Summary: Thankfulness, witness, attitude, praise
THANKFULNESS ON DISPLAY
1 Timothy 1:12-16 (p 839) Nov. 6, 2011
If I asked you to name the “Worst” person whose ever lived…what names would you throw out…”Hitler” Sure! Nero? Saddam Hussein, Osama Ben Laden?
Maybe one of the terrorists on September 11, 2011….Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacey, How ‘about Ted Bundy?
Anybody here this morning put themselves in the same category as these individuals?
“No way, man…they were responsible for the death of millions…they butchered people and did unspeakable things…I’ve never done anything nearly as bad as them….!”
King Herod was responsible for the deaths of most of his family and the annihilation of thousands of babies under 2 years of age….
The Apostle Paul knew all this and yet he wrote….”Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners---of whom I am the worst”
We know Paul’s post isn’t a flattering one! He summarizes it like this: “I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man.”
The first time the Bible mentions “Paul” was when he was still called Saul…a man of Tarsus, and he is holding the cloaks of those who are stoning a man named Stephen to death…He is in full approval of this death. He even takes a leadership role in the persecution of Christians…He’s breathing out threats…He’s going from house to house and dragging them out and off to prison….Paul believed he was fighting a “Holy War”. He believed he was doing God’s will….
And then he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus as he was on one of these missions. He not only encounters Jesus, but is transformed. Scales would fall from his eyes, physically and spiritually as he is baptized into Christ…Saul dies….Paul arises anew in Christ…the terrorist has become an instrument of the good news.
Jesus Christ has appointed Paul to His service….we know all this…or at least we are somewhat familiar with the story…but how is Paul able to write he’s the worst…He’s not as bad as Nero, right?…King Herod was much more evil, right?
Here is one of the most essential truths when it comes to understanding God’s grace and living out our salvation on that grace…It’s the only way our thankfulness can be put on display.
I WHEN GOD SAVES US HE DOES NOT COMPARE US TO OTHER PEOPLE (Neither should we!)
Because of the way God’s justice works Paul was correct in saying “I am the worst sinner.”
And by the way this phrase is written in the present tense…which means he wasn’t just referring to the past…but still “I am the worst sinner”
When God calls us to give an account for our thoughts, our words, our actions he does not compare us to Nero or King Herod, or Ted Bundy…He compares us to Himself…