Summary: We all can learn from Biblical characters/scoundrels because they were all thoroughly changed when they encountered God. From the example of Paul we can see how God can change and use us to be "High-Impact People" for Him.
"Paul: A High Impact Person, Moving From Success to Significance"
Remember when you were young, pretending to be someone you admired? I always did this when I played sports. Neighborhood kids would get together, and after we would choose sides, we would then get to pick "who we would be." Guys, remember doing this?
When we played baseball, I was Lou Brock. When I played basketball, I was Dr. J. When we played football, I was anybody from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Kids still do this. There is even a TV commercial w/ MJ that has a jingle that says, "Like Mike, I want to be like Mike."
I suppose aspiring musicians do this, with musicians they admire.
I asked my wife if she ever did this, and she said she and her friends were they Charlie’s Angels and they would all want to be Farra Faucet.
The reason we did this is because we wanted to be like them. We wanted to play like they played. We wanted to look like they look.
We knew as kids something we often forget as adults -- we learn by modeling others. We can be a better "whatever it is" by modeling someone we admire.
That’s what we are going to try to do today as we start our new sermon series focusing on characters in the Bible. This series is called "High-Impact People."
Doing character studies from the Bible is interesting because the Bible is full of scoundrels. God has largely worked through people who were to one degree or another, cowards, drunks, murders, adulterers, thieves, idolaters, racists, cheaters, liars, etc.
But we all can learn from these people because they were all thoroughly changed when they encountered God. And from the example of their lives, we can see how God can change and use us to be "High-Impact People" for Him.
This morning we will be looking at the Apostle Paul. Paul was a man who was an extremely successful and powerful person. He was a driven person with a type A personality. He had climbed to the top of societies ladder and was highly spoken of, but when he let Jesus take a hold of his life, he threw it all away and as a result, changed the world.
Before investigating the secret to Paul’s significance, it its important to know who Paul was & why it can matter to us today.
I. WHO WAS PAUL, AND WHY SHOULD WE CARE?
Please turn to the back of your bulletins to see the outline of today’s message. There are pencils in the pews if you need them to fill in the blanks.
He was a CONTEMPORARY of Jesus.
Paul was alive at the same time of Jesus. It appears he was a few years younger than Jesus. He was probably about my age, when Jesus was killed (a real young looking about to be 30 year old). Because Paul and Jesus were living in Jerusalem at the same time, Paul most have known about Jesus, but there is no evidence that they ever met while Jesus was on earth.
He was an ENEMY of Jesus.
After Jesus rose from the dead, he was on Earth another 40 days appearing to over 500 people. Before Jesus went into heaven, he promised to give his Spirit to all who believed in Him. A few days latter (on a day called Pentecost) His Spirit was given to 120 believers. That was the day Christianity was born. Jesus’ followers hit the streets with a bold new style, and 3,000 joined up on the first day alone.
Paul hated these people who followed Jesus. He believed they were heretics. In fact, the first time the Bible mentions Paul (in Acts 7) he is overseeing the first murder of a Christian, named Stephen.
Paul became a fierce bounty hunter of Christians, going throughout the land having Christians arrested and killed. Though there were already thousands of Christians, the church was still in its infancy, and Paul was determined to take advantage of his opportunity to strangle the church while it was still in its cradle.
He was the most feared man among Christians.
He was a CONVERT of Jesus.
Acts 9 tells us that on the way to a town called Damascus to capture Christians, a light from heaven flashed around Paul. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" (Saul was Paul’s Hebrew name). "Who are you Lord?" "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting."
Go into the city and you will be told what to do.
Blind for 3 days. Ananias came, filled with HS, could see, was baptized.
It seems we have to be in a crisis, before we really let God take control of our lives. We have to be down in the pit before we will look up to him.