Summary: Examining the Unforgettable Moment of conversion in the life of a believer.
To listen online pate the following link into your browser:
There are certain moments in life that are simply “unforgettable”. Many of you remember where you were when certain events happened. Events like:
o The attack on Pearl Harbor.
o The assassination of John F. Kennedy.
o The resignation of Richard Nixon.
o The attempted assassination of President Reagan.
o The explosion of space shuttles Challenger and Columbia.
o The terrorist attacks on September 11th 2001
I remember the first time I laid eyes on my wife (3 ½ years later she saw me!).
I remember the days that both my girls were born.
I remember the first time I ever preached in this church.
There are many events throughout our lives that we will never forget. The reason is that these events in some way change us. There is another day in my life that I will never forget. It was the day that changed me forever. I am referring to the day that I was born again. It was Sunday December 7th, 1997 at approximately 6:15 PM.
Do you remember the day you were saved? Can you tell me the time? Can you take me to the place? If you have truly been saved then yes you can. You may not remember the exact date and time but you remember that moment of conversion.
In our selected text we have an account where Paul is making a defense of his faith. In these verses he recalls the moment that changed his life forever. In fact, God did such a work on Paul that day that it had an impact on the entire world! I would like to join Paul as he shares his testimony of what Jesus did in his life. Let’s consider the thought “Unforgettable Moments”
1. Paul had been worshipping in the temple, when he was falsely accused of bringing a Gentile inside the temple - 21:27-29
2. A riot ensued - 21:30-31
3. The captain of the Roman guard broke up the riot, and bound Paul with chains - 21: 34
4. Paul asked the captain for an opportunity to speak up - 21: 39-40
5. Paul then shared his personal testimony - Acts 22:1 Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you.2 (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,)
As Paul shares his story there are 3 “Unforgettable Moments” that he describes. He speaks of:
• His Condition
• His Conversion
• His Calling
I would like to look at Paul’s testimony and ask 3 questions today. The first one is:
I. DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR CONDITION? - v3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. 4 And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.5 As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.
As Paul begins to make his defense, He started at birth and gave a brief biography of his life.
Paul was born a Jew. He was trained by the greatest Rabbi of his day, Gamaliel.He was immensely devoted to God & the Law. He was the top persecutor of the early church. He had bound and delivered both men & women into prison. At the very moment of his conversion he was headed to Damascus to bring believers bound to Jerusalem.Notice what he says in verse 3 ….I was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.Paul is saying, “I was where you are now before I met Jesus!”
We find more of his story in - Philippians 3:5 (Paul said he was) Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
Saul of Tarsus had a fantastic resume! Consider:
o He possessed the Religion - “He was a Jew”
o He observed the Rituals - “Circumcised the 8th day”
o He had the Reputation - “of the stock of Israel”
o He had the right Relations - “Of the tribe of Benjamin”
Paul remembered where he once was. On several occasions he shares his testimony and recounts where he was and what happened after he met Jesus. Today, I ask …do you remember your condition before salvation. Do you remember the hopelessness?Do you remember the guilt? Do you remember that search for something that could fill the void that was in your heart? Many of you were like me; you were “religious” before you were saved. Here in the Bible-belt this is a common phenomenon. But friend, I want you to grasp this fact, Religion will get you nowhere but hell. Jesus said that in order to see the Kingdom of Heaven we must be born again. Religion is man trying to get to God, Salvation comes when God reaches down to man! Some people are at that point right now… you are religious but you are not saved. I have good news! You can “lose your religion” today and leave this place TRULY BORN AGAIN!