Message of the Week

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Acts 9: 1-22


I think we need to first look at a fact that in everyday life we tend to forget when we look at others.  That fact is that God does not look at our past; He looks at what He called us to do.  If we see someone get elevated in the church or even in corporate America we begin to scrutinize their life. That we THINK we know.  Comments like hum I don’t know how the Pastor called them to do that, you know 50 years ago they got caught doing this or that……Have you forgotten what you did and just did yesterday afternoon and didn’t get caught?  So before we go there just look in the mirror.

Let me bring to your mind’s eye, an imperfect person that God did call who ended up writing 52% of the books of New Testament and 38% of the chapters.  His name was Saul of Tarsus, later changed to Paul.  Saul was even present and consenting the stoning death of the first deacon of the church, Stephen.  Acts 7:57 thru Acts 8:3, which says in 7:58 & 59 And they cast him out of the city (meaning Stephen), and

stoned him, and the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.  And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying” Lord Jesus receive my spirit.  Then he cried out with a loud voice saying, “Lord do not Charge them with this sin.”  And when he had said this he fell asleep.  Going on into 8:1 the word says; Now Saul was consenting to his death.  But then comes chapter 9.  As we just read, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats towards the Christians as he was traveling on the Damascus Road when in verse 3 God called him saying; Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me? Let’s re-read verses 5 thru 9 of chapter 9.   After all Saul had done God Himself called him and not only called him but send one of his disciples after him, Ananias, look at what he did again (read verses 10- 19).  Saul/Paul immediately after Ananias baptized and laid hands on him and he was filled with the Holy Spirit he changed and began preaching so wholeheartedly for Jesus that the Jews wanted to kill him.  In the beginning the disciples were afraid of him because of his past.  But God had already taken care of that and had sent Barnabas to take him to the apostle’s.  Barnabas was Paul’s advocate, an advocate is someone who speaks on behalf of someone else’s cause.  Then a few chapters later actually in 13:9 he began to be called Paul.  I could go on and on about Paul’s life but the point I want to make is that there probably has never been anyone worse than Paul, killing people for absolutely nothing, just because he wanted them to believe what he believed but when God send Ananias after him He said in verse 15 Go, for he is a chosen vessel.  After all Paul had done he was God’s chosen vessel to bring the word to the gentiles.  You see Paul was a highly educated scholar and but he still did not know the truth until he was filled with the Holy Spirit.  All of this information about Paul is to give you an example of how far off base Paul was but, when God called and he answered and brought salvation to the gentiles.  I hope you know we are gentiles.  Just like God called Paul and made a complete change in him and sent him a guide, Ananias and an advocate, Barnabas He will do the same for us today.  You see the beauty of Paul, even though he was wrong until he was filled with the Holy Spirit he wholeheartedly believed in what he was doing and was committed to what he believed and when he came to the Lord he was just as committed.  There are still some out there today that God has marked as a chosen vessel that right now look like a piece of junk in the eyes of man so be careful how you treat that lost and seemingly unworthy person that gets on your last nerve.  He or she just may be God’s chosen vessel.  We are all a work in progress, ALL OF US!  None of us have arrived although some folks think they have.  When we get to that point of thinking we have arrived just go stand in the mirror and don’t just look at the image you see, look on the inside of yourself and be honest with yourself.

Look at Paul’s past, his life before being filled with the Holy Spirit would you have thought he would have written 52% of the New Testament and brought salvation to the gentiles?  No! we wouldn’t!  But God knew.  So where ever you are in life, stop, and listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling you to do because we are all called to do something great for God.   It may not be in the pulpit or the pew.  It could be on the street corner.  Just listen and do it.  Everything that is great to God may not see like to much to man.  You may say just a few kind words to a hurting soul that will draw them to Christ and they will be saved and bound for heaven just because of your few words and you may never know it until you get to the other side.  Always be ready to show compassion for your fellowman.  Sometimes you get in trouble or mis-understood for your compassion but there are great rewards in heaven for it.

One last point I want to make is that just as the Lord wasn’t concerned about Paul’s past he is not concerned about yours either.  If you have repented for your past and committed to a new future He wants to use you for what He created you to be.

Like Paul, would you be willing to give your life to Christ?  Don’t just say yes because the question was asked.  Think about it and ask yourself would you really be willing to give your life to Christ.  I mean really live a sold out life for him.  Then ask yourself would I, like Paul, be willing to give my life for Christ?  If you would then ask; Lord what am I called for?