Summary: The good news of the Gospel is that sinners can be saved. The apostle Paul held himself up as the example of the worst of sinners who had been saved by the grace of God. If he could be saved, then anyone can be saved!


A. Let me begin with an example of one of those commercials whose message seems too good to be true: “Picture a man…he has a bright smile, healthful glow…he is holding up a pair of gigantic blue jeans.

1. He says, ‘These are the jeans I used to wear before I lost 200 hundred pounds on the Suddenly Slim miracle diet. It’s easy. It worked for me and it can work for you!”

B. “Before and after” advertisements. We’ve all seen them. Right?

1. They peddle everything from diets to hair-growth products.

2. And the testimonies are always the same. “I’ve never been happier”…“My wife says I’m a different person”…“The results are miraculous.”

3. Such product-induced alterations can hardly qualify as miracles.

4. Impressive? Sometimes. Long-term? Rarely.

5. Only the supernatural touch of God can bring truly miraculous changes…and that is the kind that took place in the apostle Paul’s life

C. Paul’s life is the quintessential “before and after” story.

1. Before his conversion, Saul of Tarsus was a meticulous observer of the Law - at least outwardly.

a. He was a Pharisee among Pharisees - he was the cream of the crop.

b. No doubt he saw himself as a paragon of piety and looked down on those who settled for less than perfection.

c. He was a gifted student, he sat under the tutelage of the distinguished teacher Gamaliel (Acts 22:3).

2. Saul’s misguided zeal for the Law led him to hate Christians.

a. He was present at the stoning of Stephen, and then ruthlessly hunted down other followers of Jesus (Acts 7:58-8:3)

b. He tore Christians from their homes, threw them in prison, even approved of their torture and death.

c. All the while, he considered his zealous persecution of Christians as a service to God.

3. Then one day, on his way to Damascus, Saul ran head-on into the blinding grace of God (Acts 9:1-19).

a. In that encounter far more than his name was changed.

b. The Lord Jesus transformed him into a champion of the gospel, and he began to openly condemn the legalistic system he once followed.

c. He preached that Christ alone makes people righteous.

4. The hatred for Jesus and his people that once darkened his heart gave way to unwavering love for both the Savior and His saints.

a. At first his former enemies didn’t trust him, but the transformation was real.

b. Eventually, Paul even gave his life for the movement he had once tried to extinguish.

c. Now that’s a miraculous change.

D. And that, my brothers and sisters is what the good news of the gospel can do in a person’s life.

1. The good news of God is that sinners can be saved and changed through the mercy of God, and Paul is a prime example.

2. My aim today is to help us appreciate the grace we have received and to motivate us to share it with others.

3. After having spent the first ten verses of his first letter to Timothy describing the importance of sound doctrine and the dangers of false teaching, Paul mentioned the glorious gospel of the blessed God (verse 11).

4. Paul couldn’t help but launch into a testimony of the application of that wonderful gospel in his own life.

5. In verses 12-17, Paul declared three things:

a. First, that he was thankful for what he had become.

b. Second, that he was remorseful for what he had been.

c. Third, that he was joyful for what made it all possible.

6. Let’s look at each of those things more closely.

I. First, Paul was Thankful for What He had Become

A. In verse 12, Paul wrote: I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because he considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry.

1. No wonder Paul radiated gratefulness - just look at what Christ did for him!

B. First, Paul said that Christ gave him strength.

1. Paul’s energy and power for ministry came from Christ himself.

2. His strength didn’t come from a college education; nor did it come through personal charisma; nor did it come through church growth gimmicks, rather his strength came from Jesus.

3. I think this is a great reminder for us.

a. Our ministry for Christ must be rooted in Christ.

b. Without Jesus and His strength at the center of who we are and what we do, we will accomplish very little that matters.

C. Second, Paul said that Christ considered him faithful - Christ trusted him.

1. Even as an unbelieving and Gospel-ignorant Jewish leader, Paul had maintained a good conscience because he lived up to the knowledge and understanding that he had.

2. Often those who are intensely wrong as lost sinners, become intensely right as Christians, and are greatly used of God to win souls.

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