Summary: Paul’s life was full of ups and downs: He was a proud man, a humbled man and a new man.
LIFE’S UPS AND DOWNS
INTRO.- ILL.- At a commuter train station a policeman noticed a woman driver leaning over her steering wheel in evident discomfort. "Is there anything wrong?" asked the police officer.
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!"
That’s about the way life goes at times, doesn’t it? Win some, lose some. Some days you win and some days you lose. And perhaps, big time.
ILL.- It’s kind of like the G.I. at the rifle tournament. After the competition was over, the young G.I. was really depressed over his poor performance. He turned in his card to the sergeant, and remarked, "Man, I feel like shooting myself."
The sergeant looked at his card and said, "BETTER TAKE TWO BULLETS."
Sometimes life can be so bad that we just want to do ourselves in, so to speak. But some people have such a hard time in life that they couldn’t even hang themselves if they tried.
Life is definitely is full of ups and downs.
ILL.- Preacher Warren Weirsbe has a couple of interesting books entitled, "The Bumps Are What You Climb On" and "Turning Mountains into Molehills."
We all have our "bumps" in life or our "mountains."
ILL.- A little boy was leading his sister up a mountain path and the path was not easy. The sister complained, "Why, this isn’t a path at all. It’s all rocky and bumpy." And her brother, being something of an optimist replied, "Sure, the bumps are what you climb on."
We all have our "bumps" in life. But the point is this: WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THEM? Complain about them or climb over them?
ILL.- One time Charlie Brown complained because his ball team lost all the time. Lucy said to him, "Charlie Brown, you learn more from your defeats than you do from your victories."
Charlie Brown replied, "THAT MUST MAKE ME THE SMARTEST MAN IN THE WORLD!"
We all get defeated. And hopefully, we do learn from our defeats. We should get smarter as time goes on.
The apostle Paul was no different. He experienced good times and bad. Up times and down times. But Paul’s down times often led him to greater things in life.
PROP.- Our text in Acts 9 gives us a look at Paul’s up and down life and how he came out a better, smarter man.
1- He was a proud man
2- He was a humbled man
3- He was a new man
I. HE WAS A PROUD MAN
V. 1 "Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples..."
Saul, who later became Paul, was a man of authority. A proud man of authority.
ILL.- A woman said to a police officer, "Oh, officer, officer! A man is following me and I think he is crazy!" The officer replied, "I think he is too."
Some people are sold on themselves, but others might think they are a bit crazy. I’ve seen a few people in my time who were so arrogant that I just knew they were crazy.
ILL.- Remember Ex-heavyweight boxing champ of the world, Mike Tyson? At one time he was one of the best, if not "the best" heavyweight there was. And he knew it too. He used to brag, "Nobody can beat me." But then he would turn around abuse women. I THINK MOST PEOPLE THOUGHT HE WAS CRAZY.
He was crazy in another way. I remember some years ago when they showed him on national TV being baptized by immersion in some Baptist Church with Jessie Jackson standing in front of the baptistry. I thought, "That’s great! Mike Tyson is becoming a Christian." Then a few years later he denounced Christianity for the Muslim religion. CRAZY, PRIDEFUL MAN!
At one time, Paul was something of a crazy, prideful man. Hating Christians, persecuting them, etc. Thinking he was indeed better than most people and very proud of his own past.
In Acts 22 he gave a sketch of his life. He said, "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia." Tarsus was one of the three great university cities in that day. That was probably like saying, "I grew up in Boston" or "I grew up in Berkely."
Paul was probably proud of his intellect. He could go to Athens and debate the intellectuals. He could go to Corinth and speak the language of the Hedonists. He could go to Jerusalem and debate with the theologians. He could get on board a ship and discuss weather and navigation with the captain.
ILL.- One time preacher John Wesley received a note from a self-made and self-appointed preacher. He wrote, "The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book learning, your Greek and your Hebrew."