Summary: People are fed up with empty claims and so we as the church, we have to present a different kind of life; an effective different kind of life
TITLE: RESULTS NOT TYPICAL
SCRIPTURE: ACTS 9:20-31
We live in a media saturated culture. Not only saturated with media, but saturated with advertising. Everywhere we look people are trying to sell us something. Seems like more and more websites that are free, now have some kind of advertisement on it – BANNER – ADS, SPAM – TV COMMERCIALS. It's amazing how many times we hear somebody trying to sell us something. And one of the main ways that people try to convince us, one of the most effective ways is a personal testimony. You know what I am talking about, where somebody uses the product and they are the real person on TV and they are saying, "Yes Bob, this is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I took it and three weeks later I was a different person." It's particularly true for diet ads.
You know you have the before and after picture - there's the guy or woman in the picture, 65 lbs different and you have to admit that 65 lbs in any case makes a real difference. You look at that before and you look at that after and you go "Wow, what a powerful product" but then you notice in tiny letters underneath that famous phrase that we always have to remember – Results Not Typical. Sure, two people took the same product and can have very different end results – yes, Results Not Typical
• Every been on Jenny Craig – Results Not Typical
• Weight Watchers – Results Not Typical
• Grapefruit Diet – Results Not Typical
• Let’s not even talk about the Daniel Fast - Results Not Typical
We struggle with this same issue in the Christian community. Do we hold up one or two saints and say, "Look at the change that Jesus can make in your life, but results not typical." If we are presenting a message like that as we share our faith –
• How are we different than a diet company?
• Or Bowflex
• Or any of the others?
• Character is important
• A changed life is part of what we present to the world as Christians
We are in a world where people are jaded. People are fed up with empty claims and so we as the church, we have to present a different kind of life; an effective different kind of life so that people aren't thinking in the backs of their minds, sure, there really isn’t anything to this saved thing. In our text this morning we see a major change happening in someone's life. Let’s take a few minutes and examine what changed in the Apostle Paul’s life and if there are any lessons we can learn.
We are going to take a look at a number of things that happened in this passage; to understand this whole process of how change affects our witness to the world. Take a look first at VS. 20. It says, the first two words in the NIV are "AT ONCE" – King James says “STRAIGHTWAY.”
• At once he began to preach in the synagogue that Jesus is the Son of God"
• The first thing we see happen in Paul's life after he meets Jesus on the road to Damascus, after he has this encounter with Jesus, there is a massive change in Paul's life
• So, that's the first thing we see; immediate major changes in life
• Jesus becomes the Center of your Focus and you have to tell somebody
• Straightway or At Once you have a Testimony
• I am not saying you are called Preach but you are called to Witness
Now, in Paul's case it's not a moral change. Paul was already a moral man. I did not say he was Right, but he was Moral.
• Paul was a leader in the community
• He understood what morality was
• He understood what it meant to be upright in his relationships with other people
• He had the Ten Commandments fully memorized and understood, and he was trying to practice them
• He had a set of Morals that he allowed to Shape and Guide his life
• You see if you don’t believe in Something, you will Fall for Anything
So the immediate change isn't that Paul turned from someone we would expect to be panhandling in the train station to a leading member of the community. It wasn't that sort of change. It was a change where he was fighting against Christianity at one point and then astonishingly in just a very short period of time he comes out with power proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ.
• A deep change has happened in his life and that deep sort of change is what we should expect to happen as people encounter Jesus Christ