Monday, March 7, 2016

The Call of Saul (Paul)

Acts 9:1-31 - Saul/Paul probably in mid thirties, very influential, zealous supporter of Judaism, approving of Stephen's death.
Voice from heaven - others heard the voice (noise), didn't understand the words.  Personal message FOR Saul - he understood the words.  Question:  why are you persecuting me?  Was Saul persecuting God?  No, was persecuting the new believers (church).  But, Jesus equates Christians with Himself.

Acts 9:9 - Saul/Paul likely fasting and praying.  After all, he just met God on the Damascus road.

Compare above verses with Acts Chapter 22 and Chapter 26 where Saul, Paul now, retells the Damascus Road story - before the Jews and Roman Tribune, and then again before Festus and King Agrippa.

I.  Paul's call - (Not unlike yours and mine)
is a call to  1)  acknowledge Jesus as Messiah - the Christ, the Promised One.
                 2) serve Jesus as LORD
Paul's call was dramatic, incredible, even miraculous - but Paul was called to extreme ministry.

#1.  Acknowledge Jesus as Messiah
Paul had content - already but didn't accept it/
God gave a dramatic experience to move him
This is typical conversion, except the scope of the experience!!

So, in evangelism - 1.  offer content of the gospel - Rom. 10:14
                              2.  pray for (Holy Spirit) experience - to show truth of the gospel

#2.  Serve Jesus as Lord - (same as you and I except perhaps in different capacity!!)
Note:  Acts 8:16

On one hand, not called to suffer but to serve.  However, service = labor and sacrifice - therefore can lead to some degree of suffering!!

So, we are called to serve.  If it entails suffering, do it well - 1 Pet. 2:20-21

II.  Paul's Choice   Was he free to choose?  refuse?
Pastor's view - can always refuse or choose,
Definition:  Impunity = exemption from punishment, harm, loss
Pastor:  immunity to consequence(s) - negative effects

Remember:  we live in a Cause and Effect world.
Example:  Paul's quote:  Gal. 6:7

III.  Paul's Commentary    - 1 Tim. 1:12-16
his commentary = 1) I acted in ignorance and unbelief
                            2) God made me aware of my sinfulness
                            3) now I'm a poster child for God's grace and forgiveness.

Issue here is not how much light you've received, as compared to Paul).  That = God's choice.
The issue = what you do with the light you have received.

IV.  Paul's Conclusion - 1 Tim. 1:17

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