Summary: The two greatest questions that we can ask to discover our destinies are: #1, who are you, Lord? and #2, what do you want me to do? Knowing God and doing His will.
SUPERNATURAL #9: TWO QUESTIONS TO DISCOVERING YOUR DESTINY
INTRO TO TOPIC:
Have you ever had a friend or a family member who you thought: they will never get saved! Have you ever had a loved one that you have given up on their ever coming to faith in Jesus? Or maybe you think that because of all of the wrong things that you’ve done in your life, God would never love and accept you. If that’s you – then today’s message will bring you hope!
I. SAUL’S SINFUL BACKGROUND
• Before we take a look at the God encounter that Saul had, let’s look at his background:
“Yet I could have confidence in myself if anyone could. If others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! For I was circumcised when I was eight days old, having been born into a pure-blooded Jewish family that is a branch of the tribe of Benjamin. So I am a real Jew if there ever was one! What’s more, I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. And zealous? Yes, in fact, I harshly persecuted the church. And I obeyed the Jewish law so carefully that I was never accused of any fault.” (Phil. 3:4-6).
• From Saul’s own autobiography, he was a very religious man, yet he didn’t know God.
“As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.” (Acts 8:3). (havoc means = ravage, devastate, ruin).
“Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.” (Acts 9:1-2).
• Saul was also a terrorist – ravaging churches and killing Christians for fun.
• Christians were afraid of them, and no one ever thought that Saul could be saved.
“This is a true saying, and everyone should believe it: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – and I was the worst of them all. But that is why God had mercy on me, so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.” (1 Tim. 1:16-17).
• Here is the hope of the Gospel:
o If you are a sinner, it doesn’t matter how far gone you are – Jesus is able to save from the uttermost to the guttermost those who come to God through Him! (Heb. 7:25).
o If you have a friend or family member who is a terrible sinner, or deeply entrenched in a false religion – don’t give up on them. There is always hope in Jesus!
o Through Jesus, there is forgiveness of sins, freedom from worries and fears, and victory over all kinds of addictions and bondages!
II. SAUL’S SUPERNATURAL CONVERSION:
“As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:3-4).
1. Saul’s conversion was a sovereign act of God’s grace.
• Saul wasn’t looking for Jesus, Jesus was looking for him.
• Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you.” (John 15:16).
• Later on in his life, Paul wrote: “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” (Eph. 1:4-5).
• God’s choice of Saul wasn’t based on any inherent goodness in him.
• Man by nature is not good – we are born with a sin nature:
• “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).
• Saul was totally depraved, and God’s election (choosing) of Saul was unconditional.
• “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).
ILLUSTRATION: As a 12 year old, I wasn’t very athletic, but I tried out for the Huskies baseball team. Why did I make the team? Not because of my abilities (good works), but because my best friend’s dad was the coach of the team! Why does God choose us? Not because of our good works, but because of Jesus!
2. Saul’s conversion was supernatural.
• He saw a light from heaven, and heard the voice of God.
• Although you might not have seen a light or heard a voice, your conversion was no less supernatural.