Summary: Conversion of St. Paul: God changed Paul from a persecutor of the Church to the great Apostle to the Gentiles. In the same way God changes us from the inside out.
Name that Tune! That was the title of the TV game show where the contestants would try to identify a melody in the least number of notes. Contestants would try outbid each other by saying, “I can name that tune in 5 notes.” The opponent would respond by saying, “Well I can name that tune in 4 notes.” The bidding would go on until one contestant, rather than bidding lower, would say: “Ok, name that tune.”
I’d like for us to engage in a similar sort of game today. Let’s call it, ’Name that Person!’ I’ll give you a clue about a Bible personage and then say, “Name that person!” You all just call out the name of the individual that you think I’m talking about:
• Described self as: “I’m like an aborted fetus who was given life.” (1 Corinthinas 15:8) – Name that person. (answer Paul or Saul)
• Said, “I am less than the least of all God’s people.” (Ephesians 3:8) – Name that person. (answer Paul or Saul)
• Lamented, “I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.” (Romans 7:14) – Name that person. (answer Paul or Saul)
• Grieved, “I know that nothing good lives in me.” (Romans 7:18) – Name that person. (answer Paul or Saul)
• Was sorrowful because, “For what I want to do that I do not do, but what I hate, I do.” (Romans 7:15) – Name that person. (answer Paul or Saul)
• Described as a person who, “[Breathed] murder and threats against the disciples of the Lord.” (Acts 1:1) – Name that person. (answer Paul or Saul)
• Began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison. (Acts 8:3) – Name that person. (answer Paul or Saul)
• Approved of the murder of the first person martyred in the Church. (Acts 8:1) – Name that person. (answer Paul or Saul)
My goodness, Paul was a really bad egg – a nasty person, wasn’t he? He did some mighty evil things against Christ’s Church. But listen, there is just one more clue that I want you to respond to… here it is:
• God described this person as, “…A chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.” (Acts 9:15) – Name that person. (answer Paul or Saul)
Wait a minute! How can this be? We’re talking about the same person here - Paul. How can an aborted fetus, someone who is less than the least of all God’s people, an unspiritual, slave to sin, a destroyer of the church, a murderer of Christians be the very same one whom God call, “My chosen instrument?”
Mom wanted to put her 10 year-old to the test. And so she asks the little girl that age-old question: “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” Without skipping a beat the little girl immediately responded, “Why the chicken, silly.” The mother, intrigued at how the daughter could so quickly answer asked the little girl: “Well, why do you say that the chicken came first?” The little girl answered, “Mom! God doesn’t lay eggs.”
At a commuter train station a policeman noticed a woman leaning over the steering wheel of her car. She was in evident discomfort. So the police walked up to the car and asked, “Is there anything wrong?” Half crying and half laughing, the woman replied, “For ten years I have driven my husband to this station to catch the train. This morning I forgot him.” Talk about laying an egg, huh? (adapted from an illustration in a sermon by Steve Shepherd on SermonCentral.com) We lay eggs sometimes, but God doesn’t.
Here’s another little story: A soldier at the rifle range was working hard to qualify as a marksman. But he was having a terrible day. The young G.I. was really depressed over his poor performance. When he turned in his score card to the sergeant, he said, “Man, I feel like shooting myself.” The sergeant looking at the terrible score on the young soldier’s card said, “Son, you’d better take two bullets.” Laying an egg can happen to anybody – even a person in a uniform. (adapted from an illustration in a sermon by Steve Shepherd on SermonCentral.com)
Life is definitely full of ups and downs. We enjoy the thrill when things are going well – that part is easy. But when things aren’t going so hot, when we lay enough eggs to keep us in omelets for a lifetime, why that’s a horse of a different color, isn’t it? It’s at that time that we feel like God really laid an ‘egg’ – and it’s me! Why wasn’t I born taller or faster or smarter or slimmer or cuter. Why can’t I make ends meet? Why is it that when my checking account is running out that there’s still so much of the month left. Why am I sick? Why did death bring its icy touch into my life?