Life's Ups and Downs
Sermon shared by Steve Shepherd
Summary: Paul’s life was full of ups and downs: He was a proud man, a humbled man and a new man.
Denomination: Christian/Church of Christ
Audience: General adults
ILL.- As a student at Ozark Christian College in the 60’s I was greatly impressed with certain preacher/professors. Some of my professors just sparkled with enthusiasm, energy and encouragement. One was Don DeWelt, professor of O.T. and N.T.
I was preaching at a small church on Sundays while I was a student. And I asked Brother Don DeWelt if he would preach at our 5th Sunday rally in the afternoon. He agreed. When Don preached that afternoon he was at his very best. He was very humorous and yet very inspirational and challenging.
The next Sunday when I returned to the pulpit at my church I sounded just like Don DeWelt in regard to my mannerisms, voice, etc. I AM SAYING THAT WHETHER WE REALIZE IT OR NOT, WE DO INFLUENCE OTHERS!
Paul became a new man through Christ. How did that happen? Through another man named Ananias.
Acts 9:10-11 "In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, ‘Ananias!’ ‘Go to the house of Judas and ask for a man named Saul..." Ananias went as God commanded.
Some people think that Saul was converted to Christ when he was knocked down by the light from heaven. If this is true, then why did Ananias say to Saul three days later, Acts 22:16 "And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name."?
It’s true that Saul met Jesus on the Damascus road. He may have come to some faith in Him, but his faith needed to grow in response to Christ.
Saul needed to be humbled even more. He needed to surrender to Christ in baptism. EVERYONE NEEDS TO DO THIS. It’s a command from God to be done in the name of the Godhead. Remember the great commission in Matthew 28:18-20?
Every conversion account in the book of Acts has baptism in it.
Acts 2 - the people at Pentecost, the 3,000
Acts 8 - the people of Samaria, and the eunuch
Acts 9 - Saul of Tarsus
Acts 10 - the household of Cornelius
Acts 16 - Lydia, the business woman and the Philippian jailer
Acts 18 - the Corinthians
All these people became new people in Christ by surrendering to Christ in faith and obedience. They obeyed the Lord in baptism.
Paul became a new man in Christ and he gained a new mission as well. Saul the persecutor became Paul the preacher. Instead of hurting others, he began to help others.
Acts 9:15-16 "The Lord said to Ananias, ‘Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."
God had a plan for Paul’s life. God wanted to use him to spread the gospel message about Christ.
God has a plan for our lives too. And spreading the gospel is a part of that plan.
ILL.- At a Bible conference, the text in Eph. 4:1 was emphasized over and over. "I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received." At the close of the conference one of the men attending was asked, "Say, Tom, what’s your job?" He replied, "I’M AN ORDAINED PLUMBER."
He meant he was a plumber, but he was ordained by God to live a worthy life. All of us should feel that way about our lives as Christians regardless of what we do for our living.
ILL.- Lucy in the old Peanuts cartoon said to Charlie Brown one day, "I would have made a great evangelist." Charlie Brown
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