The Greatest Turn-Around of All Time
1 June, 2003 AM
PLACE: BBC Blarney
Introduction (Acts 2:36)
A. Continuing our study of the Twelve of Apostles of Jesus Christ
1. Twelve lives, affected, and CHANGED by just one person
2. Their change, changed the world
3. This world, needs changing AGAIN
B. There have been a lot of people in history that have surprisingly changed because of some event
1. Sometimes, people change when they get married
2. Sometimes people change when they have a baby
3. Sometimes people change when disaster strikes
4. Sometimes people change when the become successful
C. The most astounding life ever changed probably was the life of one, Saul of Tarsus
D. Last week we looked at his Pedigree, his Religion, and we just touched on his Defeat on the road to Damascus
E. This week, we want to zoom-in on that Defeat, and see how the Lord transformed one of the most impossible cases ever to walk the face of the earth!
Message – The Affect Surrender Has on the Heart
A. The Life of Saul (Acts 9:1,2)
1. Religious and very devout
a. Memorized large portions of the Old Testament
b. Made sure he was actively obeying all of the 618 commandments
c. Lived what he believed – not a Sunday only type believer
2. Retaliatory – against any threat
3. Resilient – unstoppable – no borders would hinder him, and no emotions would affect him – here were Christians not fighting him, but pleading with him to consider Jesus Christ as his Saviour
4. Rebellious – wasn’t about to change. At least not on his own!
5. Thank God, Jesus doesn’t leave us alone!
B. The Change
1. What would change a man who was 100% against Jesus?
a. Would it be disaster? Maybe Saul was diagnosed with cancer? No
b. Would it be a wife? Maybe he met the most wonderful of women that melted his heart? No.
c. Would it be self-realisation? Did he just come to understand who God was, and what he was trying to do in his life? No.
d. What did change and transform Saul of Tarsus into Paul the Apostle was Jesus!
2. What Saul knew, everyone must know
a. He had been taught from a young age the “holy Scriptures” (2Tim 3:15) – not the “teachings of the church” or the traditions of the elders. He was taught, “In the beginning God created…”
b. Saul knew God promised a Messiah, a Saviour
c. Saul knew man’s heart was sinful, and lost without a Lamb
d. Saul knew Satan was real, and a liar, and a murderer
e. Saul knew there were lots of false religions out there
f. He just didn’t realise he was in one of them!
3. What Saul needed was not more education, money, world experience, religious activities – what he needed was an encounter with the living Jesus Christ!
C. The Encounter with Jesus (Acts 9:3-5)
1. Blinding light
a. Here is the light that shone long before the light of the sun or stars
b. Here is the light that will shine eternally in the New Jerusalem
c. And, here it was, shining right on the life of such a sinner as Saul
d. Jesus was not just a man – remember the mount of transfiguration?
2. Booming voice
a. Saul didn’t see Jesus – just the Light
b. But he heard such a voice
c. And Saul heard how that voice knew him
d. And he realised that voice was looking for Saul – not the other way around
3. Surprising Question
a. Why are you fighting me?
b. With all you do, it is not against Christians, but against Jesus that you have the problem
c. Well, you must be getting tired of fighting against “the pricks” – against the pokes of the Holy Spirit deep in your heart
4. Secret Suspicion
a. Out of all of that conversation, Jesus does not announce who He is
b. Saul, slowly puts everything all together
c. Asks, is it really you, Lord?
5. It was at this very moment, during this encounter that Saul was saved, AND changed
a. His destiny was changed 180 degrees – but not only that! Thank God!
b. His drive was changed 180 degrees – his character, his life purpose!
D. How? How can a man be so transformed? Through the Lordship of Christ (Acts 9:6)
1. That one little word – Lord
a. It was the key to the greatest life ever lived by any mortal man
b. Here was a man, Saul, who was totally submitted to what he thought and believed was right (the Jewish religion)
c. But because Jesus was who He claimed to be, Saul re-submitted himself totally to something greater than all the religions in the world – to Jesus!
2. Because of the Resurrection, Jesus IS Lord (Philp 2:5-11)
a. Foundational for Salvation (Mt 15:22-27; 20:30-33; Lk 23:42; Rom 10:9,10,13)
b. The only source of sanity – Letting the LORD Jesus Christ lead (Jesus did say, FOLLOW Me didn’t He?)
3. Saul’s Sweet Surrender
a. Surrendered to the Word of God (Ps 119:89)
1) Paul did not see the person of Jesus, but he heard His words
2) Decided, WHATEVER God says, then that is what needs to be done
3) Stop cherry-picking, and complaining, and arguing with God’s word
4) The problem with all religions is they only pick and chose what they want, and never take it in the whole!
5) I am a BIBLE believer, not just a New Testament believer, or love-believer, or soft-words believer!
b. Surrendered to The Will of God (Acts 9:6-16)
1) Moment by moment – go into Damascus and wait for further instructions
2) For all his life
a) Preach before kings
b) How great things he will suffer for my name’s sake
c. Surrendered to The Where of God - Where he was at
1) Constantly wanting to go one direction – to Jerusalem
2) But God directing him elsewhere – to the regions beyond
d. Surrendered to the Way of God (Ps 95:10)
1) God doesn’t always make sense in the way He handles things
2) The children of Israel didn’t agree with the way God led them to the Promised Land – and that STOPPED them from going in
3) Paul just decided that if God wanted him to go through some dark valleys, that was best (Philp 4:11,12) – it would make a better man out of him!
e. Surrendered to The When of God – out of due time (1Cor 15:3-8)
1) Not with the other disciples when Jesus was here
2) Not at an easy time to be a Christian
3) We each need to realise that God is in control and has called us to do His will in such a time as today – not tomorrow, and not yesterday (Es 4:14)
Surrendered to The Who of God
1) The people in your life (Acts 13:1-3)
2) And, the people who are not in your life – called to be single
g. Surrendered to The How of God – by GRACE, not by my own strength (2Cor 12)
Conclusion (Rev 3:20)
Bible Baptist Church
Blarney, Co. Cork
Mallow, Co. Cork
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