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.
playing the field than praying to the father, God can use you.
B Chasing God means you are seeking him.
a Word (Read the book), Worship (Public & Private), Want Him (Lust/Passion)
b You either chose to chase God or you chose to chase the world. (What ever you chose to chase is your choice.)
3 God uses those who chase him!
a The Australian coat of arms pictures two creatures--the emu, a flightless bird, and the kangaroo. The animals were chosen because they share a characteristic that appealed to the Australian citizens. Both the emu and kangaroo can move only forward, not back. The emu’s three-toed foot causes it to fall if it tries to go backwards, and the kangaroo is prevented from moving in reverse by its large tail.
Those who truly choose to follow Jesus become like the emu and kangaroo, moving only forward, never back (Luke 9:62).
b Chasing God means we are constantly moving forward to pursue him. God uses those people who chase him!
II The second distinctive of the person who God chooses to do great things through is. . .THEY CHANGE AFTER THEY’VE CAUGHT HIM.
1 Once Paul caught God, he was never the same again. (v.10a) But by the grace of God I am WHAT I am,. . .