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Summary: Have you truly encountered God’s grace? Has he revealed to you the depth of your sin? Has he awakened you to the miracle of his mercy? Has he offered you a new and fuller life? And are you will to take Him up on his offer.

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The Journey of Faith

Acts 9:1-22

Background Story

• The church is flourishing in Jerusalem,

• But resistance is intensifying,

• It’s all starting to come to a head following the death of Stephen,

• Stephen can be viewed as the church’s first martyr.

• And after he is killed a great persecution starts,

• And the main person who is fueling this is a Pharisee by the name of Saul

Now In Acts 8:1-3 we see that

• Saul went from house to house, arresting men and women

• And these people were Jesus-followers.

• Because of this people started getting scared and the church scattered

• They left and went to places throughout Judea and Samaria.

• Some of these people were so freaked out that they ran as far away as Damascus,

• And that was 130 miles away to the north.

• (ELAB HOW LONG AND FAR THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN)

And Saul, was on a mission

• He didn’t want to see Christianity thrive anywhere,

• So he headed north to Damascus and started arresting disciples

• And he started bringing them back to Jerusalem for trial.

• And It’s on this obsessive mission to Damascus

• That Saul is intercepted by God’s grace.

Saul was a man who had no idea he needed grace.

• He was born into an observant Jewish home,

• He was circumcised as an infant,

• He was a faithful and enterprising Pharisee.

• And He was a zealous defender of his religion.

• When it came to the legalities of the Jewish law,

• His behavior was faultless.

When we look at Saul he appears to be

• A successful, religious, righteous, self-made man,

• Who’s doing just fine meeting the requirements of the law

• And living as a shining example of purity and justice in his community.

So, why did Saul need grace? - And, why do we need grace?

This is a good question

• If you’ve lived a pretty good life,

• If you’ve play by the rules,

• If you’ve done a good job raising your kids

• If you’ve gone to church regularly,

• And you’ve never really had any major slipups in your life,

Why would you really need grace?

• And how would God’s grace impact your life?

The question that we might ask is

• Have you had a transformational encounter with grace?

• Saul’s had an encounter with GRACE

• And that encounter was so great that it changed him so much that he had to change his name

• He was no longer the same person

• We went from being Saul of Taurus into Paul the Apostle.

• And it was through this transformation process

• That Paul eventually realized that friendship with God is not earned,

• But received by faith.

MSG

Philippians 7-9The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I'm tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I've dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn't want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God's righteousness.


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