Summary: Any church is filled with men and women who have been CHANGED.
1. IT’S TRUE. God can take the hardest, the toughest, the meanest, and the most difficult person and transform them.
• One day they’re radically AGAINST God.
• The next day they’re radically FOR God. It’s Remarkable!
• Not just a temporary change… it’s permanent & long lasting
• The kind that makes you just scratch your head!
• But a changed life is the masterpiece of God!
A Pharisee named Nicodemus came to Jesus by night.
• There was a lot on his MIND. His life as a Pharisee, a religious ruler had become stale & dry. God seemed so distant. There was no connection, no love, no mercy.
• All he had were scrolls & scrolls of rules & regulations.
• Maybe he read Jeremiah 29:12-13 I need a real relationship.
Jer. 29.12-14 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the LORD…
• Let’s pick up in John 3:1ff
• Change… Nicodemus, you MUST be Born Again.
AND SO the Church of Jesus Christ, our Church, any church is filled with men and women who have been CHANGED.
• Men & women who have been BORN AGAIN.
• Men like Onesimus… untrustworthy. A thief. A runaway.
Let’s set the scene… Paul is in prison… It’s around 60 AD
• AND there he is… singing & sharing; worshipping & writing.
• Of course he has no idea that he’s writing the NT but he’s faithful to jot down what’s on his heart.
• Notice v1, Paul a prisoner of Christ Jesus. That’s right.
• He’s a prisoner of the Lord… not of Rome, not of Caesar… but Jesus has allowed this imprisonment for a reason.
SO: Paul wakes up 1 morning & has a new cell mate… Onesimus.
• Good Morning… what’s your name? Onesimus.
• Why are you here? My master in Colossae has CHANGED!
• He heard about this man Jesus and left all his false idols and he’s just changed. Jesus is all he talks about.
• His wife, his kids, they all changed too. It’s too much!
• I just couldn’t take it anymore so I ran away to Rome.
• I was picked up this morning and now I’m here in prison.
• WHAT ABOUT YOU… Why are you here? Paul begins… “Well, I was on my way to Damascus…”
This is so like God!
Here he is RUNNING AWAY from God & look where God has Him.
• RIGHT NEXT TO Paul THE APOSTLE! OH NO!!!!
• It’s great… from time to time people will be running from God right into Calvary Chapel, right into your office, right next door to your house!
Psalm 139.7-9 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Have you ever noticed that when you’re running away from God?
• There are Christians everywhere! Why? Because He loves you.
Last year H&R Block offered walk-in customers a chance to win a drawing for $1 million. Glen and Gloria Sims of Sewell, New Jersey, won the drawing, but they refused to believe it when a Block representative phoned them with the good news.
After several additional contacts by both mail and phone, the Simses still thought it was all just a scam, and usually hung up the phone or trashed the special notices.
Some weeks later, H & R Block called one more time to let the Simses know the deadline for accepting their million-dollar prize was nearing and that the story of their refusal to accept the prize would appear soon on NBC’s "Today" show.
At that point, Glen Sims decided to investigate. A few days later he appeared on "Today" to tell America that he and his wife had finally claimed their million dollars.
Sims said, "From the time this has been going on, H & R Block explained to us they really wanted a happy ending to all this, and they were ecstatic that we finally
accepted the prize." God wants a similar ending as he offers salvation to every unbeliever.
• Are you running from God this morning? Are you sensing the Spirit of God speaking to you? Are you tired and weary yet?
WELL HERE is this tired & weary Onesimus, running from God, sitting with Paul, praying to commit his life to Jesus Christ.
• He gets saved just as many others did through Paul.