Summary: We need to be people who endure hard times by reading God’s Word, sharing Christ and being faithful to the end.
Come to Paul: one of the most amazing men who ever lived!
• I want you to know who Paul is and then you will understand him and what he is telling you.
• He wrote 13 Books of the New Testament so you need to get where he is coming from.
• At the end of his life he passionately begs all of us to do four things which we should never let go of.
1. Endure in the Hard Times
2. Read God’s Word
3. Share Christ
4. Stay Faithful to the End
Paul was born in Tarsus, a thriving city with a renowned educational system
• Born into the tribe of Benjamin
• Circumcised on the 8th day
• Grew up to be a Hebrew of Hebrews and a keeper of the law
• Educated in the School of Gamaliel in Jerusalem
o From his teenage years, he stood out and became well known throughout the Jewish community.
o It was about this time, another 12 year old astounded the Jewish leaders, his name was Jesus.
• Paul’s father was a Pharisee and he became a Pharisee
• At this point, Paul began to rise above all of his contemporaries
It was out of this background that He came to hate Jesus and the Church!
• Acts 26:9-11 (NASB)
9 "So then, I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
10 "And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being put to death I cast my vote against them.
11 "And as I punished them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and being furiously enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to foreign cities.
• Persecuted the Church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it (Gal. 1:13)
But then it all changed… in 34 AD (4 years after the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ).
Paul’s defining moment.
Acts 9:1-9 (NASB)
1 Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest,
2 and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
3 As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him;
4 and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?"
5 And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" And He said, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,
6 but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do."
7 The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.
8 Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus.
9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
God then sent Ananias to him.
• Paul is healed and is baptized
Paul’s conversion is so incredible it gives Credibility to the reality of Christ and Christianity.
• He had nothing to gain and everything to loose by converting.
• He would give up Power, Popularity, Position and Prominence.
o For nothing and in the end He would be tortured and killed.
Paul’s is given by God a purpose and a calling.
Acts 26:14-18 (NASB)
14 "And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'
15 "And I said, 'Who are You, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.
16 ~'But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you;
17 rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you,
18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.'
It is hard to kick against the goads
• Goad: is a spiked stick used for driving cattle or oxen.