Summary: In our text, let’s take a look at Saul, the kind of man he was and how he came to accept Christ. Saul was: 1- A mean man 2- A humbled man 3- A new man 4- A preaching man
INTRO.- Did ever have a conversion experience? That is, being converted from the Cubs to the Cardinals? Or from Ford to Chevrolet? Or from McDonald’s to Burger King? Etc.
ILL.- After moving here over four years ago, I started visiting Brother Elmer Schilly, who at that time was in the nursing home at Lake City. It wasn’t long before he had to be moved to the Veteran’s hospital in Memphis. Jim Reed offered to drive one time so I would know the way. Jim had a 2000 Toyota Avalon at that time and I had a 2002 Ford Taurus. Jim said, “After riding in my Avalon you’ll throw rocks at your Taurus.”
I didn’t exactly do that but I did have a conversion experience. It was perhaps a year later that I bought a used Toyota Avalon and it was a good switch, a good conversion.
What we do with cars we also do with other things.
ILL.- What was that old 1960’s Tareyton cigarette commercial, “I’d rather fight than switch”? I switched entirely. I quit, but I never smoked that much in my life anyway. I got converted even before I was converted. I didn’t like smoking.
Sometimes, however, we’d rather fight than switch, depending on what you’re talking about.
ILL.- YOU MIGHT BE A SOUTHERN BAPTIST IF...
- If you think God is strongest in the back 3 pews.
- If you think fellowship and food go together.
- If you think Amazing Grace should be the National Anthem.
- If you dream of fried chicken and have the urge to get up and preach.
- If you judge the quality of the sermon by the amount of sweat on the preacher.
- If you get wet in the front two pews from spit.
- If you know all the words to "Just As I Am.”
ILL.- In years’ past, occasionally some person might have been referred to as a “dyed-in-the-wool Baptist.” What’s that mean? Originally it meant dyed before being woven into cloth. Today probably it means that they were born and bred that way and will die that way! There is no way they are going to switch churches.
In our text, we have an unusual conversion account. We have someone who did make a big switch in his life. That switch or conversion was from legalistic Judaism to loving Christianity.
Saul did everything he could to stamp out Christianity. He stood by and held the coats of those who stoned Stephen to death. He dragged Christian men and women out of their houses and put them in prison. He obviously hated Christians and Christianity….and yet he made the switch and became a follower of Christ. How did it happen? What happened?
PROP.- In our text, let’s take a look at Saul, the kind of man he was and how he came to accept Christ. Saul was:
1- A mean man
2- A humbled man
3- A new man
4- A preaching man
I. A MEAN MAN
How mean can a person be? Well, look at this way.
ILL.- Do you think someone would be mean if they said words like these to you?
- “Anyone who told you to be yourself couldn’t have given you worse advice.”
- “Calling you stupid would be an insult to stupid people.”
- “Did your parents ever ask you to run away from home?”
- “Go ahead, tell them everything you know. It’ll only take 10 seconds.”
- “How did you get here? Did someone leave your cage open?”
Some people can be pretty mean and especially, with their words.
Prov. 12:18 “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
ILL.- Do you remember the woman they called “the Queen of Mean?” Who was that? Hotel owner Leona Helmsley who passed away on August 27 of this year. One time during a tax-evasion case she was quoted as snarling, "only little people pay taxes.” She was rumored as mistreating her employees. Behind the scenes she was considered arrogant, prone to shouting and firing employees on the spot. And I think she was a mean woman.
Acts 9:1-2 “Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.”
Breathing our murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. I’d call that pretty mean, wouldn’t you?
What about you? Did you ever have a mean streak in you? Did you ever talk mean or act mean to anybody? If so, get over it! You are supposed to be in Christ, which means you are supposed to be better and getting even better.