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Wednesday, September 6th | Paul's Struggles

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah
The Truth Network Radio
September 6, 2023 5:00 pm

Wednesday, September 6th | Paul's Struggles

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah

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September 6, 2023 5:00 pm

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Welcome back, everyone. Today is Wednesday, September the 6th. I'm Ryan Hill.

I'm John Galantis. You're listening to Clearview Today with Dr. Abbadon Shah, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can visit us online at Or if you have any questions for Dr. Shah or suggestions for new topics, send us a text to 252-582-5028, or you can email us at contact at

That's right. You can help us keep the conversation going by supporting the show. You can share it online with your friends and family. Leave us a good review on iTunes or Spotify.

Nothing less than five stars. We're going to leave a link in the description so you can do just that. The verse of the day today comes from John, chapter 6, verse 29. Jesus answered and said to them, This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he sent. The work of God. This is what God does. And this is the work of God in us, that you believe in him who he sent.

And that's one of the most commonly asked questions that people ask is like, What do you do? People want to know what you do because that's how we define each other. But God defines us by his grace, his grace towards us, what he did for us. That's how God defines us. And so it takes a lot of pressure off.

At least for me, it does. Yeah. Well, Jesus here is saying, you know, that his nature, his status as a son of God is evidenced by the work that he's doing.

That's right. You're known by your known. Your affiliation is known by the work that you do. Essentially, this is like a family resemblance. Like Jesus is saying, Look at me, I'm doing the work of my father. I mean, that means I'm his son without in not so many words.

That means I'm his son. I want my kids to bear a resemblance to me and my wife. I want, you know, the things that they do to reflect well on us. And here Jesus is saying that he is reflecting the will of his father. And by extension, you know, if we are going to be little Christ, if we're going to be Christians, we ought to reflect the will of our Heavenly Father as well. That's right.

That's right. I've been talking about that a little bit in our evangelism class. I'm actually taking evangelism in nature.

Yeah. I was going to ask you, you start in a new semester. How's everything going? How are classes? I'm going well. Last week I took, I mean, last week, last semester I took minor prophets and I took, oh, what did I take?

Oh, minor prophets and something else. School is going bad, David. I'm sorry? Something you want to share? I'm going to try to power through.

No. You're taking evangelism in nature. I'm also taking evangelism in nature.

Both classes are actually pretty fun. Right. You're turning over a new leaf. Of sorts. Of jorts.

Of jorts. Of course. I'm actually, yeah, so.

Of lorts. My schooling has been, whoa. Yeah. Yeah. I know that there's been some struggles. It's been troublesome. Sure. But we're turning over a new leaf.

We're doing well this semester. Do you want to go into why it's been troublesome or just leave the audience kind of wondering? No, I'll go into it. Okay.

Yeah, go, go. Okay. So my school has been troublesome because you know how when you're taking classes, you're supposed to log on and do work? I wasn't doing that.

Yeah, that's going to make- Wait a minute. That's the one thing you're supposed to do. Right. If you take the class, you're supposed to do the work for the class. So you signed up for the class, paid money for the class, and then- And you were like- And then it was like, all right, here's your assignments. And you were like, no? Yeah.

I was just like, I'm good. I won't log on and do my work. What did you- Any reason for that? Yeah.

What was the reason for that? You know, just- No, I don't. No, thank you. Crazy, crazy stuff. It's like you just don't want to answer the question like, ah, shoot. GBA. One of those things, man.

One of those things. What are you going to do? Anyways, my schooling woes aside, this semester I've decided to turn over a new leaf. Good for you, man. I'm proud of you. I'm proud of you.

That's awesome. I've already done week one of, you know, my classes. Okay. I'm in theology and that was pretty good. And then I'm taking evangelism. So, you know, I'm making progress. Nice.

I'm going to actually do my schoolwork this year. When do you do it? When do I do it? When do you do it?

That's right. Huh? When do you do the work? Like, what is your- I'm not. What is your set aside time of day or week to do the work is all? I don't know. You just do it when you feel like it?

I just, you know, log on once or twice every year. Huh? Okay. So let me ask the pertinent question. Have you done the work this semester? So far? Yes.

See- Your pause gives me pause. Here's my thing is like, I don't ever feel like doing schoolwork. I'm never in the mood to be like, let me just do some schoolwork. So I just am like, okay, on every Monday I'm going to devote the day to it. Yeah. And then Tuesday morning when we get up to do our prayer thing here at Clearview, I go home and I mop up anything I didn't get on Monday. So it's like- It's a good plan.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So you devote the whole day, but then you don't want to devote your only day off to that. So you leave a little bit for Tuesday morning. Do you have a plan such as that? Do you have fear in your eyes? There's panic there. A plan? David said, I'm drowning. There's a lot of you guys, I don't know how many of you are watching the video version, but there is- Fear.

There's pain there. Like you're- My plan is- It hates that you don't- Have a terror. Have a plan for your schoolwork. My plan is to just do schoolwork as I feel like it. No, I'm kidding.

I think you're taking the same leaf and turning it over. I'm kidding. Until it crumbles into us. I have set aside, I set aside time- Trust you. On Mondays.

I trust you. And then there's also time when, like in the mornings when I get here early, I do some work. What's it feel like having a master's degree and not having to worry about that no more?

I was going to talk about that for a second. I'm far removed from the homework world of my own work. I have not been in school. I graduated with my master's in 2015.

So it's been, it's been a minute since I've done homework assignments. So number one, kudos to you guys. A lot of respect for you because I know the pace that we keep and the fact that y'all are plugging away at school.

That's awesome. Also, I got two youngins. You do have two youngins. I arrived at a seminary with three little kids. So I know like the crunch of school and ministry cause I'd been here for a year at that point.

Cleaver was much smaller back then. And, and little kids. So that's, that's a lot.

I have been toying with the idea of going back, doing some more schooling, but I think I'm going to wait till the kids get a little bit older. Probably best. Cause they're, they're in the throes of homework now. Like homework help. Yeah. Doing projects for them and stuff.

Our school projects. I hear you. I hear you. But I'm, I'm proud of you guys. That's awesome.

Glorify God and your academics. That's good stuff. We're going to start the episode episode in just a second. If you guys have any questions or suggestions for new topics, send us a text to 252-582-5028.

Or you can visit us online at We'll be right back. Hey there, listeners. I'm Jon Galantis.

And I'm Ellie Galantis. And we just want to take a quick second and talk to you about Dr. Shah's and Nicole's book, 30 Days to a New Beginning. Daily devotions to help you move forward.

You know, this is actually the second book in the 30 days series. And the whole point of this devotional is to help us get unstuck from the ruts of life. You know, when it comes to running the race of life, it matters how you start, but a bad start doesn't ultimately determine how you finish the race. You can have a good finish even with a bad start. And that's where this book comes in. No matter who you are or where you are in life, you're going to get stuck.

Instead of going out and buying some gadget or some planner, like I know I've done several times. I know that's right. 30 days encourages you to find your fresh start in God's word. And life doesn't have a reset button, but our God is a God who does new things.

His mercies are new every day, which means every day is a new chance for you to start over. You can grab 30 Days to a New Beginning on We're going to leave a link in the description box below. And if you already have the book, let us know what you think about it.

That's right. Send us a text, 252-582-5028. Share what God has done in your life through this devotional. Hey, maybe we'll even read your story on the air. Ellie, you ready to get back to the show?

Let's do it. Welcome back to Clear View Today with Dr. Abbadon Shaw, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can visit us online at If you have any questions or suggestions for new topics, send us a text at 252-582-5028.

That's right. If today's your first time ever joining us here on the Clear View Today Show, we're going to welcome you and let you know exactly who's talking to you today. Dr. Abbadon Shaw is a PhD in New Testament textual criticism, professor at Carolina University, author, full-time pastor, and the host of today's show.

You can find all of his work on his website. That's We were laughing a lot. You cut eyes at me like that. Because I was running out of breath because we were laughing a lot and being silly right before we started recording. Then they're like, all right, guys, we're ready.

And then you got to bring it all down. Just instantly like laughing and having a good time. Welcome back. We weren't just on a big laughing fit. We were. I was running out of breath while I was saying that.

Just a little peek behind the curtain. All right. I'm good. Good. Ready?

I'm good. I do like Dr. Shaw. I like that you're wearing the white shirt again, the Clear View Church. I really like that. Fantastic branding.

This is done so we can wear it when we have guests in the church. Last Sunday morning, but other times. Like if there's ever people who are here and they were like, well, I don't know who works here.

And I don't know who's here for like the funeral. There you go. Nice.

Very nice. Which is a good opportunity for us to mention, like if you guys are unfamiliar, we say this at the top, but if you're unfamiliar with Dr. Shaw's work as a pastor, check out our website, our church's website, Clear View today is produced out of a church here in North Carolina, Clear View Church. And God is moving in great ways here. So I would love for you guys to check it out and let us know if you have any questions about what God's doing here. Amen. So we are jumping back into our discussion today about being obedient to God in the face of trials, in the face of hardships. And we're talking about life of Paul. And Paul was no stranger to hardship. He was no stranger to difficult times. Very true.

Very true. We're working on well, by the time you guys are listening to this, it'll be kind of in process. But Dr. Shaw and I are working on a couple of scripts for some filming that you guys are going to be doing covering Paul's second missionary journey.

And I was I was reading it last night. I was reading from his accounts in Thessalonica going into Berea. That dude did not have an easy go.

No, he doesn't. They did not make his life easy at all. No, everywhere he went, they were after him, wanting to hurt him, destroy him, on and on. And then in Ephesus, we tend to think that Paul was just having the time of his life, you know, preaching and bringing people in line with the gospel. You know, they were they were being baptized with John's baptism until Paul came. And then he told them the gospel and they got saved. They received the Holy Spirit, had a mini Pentecost, and the church was born.

And it was not just born like with a few people trickling in. I mean, thousands are being saved enough for the temple of Artemis to be empty. When you read First Corinthians, because that's what Paul wrote while in Ephesus, it says here, this is a very important passage in First Corinthians, chapter four, verse 11, to the present hour. What does that mean, present hour? Like even right now. As I'm writing this. As I'm writing, we both hunger and thirst.

Yeah. So Paul is in Ephesus. Powerful things are happening. And yet Paul himself is hungry, thirsty, naked, beaten, homeless, working with his hands, made fun of, being reviled. He is blessing people, being persecuted. He's enduring, being defamed. He is entreating others to be saved. He is the filth of the earth. Yeah.

He is the offscoring of all things. That's not what you think. No, not at all. And I wonder and I want to get your perspective on this, because I knew you grew up in the East and then came to the West, came to America when you were 17. We tend to think that if you're successful, you will be happy. Paul was successful. Like his ministry was extremely successful. And yet he's, like you said, he's hungry and thirsty and beaten and homeless. But that doesn't make him unsuccessful.

This idea that... Neither does it make him unhappy. Right. It's just a life of suffering, but that does not mean it's a life of unhappiness. It's a whole different way of life. That's a good point. Yeah.

I'm building up towards a life that demonstrates the power and work of Jesus Christ. I am working to inherit the inheritance. Not sure what you're doing. Right. And no one would say that that is an unloving parent. No one would say that that's a parent who withholds stuff. In fact, that is a parent who is more loving. That is a parent who has a plan for their child, a parent who wants the very best for their child.

Not just one who's like, you want this? Here you go. I think that's something that God has blessed you with, Dr. Shah. And I've always thought that you were very strong in this as you see the long term. You have the long vision.

Thank you. Even to this day, like 10 years later after working for you for 10 years, I still struggle sometimes to see far enough into the long game, if that makes sense. So I'm grateful because you not only helped bolster me in that sense, but you are for the leader of an organization to have that long vision of, I know this is going to be unpleasant in the short term, but trust me, years from now, we're going to be glad that as a church, we did this. Well, I had to learn it the hard way because I didn't enjoy that process.

I don't enjoy the process even now sometimes. It's like, why, why, why? And then God says, well, what do you think I'm doing? And then whether through what I'm reading or what I'm listening or what I'm studying or a conversation or a message I'm listening to or a song, God reminds me, oh, wait, you're stripping away the self-life so that the life of Jesus, which we talk about all the time, would be manifested in me.

I used to say that, and I still do, that Galatians 2 20 is my favorite passage. For I have been crucified with Christ. I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. In the life that I live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I've been saying that for 20 years, and that is my favorite verse.

I never realized what that means. I have been crucified with Christ, which means it is already done. Having said that, the spirit of the self keeps living, so guess what God has to do? He has to help me crucify the spirit of that old self. So the struggles that we go through is to keep the old man dead.

How does he keep the old man, the old self, down? It's when you find yourself weak and helpless in the face of trials and challenges that you wish you could stop, or you could change, and you can't. And you find yourself weak and helpless.

Isn't that the whole Christian life? That when I'm weak, then I am strong. Grace cannot operate. God's grace cannot operate as long as you are strong.

As long as we can fix that problem. The moment that problem becomes unfixable with my strength, that's when God begins to step in. So he has to take you to a level where you face problems that cannot be fixed, and you realize how weak you are. And sometimes he even lets us fall flat on our face with our old behavior or our old sin nature. And that's when he says, this is who you are.

And that's when you go, oh wow, I'm not a good person. But by the grace of God. You didn't ask what was happening with Paul as well, that that old man was being kept dead. Oh yeah, of course. That's what the book of Romans is all about.

Where do you think he gets all that stuff? We're getting you all from Paul. That's right. So another passage is in 1 Corinthians 15, 31, where Paul says, I affirm by the boasting in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I...

Die daily. So this is it. If in the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? So were the beasts at Ephesus his old Jewish people or were they real beasts? I tend to think a little bit of both.

I think in some ways the cunning plotting that he talks about in Acts is there. Those are the beasts. But also I think the beasts were real beasts. Wow.

A little bit of both. You mean like animals? Animals. Wow. Yeah, wild animals because they had those games. So being thrown into that pit and now he is probably hanging behind and those gladiators and whoever are out front, he's hanging behind them because that's what these people did.

Like throw in about 15 of them and watch the lion or a pride of lion take them out. Gosh. Insane. I've never imagined that. I've never imagined that before.

Well Paul says it, right? Yeah. In the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus. Yeah. Of course I'm also for anybody out there going, oh that's not, it's metaphoric. Okay. Well have you ever been like really cornered between a rock and a hard place type, cornered by people and their politics?

I have been. Yeah. Yeah. Feels like you're up against beasts. I was going to say it feels like you're up against a pride of lion.

Oh yeah, a pack of wild animals. Yeah. When people are at their worst, you see like they're, they're, they almost, they just forsake their own humanity. They forsake all the things that God has given them. Right. That put in them to make them human almost. That's right.

I mean, what do you think Dave? I mean, it's funny that you said that because the night that you preached that or the day that you preached that I actually was reading in second Timothy and it says, but the Lord stood with me and strengthened me so that the message might be preached fully through me that, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also, I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

Where is this at? This is second Timothy. So it's still that same concept of beast and lion. Yeah. I mean, it could be the Roman governor. It may be the, his Jewish people who were chasing him from city to city, or it may be actual wild beasts or lions that he is fighting. Yeah. That's a great point. I mean, a lot of times you try to, I feel like people try to soften the Bible with just metaphor and allegory and like, you know, it's figurative language. Okay, maybe it is, but let's not remove the possibility that Paul's telling us in plain language what's happening here. He was persecuted for his faith.

I fought with animals, like wild beasts that were threatening to overtake me. Yeah. So, I mean, think about it. This man is a scholar. This man is a missionary. This man is an apostle, a pastor, and he is not meant for the gym.

He is not meant to be in the pit. And then if you also want to know a little bit more about what Paul was going through Ephesus, don't forget 2 Corinthians was written about a year after 1 Corinthians. So maybe Paul was still there or maybe he had just left Ephesus. So what does he say in 2 Corinthians 4, starting in verse 8? It says, We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed. We are perplexed, but not in despair. Persecuted, but not forsaken.

Struck down, but not destroyed. Always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. Now think through that. What is he saying? Always carrying out about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus. Every single moment walking through life, through daily routine, through teaching and preaching of the word, through sharing of the gospel, through resolving problems, through building the church, through building relationships. Every single moment he is also experiencing the death of Christ.

And I love the parallel there that always carrying about in the body the dying so that the life may be manifested. This dude can really write. I mean, it's the word of God. Really, exactly. He understands what's going on and reading it here now, light bulbs are clicking the more and more we talk about it.

It was happening yesterday too. But this is the Christian life. This is the Christian life. And this is the life of the second servant.

If you remember yesterday's show, the first guy who is just based on how much you pay him, how much you encourage him, how much you meet his needs versus a second person who it doesn't matter to him. Even though he gets hurt, even though it pains him, yet he keeps on plotting. But what is important for our purpose is that he's not just plotting for plotting sake, but in the process it's no longer about him. It's about the master.

And it's not just that, okay, I please the master and then I die. No, it's to prepare him for the inheritance that is coming. So God has to remove a lot of junk from our lives before he gives his inheritance. I mean, why would the king of the universe put into our account everything that belongs to him if we are selfish, self-centered, sinful, evil people? It's like we're the prodigal son before he left thinking that we're the prodigal son upon his return. I want all the rewards right now, but I deserve it because I'm a Christian. We don't know that we're the prodigal son before his departure.

So that's great that you brought that up because I've thought about that too recently. He had to go away to get to the place where he's eating with the pigs. Of course, he's the one who messed up, but he had to get to that place where he is nothing and he says, I'm going to go to my father's house and tell him that I'm a nobody. I'm not even worthy to be called your son.

Treat me like one of your hired hands. You see, now it's no longer about him. Prior to that, before he left the home, it was all about him. Keep in mind that parable is actually about Gentiles or the prostitutes and the tax collectors coming to God's kingdom and the Pharisees were sort of like looking down on them like, who warned you?

Why are you here? So that's what the parable is originally about. But still, I think it also applies to the crucified life, which is that once the man came back, he knew he didn't deserve anything. And now he was ready for the inheritance. And what does the father do? He does not say, well, okay, now you got to work your way back up. He puts the family signet, the ring on his finger.

He puts the royal robe on his shoulder and he kills a fatted calf. So that's what God does, because now he's ready. So going back to our passages, we have a few more minutes very quickly. So it says in verse 11, this is Second Corinthians, verse 11. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake.

Let me clarify. In the early years of our lives, I'm talking about Christian life, he does give us what we need. He is there for us. We see things and we have answers to prayers and we grow spiritually and we learn some grand truths and maxims.

And it's like, wow, wow, wow, wow. But then he wants us to get to a place where we are growing, not because we're getting these things, we're growing because we are growing into him. And so he doesn't want us to grow just because he gives us some stuff and say, oh, I'm growing now.

He's in a candy bar. Oh, I'm growing now. Here's a little house. Here's a little health. Here's a little success. Oh, this is so great.

This is great. No, he wants us to get to the point where none of those things are coming and yet you are growing because by faith you're trusting him and his presence and his work in your life. It's not like he's not working.

Trust me, he's working, but he's doing a deep work in your life rather than just a surface stuff. That's right. That's right. And then it says here that the life of Jesus, I'm reading from 2 Corinthians 4, 11, and the second half of that verse, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

Holding those things together in tension. The death of Jesus, our lives are delivered to the death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our mortal flesh. Right. There's another passage.

You have a quick second to go to that? Yes, absolutely. 2 Corinthians 6, 3. Dave, you want to read that?

Sure thing. 2 Corinthians 6, 3 says, We have no offense in anything that our ministry may not be blamed, but in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God in much patience and tribulations and needs, distresses, in stripes and imprisonments, in tumult and labors, in sleeplessness and fastings, by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil, report and good report, as deceivers and yet true, as unknown and yet well-known, as dying and behold we live, as chastened and yet not killed, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing and yet possessing all things. Having nothing and yet possessing all things. I hope those who are listening would take the time to walk through these passages and truly begin to understand what Paul's life was like, what the life is of the second worker.

What is that life that is crucified, the life where God no longer gives us the external things. He does. Don't misunderstand. He does give us all the things we need.

He is very gracious, but he is more interested in doing the deep work in our lives. And so when we go through trials, tribulations, the world may look at us and go, look at you. You're nobody. Look at you. This is what and but you trust God to know what he is doing. And so you don't listen to people. You don't even listen to yourself. And instead you listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

That's right. In 2 Corinthians 11, 23 on, Paul talks about being ministers of Christ and how he suffered and how many times he was beaten and shipwrecked. And in perils of robbers, in perils of my countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren, in weariness and toil and sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst and fastings often, on and on and on.

Who is weak and I'm not weak? Who is made to stumble and I do not burn with indignation? And then the worst of all, 2 Corinthians 12 talks about the thorn in the flesh. Paul had a thorn in the flesh to keep him humble. So sometimes we are given thorns in the flesh. I mean, I've been there.

I am there. And it's not fun to have that thorn in the flesh, but that's to keep us humble. You know, I feel my pulse. I can feel it throbbing.

It's throbbing and it's not a good feeling. But that's what, or you can go back to the other life, which is the ho-hum life. That thorn goes away because there's no need for it. There's nothing happening in your life.

But here's, I want to leave with this. Acts 20 and verse 24, Paul says, But none of these things move me, nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. I mean, forget about Galatians 2.20.

I'm liking Acts 20, 24 more and more. And then Acts 20, 32, So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up. All the first worker life doesn't build you up. It's the second worker life that builds you up and give you an inheritance. The first worker was working for his wages.

The second worker is being prepared for the inheritance. I think through all the years that I've worked here and worked for you, that might be the one lesson that if I only had to choose one lesson to apply to my leadership, it's to finish well. We may have stumbled up to this point.

We may have had a couple of drops, but it doesn't matter what it takes. Even if it's just the service, that invitation time, let's make sure that we end well. And that has impacted me a great deal.

And I see that Paul is saying the exact same thing. I want to finish this race with joy. Yeah, absolutely. So good. If you guys enjoyed today's episode, or if you have questions or suggestions for new topics, send us a text to 252-58-25028. Or you can visit us online at And don't forget, you can partner with us financially on that same website. Every gift that you give goes not only to building up this radio show, but countless other ministries for the gospel of Jesus. We love you guys. We'll see you next time on Cleaview Today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-06 18:14:03 / 2023-09-06 18:28:10 / 14

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