Summary: This sermon looks at three things, like Paul we Christians could say: Thank God 1) I’m not what I used to be 2) I’m not what I’m going to be 3) I am who I am.
Intro: 1) Carrie Asking about my Belly and she said it felt like a pillow.
2) Over the years, we tend to change. The change is primarily physical and requires no effort. (Hair changes color, sometimes falls out!)
3) When it comes to who we are (our likes, our personality, our attitudes), change doesn’t come so easily. We tend to be stubborn in our ways.
4) Some people do change, often as a result of a life changing event.
a) Wedding- (Aisle, Altar, Him)
b) Tragedies- (Sudden Death, etc.)
1. 9/11 changed many people (Max Lucado Return to Normal)
3. Sad to say, it didn’t take long to return to normal.
5) Most Psychologist agree that your personality is set by age 30, and most changes afterward are the result of a religious experience.
6) The Apostle Paul had such an experience. (Describe Damascus Road Event). After meeting Jesus, Paul was never the same.
7) Because of this, Paul had a lot to be thankful for. Same for us who know Jesus. I want to show you three things Paul could be thankful for.
I. Thank God, I’m not What I Used to Be.
1) Many have a testimony of what life was like “BC” (before Christ).
2) Paul had a great testimony.
a. Describe what Paul’s life was like before Damascus Road.
b. Notice the humility and honesty in how Paul views himself.
3) Paul was shown Grace and Mercy, and because of this two things happened:
1. God Forgave His Past
2. God gave him the ability to change (Ignorance to Knowledge, Unbelief to belief)
a. Good news is you’re not stuck being you. (changed lives)
b. Jesse Duplantis, “Don’t like how you born, try it again!”
4) Now, I want to point out the unlimited Patience God had with Paul.
1. I kind of compare it to when one of my girls will say, “I Can do it myself, so I let her until she decides to ask for help. God does the same.
2. Think of how God patiently waited on you. He didn’t give up on you.
II. Thank God, I’m Not What I’m Going to Be
1) Paul had come a long way, but he was not perfect. He still struggled with physical pains, and he still struggled with sin. But one day, the struggle will be over.
2) Phil 3:12-14 “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (20 -21) But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”
3) One Day we will be what we are truly to be, and think about how glorious that is.
a) Virginia Turner suffered from Alzheimer’s, she suffers no more.
b) Uncle Kenny will no longer have down Syndrome.
c) Me Having to tell Brianna about Heaven and what Papaw is like now and how she then described it to her friends.
4) I know that there are those who say this hope is unrealistic, that this life is it,.
a) What a way to go through life, how depressing, and evidence is all around us.
b) Ill. Of two twins in the womb.
Dr. Alien Meiner from Asbury University imagined two twins talking inside the womb.
One said to the other, "isn’t wonderful to be alive! What a great thing this gift of life is." The
other agreed and they began to explore their world within the womb. As they did, they found their mother’s cord, and they sang with joy, "How great is the Mother’s love that she is willing to share her own life with us!"
Weeks past, and soon became months, and the twins noticed that they were changing. "What does this mean?" said the first. "It means that are stay in this world is drawing to a close" said the other. "But I don’t want to go. I want to stay here for ever." "We have no choice," said the other, "but maybe, there is life after birth."—
"But how can that be," said the first. "Shall we shed our life cord and how is life possible without it? Besides, we see evidence that there were those here before us and they have never returned to tell us that there truly is life after birth.—No this is the end!" and so the first twin sank into deep despair and said, "If conception ends in birth what is the purpose of life in the womb. It is meaningless. In fact, maybe there is no mother after all?"