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Summary: Paul's live exemplifies the power of the Gospel

PAUL: A CHOSEN VESSEL BY THE GOSPEL

Text: Acts 9:1-18

Scripture Reading: Romans 1:16

INTRODUCTION

1. All things gain power from a higher power

a. Police from the local government

b. Local governments from the state

c. State from federal

d. Federal from the people

2. The Gospel has power in it

a. It derives its power from the highest source

b. It's power is directly from God

3. The greatest power it has is that of conversion

a. Conversion is a change of life

b. And salvation of lost sinners

4. Paul is an example of conversion that intrigues many

a. He advances in the Gospel

b. He adheres to the Gospel

c. He has adversity because of the Gospel

5. Paul shows us how to convert to Christ through the Gospel

TRANSITION: First notice His:

I. Advancement

A. Paul advances in faith through the Gospel

1. He already had faith in God the Father through Judaism

2. He lacked faith in Jesus Christ as His Son

3. The Gospel adds what is missing

B. Follow his advancement

1. Acts 9:5, "And he said, "Who are You, Lord?"

a. "Lord" is a term of respect not directly divine

b. The Greek term "Kurios" often meant "sir"

c. 1 Peter 3:6 says that Sarah called Abraham Kurios, not lord but sir

d. He understood the voice was authority, he did not recognize it as God yet

2. Acts 9:20, "Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God"

a. He proclaims Jesus is the Son of God

b. His understanding has grown, he is advancing in knowledge

c. It's not fully developed, but he sees the divinity of Jesus now

3. Acts 9:22, "But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ

a. Now to fuller knowledge, he increased all the more in strength

b. Now he calls Jesus the Christ

c. "Christ" is the Greek word for the Hebrew "Messiah"

d. Now he fully understands who Jesus is

e. He knows Jesus is the answer to the plea of the Old Testament

C. From V. 5 to V. 22 Paul experiences course correction

1. Before he denied Jesus as anything but an imposter

2. He learns more about Jesus through Ananias

3. The teaching of the Gospel converted him

a. From tormentor of Christ to teacher of His truth

b. From lost in sin to saved by the blood of Christ which he persecuted

D. Paul advanced in the Gospel

TRANSITION: Notice too His:

II. Adherence

A. Some claim it is just sincerity that matters

1. If I am sincere in what I believe then I am OK

a. Many a false doctrine has been accepted with good intentions

b. Many a sincere person has gone headlong into destruction

c. Is sincerity all that God desires from us?

2. Paul's life contradicts that notion that a sincere effort is all that matters

B. Paul was sincere, he was a devout Pharisee

1. 1 Timothy 1:3, "I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience"

a. When persecuting the church Paul's conscience was clear

b. He believed sincerely that he was right to do what he was doing

c. It was right in his eyes to persecute those of "The Way"

d. He was zealous in his wrong beliefs

2. Paul was devoted

a. Even in Damascus he fasted

b. Fasting was to allow time to pray

c. When you fasted you were to pray at times in which you would normally participate in what you had given up

d. He gave up food so that he had more time to pray to God

C. Was his praying enough?

1. Cornelius was a praying man

a. Acts 10:2 says he prayed continually

b. He gave many alms to the Jews

c. He feared God with all his household

d. But he was not saved

e. But needed Peter to tell him what to do

2. Paul was a prayer

a. He prayed through meals for 3 days

b. But needed Ananias to tell him what he must do

3. Both instances ended with the same result

a. Acts 10:48, Cornelius and his household were baptized

b. Acts 9:18-19, Paul was baptized before he ate food

4. Their conversions were not complete until they obeyed the Gospel

D. The Gospel calls for obedience

1. Failure to obey leaves you outside of Christ

2. Outside of Christ there is no salvation

TRANSITION: Finally he dealt with:

III. Adversity

A. Paul faced challenges

1. He began immediately teaching about Jesus

a. Many were scared of him because of his reputation

b. Apostles were leery of him for a while

c. Barnabas helped him overcome their fears

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