Paul - No Wonder He Was Wonderful

Bible Book: Galatians  2 : 1-14
Subject: Christian Living; Discipleship; Faithfulness; Servant of Christ

No Christian questions the wonderful contributions that Paul the Apostle made to the Christian faith. His salvation experience amazes believers, especially since he was saved while on his way to destroy Christians and the Christian faith. His letters in the New Testament contain clear understanding of New Testament doctrines. His travels found in the book of Acts reveal the incredible ministry he had as a missionary. His relationships display the manner in which we are to work with one another in the church. Paul was a wonder! His life and ministry were wonderful.

We turn tonight to Galatians 2:1-14 and see something of the ingredients which made him such a phenomenal Christian:

“Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me. 2And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain. 3 Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. 4 And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), 5 to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. 6 But from those who seemed to be something—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man—for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me. 7 But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter 8 (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), 9 and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do. 11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?”

Some people think they are a wonderful when they are not. I heard about a bachelor who was on an airplane. He saw a pretty stewardess and decided to get her attention as she passed by. She said, "Sir, you do not have your seat belt fastened." He replied, "Well, my dear, Superman doesn't need a seat belt." She never hesitated, but responded immediately, "Yes, and the real Superman doesn’t need an airplane - fasten your seat belt!"

Paul sometimes appears to be a superman in the Christian life, but actually he just applied the godly, biblical principles to the situations he faced and he got positive, divine results. Note with me tonight four principles in his life and work which leads us to say, "No Wonder He Was Wonderful".

I. The Wonder of his Partnership

Galatians 4:1

Paul surrounded himself with other servants of God. Jesus taught his disciples to go out two-by-two in order to do spiritual work. Paul knew the value of working with others in a cooperative effort. Church, we need to remember that there are no Lone Rangers in God’s work.

Look at how Paul partnered with Barnabas, Luke, Silas, Timothy, Mark, and others. In fact, in his letters he almost always mentions some leaders and co-workers by name. There are no lone rangers among God's best servants. We must work together, giving opportunity and credit to others along the way. To serve God is to grow and then to help others advance in knowledge and service.

When we look at the life of Jesus, we note that He poured most of His life into twelve men. Working together is God's plan for our lives.

If we are to be used by God, we must learn to share with others in God’s work. This requires humility and cooperation on our part.

Note a second characteristic in Paul’s life…

II. The Wonder of his Presence

Galatians 2: 2-5

Even though some people were spying on him, and the church at Jerusalem had called him to answer for his ministry, Paul did not give up on the church. He was faithful through all kinds of circumstances in his walk with God and in his active work among churches and church members.

When talking to some people about being faithful in church attendance, I’ve had some people to say, “Well, preacher, I used to be active for the Lord in church, but I got my feelings hurt back there about ten years ago, and I decided I wasn’t gonna take that kind of treatment.” Dear me, what a pitiful excuse for failing the Lord. I’ve asked some of those people, “Did anyone hit you with a whip? Did anyone place a crown of thorns on your head? Did anyone spit on you and nail your hands to a cross?” You see, we are called to follow Jesus and He remained faithful through all of that for us. Jesus told us that we would face persecution and that we are to rejoice that we are worthy of such treatment.

Paul did not allow anything that happened to him or anything done to him to keep him from his obedience to God’s service. Paul knew that Jesus died for the Church and he intended to be faithful in the Church no matter what anyone said or did to him.

Paul was present and accounted for in God’s work. He was totally committed to the Lord and willing to do whatever it required to be faithful to the Lord who died for Him. That must be our attitude, if we are to be present and accounted for at all times.

Now, consider a third thing in the wonderful life of Paul…

III. The Wonder of His Perception

Galatians 2:6-10

He did not look on things through human eyes alone, but rather viewed situations in a spiritual manner. He had a spiritual perception that made him an exception in the work of God.

Paul had the ability to see if a circumstance or situation was from God or man. He knew if a matter was demonic or divine.

I remember talking with a lady some years ago and a difference she had with a Christian in the church. She was acting in a very selfish way in the way she viewed the issue and the way she was dealing with it. She went on to tell me that a friend of hers in the church felt just as she did about it. I said, “Well, if your friend was going to jump off of a cliff, would you jump with her, even if she was wrong?” Listen to her answer and ask just how divinely intelligent her answer was. She said, “Yes, she’s my friend and I would jump if she asked me to.” Wow! This poor lady lacked any spiritual discernment regarding her circumstances because she as basing her decisions on a human level.

Christians must look at every episode in life with spiritual, biblical eyes. If we look at our surroundings and situations from a selfish and human viewpoint, we will fail God, fail others and fail ourselves!

Paul looked at the incidents he faced through a spiritual and divine lens. He was able to endure terrible hardships because he wasn’t serving himself but rather was honoring God.

Now, note one more characteristic of this wonderful servant of the Lord…

IV. The Wonder of His Purity

Galatians 2:11-14

Paul did not just believe the right thing, he practiced it as well. He was not merely fundamental in his faith, but was also faithful in his practice. This is critical!

Just believing the right thing does not make one a good, effective Christian. Note what Paul did when Peter gave a cold shoulder to the Gentiles. You recall the incident, I am sure. Peter was very friendly to the Gentiles in Antioch, until some Jewish leaders came to visit him from Jerusalem. When in the presence of the Jews, Peter would hardly speak to the Gentile Christians. Paul was not going to let Peter get away with that kind of behavior. He called Peter down to his face, because Peter was not practicing the gospel of grace and love equally to all believers.

You see, Paul determined that the gospel was not just for the heart and the head but was to be carried out through one’s hands – in practical living.

The purity of Paul’s commitment was clear and transparent. He lived what he claimed, lived what he said he believed.


You and are not called to be faithful, authentic, real Christians. Paul was a wonderful believer and accomplished much for the kingdom because he was that kind of follower of Jesus. I can’t do what Paul did and I’m not called to, but I can live as he did and make the difference God had called me to make in this world. What about you? Do you think each of us can make a greater difference if we were to simply life the wonderful life God has called us to?