Summary: Whether you realize it or not, you have an appointment with the extraordinary grace of God.
Romans 5:1-2, 20-21
Webster: Grace – in theology: the free unmerited love and favor of God.
Both of these passages were written by Paul, formerly Saul of Tarsus
I. Saul of Tarsus
A. Free-born Roman citizen - also a Hebrew (Benjamite)
B. From the great city of Tarsus
C. Pharisee - Member of the Sanhedrin court
D. At age 13, he began to study under Gamaliel in Jerusalem
1. Saul became familiar with outward observances of law
2. He learned the ceremonies – what the law required- “spirit of bondage”
E. Saul present at Stephen’s martyrdom- held coats of the mob, “consenting”
F. Began a systematic persecution of Christians
1. In a frenzy of religious fever, he went searching from house to house
2. Caused beatings, imprisonment, deaths
G. His persecutions caused Christians to scatter, spreading the Gospel
1. Saul was determined to follow and stamp out Christianity
2. Some of the greatest injustices in history have been done in the name of religion
3. Christianity was a threat to Saul’s Judaism
4. His campaign led Saul towards Damascus
H. Saul was evil, full of pride and arrogance – “breathing out threatening and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord”
1. 1 Timothy 1:15 – Paul says he was “chief” among sinners
2. He was the worst! His heart was hardened to the point of “atrocities”
a. He caused men, women and children to be bound, imprisoned, and slain simply because they were Christians
b. He hated the Christians, he hated their story about Jesus whom they claimed to be the Messiah, he hated everything about them
I. But Saul of Tarsus, this extraordinary sinner, full of pride and arrogance, full of hate and evil intentions, this man Saul of Tarsus had an appointment with extraordinary grace!
1. Acts 9 – As he neared Damascus, a blinding light shone around him, and he fell to the ground. A voice said, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?”
2. “Who art thou, Lord?” “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest . It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”
J. For Saul of Tarsus, this extraordinary sinner, Jesus Christ stepped in and offered extraordinary grace!
1. No wonder Paul could write so much about grace – he was an expert on the law but he had received and experienced an massive amount of extraordinary grace
2. He was the perfect person to write about grace!
II. The End Of Luke Chapter 7, Tells Us Of A Sinful Woman
A. Jesus has gone to eat at the house of a Pharisee named Simon
B. No water to wash His feet, no oil to anoint His head, no kiss of greeting
C. Yet a sinful woman came weeping, washed his feet with her tears, dried his feet with her hair, kissed feet and anointed them with ointment
D. Pharisees said – “If He was a Prophet, He would know who’s touching Him!”
E. Jesus told parable of two debtors – one owed 500 pence, the other 50 pence
F. Sinful woman was an extraordinary sinner, but Jesus Christ extended extraordinary grace – because she was forgiven much, she loved much
G. This woman had an appointment with extraordinary grace, and she was forgiven much, I was forgiven much, the Apostle Paul was forgiven much, and so were you! Paul was the perfect person to write about grace! So the Apostle Paul wrote of grace, God’s extraordinary grace which saved him
III. We All Know The Story Of Paul’s Effectiveness For The Cause Of Christ
A. His three missionary journeys, his wonderful revivals, the authorship of the Pauline epistles, his discipleship of Timothy, the list goes on and on…..
B. But in the midst of this wonderful ministry, an infirmity was placed in Paul’s life
C. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 tells us he prayed 3 times for it to be removed
1. Infirmity not named – headaches, bad eyesight, limp, hunch-backed???
2. Paul wanted immediate deliverance – he considered it a hindrance
3. He prayed – nothing happened – not even an answer
a. Not all infirmities are caused by sin
b. Paul was living an overcoming life – powerful ministry – nothing wrong
4. Paul prayed a second time – still no answer
a. This from a man whose praises could shake a jail and loose chains
b. Girl possessed by demons followed him around “many days.” “I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” With one sentence he cast the demon out
c. When a viper fastened on his hand, he simply shook it off into the fire
d. You don’t think he had power with God? – yet no answer
5. Paul prayed one more time – and God finally answered him
a. But it wasn’t the answer Paul wanted