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Can any of us identify with this man?

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Sermon shared by Anthony Hodge

January 2002
Summary: The aim of this sermon is to encourage persons to examine where they are today in their faith walk.
Denomination: Methodist
Audience: General adults
Sermon:
Can any of us identify with this Man? (1 Timothy 1:12-16)

People are people is a common phrase uttered from time to time. It is often said when referring to churches, society, and the world at large. The gist of the is saying is that regardless of where you go there will be commonalties among individuals that will
resemble others in an entirely different place.

Faces may change and names may be different but the adage is true, people are people. Realizing that people are people, I am sure that God in God’s infinite wisdom foreknew all of the things that humanity would involve itself with.

Having that insight, God made provisions for all of humanity through Jesus Christ’s coming into this life to die for the sins of humanity.

Our scriptural passage today helps us with delve into the concept that people are people through the life of the Apostle Paul. While addressing Timothy, a young man he had taken under his wings and had begun to mentor, Paul is giving his testimony.

This testimony is significant because it shows that Paul did not attempt to hide anything that he
had previously done or involved himself in. It clearly reveals that he held back nothing but was open in sharing his witness to Timothy.

It is also crucial for readers of this passage to see that Paul could look back over his life and see what God is capable of doing for anyone open to God’s presence in one’s life.

He began his discourse with Timothy by crediting Jesus Christ with giving him strength and calling him from one way of living and interacting into another way of living and interacting. He
further stated to his younger counterpart that he was once a blasphemer, a persecutor,and a violent person.

But notice that he did not stop there, he went on to say that he recognized that it was God who extended him mercy while he was acting counter to the
gospel. He ascribed his behavior as being ignorant and also stipulated that there was once a time he did not believe what he had been exposed to as far as the teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

This testimony sounds familiar to me. I am sure that it also sounds familiar to you. People are people and that’s why I posed the theme of this message in the form of a question, “Can anyone of Us Identify with this Man?”

Is there anyone here who can resonate with Paul’s testimony that he or she once was a non-
believer in the Christian faith? Can anyone of us here who identify with the fact that Paul actually made fun of Christians and vehemently opposed anything that resembled Christianity? Can anyone of us here acknowledge without pretense or shame like Paul that you were shown mercy by God despite your unbelief and negative behavior?

I need to know today, can any of us say like Paul said in verse 14 of 1 Timothy 1 that the Lord looked beyond your shortcomings and extended grace abundantly on your behalf? I wish there were a few witnesses in here to what the apostle had to say about that trust worthy saying that deserves full acceptance. How many of us have finally come to
the belief that Jesus Christ did come into this life to save humanity from its sins?

If there were only a few witnesses like Paul who did not deny his past but affirmed his present state as well by stating that there was a time he was a number one sinner.
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