Sermon Notes

Acts 26:9-19
9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them.
11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.
12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests.
13 About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions.
14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ “‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied.
16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me.
17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them
18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven.
The Apostle Paul was perhaps the greatest missionary of all time.
With Paul we will focus on his willingness to change, his determination to do the will of the Lord and his ability to use what he was faced with to do the will of the Lord.
When Paul was still known as Saul he was the number one persecutor of the Church. He was stopped in his tracks literally.
His reputation as Saul was so well-known, so feared, that a name change was both practical and somewhat necessary.
No one will ever accomplish much of anything for the Lord unless the Lord has changed them completely. To do the work of the Lord you have to be in right relationship with Him.
Philippians 4:13
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
The key is that we continue to progress and change in our relationship with the Lord.
No matter how long we have been believers there is and always will be room for growth and maturation.
Paul changed completely and continued to progress in his understanding, knowledge and work for the Lord. As we consider our lives our goal should be the same.
The apostle never backed up and never backed off even when he spent days, weeks and months in jail.
2 Corinthians 11:22-29
22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I.
23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.
24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.
25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea,
26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers.
27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
We need to consider what some have gone through for the gospel.
There are places in the world today that being a Christian can get you killed. There is no reason outside of ourselves that we cannot be a strong witness.
How determined are we to follow the Lord at all times and in all ways?
Are we as determined to share our faith as Paul? As the founders of our denomination? As the founders of our local church?
Our culture right now is not only anti-Christian it is anti-social. People are in their own little worlds
Are we determined to break through barriers to share the truth?
Not even jail slowed him down.
We are the masters of excuses when it comes to reasons why we cannot witness, cannot help, cannot care about something or be involved in something. We know how to make ourselves unavailable.
How much we have reflected on the price that was paid for us to hear the word of salvation?
There are a lot of people in our past that helped get us to the place we are now.
Lots of people were involved with you hearing and responding to the Lord.
A series of people said yes and you were blessed.
How willing are you to be a link in the chain of events that gets the gospel to someone else either directly or indirectly?
How willing are we to stand up and be counted for the Lord?
What did we learn from Ruth, Gideon and Esther? Are we as determined as Paul?
The power of one person with the Lord in his or her heart is amazing.
Are you willing to be the ONE?