Summary: Tne calling of Paul shows us that Christians have a new status to celebrate - as God’s chosen instruments; A new service to carry out - chosen to carry his name; And a new suffering confront – chosen to serve despite the difficulties.
You have been saved to serve. Every Believer can live out their potential by accepting their responsibility to serve. There are three responsibilities ...
1. A NEW STATUS TO CELEBRATE (v15a)
In the movie “The Freshman” Matthew Broderick plays the part of Clark Kellogg. He travels to New York to study and in the process is robbed. The robbery begins a journey into the Mafia underworld and Broderick finds himself entangled in an illegal exotic live animal smuggling ring. He had no intention of being there, but has no way out. Then Tina, a mobsters daughter, tells him that the robbery was not random. That her father, played by Marlin Brando, chose Broderick before he moved to New York. He was hand-picked to become a part of their mob family.
Now being a part of God’s family has no similarity to being in the Godfather’s family! (i.e. the Mafia). But the sentiment in this part of the movie reflects what is true about God’s selection process.
God chose each of his children to be a part of his family – a spiritual and eternal family.
a. Christ decided for us, we did not decide for Christ.
We see this at work in Saul’s life. What caused Saul to turn around and follow Jesus? Here he was – a Pharisee zealous to capture and imprison Christians, and traveling around Israel doing just that. Now he has all the sudden turned around and heading in completely the opposite direction. What caused this change?
Well, as we read in Chapter 9, Jesus intervened in his life in a significant way on the road to Damascus. We might expect that the Lord might zap Saul and wipe him out for all the cruelty he had dished out to the church. Saul deserved punishment. But instead the Lord is kind to him. Jesus appears to Saul and challenges him about his life and spares him.
The Lord also spoke to Ananias in a vision saying that Saul was his “chosen instrument” (v15a). A little bit like Marlin Barndo and Matthew Broderick in “The Freshman.”
What we learn here is that Saul did not “decide for Christ,” as we might say. It was just the opposite – Saul was deciding against Christ and persecuting his church. No – what we learn is that it was Christ who decided for Saul!
This was not the first time Jesus had spoken to Saul. Earlier the Lord had said to him, “It is hard for you to kick against the goads” (Acts 26:14). This was a Greek proverb and it means, “Resistance is useless.” The Lord had chosen Saul and Saul could do nothing to stop it.
What a wonderful and affirming place to be in our spirit when we consider that the Lord chooses us and we can do nothing to stop him.
In fact the Lord had your salvation in mind before the beginning of time. In 2 Timothy Saul explains that he was “Chosen before the beginning of time” (2 Timothy 1:8-9). And that the Lord had a plan for his life right from the day he was born. Galatians 1:15 says he was “Set apart from birth.” And what was true in Saul’s experience is true for every Believer - - - Chosen by Jesus and nothing can stop it; chosen before the beginning of time, and set apart for a purpose from the day we were born.
So what difference should this truth make to us?
Well, this new status as a child chosen by God before the beginning of time, and set apart for him from birth – brings some responsibilities.
First, I don’t know about you, but this truth motivates me to worship God. i.e. Worship in the broad (correct) sense that everyone is worshipping God by using their gifts to serve him to the best of their ability. Worship = showing God his worth – what he means to us. We do that by using the gifts he has given us.
Paul worshipped after his meeting with Jesus on the Damascus road. He was blinded, so he couldn’t do much practically speaking, he had to be lead by the hand to Damascus – but v11 tells us he was doing everything he could – praying!
Our responsibility is to use our unique gifts with confidence – he has chosen us, this should give us confidence.
Think, “God chose me to be in this marriage, family, workplace, street, footy team, church etc. I am his chosen instrument in this situation.”
So God will achieve marvelous and wonderful things because of us as we confidently use the unique gifts he has given us as his children. Our first responsibility is to live according to the new status the Lord has granted us.