Summary: God saved Paul so Paul could serve God. God will do great things through those he saves.
"I Am What I Am"
September 7, 2003 Chester’s First Baptist Church, Chester, Illinois
I Cor. 15:8-10 Mike Fogerson, Speaker
A Have a video tape of "Popeye" saying his famous line, "I Am What I Am."
B Our lesson today is entitled, "I Am What I Am"
a This may be a line made famous in popular culture by Popeye, but that squinty eyed sailor copied it from a part-time tent maker named Paul.
b *Historical & Contextual Background
Paul was being criticized by Judizers for being a lesser apostle than Jesus’ original 12.
Paul spent a good deal of his life persecuting God’s people, church, & community.
One day while Paul was traveling to Damascus, Jesus appeared to him.
I Cor. 15:8-10 (NIV)
 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.  For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
C God saved Paul so Paul could serve God. (ETS)
a God will do great things through those who saves. (ESS)
b I hope you will allow God to do great things through you. (Objective)
c How does God chose who will use to do great things through? (P.Q.)
T.S.: Lets look at two distinctives that a person that God chooses to do great things through may likely posses.
I The first distinctive of the person who God chooses to do great things through is. . .THEY CHASE AFTER GOD.
1 Paul came to know Jesus differently than the other apostles.
A The 12 disciples knew Jesus, ate with him, heard him preach, saw him heal, feed five thousand with a few fish sticks & biscuits.
a Peter, James, John, Philip (and the rest) had front row seats with Jesus’ ministry. (Legitimate, proud starts/beginnings)
b  and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.  For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle,. . .
NIV "Abnormally born", NAS "Untimely born", KJV "one born out of due time", NCV "Not born at a normal time"
Grk: Abortive, premature birth. . .snatched out. What did God snatch Paul out of? The same thing he snatches all of us out of, sin.
*Paul says he was the "least of the apostles." I disagree. Jesus had an old boy form the IRS on staff. To me, Matthew would have been "the least of the apostles."
B Paul’s sin was chasing after God’s church. (9b . . .because I persecuted the church of God.)
a Paul hunted down Christians and put them in prison. (ref. Acts 8:3)
b Paul chased down God’s church and by default God himself.
2 God can do great things through men/women/students who chase after him.
A You do not have to come from a family of saints, preachers, or choir directors in order for God to do great things through you.
a You may be the first in your family to fall in love with Jesus. He can use you!
b You may have spend more time. . .
on a barstool than a church pew, God can use you.
reading Playboy than reading the Pauline epistles, God can use you.