Summary: Jesus came to rescue us from this evil world – to do for us what we could never do ourselves. God’s grace alone can transform our lives.
GREAT GRACE AND FREEDOM #3: CAN A LEOPARD CHANGE HIS SPOTS?
INTRO TO TOPIC:
Speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, God says: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Neither can you start doing good, for you always do evil.” (Jeremiah 13:23).
• Can a leopard change his spots? The answer of course is no (young person on Facebook).
• In the same way, God says it is impossible for a bad, sinful person to start doing good.
• An addicted person can never find freedom, a liar can never become honest, a cheater can never become faithful, a drunkard can never become sober.
• Peter wrote: “They make these proverbs come true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and "A washed pig returns to the mud.” (2 Peter 2:22, NLT).
• Have you ever tried to break a bad habit? If so, you know how impossible that can be!
• That’s bad news! Is there any hope then? Well, that brings us to the book of Galatians…
“1 This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was not appointed by any group or by human authority. My call is from Jesus Christ himself and from God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead. 2 All the brothers and sisters here join me in sending greetings to the churches of Galatia. 3 May grace and peace be yours from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 He died for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live. 5 That is why all glory belongs to God through all the ages of eternity. Amen.” (Galatians 1:1-5, NLT).
• In the Book of Galatians, Paul shares the good news of the Gospel: Jesus died for our sins so that we could be forgiven by God. Our salvation is based on God’s grace ALONE.
THE BIG IDEA: Jesus came to rescue us from this evil world – to do for us what we could never do ourselves. God’s grace alone can transform our lives.
1. SAUL THE PERSECUTOR:
“11 Dear brothers and sisters, I solemnly assure you that the Good News of salvation which I preach is not based on mere human reasoning or logic. 12 For my message came by a direct revelation from Jesus Christ himself. No one else taught me. 13 You know what I was like when I followed the Jewish religion -- how I violently persecuted the Christians. I did my best to get rid of them. 14 I was one of the most religious Jews of my own age, and I tried as hard as possible to follow all the old traditions of my religion.” (Galatians 1:11-14, NLT).
• Saul was a Jewish Rabbi who was zealous in his religion and killed Christians for fun.
• None of the Christians would have ever believed that Saul would come to Christ.
• Do you know anyone like that? Never give up on anyone – there’s always hope!
• How did Saul the Persecutor ever become Paul the Believer?
2. SAUL THE BELIEVER:
“But then something happened! For it pleased God in his kindness to choose me and call me, even before I was born! What undeserved mercy!” (Galatians 1:15, NLT).