Title: St. Patrick, Whose He?
Theme: The Real St. Patrick
Introduction: The writer of the Book of Hebrews has some real sound advice for the children of God, “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:7) One of the great leaders of New Testament is the Apostle Paul and he gives us this exhortation in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) Pray!
A saint has been defined as “a man in whom Christ lives.” The real leader of the church preaches and lives in Christ. Men are captivated by Christians who live out what they believe. Mankind will not necessarily agree with what a man preaches, but they will take note of how he lives.
Around this time of the year, one should consider the life of St. Patrick, especially since there is a day dedicated in his honor. Unfortunately, many people only observe his holiday, March 17, by drinking themselves silly, which is totally contrary to the spirit of the man who Christianized Ireland. In fact, Patrick shows what God can do through someone who is committed fully to Him. (Thomas Cahill How the Irish Saved Civilization).
Interrogative Sentence: Just what is worth grasping as we look into the life of St. Patrick. March 17, St. Patrick’s day is the date of his death and is celebrated inside and outside Ireland as a religious and cultural holiday. In the dioceses of Ireland, it is a holy day of obligation; it is also a celebration of Ireland itself. (Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; Times Herald; Mark Driscroll, Church History; Patrick's Biography)
St. Patrick is on the list of saints, and was declared a saint in heaven by many Catholic Churches. St. Patrick was also venerated in the Orthodox Catholic Church.
"The Episcopal Church annually honors St. Patrick with the celebration of St. Patrick's Day on March 17, which falls during the Christian season of Lent. For more than 1,000 years, the Irish have observed St. Patrick's Day as a religious holiday. Traditionally, on St. Patrick's Day, Irish families would attend church in the morning and celebrate later—including eating a traditional meal of cabbage and Irish bacon." (Patrick's Biography)
Proposition: I would propose to you that Christians who walk in obedience to God’s call upon their lives are worthy of our attention and we should imitate their faith. It would be good for us to evaluate the outcome of St. Patrick's life.
St. Patrick was known as the "Apostle of Ireland" (Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia) He wrote, "I am a servant of Christ to a foreign nation for the unspeakable glory of life everlasting which is in Jesus Christ our Lord. ~ Patrick (Mark Driscroll, Church History)
I would like to read a prayer of St. Patrick titled “I Rise Today,” “I bind unto myself today the strong name of the trinity, by invocation of the same, the Three in One, the One in Three. I bind this day to me forever by power of faith in Christ’s incarnation, His baptism in the Jordan river, His death on the cross for my salvation; His bursting from the spiced tomb, His riding up the heavenly way... I bind unto myself today the power of God to hold and lead, His eye to watch, His might to stay, His ear to harken to my need, the wisdom of my God to teach, His hand to guide, His shield to ward, the Word of God to give me speech, His heavenly host to be my guard. Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me; Christ to comfort and restore me..." (These truths are substantiated in Patrick's Biography; Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; Times Herald; Mark Driscroll, Church History; The quote above was taken from a message I read years ago, the preacher was unknown to me)
Transitional Sentence: The first base to cover in imitating the faith of someone is to make sure that they have had a genuine conversion to Christ.
St. Patrick had a season of bondage that opened his eyes to Christ. When he was about 16, he was captured from his home in Great Britain, and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. (Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; Times Herald; Mark Driscroll, Church History; Patrick's Biography)
Listen to his confession, “I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful and most contemptible to many, had for a father the deacon Calpurnius, son of the late Potitus, a priest… I was taken captive about sixteen years of age. I did not, indeed, know the true God; and I was taken into captivity in Ireland with many thousands of people according to our sins. We were quite drawn away from God. We did not keep His precepts, nor were we obedient to our priests who used to remind us of our salvation. The Lord brought down on us the fury of His being and scattered us among many nations, even to the ends of the earth, where I, in my smallness, am now to be found among foreigners. And there the Lord opened my mind to an awareness of my unbelief, in order that, even so late, I might remember my transgressions and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my insignificance and pitied my youth and ignorance. And He watched over me before I knew Him, and before I learned sense or even distinguished between good and evil, and He protected me, and consoled me as a father would his son.” (These truths are substantiated in Patrick's Biography; Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; Times Herald; Mark Driscroll, Church History; The quote above was taken from a message I read years ago, the preacher was unknown to me)
St. Patrick walked a season in unbelief in Christ. God brought St. Patrick to repentance through affliction and enabled him to enjoy conversion in Christ Name.
The steps to cover in imitating a Christian’s faith in Christ are: 1.) Recognize one’s true condition before the Lord, 2.) Receive forgiveness found in Jesus and 3.) Be reconciled unto God.
Transitional Sentence: The next step in imitating someone’s faith in Christ is to make sure their life’s focus is on the “Great Commission.” Matthew 28:18-20 says, "Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in of the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’”
This is the heart that is reflected in the life and speech of St. Patrick who said, “Am I willing and able to forgive those who have caused pain in my life? Am I willing to follow the call of God and even give my life to those who enslaved me?” St. Patrick was willing to go back to a place that held him slave for six years. (These truths are substantiated in Patrick's Biography; Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; Times Herald; Mark Driscroll, Church History; The quote above was taken from a message I read years ago, the preacher was unknown to me)
Transitional Sentence: Christians who follow God’s call are worthy of our attention. So are Christians who grow in their faith in turbulent times through prayer. Psalm 116:8-9 says, “For you O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 116:8-9)
St. Patrick said “Am I willing to draw closer to God in turbulent times.” It was during St. Patrick’s time in slavery that he grew to have faith in prayer. He wrote, “I would pray constantly during the daylight hours… and faith grew… During the day I would say as many as 100 prayers and at night only slightly less.” (These truths are substantiated in Patrick's Biography; Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; Times Herald; Mark Driscroll, Church History; The quote above was taken from a message I read years ago, the preacher was unknown to me)
I think St. Patrick knew Luke 18:6, “…And will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly...” (Luke 18:6)
Transitional Sentence: Christians who grow in adversity and prayer have faith in Christ that is worth imitating. Such faith opens doors for guidance. Psalm 31:3 says, “Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your Name lead and guide me.” Psalm 73:24 says, “You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.”
God helped St. Patrick find his freedom from six years of slavery. St. Patrick writes, “I use to pasture the flock each day. Praying in the icy coldness, in rain… And it was there of course that one night in my sleep I heard a voice saying to me, ‘You do well to fast; soon you will depart for your home country.’ …a short time later there was a voice prophesying, ‘Behold, your ship is ready’ And it is not close… two hundred miles away… …Shortly thereafter I turned and fled… …by the power of God who directed my route until I reached that ship.” (These truths are substantiated in Patrick's Biography; Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; Times Herald; Mark Driscroll, Church History; The quote above was taken from a message I read years ago, the preacher was unknown to me)
It is encouraging for us to know that it was a divine leading that showed St. Patrick how to get to the ship that got him back home were the Lord wanted him to be, it was also a vision that moved St. Patrick back to Ireland to evangelize the people there.
After returning home to Britain, St. Patrick continued to study Christianity, (Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; Times Herald; Mark Driscroll, Church History) during that time he got his call, he writes, “…After a few years I was again in Britain with my parents… …there in a vision of the night, I saw a man whose name was Victoricus coming as if from Ireland with innumerable letters, and he gave me one of them, and I read the beginning of the letter.
‘The Voice of the Irish,’ and as I was reading the beginning of the letter… it seems at that moment I could hear the voices of those who were beside the forest of Foclut which is near the western sea, and they were crying as if with one voice; ‘We beg you, holy youth, that you shall come and walk among us again.’ …thus, I woke. ‘Thanks be to God, because after so many years the Lord bestowed on them according to their cry.” St. Patrick set his heart to complete his “Commission.” (These truths are substantiated in Patrick's Biography; Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; Times Herald; Mark Driscroll, Church History; The quote above was taken from a message I read years ago, the preacher was unknown to me)
St Patrick had a Unique Missionary Strategy:
"In faith, the forty-something year-old Patrick sold all of his possessions, including the land he had inherited from his father, to fund his missionary journey to Ireland. He worked as an itinerant preacher and paid large sums of money to various tribal chiefs to ensure he could travel safely through their lands and preach the gospel. His strategy was completely unique, and he functioned like a missionary trying to relate to the Irish people and communicate the gospel in their culture by using such things as three-leaf clovers to explain the gospel. Upon entering a pagan clan, Patrick would seek to first convert the tribal leaders and other people of influence. He would then pray for the sick, cast demons out of the possessed, preach the Bible, and use both musical and visual arts to compel people to put their faith in Jesus. If enough converts were present he would build a simple church that did not resemble ornate Roman architecture, baptize the converts, and hand over the church to a convert he had trained to be the pastor so that he could move on to repeat the process with another clan. Patrick gave his life to the people who had enslaved him until he died at 77 years of age. He had seen untold thousands of people converted to Christ. Of the 150 tribes, 30-40 of them became substantially Christian. He had trained 1,000 pastors, planted 700 churches, and was the first noted person in history to take a strong public stand against slavery." (Mark Driscroll, Church History)
Transitional Sentence: Imitating faith in Christ as St Patrick did opens doors for Christians to participate in the “Great Commission.” It also enables the child of God to enjoy what only God can do.
St. Patrick became an Apostle to Ireland. Listen to this confession of St. Patrick, “Behold now I commend my soul to God who is faithful and for whom I perform my mission although being unknown, but God is no respecter of persons and He chose me for this service that I might be one of the least of his ministers [sent].” (These truths are substantiated in Patrick's Biography; Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; Times Herald; Mark Driscroll, Church History; The quote above was taken from a message I read years ago, the preacher was unknown to me)
It is imperative that you understand, the Greek Word for apostle (ἀπόστολος apóstolos) means one sent. (The Complete Word Study Dictionary)
As St. Patrick was allowing God to do a work in him and through him in prayer, he was attacked, He writes, “And then I was attacked by a goodly number of my elders… They brought against me after thirty years an occurrence I had confessed before becoming a deacon.” (These truths are substantiated in Patrick's Biography; Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; Times Herald; Mark Driscroll, Church History; The quote above was taken from a message I read years ago, the preacher was unknown to me)
Mark Driscoll writes, "Curiously, Patrick’s unorthodox ministry methods, which had brought so much fruit among the Irish, also brought much opposition from the Roman Catholic Church. Because Patrick was so far removed from Roman civilization and church [body politics] he was seen by some as an instigator of unwelcome changes. This led to great conflicts between the Roman and Celtic Christians.
The Romans considered these and other variations by the Celtic Christian leaders to be acts of insubordination. In the end, the Roman Church should have learned from Patrick, who is one of the greatest missionaries who has ever lived. Though Patrick’s pastors and churches looked different in method, they were very orthodox in their theology and radically committed to such things as Scripture and the Trinity. Additionally, they were some of the most gifted Christian artists the world has ever known, and their prayers and songs endure to this day around the world, including at Mars Hill where we occasionally sing the "Prayer of Saint Patrick" and the Celtic hymn "Be Thou My Vision." (Mark Driscroll, Church History)
Satan is the accuser of the brethren (Revelations 12:10) and he will come against all Christians who choose to walk in obedience to the Lord’s call.
In Closing: St. Patrick expressed a faith in Christ that is worth considering and the Holy Spirit gives us permission to follow him as he followed God who called him.
There were many things that came up against St Patrick before he made it to Ireland and he shares why, “[That] I might come to the Irish people to preach the Gospel and endure insults from unbelievers… if I should be worthy. I am ready to give even my life without hesitation; and most willingly for His name.” (These truths are substantiated in Patrick's Biography; Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; Times Herald; Mark Driscroll, Church History; The quote above was taken from a message I read years ago, the preacher was unknown to me)
The Lord blessed St. Patrick’s faithfulness, thousands were baptized and directed to seek the holiness of God in their lives and the Lord ordained clergy through the ministry He gave to St. Patrick.
What do we learn from Patrick today?
"First, Patrick truly loved the Irish people. He was willing to go back to a people who held him captive for six years. During his years of slavery, he was saved. Patrick practiced forgiveness.
Second, Patrick had a burden for the lost [souls] of Ireland. He knew the Celtics weren’t Christians. It would take a missionary going over to this barbarian island to share the Gospel.
Third, Patrick followed the Lord’s leadership in his life. Both the Old and New Testaments record God speaking to people through dreams." (DANIEL AUSBUN, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, MORELAND)
Let us Pray!!!!