Summary: God is not finished with us even though sin, rejection, complacency, hardships, and uncertainty have come into our lives.
God Is Not Finished with Us Yet
Based on a sermon outline by Dr. Ronald Meeks.
Scripture Ref: Acts 9:1-6, 19b-28; 11:25-26; 13:1-5; 23:11
Other Ref: The Bible Knowledge Commentary
a. Have you ever thrown your hands up in exasperation and said, “that’s it, I quit?”
b. Have you ever been so frustrated with somebody you were trying to help that you washed your hands of them?
c. Have you ever felt that God must surely want to say, when speaking of you, “that’s it, I’ve had enough?”
d. We have the assurance that He will not give up on us, that He will continue to work on us, to shape and mold us to His desired purpose for us.
e. Dr. Ronald Meeks, a Biblical Studies teacher at Blue Mountain Community College in Blue Mountain, MS, writes:
I have not had the opportunity to travel much, but several years ago my dad won a trip to Italy through his business and he asked me to go along. A highlight of the trip was visiting Florence, the great city of the Renaissance. One afternoon out of curiosity I went to a museum where the some works of Michelangelo were displayed. As we viewed the half-finished sculpture of St. Matthew the tour guide explained that this unfinished work was a prime example of Michelangelo’s philosophy of art. He believed that in a stone there was a figure or statue waiting to be released. The work of the artist was to free the statue from the stone. The statute was so lifelike that I thought any minute St. Matthew might just step out of that huge stone. As I looked at the half-finished statute, I could see that the artist had begun to free the statue but had not been able to complete it. The tour guide went on to explain that Michelangelo had numerous works he never finished.
As I thought about God’s work in us, I realized that God has begun a work in us to conform us to the image of Christ. However, unlike Michelangelo, God does not stop working in our lives until he finishes what he intends to accomplish. According to Philippians 1:6, God will finish what He has started; ultimately, God has no unfinished works of grace.
f. God will not be finished with us until we are in His presence. Until then, we are a continual work of grace.
2. God is not finished with us, though we may have sinned.
a. Paul, one of the greatest, if not the greatest, champions of Christ, did not start that way. He started as one of Christ’s greatest antagonists. Yet, Christ had a use for him.
b. Read Acts 9:1-6
(1) This passage is a critical juncture as Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor of Christ, is about to become Paul, the disciple of Christ.
(2) He had qualities that Christ wanted and could use:
(a) He knew the Jewish culture and language well.
(b) He knew the Greek culture and its philosophies.
(c) He had all the privileges of a Roman citizen.
(d) He was trained and skilled in Jewish theology.
(e) He had a worldly trade (tent maker) and could support himself.
(f) He possessed zeal, leadership qualities, and theological insight.
(3) Christ’s question “Why do you persecute me?” is significant. He doesn’t say “why do you persecute my church?”
(4) Christ’s question identifies the link between Him and the church. By persecuting the church, Paul was persecuting Christ.
c. If Paul could be forgiven of such a grave sin, and still be used as an instrument God, how can we believe that we cannot?
3. God is not finished with us, though we may have been rejected.
a. Have you lost friends or family members directly because of your faith?
b. Do you feel that because your friends and have family have rejected you (or the Christ you offer) that God must surely reject you too?
c. Christ’s disciples initially rejected Paul, but God wasn’t finished with him yet.
d. Read Acts 9:20-28
(1) Paul left Jerusalem a hardened enemy of Christianity to persecute the church in Damascus. However, through God’s grace, he instead preached the gospel to the very ones he had gone to persecute.
(2) So great was Paul’s reputation, the disciples did not believe him. They thought it was a ploy to trap them.
(3) Yet, God was not finished with him, though men had rejected him. Barnabas was the one who won over the other disciples and Paul ended up “preaching boldly” in the name of the Lord.
e. We may believe our rejection is a sign God has given up on us, but it is not.
4. God is not finished with us, though we may have found our comfort zone.