because the seven signify the whole. In God’s economy, seven is always the number of totality, of completions. Seven days in a week and the idea of the seven-fold Spirit of God and the seven-fold grace of God and all that is attached to that, but the book of Philippians starts out with Paul and Paul was a monumental man.
In fact, Paul the apostle has more to do with you and me being Christians tonight than anyone else other than Jesus Christ. Paul is the one that God used for the entire western churches. We know to come into existence. It’s the apostle Paul that headed toward what we call the western church, the rest of them headed east, and they went into work with the Elamites, and the Parthians and they worked with all the Jewish people and everything else, but Paul alone trudged out and perhaps after a while Peter came that way too, but Paul is the one we look to and his life is monumental, and what we’ve seen a few weeks ago is that Paul had an in-deflectable loyalty to Christ.
Here’s the verse I gave you, Acts 20 and verse 24. He said this, “None of these things…” that’s all the sufferings he went through, “Move me nor do I count my life dear to myself so that I may finish my race with joy.” Here is the key. How do you finish the race with joy? How do you not end up like a shipwreck, out on the shores? I remember one time our family was invited to go out to Cape Hatteras and what a difficult place to navigate a ship around, Cape Hatteras, you know the whole outer banks’ area of North Carolina and we went out there and stayed on this cabin that…well it wasn’t a cabin, it was a monster house. Right on the water and that house have been specially constructed had gone through hurricane after hurricane, after hurricane, and when the hurricanes would come through what do you’d find out on those outer bank sandbars are pieces of the shipwrecks, of the boats that strayed too close in, over the centuries.
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