September 01, 2023

“For this reason, I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles – assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you.” Ephesians 3:1-2 

The way Paul talks about himself while in prison is fascinating and revealing. 

Paul was a prisoner as he wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus. He’s in a Roman prison cell because he was arrested for preaching the gospel and proclaiming the good news about Jesus Christ. Note how he speaks of himself. He does not say, “I am a prisoner of Caesar.” Nor does he say, “I am a prisoner of Rome.” And not even, “If I ever get out of here, I will return to living the mission.”  

Paul says, “I am a prisoner for Christ Jesus.” 

He is the reason I am in this cell. This prison cell was not part of my plan to advance the mission. But if this is where I am, then this is where I am supposed to point to Jesus at this moment. (My paraphrase.) 

Paul’s life was submitted and surrendered to Christ. Can you, with Paul, say, “Wherever Christ takes me, wherever he places me, I will live for His glory”

Do you affirm 2 Corinthians 5:17? “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 

Can you agree with Philippians 1:21-22? “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me…” 

Paul did not view his circumstances as something that was preventing him from living the mission. He viewed his circumstances as part of the mission. His life was being lived for Jesus Christ, no matter where he was or what he went through. 

No matter where we find ourselves, let’s leverage our lives for the mission. As believers, we are new creations. We have been given new life in Christ and for His glory. 

No matter what we walk through, let’s make the goal of our lives fruitful labor in the Lord. If, like Paul is saying, our lives have been completely changed, then our new lives are blank checks for Christ to use however he sees fit (Or for those who don’t know about writing checks – our lives are unlimited Venmo accounts to be used for His glory!) 

Bottom line: We have been given what we need for the sake of the mission. 

So, we seek to bring God glory and point to the Gospel with everything we have and everywhere we go. 

Taken from a sermon by George Wright, Senior Pastor, Shades Mountain Baptist Church, Birmingham, AL