Summary: This sermon fits the Halloween season, but it can be used any time of the year as well. It includes the true story of Sarah Winchester.
How To Conquer GUILT
1 Timothy 1: 12-17
12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,
13although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
14And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
15This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
16However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.
17Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
Wednesday is Halloween.
How many believe in ghosts!
Today, I'm going to tell you a ghost story!
Sarah was rich.
She had inherited $20 million dollars.
Plus she had an additional income of $1,000 a day.
That's a lot of money today,
but it was enormous back in the late 1800s.
Sarah was well known.
She was the belle of New Haven, Connecticut.
No social event was complete without her presence.
No one hosted a party without inviting her.
Sarah was powerful.
Her name and money would open almost any door in America.
Colleges wanted her donations.
Politicians wanted her endorsement.
Organizations sought her support.
Sarah was rich. Well known. Powerful.
Her only daughter died at 5 weeks of age.
Then her husband passed away.
She was left alone with her name,
her money, her memories, ... and her guilt.
POINT #1.WE ARE GUILTY PEOPLE
1 Timothy 1:12-13 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,
13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
Many people believe that most people are "basically good."
Listen to what God's Word says in ROMANS 3: 10-18:
10 As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; 11There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one." 13 Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit"; "The poison of asps is under their lips"; 14 "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness." 15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16Destruction and misery are in their ways; 17 And the way of peace they have not known." 18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes."
In our Bible text this morning...
the Apostle Paul is thankful for the calling God placed upon him.
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,
But Verse 13 shows us that he feels some guilt about his past.
He had laughed at the teachings of Jesus.
Paul who was known then as Saul...
hunted down and murdered God's people.
ACTS 8:3 says: As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.
ACTS 26: 9-11 says: Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.
 I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.  Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.  And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.
Then according to Acts Chapter 9...
Paul was walking down the Road to Damascus.
And Saul became Paul...a follower of Jesus Christ!
God forgave Paul and used him mightily for his Kingdom.
1 Corinthians 15:9-10 says:
For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.