Faithlife Sermons

The Transformed Life

Authentic Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  46:33
0 ratings
· 1 view
Files
Notes & Transcripts
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →
from 3 weeks ago
Jesus sovereignly and irresistibly invaded Saul’s life and instantaneously transformed him from a murderous persecutor of believers in Jesus into one of the most faithful and hard working ministers of the gospel the church has known
the first step in a transformed life is God’s sovereign, unconditional, irresistible work of saving grace in a person’s life
the salvation of the Ethiopian Eunuch and the salvation of Saul clearly illustrate that God sovereignly works in the lives of dead sinners to raise them to eternal life
though the experiences of coming to saving faith by the eunuch and Saul were very different the work of God was the same
the Lord sovereignly, unconditionally and irresistibly drew the eunuch to himself over a period of time
the Eunuch was engaged in a search that started months or even years before his conversion
the Lord suddenly stopped Saul in his tracks, knocked him down to his knees, blinded him and raised him up to eternal life in Christ
Saul was not searching, was self-righteous, was ravaging the church and would have continued to do so apart from God saving him
though the Ethiopian eunuch’s salvation was unremarkable compared to Saul’s it was no less a miracle and required nothing less than God’s sovereign work
both had to be raised out of their spiritual deadness into spiritual life
and so it is with all genuine believers
as Jesus said,
John 6:44 ESV
44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
in most cases God sovereignly works to save people like he did in the life of the Ethiopian Eunuch
a slow, gradual, often imperceptible opening of the eyes and heart, irresistibly drawing to himself
temptation for us to attribute our coming to salvation to our own free will
biblical fact: if God does not do a sovereign work of grace in the life of a person we are unable and unwilling turn to God of their own free will
Ephesians 2:1 ESV
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
being spiritually dead they are unwilling to submit to God’s will
Romans 3:10–12 ESV
10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
their “free will” will always be exercised to go their own way
the first step in a transformed life is a life changing encounter when the sovereign God of the universe raises a dead sinner to a new life and gives them the will and desire to turn from slavery to the world, their flesh and the devil to serve Christ

2. Chosen to Serve

until he encountered the living Christ in Acts 9, Saul saw himself his own master
in his mind he was free, doing his own will and going his own way
according to Jesus he was in fact a slave to the devil
though Saul thought he was serving God he in fact was opposing him!
when Jesus confronted Saul, Jesus overcame his enmity, changed his heart, changed his direction, altered his purpose
this was a 180 degree turn around effected by the sovereign grace of God
Saul went from serving himself and the Jewish authorities to serving Christ
and in keeping with that change Jesus uses strong language to describe this change
Jesus said of Paul:
“a chosen instrument” and “to appoint you as a servant
“chosen” = elected: set apart for a purpose and to a person
instrument: a vessel
if you want to pour water into a glass you must have the right instrument
a sieve will not do, but a pitcher will
God’s sovereign purpose in saving Saul:
illustration about a chosen instrument
I like to work with my hands
in any job, whether mechanical or carpentry, the right tools are essential if you would have a job done right and in a timely manner
not having the right tools may break a part or make a simple task take a great deal longer or may even make doing certain jobs impossible
example of using a chisel as a screwdriver
we are all tools in the hands of Christ, the only question is whether we are useful or not!
Saul had been chosen by Jesus to be his instrument and servant
servant: an assistant to another as the instrument of his will
Saul’s duty was to serve as Christ
Jesus made Saul his personal assistant
Saul would act on Jesus’ behalf making his cause his own
2 Corinthians 5:20 ESV
20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
along with himself Paul includes all believers
Saul, along with all believers, was elected by Christ for Christ: to carry Jesus’ name
we are appointed by Christ to be servants and witnesses
Jesus’ purpose for the world: to build his church
Jesus’ plan for Saul: to take the message of Christ’s death, burial, resurrection and ascension to the Roman world
Jesus’ plan has never changed: every believer has been given the responsibility of spreading the good news about him wherever they are and wherever they go
confronting Saul with the blinding light of his glory, Jesus completely overpowered him, changed his heart, his mind and his will and made him his servant
Jesus stopped Saul, Jesus saved Saul, Jesus owned Saul
up to this point Saul had done what he wanted to do and what the Jewish authorities authorized him to do
all that has now changed
Saul is no longer in control of his life and he no longer is the servant of the Sanhedrin
Saul is now the servant of his Lord
Saul is now taking his orders from Jesus
the Lord Jesus went to the Jewish slave market and purchased Paul and made him his slave/servant
Galatians 3:13 ESV
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—
Titus 2:14 ESV
who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
note Ananias’ address of Jesus as Lord is the same as Saul’s
every true believer is a servant of the Lord Jesus
just as Jesus had purchased Saul as his servant, so Ananias had already been purchased and was serving Jesus
to become a follower of Christ you must be purchased by Christ
to be purchased by Christ is to be given a task: serving Jesus as Lord
a 2nd step we see in Saul’s transformed life is serving the Lord Jesus Christ
this leads to the third step
Paul asks, “what shall I do, Lord?” (Acts 22:10)

3. Submission to the Lordship of Christ

first: saved by sovereign grace; second: serves Christ
Jesus in John 8: all people have one of two fathers, God or the devil
every person has one of them as their master
every person serves either God or Satan
Bob Dylan - “You Gotta Serve Somebody”
You may be an ambassador to England or France You may like to gamble, you might like to dance You may be the heavyweight champion of the world You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls
But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes Indeed you're gonna have to serve somebody Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord But you're gonna have to serve somebody
those whose father is the devil are blinded by him so that they think they are free when in fact that are his slaves
a general fact about slaves: they have no say in whom they serve
when a slave is purchased they are not asked whether they would like to be owned by their future owner
scripture uses a similar image of being born again
babies have no say in their conception or birth!
the problem: having been born slaves, they believe their slavery to be freedom!
Proverbs 14:12 ESV
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
because they love their sins they don’t believe themselves to be slaves
Romans 6:16 ESV
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
Jesus’ call to saving faith is a call to obedience: Jesus is Lord
this was true of Saul and it is true of everyone whom Christ calls to himself, a mark of true saving faith
Saul’s response to his being made a servant: “what shall I do, Lord
Saul recognized that he had been saved to do something for Jesus
Saul’s first order: go and wait for instructions
Acts 22:10 ESV
10 And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’
Saul’s second order: to carry Jesus’ name to Jews, Gentiles and kings
Acts 9:15 ESV
But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.
Acts 9:20 ESV
And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”
Jesus’ example of being guided and directed by the Father:
John 9:4–5 ESV
4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Mark 10:45 ESV
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
shockingly illustrated in washing the disciples’ feet and in dying on the cross (Jn 13:1-17; Php 2:5-8)
Jesus told his disciples to do as he did, not literally washing each others’ feet but being willing to humble themselves in order to serve one another
true believers do as Jesus did
1 John 3:16–18 ESV
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
why then are so many professing Christians content to merely be spectators?
the problem of retirement
the problem of burn-out
the problem of working for peer recognition rather than for Christ
the problem of “another gospel”
true salvation a call to surrender one’s life
motivated by the sacrificial thinking: “how can I serve Christ?”
a false gospel being widely communicated in many churches
a call to the abundant life, “you can have your best life now”
a salvation motivated by the selfish attitude, “what’s in it for me”

4. Prayer

sovereign grace, service, submission to the Lordship of Christ and now prayer
after asking the Lord what he was to do Jesus told him to go to Damascus and wait for instructions
so his companions took him by the hand and led him into the city
we know from God’s instructions to Ananias that Saul went to a specific street named “Straight” and stayed in a house belonging to a man named Judas, most likely a Jewish sympathizer
as he waited Saul fasted (9:9) and he prayed (9:11)
while Saul waited he ate no food, drank no water and prayed
Fasting:
Acts 9:9 ESV
And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Jesus expected his disciples to fast after he left them (Mt 9:14-17; Mk 2:18-20; Lk 5:33-35)
most often fasting is going without eating for a period of time
may involve giving up other things
a sign of how serious the matter is that you are bringing before him
a method of humbling self before God (Isa 58:3,5)
a method of making voice heard (Isa 58:4; Jer 14:12)
goal of receiving a positive answer to prayer (Mt 6:18)
marked the NT church (Acts 13:2,3; 14:23; 27:9)
example of Ahab in 1Ki 21:17 when judgment was pronounced upon him
because he humbled himself before God disaster was delayed
example of Ezra in 8:21
Ezra 8:21 ESV
21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods.
other blessings of fasting to help you focus and pray more often and intensely
fasting is not a punishment of the body because it is sinful
fasting is not a means of earning favour with God
Praying
Acts 9:11 ESV
And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying,
fasting and prayer are often connected in the scriptures
prayer is another vital mark of Saul’s transformed life
having been forced to his knees and saved, he adopted the mindset of a servant and took action by waiting in obedience
as he waited he fasted and cried out to God
just as when a baby is born it quickly gasps for air and starts to cry so every baby believer feels an irresistible urge to talk to God when they are brought to a saving knowledge of Christ
begins with crying out for forgiveness of sin
turns to praise and expressions of love and adoration
desires for holiness and overcoming sin
love for God’s Word
love for God himself
sadly the desire for fellowship and communion with God in many Christians often grows cold as the joy and wonder of salvation loses it fire
warning to Church at Ephesus in Rev 2: lost first love
one of the key tools to maintain a warm and passionate relationship with the Lord is prayer
Jesus’ example withdrawing to desolate places to pray (Lk 5:16; 6:12; 9:18; Heb 5:7)
Jesus was transfigured as he was praying (Lk 9:29)
Jesus parable of the persistent widow to teach constancy of prayer (Lk 18:1)
NT believers were devoted to Apostles’ teaching, to prayer and to fellowship
Paul’s teaching:
Romans 12:12 ESV
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Ephesians 6:18 ESV
praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
Philippians 4:6 ESV
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Colossians 4:2 ESV
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV
pray without ceasing,
Jude 20 ESV
But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,
Peter’s encouragement:
1 Peter 3:12 ESV
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
does prayer characterize your inner life?
do you often find yourself crying out to God?
do you enjoy taking time apart from the hustle and bustle of life to fellowship with your Lord and Master, Jesus?
has your desire to commune with him grown cold?
do you quickly grow restless during pastoral prayer?
would you rather do something else than gather with other believers to pray?
if your desire has grown cold confess it, pray for grace and then draw near to the Lord once again
use the Psalms to fuel your prayers
[give example of praying through Ps 23]

5. Willingness to Suffer

marks of Saul’s transformed life:
God sovereignly saved,
Saul took on the posture of a servant - “what shall I do”
Saul embraced Jesus as Lord of his life
Saul fasted and prayed as he waited for Jesus to tell him what to do
willingness to suffer
Acts 9:16 ESV
16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
Acts 26:17 ESV
17 delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you
“how much he must suffer” vs. “delivering you”
God was sending Saul to his own people, the Jews, from whom God would deliver him
in other words, God was sending Saul to those who would reject him, ridicule him, slander him, physically assault him and even attempt to kill him
he was appointed to carry the message of Christ to a hostile audience
for the most part he and his message would be violently rejected
why this hostility to Saul and his message about Christ?
John 3:19–20 ESV
19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
1 Peter 4:1–4 ESV
1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. 3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. 4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you;
2 Corinthians 4:3–4 ESV
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
Paul’s testimony about his suffering:
2 Cor 4:7-18
2 Cor 6:3-10
2 Cor 11:23-28
God was sending Saul to Jews and Gentiles and kings who would be hostile toward him because of what he preached
at the end of his life Saul was beheaded for his faithfulness to Jesus’ call to be his witness
God’s means of saving hostile sinners: suffering for telling them the gospel
those who suffer for their witness prove the truth of their message
suffering for Christ is a God ordained part of the life of the believer
Philippians 1:29 ESV
29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,
the believer’s best life is not in this world but in the world to come
our temptation: to avoid suffering through compromise
keep our mouths shut, fly under the radar, make ourselves invisible
makes us ineffective

6. Saul was Baptized

steps in Saul’s transformed life: God saved him, he adopted a servant spirit, he acknowledged Christ’s Lordship, he devoted himself to prayer, he was willing to suffer
Acts 9:18 ESV
18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized;
baptism the first step in a life of obedience
Matthew 28:19–20 ESV
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Jesus himself was baptized and commands all who follow him to do the same
Saul was obedient to the command of Christ in the Great Commission
must not forget we were created by God to serve, i.e. to obey
Romans 6:16 ESV
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
2 Peter 2:19 ESV
They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.
it’s in our DNA to serve
apart from God’s saving grace we will never serve him
when the Lord Jesus purchased us out of our slavery to the world, our flesh and the devil he set us free to be his servants
servants exist to do the will of their master
Christians exist to do the will of Jesus Christ
baptism is the first act of obedience in a life of submission to Christ
if a professing Christian is unwilling to take this most basic step of obedience what does it say of the first step?
what does it say of the future for that person’s walk?

7. Witnessing

saved, serves, Lordship, prays, baptized, suffers
Acts 9:15 ESV
15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.
Acts 26:16 ESV
16 But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you,
“to carry my name” (9:15) vs. “to appoint you as a servant and a witness” (26:16)
Saul was chosen by Jesus to carry his name to Jews, Gentiles and kings
to tell whoever would listen to the gospel:
that Jesus died for sins, was buried, was raised from the dead on the 3rd day and appeared to many (1 Cor 15:3-8)
Acts 26:18 ESV
18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
note the irony: Saul was blinded so that he could see whereas Jews, Gentiles and kings continued in their blindness because they refused to see
Saul was chosen and set apart to be Jesus’ instrument to carry his name to hostile people in order that some would see Christ and be saved
“from the power of Satan to God”
Jesus to those who believed in him: “you are of your father the devil” (Jn 8)
“you are slaves of sin, children of the devil”
they were blind to their condition
they thought that because they were descendants of Abraham that they were automatically accepted by God
Jesus to these Jews: “you may have some of Abraham’s blood in your veins but you have nothing of God’s HS in you”
this was a great insult to them because they were proud to be descended from Abraham
the problem
2 Corinthians 3:15–16 ESV
15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.
2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV
4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
every true believer is baptized with the HS when they are saved
their mission and calling: to be witnesses of the Lord Jesus
Acts 1:8 ESV
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
the question is not whether we witness but what kind of witness
Application:
The Transformed Life: saved, serves, Lordship, prays, baptized, suffers, witnesses
everyone whom God sovereignly saves He gives to the Lord Jesus
at the same time that he gives to Jesus He baptizes them with his Holy Spirit
having been given the HS they are transformed, changed, made new
God does not save people to spectate but to serve
each person whom God saves he gives specific gifts suited to that person’s abilities and talents and he expects them to use those gifts to build his kingdom
1 Peter 4:10–11 ESV
10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Philippians 2:5–7 ESV
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
verses which highlight the believer’s responsibility
Matthew 6:33 ESV
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Galatians 5:13 ESV
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Romans 7:6 ESV
6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.
Hebrews 9:14 ESV
14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
John 12:26 ESV
26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
Romans 12:11 ESV
11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
what are we to do with a message like this?
2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
Related Media
Related Sermons