Summary: Examine Saul of Tarsus as a model for how Christ calls us to suffer for Him
I. Unlikely Election
A. God Chooses Whom He Wills, Not Whom You Suspect
B. "They Would Make a Fine Christian" Is a Statement I Have Heard a Pastor Make of an Unsaved Lawyer. The Truth Is Anyone Touched by God’s Grace Would Make a Fine Christian. Whether They Are Now in the Gutters of Sin or the Penthouses of Pleasure -- There Is No One Outside the Reach of God’s Transforming Grace.
C. God’s Grace Always Surprises You by Who He Pursues. God Is Not Intimidated by Your Sinful Defiance or Need. It Is Just as Easy for Him to Transform a Heinous Sinner by His Mercy, as it Is for Him to Transform a Small Guilty Child.
D. Your Vocal Defiance and Outspoke Hate for Christianity Does Not Scare God Off. He Sees Your Heart and Knows How One Encounter with Jesus of Nazareth Will Bring You to Your Knees.
E. God’s Sense of Humor -- Psalm 2:2-4
2 the Kings of the Earth Set Themselves, and the Rulers Take Counsel Together, Against the Lord, and Against His Anointed, Saying,
3 Let Us Break Their Bands Asunder, and Cast Away Their Cords from Us.
4 He That Sitteth in the Heavens Shall Laugh: the Lord Shall Have Them in Derision.
F. At the Height of Your Sinful Defiance, God’s Irresistible Grace Forcefully Confronts You
II. IRRESISTIBLE GRACE
A. Romans 9:19 - "Who hath resisted His will?"
B. Romans 2:4 - "knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?"
C. Some folks experience Christ’s command to follow them, and like Peter they leave the nets of their life behind to pursue Christ.
D. Yet there are others, maybe because of their stubbornness, or because of the opposite direction they are running, that must have a "Belly of the Whale" experience, or a "Damascus Road" encounter.
E. Jesse Duplantis calls "Close encounters of the God-Kind"
F. This experience was personal -- though there were folks like Saul accompanying Saul, only Saul was targeted to see, to fall, and to hear.
G. HE SAW a great light -- For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)
1. Ephesians 5:8 "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord:"
2. The light was turned on. In darkness sin was hidden, but when the light comes on in a dark room, what do we do? We close our eyes, we resist it. Not because it is not an improvement, but because it is unfamiliar.
H. HE FELL to the earth -- Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. (James 4:10)
1. Repentance is falling from pride, humbling yourself
2. God is not encountered as an equal -- "When I stand before God, I’ll. . ."
3. When you encounter God you will be on your face
4. He is holier than your eyes are worthy to look upon, mightier than your feet can stand before, and more glorious than your mind can comprehend
I. HE HEARD A VOICE
1. The words were not at first REVEALING, but CONVICTING.
2. Saul’s persecution of the church was a persecution of CHRIST
3. He realized what he had done in religious zeal was SIN against God.