10/24/10 Once Inflamed Now Changed!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Monday, October 25, 2010 Under: Sermon

Text: Galatians 1:13-16

13) For you have heard about my former way of life in Judaism: I persecuted God’s church to an extreme degree and tried to destroy it; 14) and I advanced in Judaism beyond many contemporaries among my people, because I was extremely zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. 15) But when God, who from my mother’s womb set me apart and called me by His grace, was pleased 16) to reveal His Son in me, so that I could preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone.

“Disregarding (ignore) the command of God, you keep the tradition of men.” Mark 7:8 (HCSB)

Intro: the minister of God had a radical change of life. If you were to know of his past and understand his present he was a changed man! This was clearly seen by comparing his former life with his present life.

People always tell me that not everyone has the same change or experience when they receive Christ as Savior. There is truth to that statement however, I have to go further and ponder on the thought, has that person really been changed? Could it have been emotional or something going on in that persons life at that time. Real change will show evidence, bare fruit and become a new creature in Christ.

Inflamed: Once inflamed, angry, irritated. You ever been irritated with someone? Can you imagine someone being angry with God? Paul is often used in sermon topics showing stages someone goes through after experiencing God for the first time. In my sermon today I am using Paul as an example of what I believe many others can relate too!

Application: Are you a changed person for Christ?

Called: Greek Word - kal-eh'-o

Paul’s example starts with his past:

1. Paul's former life:

13) For you have heard about my former way of life in Judaism: I persecuted God’s church to an extreme degree and tried to destroy it;

Paul had been the first arch-persecutor of the church. He had been an inflamed man who struck out more than anyone else against the early believers. Apparently Paul had launched the persecution of the church on the very day of Stephen's death. Saul had wanted to act and act quickly in wiping out the church. The believers were frightened and on the run; therefore, Paul felt that he had to strike immediately in order to catch them before they could escape. The point to see is that Paul had been bent on violence; he had sought to utterly stamp out the church; to wipe believers off the face of the earth. He wanted to make havoc to destroy this Christian thing.

“Saul, however, was ravaging the church, and he would enter house after house, drag off men and women, and put them in prison.” Acts 8:3 (HCSB)

Please keep in mind part of Paul’s past, he was very religious! He could have been the one who volunteer for everything, he could have been the one who came every time the church doors were open, he could have been the one who gave money to every good cause! He could have been one of the churches biggest persecutors! There could be someone here right now that has no idea that their one of the churches biggest persecutors! In the case of Paul he experienced God, he saw the light – so how about you?

1) Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2) and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, either men or women, he might bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3) As he traveled and was nearing Damascus
, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. 4) Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Acts 9:1-4 (HCSB)

Have you had a meanwhile (a moment) or are you still persecuting the church? Paul’s meanwhile, his once inflamed attitude changed when he saw the light, he had a Damascus Road experience. How about you? Have you really seen the light, have you put out the flame of hatred and anger are you changed?

Paul’s example continued with his attitude:

2. Paul's self-righteous life:

14) and I advanced in Judaism beyond many contemporaries among my people, because I was extremely zealous for the traditions of my ancestors.

Paul declared that he had "profited" in the Jews' religions above and beyond what others had done. The idea is that he had blazed a path and given well beyond what they had achieved. He had been much more zealous than they. His commitment had lain: in religion and in the traditions of the religious leaders. His focus and fanaticism had been placed upon religion and its traditions, rituals, and ceremonies and not upon God.

“Disregarding (ignore) the command of God, you keep the tradition of men.” Mark 7:8 (HCSB)

The church is full of people who just don’t get it! It is not about us or the things that makes us happy or even God’s creation, it is about the Creator and the fellowship He really intended for us to experience.

“Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.” Colossians 2:8 (NLT)

Paul’s example concluded with a life that was:

3. Paul's radically changed life:

15) But when God, who from my mother’s womb set me apart and called me by His grace, was pleased 16) to reveal His Son in me, so that I could preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone.

God had set Paul apart and called him by His grace. Paul clearly said: that it was God's grace that had saved him from a life of self-righteousness and destruction. God's grace had separated him to serve Christ "from his mother's womb." The idea is that God had Paul in his mind even before Paul's birth. Paul's call and ministry were not due to Paul, but to God and His grace. God had His eye on Paul throughout all eternity.

26) Brothers, consider your calling: not many are wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. 27) Instead, God has chosen the world’s foolish things to shame the wise, and God has chosen the world’s weak things to shame the strong.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-27 (HCSB)

God called Paul as a vessel to reveal Christ. God's primary call to Paul was the same as it is for every believer: to reveal His Son Jesus Christ both to him and through him. God wants the believer both to know Christ and to make Christ known. We are chosen to fellowship and commune with the Lord more and more and to let Him be seen in us more and more. The believer is a mere vessel in and through whom Jesus Christ lives.

9) But as it is written: What no eye has seen and no ear has heard, and what has never come into a man’s heart, is what God has prepared for those who love Him. 10) Now God has revealed them to us by the Spirit, for the Spirit searches everything, even the deep things of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 (HCSB)

God called Paul to preach Christ. Believers are not only called to know Christ, but also to make Christ known. We must preach and bear witness to Christ. The bible tells us to: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature"

God called Paul to seek his gospel from God alone. Paul was not to seek his gospel from men but from God. God and God alone is the source of the gospel; therefore, God alone must be sought for the message of the gospel.

Conclusion: This does not mean, of course, that ministers are not to learn from others; it means that ministers are not to proclaim the gospel of men. God has given us the gospel to study and preach. It is His message, not man's message, that the world needs.


Are you a changed person for Christ?

12) I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry – 13) one who was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. Since it was out of ignorance that I had acted in unbelief, I received mercy. 1 Timothy 1:12-13 (HCSB)

13) Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, 14) I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14 (HCSB)

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