Faithlife Sermons

Death to Life

All Are In A Battle  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Paul recounts his salvation to a Jewish audience following his arrest in Jerusalem.

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Introduction

Famous last words in history.
If you had one message: Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s last words.
What about you? Your famous last words?
After nearly escaping death, and not knowing what the future held, Paul thought these might be his last words.
He decided to share the most important message anyone could ever share: The Gospel.

Paul’s Previous Life

If anyone could have attained salvation by resume, it was Paul.
Tarsus, home of one of the famous Roman Libraries.
Raised in Jerusalem, Gamaliel () a strict Pharisee, and zealous.
He had been involved in persecuting any who thought or acted differently, including followers of Jesus.
But, for all the “great” works that Paul did, he still needed Jesus to save him.
Paul’s emphasis had been on all the good he had done to the neglect of thinking of the wrong.
We are all a little like that. We’d rather answer the question, “What are your strengths?” than “What are your weaknesses?”
Ever have an argument with someone in your own head? Have you ever lost one of those arguments?
No! It’s how we perceive ourselves. Often times we see only the good in our own actions and attitudes.
This isn’t reality. Paul, who had done so much “right” was in need of salvation.
He had sinned. We all have sinned.

Paul’s Introduction to Jesus

See, Paul knew some stuff about Jesus.
He had heard stories, had some interaction with followers of Jesus.
But, that’s as far as Paul’s information went. It was second hand.
But, then, Paul had a real meeting with Jesus.
The actual words of Jesus were heard by Paul.
And there was an openness to Jesus by Paul. “Who are you, Lord?”
That personal interaction with Jesus made all the difference in the life of Paul.
He received new life in Jesus and with that life came purpose and a calling!
A lot of people know stuff about Jesus.
Maybe from VBS or Falls Creek or maybe even going to church.
Maybe you know some people who claim to be followers of Jesus, and you don’t really see the difference.
But, that’s as far as it goes.
And maybe there’s the confusion between knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus.
There is a difference. And it is an eternal difference.
God doesn’t give a multiple choice test at the gates of Heaven.
It’s simply, do you make Him your Savior?
Is it the Gospel?

Paul’s Acceptance of the Gospel

A more literal translation of the end of verse 16:
“Rising: be baptized and wash away your sins; calling on his name.”
Rising and Calling.
Rising, there is the personal responsibility.
The actions we do: Baptism and Repentance.
How do we rise? We rise by calling on the name of Jesus.
Have you called on the name of Jesus?
Asking Him for forgiveness of your sins?
This is the essence of salvation, what the Gospel is.
Have you called out to Jesus, asking for forgiveness? Committing to follow Him?

Conclusion

This was a drastic change for Paul.
Religion was central to their culture, central to his identity.
He was leaving all of that behind to focus on Jesus.
But, what he would receive in response would drastically outweigh what he was leaving.
2 Corinthians 4:7 ESV
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
2 Corinthians 4:17 ESV
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
Right now, whatever you are facing, know that Jesus has more for you.
More love. More forgiveness. More acceptance. More meaning.
It is up to you to receive it.
Rise. Call on the name of Jesus:
Pray this prayer.
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