The Apostle Paul – His Preparation to Serve - 1

God’s Careful Preparation of the Greatest Missionary of all Time

Acts 9

DATE: 3 Aug, 2003  AM          PLACE: BBC Blarney

I.         Introduction ()


A.      Continuing our study of the Twelve of Apostles of Jesus Christ

B.       We have looked at all the normal set of twelve apostles: Starting with Peter, and ending at Judas Iscariot

C.       With the suicide of Judas, a replacement was sought – and too quickly found – namely, a man named Matthias

D.      But the Lord had other plans – another, more perfect will for who would be the replacement of Judas Iscariot – his name? Saul of Tarsus! Who later would change his name to Paul!

E.       The greatest soul-winner – the greatest missionary – the greatest Christian of all time, was a short, stammering Jewish man, from modern day Turkey!

F.       Does anyone here realize just how God moulds and shapes a person’s life?


1.        Anybody here who is born again, knows how the Lord works on us to get us finally to surrender to Jesus Christ as Saviour once and for all!

2.        But we don’t easily perceive the Lord’s fashioning of our lives into something more than it already is – which is not much!


G.       By looking at the great Apostle Paul, we can see in just a few portions of Scripture how God takes ANYONE, and I repeat, ANYONE and prepares them to do great things for His name’s sake!


II.       Background – Let me Honour the privilege of Living a life Serving the Lord


A.      Start with the Lord’s Jesus’ half-brother James (Jam 1:1) – he does not boast about his “connection” with Jesus, but about his calling to SERVE Jesus!

B.       Paul honours the life of service in Colossians 3:23,24

C.       Once again, God commands us to serve, not half-heartedly, or grudgingly, but FERVENTLY (Rom 1:1)

D.      King David felt everyone should serve the Lord with gladness (Ps 100:2)

E.       Most of all, Jesus praised servanthood (Jn 12:26)

F.       The greatest praise any human can receive is “WELL DONE thou good and faithful SERVANT” (Mt 25:21)

G.       Any other life, lived not for the Lord Jesus, is a wasted life! REPEAT!


III.     Message – How God Prepares a Person for Service


A.      Starting Over (Acts 9:1,6)


1.        That’s what salvation is – a complete starting over (Mt 18:1-3)

2.        Called being born all over again. As traumatic as a death (Jn 12:24,25)

3.        You may have to start over a couple of times in your life


a.       The Ethiopian Eunuch started-over – twice


1)       Started off as an idolatrous pagan, who came to Israel, and became a Jewish proselyte – convert to Judaism

2)       But as he read more and more of the Scriptures, a soul-winner named Philip led the Eunuch to Jesus Christ

3)       When the Eunuch got baptized, he was publicly testifying that he was willing to start all over again, and follow Jesus!


b.       Sometime, this fact puts people off


1)       They trust their parents are right, and don’t want to rock the boat – don’t want to find out otherwise

2)       If they do end up breaking with their parent’s religion., they hope THEY are right now

3)       To have to say you were wrong again, and having to still go looking, it can become very embarrassing!

4)       EX: the sister of a woman who was a member of our church in NJ – she was catholic, then converted to Mormons – only to be constantly witnessed to by her sister, and then by ME, and she realising that she had been deceived, and would have to start all over again!


c.       God doesn’t care how many times you start over, how many times you get baptised, how many times you get humbled – if you do any and all without simple child-like faith in Jesus Christ ONLY, you have wasted your time, and need to repent, and get BORN ALL OVER AGAIN, but this time, the BIBLE way!


4.        Jesus made it very clear, even with all your ‘t’s crossed, and your ‘i’s dotted, you still have to completely start over to become a Christian – there is NO OTHER WAY!

5.        Saul of Tarsus, the most religious, and devout man you would ever meet, was forced to acknowledge that he had lived his whole life in the wrong, and that he was ready to start all over!

6.        THAT is why so many people don’t get saved – they couldn’t care less about truth, and right, and God – only inconvenience

7.        The Bible has some news for those kind – they are going to split hell wide open!


B.       Steps of Faith (Acts 9:6-9)


1.        All steps of faith are BIG in our sight – at first, not used to them

2.        But they really are simply, steps of obedience


a.       That is what faith is – it is not blind

b.       It is you obeying whatever God SAYS in His word, simply because you trust that God is right, and will not lead you wrong


3.        The will of God was GREAT for the newly converted Saul (Acts 9:15,16) – but Saul knew none of that will at first

4.        All God asked of him was to obey what God had told him to do. Saul was just told to do four simple things


a.       Go on to Damascus – but this time, not as hunter/killer, but as a new man (2Cor 5:17) – at Damascus was a good church!

b.       There, fast and pray while he waited for further instructions


1)       Fasting got Saul in a frame of mind that was ready for whatever God had for him – most of us are controlled by our stomachs, or our kids, or our mates, or our parents – we need to fast

2)       It caused him to surrender control of his life – into the hands of his new Lord


c.       Get baptized


1)       A humiliating step for a very religious Jewish theologian

2)       But, also, an EXCITING step – here he was, becoming a real Christian – he was saved, but not much like a Christian yet:

3)       Burying his past


a)       The past religion

b)       The past sins

c)       The past accomplishments


4)       Ready for whatever lay ahead – that why a person gets baptised – not to wash away any original sin, or to join a church, etc!


d.       Stay right where he was until he was ready to go on


1)       That may be pretty hard to do

2)       But God usually asks us to stay somewhere until we are ready to go on alone if need be


C.       Filling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17)


1.        This is SO important to the fashioning of the Christian’s inner strength

2.        The filling of the Holy Spirit had some unusual outcomes:


a.       The ability to speak in another language – supernaturally

b.       The ability to work miracles

c.       But in the long run, it meant that a Christian had the same source of inner strength that Jesus Christ had – the Holy Spirit

d.       Here, the greatest Christian man ever, had hands laid on him, and became filled with the Holy Spirit, yet did not speak in tongues!


3.        We know that the Bible commands us to be filled with the Spirit of God

4.        But now you know why!


a.       Unless you are filled with God’s Holy Spirit, God cannot use you!

b.       The Holy Spirit is compared to oil in the Scriptures


1)       Therefore, a lamp wick, without oil will quickly burn out

2)       An engine, without oil, will quickly burn-out

3)       A wheel axle without oil, will grind to a halt!

4)       All of the above will work for a little while, but then fry!


5.        How does a person get filled with the Holy Spirit of God?


a.       You received the Spirit the moment you got saved

b.       You were sealed with the Spirit at that same moment as well

c.       But the filling of the Holy Spirit, is the control you yield to the Holy Spirit on an inch by inch basis through your life, attitudes, and actions

d.       To enable you to yield you must:


1)       Accept instruction – be good soil – not proud, hard-headed soil

2)       Attempt to sing godly songs – not just listen to classical music

3)       Crucify your rebellious spirit – become submitted to God

4)       THAT is the kind of life the Holy Spirit thrives in!

5)       And THAT is the kind of life that the Lord found in Saul!


IV.    Application, Conclusion and Invitation


A.      Did you know, none of these things were only for Paul, but for all of us!

B.       So, let me ask you:


1.        Have you Started Over yet? Been defeated, and ready to start again, but this time, only with Jesus Christ, and “live by the Book!?”

2.        Have you started to take ANY Steps of Faith?

3.        Are you striving to be Filled with the Holy Spirit or just striving to survive?


C.       Come back tonight and learn about how God uses the following four ingredients to produce true greatness in any sinner!


1.        Being an instant Gospel witness!

2.        Enduring your Struggles!

3.        Having some Good Companions!

4.        Making your Time Alone count for eternity!