Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Story of Paul, Final

What Sin have you committed, is worthy to be compared?


I'll be honest folks. In my mind, The Story of Saul was to be a one day message. The intent? The reason for sharing this message? It was to asked you a question. What Sin have you committed, is worthy to be compared? I've heard many people over the years say things like "You have no idea of the things I've done." "God could not possibly forgive me for some of the things I've done." "Jesus wants no part of me." ETC.

Look at Saul. A man who hunted down, bound, and even slaughtered God's chosen people. Look at how this Great Sinner {In the World Sense} became a Great Saint. What Sins have you committed? Have you killed God's people? Have you did anything that even comes close to what Saul did? Even if you say yes, look at how God used Saul.

The point, so I thought, was to show that God does not care what you have done. He does care what you can and will do for Him. To show, that once you have accepted God's Gift, Jesus's death, rather Resurrection, you "have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." {Colossians 3:10} The great Sinner that you were is dead. You are a new Creature. A completely differ person. One that is washed by the Blood of Jesus and one that God can now Bless and use, to be part of His Plan and Purpose. Just like Saul becoming Paul.

However, what started out in my mind as a one day message, turned into what it is today, A Five Part Series. Filled with a lot of information. Some of which I did not even know. You see, this is what happens when you get out of God's way, and allow Him to work through you. This entire series was led by the Holy Spirit. I did not read a book. Hear it at a Church. Or anything else. This was totally taught to me, as well as you, directly by the Holy Spirit Himself. The core question remains, "What have you done?" yet we got so much more.

So let's recap and wrap up. Here is Saul. Evil, enemy of God and His Chosen people. On a mission to hunt down and slaughter God's Chosen people. Yet, He is a Religious Zealot. He even tells us these things directly.

Galatians 1:
13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:

14 And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
In Acts, after being beaten by the Crowd, arrested, and the Crowd calling for his death, Paul says this.....

Acts 22:
3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.

4 And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.

5 As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.
Then he goes on to recount his conversion.
6 And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me.

7 And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

8 And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.

9 And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.

10 And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.

11 And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.
Next he tells them about Ananias.
12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,

13 Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him.

14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.

15 For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.

16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Now this next part is interesting..
17 And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance;

18 And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.

19 And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee:

20 And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.

21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.
It goes on to say how this crowd that beat him was listening intently to him until he told them that God said "for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles." Then the Crowd called for his death "Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live." You see, they were rethinking calling for his death while he was talking about being Religious. But once he said, God told me to take the message of Salvation to the "Pigs and Dogs," the Gentiles, that they could not accept. Once he said that Jesus was God, that they could not accept.

But you see, this is how God works. I will never forget, and I told this story briefly before, I was on a quest. I wanted to know what this whole Jesus stuff meant. Truly meant. I wanted to know more about God and Salvation. So I was talking to... Catholic Priests, Rabbis, Pastors, and then two men came into my life. Dwight, and James. Both claiming to be "Christians" and both telling me two different things. I visited both their Churches. I was in the Catholic Church. I learn about Religions of the Far East. I was confused.

Then one day, I heard clear as day "If you want to know God, ask HIM. Ask the Creator. Stop asking the Creation." That is what I did. When you ask someone why do we, whatever, why is it against God to eat meat on Friday? Nine times out of ten, they will answer you according to their religion. "Well, the great saint John Smithion of 21 Ad said that..." No. That really didn't answer my question. Why is it against God for women to wear pants? "Well, Father Soso, in the 15th century said..." No. That really didn't answer my question. I also found that if you persist, a lot of times people will resort to one of the phrases in our language I absolutely HATE. "That's just the way it is."

I'm serious. I absolutely hate that phrase. "That's just the way it is." Why can't Blacks sit in the front of the Bus? "That's just the way it is." Why can't Women Vote? "That's just the way it is." Why do I have to accept Murder? {Abortion} "That's just the way it is." Why do I have to accept Sin? "That's just the way it is." You see, "That's just the way it is." is not good enough for me. Don't ever tell me "That's just the way it is."

So I did. I started learning directly from God. I started to grow in Wisdom and Righteousness through HIM. I asked HIM. I learned what HE thought of this or that. I stopped seeking the Truth according to man, and started learning The Truth according to God. This is what Paul did. Immediately following his conversion, he did not go to Jerusalem and learn form the Apostles. He did not enroll in a Seminary. He went to Arabia. Now Arabia is only mentioned I believe twice in the entire New Testament.

Many believe, and I do as well, that Paul went there because he needed to be far away from those he was with. In other words, here is this guy who was with a group of people who's whole purpose was to hunt down and kill people who accepted Jesus. Paul accepted Jesus. I believe that Paul withdrew himself to Mount Sinai to learn from Jesus and grow in Faith and Wisdom. He spent some time there, I believe three years.

Then he goes out and starts fulfilling his Destiny sent up by God Himself. He was Anointed and Appointed by Jesus Himself. He did not have an easy walk. Check out this list. The Word accounts. Paul was put in prison over and over. Faced death over and over. Received 39 lashes from the Jews 5 times. Beaten with rods 3 times. Stoned one time. Shipwrecked 3 times. Spent a day and night in the sea. And was in continual danger from rivers, robbers, his own people. Was always in danger in the city, in the country, at sea, from those he thought to be Brothers. Often hungry and thirsty, cold and naked. I guess you could say he had some trials and tribulations. But through it all, Paul not only remained Faithful and continued to Walk Worthy, he continued to grow in Faith and he continued to learn from God directly. One of the greatest Sinners became one of the Greatest Saints, who wrote a lot of what we call the New Testament, in the Hold Bible, that we today.

I repeat, what is it you have done? What is it in your past that you feel disqualifies you from God using you for His Will and His Plans? Paul was Saul and a Sinner to the highest degree, as we would rate Sin. Yet Peter saw him as an equal, and,,,,

Galatians 2:
7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)

9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

10 Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.
So Jesus Anointed and Appointed him, and Peter consented. Peter helped to establish Paul as a Leader of the Church, equal to himself, only for Paul to go to the Gentiles and Peter to the Jews. You see, once you go before God and Pray the Prayer of Salvation, and allow God to Anoint and Appoint you, allow Him to teach you the things you need, All that you have ever done is washed away. All the Sins you have ever committed are forgotten. Not just forgiven, but forgotten. You are no longer the person that committed those Sins. You are a completely new and different person. All you have to do is learn from, and allow God to work in your life. All you have to do is Walk Worth and be you. Will you have trials and tribulations? Of course. Look at Paul, but as Paul did, never lose Faith, know that God is with you, always.

Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Have you been adopted into the Family of God? If not, say this Prayer. Right now. Wherever you may be. Say it in your own words, and do not doubt in your heart. God will hear you. He will send the Spirit of Life to you. Let us Pray..

"Oh heavenly Father, Lord God. I am a sinner. I know this. I know there is nothing I can do to change that. But I know you can. I accept Jesus's sacrifice for me. I repent my sins. Please send the Spirit of Adoption into my life. Help me to get to know the real you. Save me. Please. In the name of Jesus, Amen!"

That's it. It really is that simple. Now go tell someone what you have just done. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." {Romans 10:9} You need to find a Church that God leads you to, and be Baptized the way Jesus said to be. You are now a Child of God. A new Creature. You "have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." {Colossians 3:10}

If you want to tell me, or comment, question, give testimonials, or just say "Hi," the Email is opntalk@gmail.com

Until next time, be blessed, be a blessing, and Jesus IS Lord of all!

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