Faithlife Sermons

Giving Jesus to The Unconvertible

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 5 views
Notes
Transcript
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

Samuel Valencia, B.A. Biblical Studies

Sermon

November 9, 2008

Good Shepherd Church (EBP)

TITTLE

The Unconvertible

THESIS STATEMENT

No one is out of God’s Reach

MAIN PASSAGE

Romans 1:16

Philippians 3:4-11

INTRODUCTION

            Our goal at the Good Shepherd Church is to give Jesus. This is in obedience to the Great Commission given to us by our Lord Jesus Himself. He said in Matthew 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…”  Our mission statement as a church is simple. Give Jesus.

            The Good Shepherd Church congregation can be known for many things… but it has to be known primarily as the place where you get Jesus. Jesus is the answer to men’s fundamental problem.

The Bible teaches us that men was created by God to fulfill His purposes (the "meaning of life", Genesis 1:26-28). Because of sin we all have failed (Genesis 3; Romans 3:23, 6:23). Sin separates us from God. Sin is men’s fundamental problem. We have focused on ourselves and ignored God. Nevertheless God the creator still loves us, His creation (John 3:16).

God has provided the Ultimate Solution for the sin that separates us from Him. The ultimate solution is Jesus and Jesus alone. In Jesus we find forgiveness for our sin (Romans 5:8; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 Timothy 2:5). Forgiveness from sin means being able to approach God and fellowship with Him... Jesus said in John 14:6 " “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” For this reason of all the things we can give, the greatest is Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate solution.

But what does it mean to give Jesus? It simply means giving the Gospel (The Good News). The word Gospel encapsulates everything Jesus did for us. Because of his love for us He died on the cross, was buried on a grave and on the third day He rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). All we have to do is trust completely in Him (John 1:12; Romans 10:9). That is what it means to give Jesus.  The question is how many will accept Him?

In our effort to give Jesus there are those individuals that we feel will never accept Him. Indeed we live in a time in which Jesus is rejected…

Nevertheless, we should never underestimate the power of the Gospel. Did you know that the Gospel is the power of God? Paul stated in Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…” It is hard to believe that Paul made this statement.

            There was a time when Paul was ashamed of the Gospel. He was a staunch enemy of it. Paul was the enemy of Jesus. Yet through an extraordinary event he converted. Only the power of God could have changed the life of Paul. His story bares witness that no one is out of the reach of God. No one is unconvertible.

The worst enemy of the Gospel became the number one Jesus giver the world has ever known. After his conversion Paul became the central character in the book of Acts (Acts 9). He wrote 13 of the 27 books (48 percent of the NT) of the New Testament. He took the message of Jesus Christ to Europe for the very first time. He established churches all over the Roman Empire. He brought untold thousands of people to faith in Christ… He redefined Christianity from being a small sect within Judaism into being a global force to be reckoned with, and he radically changed the history of the entire civilized world for the next 2000 years…  Wow! The least likely person to become a Christian did this… Never underestimate the power of the Gospel. If Paul converted than no one is out of God’s reach.

This morning we are going to see how the number one enemy of Jesus became the number one giver of Jesus.

 

I.                   PAUL THE ENEMY OF JESUS CHRIST

In his letter to the Philippians Paul expresses his accomplishments… Such pedigree made Paul a prime candidate to oppose Jesus and in fact he did. Take note of what he says…

Philippians 3:4-6

FLASHBACK TO PAUL’S LIFE…

A.    Paul, the Least likely to become a Christian

1. Saul of Tarsus (Paul), the Jewish man

            The man we know as Paul was also named Saul…

The Book of Acts and the epistles give sufficient data for a sketch of Saul’s early life. He was born in Tarsus in Cilicia (Acts 22:3),

a. …a “Hebrew of the Hebrews” (see 2 Cor. 11:22; Phil. 3:5)

b. …the “son of a Pharisee” (Acts 23:6)

c. …He was educated in Jerusalem by Gamaliel (Acts 22:3)

d. … became a devoted Pharisee (Acts 26:4–5; Phil. 3:5)

           

The Bible Exposition Commentary states, “Measured by the Law, his life was blameless (Phil. 3:6). He was one of the most promising young Pharisees in Jerusalem, well on his way to becoming a great leader for the Jewish faith (Gal. 1:14).” [1]

e. …a Roman citizen (Acts 16:37; 22:25–28)

                        2. Paul, a Zealous Persecutor

The Bible Exposition Commentary states that

Saul’s zeal for the Law [Judaism] was displayed most vividly in his persecution of the church (Gal. 1:13–14; Phil. 3:6). He really thought that persecuting the believers was one way of serving God, so he did it with a clear conscience (2 Tim. 1:3) … [2]

                              a. Methods of Persecution

The Bible Exposition Commentary says that

…He “made havoc of the church,” and the verb here describes a wild animal mangling its prey. When Christ spoke to Saul on the Damascus road, He compared him to a beast! (Acts 9:5) The stoning of Stephen, which Saul approved, shows the lengths to which he would go to achieve his purpose. He persecuted both men and women “unto the death” (Acts 22:4), entering both houses and synagogues (Acts 22:19). He had the believers imprisoned and beaten (Acts 22:19; 26:9–11). If they renounced their faith in Jesus Christ (“compelling them to blaspheme”—Acts 26:11), they were set free; if they did not recant, they could be killed.

In later years, Paul described himself as “exceedingly mad against them” (Acts 26:11), “a blasphemer [he denounced Jesus Christ], and a persecutor…” (1 Tim. 1:13). He was a man with great authority whose devotion to Moses completely controlled his life, and almost destroyed his life. He did it “ignorantly in unbelief” (1 Tim. 1:13)… Saul of Tarsus is the last person in Jerusalem you would have chosen to be the great apostle to the Gentiles! [3]

II.                PAUL THE APOSTLE OF JESUS CHRIST

The testimony of Paul is incredible…

A.    Paul’s Conversion (Acts 9)

1. Mission to Damascus

Acts 9:1-2

The Bible Exposition Commentary says,

When you look at Saul on the road(Acts 9:1–2), you see a very zealous man who actually thought he was doing God a service by persecuting the church. Had you stopped him and asked for his reasons, he might have said something like this:

“Jesus of Nazareth is dead. Do you expect me to believe that a crucified nobody is the promised Messiah? According to our Law, anybody who is hung on a tree is cursed [Deut. 21:23]. Would God take a cursed false prophet and make him the Messiah? No! His followers are preaching that Jesus is both alive and doing miracles through them. But their power comes from Satan, not God. This is a dangerous sect, and I intend to eliminate it before it destroys our historic Jewish faith!” [4]

2. Paul’s Encounter with Jesus

Acts 9:3-5

The New American Commentary states

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” It would be hard to imagine how these words must have struck Paul. They were a complete refutation of all he had been. He had persecuted Christians for their “blasphemous lie” that Jesus was risen, that he was the Lord reigning in glory. Now Paul himself beheld that same Jesus and the undeniable proof that he both lived and reigned in glory. [5]

 

                                                a. Kicking against the goads

 

The Commentary of Critical and Explanatory words on the Old and New Testaments states,

 

The metaphor of an ox, only driving the goad deeper by kicking against it, is a classic one, and here forcibly expresses, not only the vanity of all his measures for crushing the Gospel, but the deeper wound which every such effort inflicted upon himself. [6]

3. Paul’s Response to Jesus

Acts 9:6-8

                        The Believers Bible Commentary states

In order to appreciate Saul’s emotions at this time, it is necessary to remember that he was convinced that Jesus of Nazareth was dead and buried in a Judean grave. Since the leader of the sect had been destroyed, all that was now necessary was to destroy his followers. Then the earth would be free of this scourge.

Now with crushing force, Saul learns that Jesus is not dead at all, but that He has been raised from the dead and has been glorified at the right hand of God in heaven! It was this sight of the glorified Savior that changed the entire direction of his life. [7]

                        4. The Result of Paul’s Experience

                       

Acts 9:9

                                    The Bible Exposition Commentary states,

Some thirty years later, Paul wrote that Christ had “apprehended him” on the Damascus road (Phil. 3:12). Saul was out to arrest others when the Lord arrested him. He had to lose his religion before he could gain the righteousness of Christ. His conversion experience is unique, because sinners today certainly do not hear God’s voice or see blinding heavenly lights… His salvation is certainly a great encouragement to any lost sinner, for if “the chief of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15) could be saved, surely anybody can be saved! [8]

B.     The Reaction by Others

1. The Skeptics

Acts 9:10-14

C.     Paul’s Calling to give Jesus

Acts 9:15-19

D.    Paul’s Training

[Galatians 1:11-18]

E.     Paul’s Teaching

Study his epistles… (Romans to Hebrews)

He wrote 13 of the 27 books (48 percent of the NT) of the New Testament

F.      Paul’s Passion

Everywhere Paul went he gave Jesus…

The Illustration Encyclopedia states

The Apostle Paul was perhaps one of the greatest travelers of his day. He visited many lands, and saw many new scenes in different countries. When he returned he wrote a good deal; his Epistle were widely read by the early churches. And yet, in all the writings of the apostle, there is not one line that is descriptive of the scenery of the countries through which he passed; not a line telling of the wonders of the architecture of his day; not a line describing the customs of the people. Is not this singular? There is a reason for it. The apostle was “blind.” As he traveled about he was blind to all else but one thing. On the way to Damascus, when he met the Lord Jesus, He was blinded by the vision of His great glory, and from that time he could see nothing but Him and tell of nothing but His Gospel. [9]

TRANSITION TO CONCLUSION

MAIN POINTS REVIEW

I. PAUL THE ENEMY OF JESUS CHRIST

II. PAUL THE APOSTLE OF JESUS CHRIST

CONCLUSION

It is amazing to note the words of the unconvertible man… The person that one day was the worst enemy of Jesus writes the following,

Philippians 3:7-10

            Paul was the least expected person in his day to become a Christian. He was an ardent enemy of Jesus. He hated Christians and made it a goal to rid the world of them. No wonder God used an extraordinary event to convert him to Christianity.

  Paul became the world’s most ardent evangelist of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Only the power of God could have done this. Remember that the Gospel is the power of God… There is nothing impossible for Him. God can reach any one.

Never think that a person is out of God’s reach. Who in your life seems the least likely to accept Jesus? Never give up on them. Keep praying for that person. It may take years, but God will reach that person. Never cease to give Jesus.


----

[1] Wiersbe, Warren W.: The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1996, c1989, S. Ac 8:1

[2] Ibid

[3]Wiersbe, Warren W.: The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1996, c1989, S. Ac 8:1

[4]Wiersbe, Warren W.: The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1996, c1989, S. Ac 9:1

[5]Polhill, John B.: Acts. electronic ed. Nashville : Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1992 (Logos Library System; The New American Commentary 26), S. 233

[6]Jamieson, Robert ; Fausset, A. R. ; Fausset, A. R. ; Brown, David ; Brown, David: A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments. Oak Harbor, WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997, S. Ac 9:5

[7]MacDonald, William ; Farstad, Arthur: Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1995, S. Ac 9:3

[8]Wiersbe, Warren W.: The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1996, c1989, S. Ac 9:1

[9]  —R. A. Jaffray (Tan, Paul Lee: Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations : A Treasury of Illustrations, Anecdotes, Facts and Quotations for Pastors, Teachers and Christian Workers. Garland TX : Bible Communications, 1996, c1979)

Related Media
Related Sermons