Summary: God is a master at recycling and reshaping our lives into something new.
Title: Recycled People
Text: Acts 9:1-20
Thesis: God is a master at recycling and reshaping our lives into something new.
There is a growing awareness of increasing efforts to recycle… it is going on all around us:
The most notable home in Colorado built with recycled materials is Dennis Weavers “Earthship” near Ridgeway, Colorado. It is a beautiful, environmentally friendly, 10,000 square foot home made of used tires, aluminum cans and other recycled materials. It may be made of junk but it has been featured on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, Home and Gardens, the Discovery Channel, and PBS. And… you can own “Earthship” for only $3,3 million dollars.
There are not many things that are not being recycled:
• Recycled paper products
• Recycled glass and metal products
• Salvage yards recycle car, truck and machinery parts
• Construction and Demolition Recycling Magazine recently reported that Habitat for Humanity had opened a used building materials outlet here in Denver.
• Perhaps you’ve noticed the sign on the front of the home being demolished on the corner of Sheridan and 72nd Avenue that reads… NO COPPER! The intent is to deter anyone who might want to sneak in and strip the place of copper wiring for resale at the recyclers.
• Right here in Arvada, RMC (Recycled Material Company) is doing what they now call urban quarrying. They have taken the concrete and asphalt from the old Stapleton Airport site and are producing 5,000 tons of secondary aggregate every day. You can catch a glimpse of some of their work between Raulston Road and I-76 as you drive down Sheridan.
• Even our thrift stores and garage sales are ways people recycle.
Just as we have come to see that nearly anything and everything from broken glass, steel belted tires, aluminum cans, and concrete slabs as recyclable, God sees people as recyclable.
God sees the person who exhibits the most misguided, disreputable, and even disgraceful behavior as recyclable.
Saul, who would later be known, as the Apostle Paul was such a person… he needed to be reclaimed and recycled as a person.
I. Some people are in serious need of being recycled.
Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath. He was eager to destroy the Lord’s followers… he wanted to bring them, both men and women, back to Jerusalem in chains. Acts 9:1-2
A. Saul was a man on a rampage. He was fanatical and ruthless in his hatred for the followers of Jesus Christ.
• He uttered threats with every breath
• He was eager to destroy the followers of Christ.
B. Saul was mean-spirited.
• He sought the cooperation of the religious leaders in Damascus in arresting Christians there so he could bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
The panic that swept through a community when Paul arrived could be compared to what happens when the INS does a round up. Spouses are separated and children are left as those without proper documentation are loaded onto busses to be deported.
If I were to compare him to one of our contemporaries, I think of the Fred Phelps and his followers from the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Fred is on a misguided mission in which he even pickets the funerals of Iraq War casualties, suggesting that the war is God’s judgment upon America because of homosexuality.
C. Saul deserved to be pulverized.
• He was an instigator in the first efforts to persecute Christians.
• Saul was going everywhere to devastate the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into jail. Acts 8:1
When I was a boy, I would sometimes ride my bicycle up and down the streets and alleys of town and country roads checking the ditches for pop bottles. Every time I found a bottle, it was as if I had found a nugget of gold. And then when I had collected enough bottles I would go to the corner market and get a pop or ice cream sandwich.
I think that is how it was for when God found Saul along the road leading into Damascus. The bible says that, as he was nearing Damascus on this mission, a brilliant light from heaven suddenly beamed down on him! He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?” Acts 9:4-5
To say that Saul is the only kind of person in need of a recycling would be an understatement. There are many ways that people can be misguided.
At some point in our lives, we all find ourselves in places and patterns of behavior that may be harmful to ourselves and others… and deep down we know that we are in serious need of being transformed from what we are into what we may be by the grace of God.