Summary: Evangelistic Sermon - based out of Acts, the conversion of Saul
God Can Make the Vilest Sinner Clean
Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-22
Over the past month in our study of the book of James in both morning and evening services, we found out “How to Live the Christian Life” by looking to God through Faith and having patience and endurance through all of life’s different situations. In addition, James touched on if you are a Christian – there needs to be some evidence of it. This morning before we go into our Easter series of sermons, we go to the life of the Apostle Paul. As we will find out briefly, Paul was the tyrant of the city. If there were problems, he was in the middle of them. After listening the series on James, you may be thinking that I can’t live the life – it’s too hard. I’m not willing to give in to God and give Him my everything. Paul thought that to, until he met Jesus. Let’s read the Scripture passage.
I. Saul/Paul was one of the ring leaders of trouble for all carriers of the Gospel
a. 8:3 – He made havoc for the church, sent believers to prison
b. 9:1-2 – His desire was to bring all believers bound to Jerusalem, so that they may be tried and executed.
God was the farthest thing from the mind of Saul. His main desire was to bring harm to the cause of Christ. At this point in his life, he was the main emphasis and being legalistic was his life-line. However, he had another thing coming to open his eyes, literally.
II. Saul/Paul saw the light
a. The blinding light took him to his knees when the Lord spoke to Him and asked him “Why do you persecute me.”
b. Immediately, fear jumped into his bones – resistance immediately gathered in his soul as he said, “Who is speaking to me”
c. The Lord said, “I am Jesus, the one who you persecutest”
d. Notice what else the Lord says to him, “It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”
i. Let’s dig in for a minute. If you’ve ever studied the book of Acts, you’ll notice the work “Prick”. While Peter preached on the day of Pentecost and while Stephen was speaking, the people were “Pricked” at the heart. They were utterly convicted of their ways. Modern translations have omitted this sentence, due to the lack of understanding. However, this simply means – “Saul, it is hard for you to kick this conviction on your heart”
Let’s apply this to our lives. Some today may be convicted of sins and our walk with God. When conviction comes upon us, it makes life miserable. Sometimes we run with this conviction on our lives. Not only are we miserable, but everyone else around us is miserable as well. What is the reason for our nature to run? We have a free will choice to make. We either live for Christ and Christ Alone, or we live for self and the ways of the world. When conviction comes upon us, instead of making life miserable – watch and apply to what Saul/Paul does in the remainder of this passage.
III. Arise and Go
a. “Lord, what wilt you have me to do?” Arise and Go
b. Three days without sight and drink in Damascus.
c. Lord sends Ananias to further witness and commission Saul.
i. Note: the resistance of Ananias: “Lord, I don’t want to go witness and help this guy. He’s killed many of our good people.”
ii. God says: Go, He’s my man!
d. What happened, Saul immediately was given sight, was baptized and began preaching that Jesus was the Son of God.
e. When people heard him, they were amazed – he showed that his strength was not in himself, but that of Jesus Christ.
Today, all of us in the building – we have an opportunity to sign a contract, to be a worker for the greatest organization in the world. However, there are no words on this contract. The works and deeds of this contract are to be filled out by the owner of this organization. Would you sign this contract?
That’s what salvation is – God can use us, only when we get to the point of knowing that He is all that we need. There is no sense in being miserable and running from God’s call on your life to be saved, to be baptized, to preach, to do whatever He is leading you to do. God has a plan for each one us. It is His desire for each one of us to sign the contract and follow Him. However the choice is ours.
God changed Saul/Paul from being a killer of Christians, to a leader of Christians. He only changed Saul through Saul’s choice of saying, “What will you have me to do?”
Are you willing to say God, what do you want for me today? Remember, God can take the nastiest, vilest sinner in the world, and He can make you clean. He did it for Saul, He can do it for you!