Summary: Can Jesus use my brokenness for any good?
• Suffering halts us too often. We hurt so we stop – not just physically, but emotionally and worse yet, spiritually.
• We struggle to see how we can continue to contribute to the work of God any longer. How does the work of God relate to the suffering soul?
• Paul shares his testimony of weakness versus God’s greatness.
1) God is always able to change our course and direction for His good.
A. Saul’s introduction to Jesus. Acts 9
• Acts 7 – we meet Saul at the stoning of Stephen – vs 58 calls him a young man.
• Acts 8:3 -- Saul began ravaging the church
• Acts 9:1-8 -- Jesus confronts a zealous, angry, young man. Quite the encounter. Bright lights,
thunderous voice, and Saul was stricken with blindness. From a leader of men to being led by the hand.
God can always instantaneously take charge of our situations.
• Interesting perspective on Saul’s calling by God – Acts 9:15,16 Jesus tells Ananias to go to Saul and
He reveals to Ananias that there was much suffering for Jesus’ name that Saul would endure.
• And the suffering began within days. The Jews started plotting to do away with Saul because he had
switched sides. From a persecutor of the church to a proclaimer of Jesus.
B. Missionary journeys start – Acts 13
• Saul and Barnabas were in Antioch, working with the church there.
• The Holy Spirit urged the church to set them apart on the work that He had designed for them
• Acts 13:9 – Luke changes his record of names from Saul to Paul, from then on as Paul.
• A lot of turmoil confronts Paul and Barnabas as they begin to spread the gospel, and the unbelief of the
Jewish community is astounding! Very caustic, and threatening. It becomes evident early on that the
message must go to the Gentiles to be received, so Paul does that. He speaks to the Gentiles, they
welcome the message gathering in large crowds to hear it, and the Jews become even more angry and
• The Jews aroused all the prominent people of the city of Pisidian Antioch and drove them out.
• A short time later, Paul and Barnabas were in Lystra healing and preaching Jesus, and in Acts14:9 the
Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and swayed the populous to stone Paul, drag him out of the city
and leave him to die on the road.
• “all the things he must suffer for my Name.”
C. One verse pause – the Galatian church is born
• Acts 16:6 -- God orchestrated interruption to Paul’s plans.
• At first it seems that God wanted him to wait until the vision came from God for the call to ultimately
preach in the Macedonian region. Or maybe the Asian people weren’t ready for the gospel yet, or the
persecution would be too severe. (How can you get worse than what it already was?)
• Did we just have a break in the journey? Did Paul take a vacation from preaching? Why did the Holy
Spirit stop Paul from going to Asia Minor at this time?
• Galatians 4:13,14 -- it seems that what Luke refers to as the Holy Spirit preventing, Paul refers to as a
bodily illness, a weakness.
• I don’t necessarily want to focus on Galatia’s reception of Paul and the gospel, but rather on the fact
that even in our weakness God can provide ways for the glorification of himself.
• Here was Paul, preaching and spreading the word of God, and God stopped the plans and said, “here,
preach to them.” Paul was sick, but because he continued to be the ambassador for Jesus, Luke referred
to it as the Holy Spirit prevent.
• It is so important in our times of pain that we understand the ultimate call of God in our lives. Don’t
forget the mission that He gave to us, you signed on when you were baptized into Him. That mission was
to seek and save the Lost. To bear witness of a risen Savior and returning King as Judge. Even when life
becomes shattered in your mind, the mission is still the same. God can use your time of weakness for His
good, and ultimately your good. The Galatian church bears witness to that.
2) Paul wasn’t super-human, or ultra-spiritual.
A. Paul got overwhelmed with his weakness.
• 2Corinthians 1:8,9
• Paul shows us his real humanity here. Giving us insight into the severity of his trials, whether it was
because of the illness referred to in Galatians or because of the persecution Paul and his companions
suffered in Ephesus. Either way there was a compounding of events that were affecting his resolve to