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Summary: This message introduces the apostle Paul.

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A Slave For Christ Part 9

Scriptures: Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-8; 10-17; Galatians 1:14;

Introduction:

This morning before I go into the heart of my message, I want to share something with you that is rather appalling. Most of you know that I do not always stay up on all of the latest happenings around the world, but when I read about this person I was shocked. You have probably heard about this story, but if you have not, I would like to get you opinion on it.

There was man who had been responsible for the abuse and even death of some people associated with a certain religion. He committed crimes against these people and got away with them because of who he was associated with. He was never arrested or tried for his crimes even though he directly or indirectly caused the pain, suffering, and deaths of a lot of people. Now here is where the story takes a change; the man accepted Christ and was saved. After accepting Christ he believed that he was called into the ministry and became a minister of the gospel. Here is my question for you: could you listen to this man deliver the Word of God? A man who had harmed so many people and got away with it? If one of your family members had been killed or harmed by this man, could you accept him now as a brother in Christ? Would you read his books and support his ministry? Could he be your pastor? What I am asking is if you could forgive him and accept him as a child of God and servant of Christ?

We judge people by their action; things that they have done in their past or might be doing currently. Even as they begin to make changes in their lives, sometimes their past behaviors are so outrageous that we cannot separate their past from their present. This is the case of the individual I am talking about right now. If I told you his name all of you would know him. This man grew up in a religious family; a very strict religious family. His religious upbringing led him into the role he played in the persecution of others. Does knowing that he committed his crimes because of his religious affiliation make you more willing to hear the word of God from him? Are you able to see him as a brother now that you know he had a religious background? I ask these questions because sometimes when we hear that someone’s actions were motivated by their religious beliefs we tend to accept and understand even if we do not agree with them. What about you?

Friday evening I was watching a show on TV with my daughter Clarissa. The name of the show was “What Would You Do?” If you’ve ever seen the show, you know that it exposes people to certain situations to see how they would respond. In this episode they wanted to see how people would respond to seeing someone stealing a bicycle. The first “thief” was a Caucasian male. As he was trying to steal the bike, people just walked by; even as he took out his bolt cutters; a saw; and finally an electrical saw to try and cut the chain. When one or two people asked him if the bike belonged to him he told them no and kept working and they just walked off. They estimated that close to 70 people passed by him trying to steal the bike without saying a word or calling the police. The second “thief” was an African American male. He had no sooner stooped down beside the bike when a crowd of people gathered around him and accused him of trying to steal it. They immediately called the police and even forcibly tried to stop him. This all happened within minutes of him getting there with his tools. The psychologist that was examining the whole situation explained that even though people try to hide their inner feelings, it is within them that black is negative and white is not. When the people were asked to explain their reactions to the skin color of the thieves they said the color of the skin did not matter, but it was obvious that it did. The third thief was an attractive Caucasian female dressed in tight blouse and some tight hot pants. The men who passed by her immediately stopped to help her. Even when she told them she was stealing the bike, they did not care. One man was there with his wife. His wife was suspicious and tried to get him to see what was going on and he totally ignored her. He helped her steal the bike even when she confessed to him that is what she was doing. His wife was livid; especially when they interviewed him and e could not explain his actions but to say “I’m a man!” The only person to call the police on the third thief was another woman. All of the men could care less about her stealing; they just wanted to help her because of the way she looked. You can guess what the psychologist said about that.


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