Summary: Many of the teachings of Jesus were in the form of stories. There is power in a story. Everyone has a story. If given a chance everyone likes to tell his/her story.
Paul’s Story Can Become Your Story
-Journey to the Cross and Beyond-
Many of the teachings of Jesus were in the form of stories. There is power in a story. Everyone has a story. If given a chance everyone likes to tell his/her story.
There are some words that when you hear them, they bring to mind an association. I’m going to share some words and I want you to tell the first response that comes to your mind to the persons sitting near you.
Bill Hybels in “Walk Across the Room” suggests several words to respond to.
Here’s the first word, “Mona.” (Are there any “Lisas” out there?)
“Vacation” (Fun and relaxation)
“Diet” (not fun)
“Britney Spears” (trouble, lost soul, addiction)
How about this description, “Born Again Christian” From the world’s point of view some of these words may come to mind: (rigid, narrow, uptight, self righteous, fanatical)
I hope the answers given by individuals who have watched Christians for along time, are true of all of us. Here are some answers given by those who have Christians as personal friends:
“The Christians I’ve come across are ridiculously filled with compassion. They’re just plain kind to people.”
“Christians? They tell the truth…they shoot straight with you.”
“Christians? They’re humble people, they’re honest…they have this incredible inner strength.”
“Christians? They are radically inclusive people, regardless of their background, their preferences, their lifestyle choices, you name it. It’s amazing!”
“Christians? They really do love well. They love God and they love people.”
My Story is very simple. I grew up in a home in Gypsum, Kansas, a farming town of 500 people. My mother was a believer and my dad was an unbeliever. I learned from my father what not to do in a home. I thought going to church was synonymous with being a Christian. I attended church but did not have the good news of the Gospel presented to me until I was in High School in Sterling, Kansas. My High School Sunday School teacher in a Missionary Church became a friend and mentor. He encouraged me to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I made that commitment at the age of 15.
While in college I received the call to full time ministry and the rest is history.
Everyone has a story. What’s your story?
Paul told his story often.
When the Apostle Paul wanted to give evidence for his belief in Jesus as the true Messiah, the Son of God, he told his story of meeting Jesus on the Road to Damascus. Paul’s conversion story is one of the most compelling stories in human history.
When Paul was arrested in Jerusalem he spoke to the mob of legalistic Jews and told them his conversion story that happened on the road to Damascus. Acts 22:1-16
When Paul stood on trial before King Agrippa he again told his conversion story that took place on the road to Damascus. Acts 26:12-18
Saul was his given name. He was born in a Jewish home in Tarsus. His father was a Roman citizen so Paul was privileged to also be a Roman citizen. He was circumcised on the 8th day after his birth according to Hebrew law. He was fluent in both Aramaic and Greek languages.
Paul told About His Life Before Christ
Paul testified that his life before Christ was empty and dark. 2 Corinthians 4:6 Paul declared, “God who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness, has shone within my heart.” Paul said that something happened to him on the Damascus road comparable to the creation of light. Genesis 1:2-3, “The earth was without form and void.” God said, “Let there be light.” Paul said that same light that God created at creation shined into his own soul.
Paul testified that compared to everything else in his life his Damascus road experience was the greatest, greater than his Jewish heritage, his Rabbinical training under the famous Rabbi Gamaliel, his prestige as a Pharisee having a knowledge of scripture forwards and backwards, or his Hellenistic contacts. Everything was secondary to his experience of meeting Jesus.
Paul believed that according to Hebrew law he was righteous and faultless. It was that zeal for the law that compelled him to track down Christ followers and drag them off to prison. Paul was extremely zealous for the cause of Judaism. When Stephen was stoned to death for his teaching about Jesus, Stephen’s clothes were laid at the feet of Saul.
Prior to his Damascus road experience Paul was a champion of Judaism and the traditional laws of Judaism. He believed that righteousness came by keeping the law. For Paul righteousness was all by human effort. Later Paul would describe his condition before Christ as “wretched man that I am, sold as a slave under sin.” Romans 7:14,24