Summary: Can one person make a difference? If you think you are too damaged to be used by God, you need to check out what God did with Paul!
• VIDEO CLIP
• SLIDE #1
• Contracting leprosy more or less ruined your life during the times of Jesus and Paul. Once one contracted leprosy, their life was ruined forever. Generally, there was no recovery, there was no grace, there was no forgiveness.
• Once a leper, you were no good for much of anything, no matter what you had done in your life, it was erased by one tragic disease.
• Leprosy is still with us today.
• According to official reports received from 121 countries and territories, the global registered prevalence of leprosy at the beginning of 2009 stood at 213,036 cases, while the number of new cases detected during 2008 was 249 007. The number of new cases detected globally has fallen by 9126 (a 4% decrease) during 2008 compared with 2007.
• Pockets of high endemicity (END EMIC SEE) still remain in some areas of Angola, Brazil, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nepal, and the United Republic of Tanzania.
• Leprosy was one way one’s life could be ruined.
• Have you ever messed your life up to the point you felt like a leper? You thought life was over, that you were scared for life, that you were no longer of any use to anyone.
• Have you ever felt that you have done something that you cannot recover from?
• Today we are going to examine the calling of Saul, who became Paul. It would seem that Paul did some things in life that would disqualify from of being able to be used by God.
• If you do not hear anything else I offer to you today, remember this one thing, in the hands of Jesus, no matter what you have done, you can be forgiven, restored and can be used by God to make a difference in life.
• One person can make a difference!
• We will have our Faith Promise Sunday next week; the mission reps we will have on hand are living proof that one person can make a difference!
• We will be in Acts 9 today as examine the Call of Paul!
• Sometimes those you would least expect can make a difference.
• SLIDE #2
I. An unlikely candidate. 1-2
• OK, you are God, you are taking applications to spread the Gospel of Jesus throughout the world.
• You are a little short-handed so you are in need of some help, particularly as you want to see the Gospel go out to the Gentiles.
• You are scouring the earth to find some help. There are many good people to chose from, but who does God pick?
• SLIDE #3
• Acts 9:1–2 (HCSB) — 1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord. He went to the high priest 2 and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem.
• WHAT? I am not a marketing genesis by any stretch, but if you want to grow a company, you would not get OJ Simpson to be your spokesperson, or the former CEO of the drug company who raised the price of a bottle of life saving drugs from $1700 per bottle to $75,000 just to make more money.
• God is going to chose an unlikely candidate to carry out the work.
• I would imagine if we put 1000 people in a room who do not know anything about the Bible and gave them 5 resumes and asked them to pick someone to help spread the gospel, ZERO would choose Paul!
• Look at what is written about him.
• Saul was still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord.
• Hello, I am Saul would you like to join the church, I KILL YOU!
• I do not know about you, but that sales pitch would not go over too well with me.
• That passage says Saul was in agreement with the killing of Stephen.
• The literal reading of Acts 9:1 is that with every breath Saul took, he was encouraged to persecute Christians.
• Saul lived to persecute the church. He was anxious to do it, he believed he was doing God’s will!
• Surely Saul's anger was greatly excited by the success of the early church, and with great zeal he put forth every effort possible to stop the progress of the church.
• However, he was orderly about what he was doing, as he had the authority of the "high priest." Gospel Advocate Commentaries - New Testament Commentary – A Commentary on Acts of the Apostles.