Summary: It was the power of Paul’s testimony that demonstrated grace in his life. He was transformed by God. That’s same power can do the same for us.
Transformation and Grace
Galatians 1:10-24 (NIV)
10 Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. 11 I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus. 18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles--only James, the Lord’s brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. 21 Later I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only heard the report: "The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy." 24 And they praised God because of me.
Look at your neighbor and say neighbor. He never leaves us the way he finds us
Illustration: Does anyone remember the toys they had back years ago. They were called transformers. They would be toys that you could transform. It would be a car, but if you made a few changed to it, turned this piece this way and that piece that way it would turn into a fighter jet. Or some sort of a robot. It was actually a cartoon. Big tractor trailers would turn into war machines. They are making a movie of it now. About these machines that transform into different things
Intro: Paul one day had a divine encounter with the Christ and His life was never the same. (Explain the Damascus road experience) His life changed forever. He was transformed
This is what we should think about when we think of grace and what happens to us when we encounter it. Grace transforms. It takes what it finds and makes it into something else. Not just an abstract thing but something that is actually tangible. It’s a transformation that can be measured and seen. When we encounter grace and accept it through faith it has the power to transform us into something God wants us to be.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NCV) 17If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation. The old things have gone; everything is made new!
Galatians 6:15 (NCV) ..”The important thing is being the new people God has made
When we have a Damascus road experience there is always a transformation.
What changed about Paul’s life? And can we apply these principles to our own life?
Trouble in the text:
- The Galatians church was starting to desert the gospel.
o Which is salvation by faith.
o What they were doing was mixing the law, particularly circumcision with faith.
o They were saying that to be saved you had to accept Jesus but also be circumcised and follow the Jewish tradition.
o Paul was against this and was trying to show them their error.
- But they weren’t just going to believe him at face value.
o No, he was a persecutor of the church.
o They didn’t even accept him as an apostle. So before Paul could show them their error he had to show them he had the authority to do so.
- Thus he gives them his testimony.
o He tells them about the transformation that took place in his life
o As proof of His authority
- You see all who come to Christ have a testimony.
o It’s the proof of the change
o We have something to say about what God has done for us.
Where he found us
• It usually starts with where He found us (I once was Lost)
How he changed us
• And how he changed us (the transformation but now I am found) I was blind but now I see.
Where He is taking us.