Summary: This sermon deals with the power of Jesus Christ to change a person’s life, by looking at the conversion of Saul.
A Changed Life!
Change! What comes to mind when you hear the word change? Do you think of the jingle jangle in your pocket? Do you think of the many times your mom has changed the furniture in the house around? Do you think of the many times you had to change outfits because you couldn’t figure out what to wear? Do you think of the changes your child goes through as he or she enters adolescence?
No Matter what your perception on change. We must all realize that change is a necessary part of life. Some of us welcome change, others of us despise change. I want to challenge us today to welcome the change God wants to make in each of our lives. Let’s Pray!
One of my favorite TV shows is Family Matters! This show is about the Winslow family, and their pesky neighbor Steve Urkel. Steve is nerdy, clumsy, and doesn’t have too many friends. I think Steve was born to give the Winslow’s a headache. When he knocks something over or breaks something at the Winslow’s house he says, “Did I do that”? But Steve is a smart fellow; he built a machine in which he can turn himself into another person. He goes from Steve Urkel to Stephan Urkel. He goes from bumbling idiot-to-smooth, cool, and popular with the ladies. Even Laura Winslow who can’t stand Steve Urkel falls head over heels for Stephan Urkel (I don’t think Laura can breathe and be in the same room with Stephan Urkel). All because he has a radical change from Steve (nerdy-clumsy) to Stephan (cool-smooth).
Just as Steve’s change is a radical one, we are going to look at someone in the Bible whose life was radically changed. His name is Paul (Saul). Let’s look at Acts Chapter 9.
When we look at a person’s life we must first look at who a person was before they were changed. We need to look at who Paul was. HE was a Benjamite, Roman Citizen by birthright, and he was also a Pharisee-which was one of the three sects of Judaism in the time of Christ. They were a group of Jews who obeyed very strictly both God’s laws and all their own rules about God’s law. Basically Paul was a devout religious man.
We see in verses 1 & 2 that Paul was going his own way, doing his own thing. Verse 1 says Paul was still breathing out murderous threats against the followers of Christ. A few chapters ago Paul had just given approval to the Stoning of Stephen who was also a follower of Christ. Paul hated these Christians. Paul was about me, myself and I. He hated these Christians so much we see in verse 2 that he went to the high priest and asked for letters to the synagogues so that if he found any followers of Christ he would have them put in jail. Paul thought he was doing a service for God by getting these Christians, but Paul was lost and Paul was doing some dirt.
We might shake our heads at Paul – I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t much different from Paul – I was doing my own thing – running my own life – conceited – boasting in my talents – tearing others down. I can relate to what Paul used to be.
The good thing about verses 1 and 2 is that there is a verse 3. Paul is going about his life – going for the next kill – when suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him “Saul Saul why do you persecute me?” Who are you Lord? I am Jesus the one you are persecuting. Don’t miss this question because it is Paul who thought he was doing a service for God by going after the Christians. But he is ultimately the one who didn’t know God. He was the one in need of God. He was religious but he wasn’t right with God. We must note that Paul wasn’t looking for God – Paul was on his own agenda and God had to knock him off his feet so he could stop, look up, and see Jesus.
I can remember God knocking me off my feet just enough to get my attention – God said Tony can’t you see in how your living your life that you are persecuting me.
Like Paul I was religious I was attending church doing some good things – but I thought because of these things I was right with God but I was wrong – It is about a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I didn’t see Jesus with my physical eye as Paul did – but I did see him enough to know that he wanted to make a change in my life.