Summary: The sermon hightlights the conversion of Saul who was gloriously and miraculously changed by the power of God.
Subject: “An Extreme Makeover” A Week in the Life of Saul
Text: Acts 19:1-19
Have you ever watch the show called Extreme Makeover? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live through one of those before and after situations? The show normally begins with someone who is dissatisfied with their looks and then several doctors, exercise gurus and fashion experts get a hold of you. And after a few weeks, voila! The person has been changed into someone stunningly beauty in the eyes of the world. When it comes right down to it, there are no easy answers to getting the change we desire in our lives. Even on these shows – it involves operations and changes in exercise, diet and clothing habits.
Many times what keeps us from changing is our own stubbornness, laziness, arrogance and sometimes ignorance about what needs to be done. At other times, we are confronted with things that we cannot possible change alone. As a child of God, I have discovered that there are some things I don’t have the ability to change. We are not an independent people. We are dependent. I know we have been told we can do anything we put our mind to. It sounds nice, but without the help of God we can do nothing lasting and beneficial.
In Acts 19, Saul of Tarsus needs an extreme makeover. It is good to know that God is an expert when it comes to transformation. In fact, over and over again, He has shown that He can change that which seems impossible. Most of us are familiar with the conversion of Saul. After the death of Stephen, the Bible said, that Saul made havoc in the church. He literally waged war on the church and any person who supported the church. The word havoc in the Greek, is described as “a wild hog viciously uprooting a vineyard.”
How did Saul become such as evil force against the church? Saul was probably named after King Saul, he was of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, a free born Jew, circumcised the eight day, educated in the local synagogue and trained at the feet of Gamaliel. He was preparing to serve a Pharisee. To the best of his ability, he kept the Law and upheld the Jewish traditions. Saul perceived the new way as a threat to the Jewish way of life. He was zealous to stop it’s influence at all cost.
Saul needed an extreme makeover because of his lack of knowledge. Zeal plus Ignorance equals Chaos! Saul could only experience an extreme makeover through an encounter with Christ.
1. An Extreme Makeover Is Needed Because of the Lack of Knowledge Ho 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
Ac 9:1,2 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
Zeal plus ignorance equals chaos. Most people are down on what they are not up on! Paul was so zealous for the Jewish belief that he began a campaign of persecution against anyone, anywhere who believed in Jesus. He even convinced the Jewish authorities to give him a Letter of Authority to stamp that movement anywhere he found. He takes his attack to Damascus, the trade center and crossroad of the known world, believing that if he could crush it here, he could stop the spread of Christianity. But the truth of the matter was, Saul was not fighting for God as he believed, He was fighting against God. We need a makeover anytime we are fighting for what God is against or we are fighting against what God is fighting for! Remember the words of Saul’s mentor and teacher, Gamaliel, “Ac 5:38-39 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
2. An Extreme Makeover Can Only Be Experienced By A Divine Encounter
Ac 9:3-5 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.