Summary: In our text, Paul rehearses his background, conversion and future. 1- I was 2- I did 3- I will

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INTRO.- I was, I did, I will. I’d call those: past, present and future. Everyone has these.

ILL.- One man said to his friend: "Say, you look depressed. What are you thinking about?" "My future," was the quick answer. "What makes it look so hopeless?" "My past."

What’s the application or moral of the story? Some people just can’t seem to overcome their past no matter how hard they try. And without the Lord, no one can overcome their past: good, bad or otherwise! And a person has to overcome any kind of negative past in order to make progress in the future.

ILL.- Preacher Warren Wiersbe said, "Do not say, "Why were the old days better than these?" You do not move ahead by constantly looking in a rear view mirror. The past is a rudder to guide you, not an anchor to drag you. We must learn from the past but not live in the past."

But what do we learn from our past? Hopefully, we learn what to do and what not to do.

ILL.- Harry S. Truman said in 1948, "Men who live in the past remind me of a toy I’m sure all of you have seen. The toy is a small wooden bird called the ’Floogie Bird.’ Around the Floogie Bird’s neck is a label reading, "I fly backwards, I don’t care where I’m going. I just want to see where I’ve been."

I’ve never heard of a Floogie Bird and I sure don’t want to dwell or stay in the past. I’ve had some good days but I’ve also had some bad days and I don’t want to stay there. I want to look to the future and do better, go higher, do more, and seek the Lord as never before.


I’m pressing on the upward way

New heights I’m gaining every day

Still praying as I’m onward bound

Lord, plant my feet on higher ground

Lord, lift me up and let me stand

by faith on Heaven’s table land

A higher plain than I have found

Lord, plant my feet on higher ground

My heart has no desire to stay

where doubts arise and fears dismay

Though some may dwell where these abound

my prayer, my aim, is higher ground

Higher ground in Christ should be our prayer, our aim in life!

PROP.- In our text, Paul rehearses his background, conversion and future. 1- I was 2- I did 3- I will


3"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. 4I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison.

ILL.- Someone said, “People who live in the past are doomed to failure in the future.” Living in the past (even a good past) can taint your future if you’re not careful.

Paul said, "I was a Jew, born in Tarsus. I was trained in the law. I was zealous for God."

Paul looked back. Paul had both a good and a negative past. The good was the fact that he was zealous for God even though he didn’t truly know God. He basically only knew the law.

And we need to remember that people can know ’about’ God but still not know Him personally. We come to know Him through our relationship to Jesus.

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Don Jones

commented on Jul 25, 2008

Outstanding sermon, again. Thank you,

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