By the will of God
Ephesians 1:1 an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,
Paul regularly makes it clear that he was called by God and not by a man
Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
I Corinthians 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
II Corinthians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:
Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
Colossians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,
I Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;
II Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
Why does Paul make so much of his being called of God
The guys in Jerusalem didn’t pick him but he was chosen directly from heaven Galatians 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
He wasn’t taught by the guys in Jerusalem Galatians 1:12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Paul told Timothy that he was ordained even if it wasn’t men that did so I Timothy 2:7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
Paul’s ministry wasn’t determined by men Galatians 2:5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. 6 But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:
Paul was heavily criticized by people II Corinthians 10:10 For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.
They mocked him physically I Corinthians 2:3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. II Corinthians 10:1 Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: Galatians 4:14 And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
They mocked the way he preached I Corinthians 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. II Corinthians 11:6 But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.
They said that Paul didn’t keep his promises II Corinthians 1:17 When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay?
Paul said it worked out best that he didn’t come when he had said II Corinthians 1:23 Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.
They claimed he had done some wrong II Corinthians 7:2 Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.
They said he walked in the flesh II Corinthians 10:2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.
A few lessons to be learned
You are called of God
You can and should expect to be criticized.
You should determine to do right before God
You should realize that you will be judged by God I Corinthians 4:3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. 4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.