From an Enemy to a Brother

Stories From the Life of Paul
Romans 8:14-17
Matthew Raley (6-23-13)

Saul is preaching in a Damascus synagogue. He has unrolled the scroll to Isaiah’s prophecy of the suffering servant, and is showing how the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth fulfills the prophecy. The Jewish followers of Jesus in the room are amazed at the change in Saul, as are the unbelieving Jews who are increasingly open to what he is preaching.

But there are disciples of Christ in the room who remain withdrawn from Saul, disciples who had experienced the terrors of his persecution of the church. And there are unbelieving Jews with enraged eyes as sharp as the daggers in their cloaks. Two of them exchange glances and leave, their right hands buried in the folds of their garments.

Saul knows that they will kill him if they get the chance. He knows that some of the Christian brothers are rejoicing over his conversion. But what about that disciple who sat in front with his arms folded, staring at the floor? Is he hostile enough to sell Saul out?  Who can Paul trust?  How can he ever hope to bond with the followers of Christ?

Today, as we continue examining our proposed belief statement, we will look at the life and words of the man who once was Saul.  We will see how he is bonded with the body of believers in a unity unique to the church, and how this unity is an essential part of the Christian walk.

God created the church to inherit Jesus Christ’s eternal kingdom (1 Peter 1:1-9). Through grace alone, God makes sinners righteous by faith alone in Christ alone (Romans 3:21-26). Christ is the head of the church (Colossians 1:15-20), and the Holy Spirit unites believers from every ethnicity as Christ’s body on earth (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). His church can be found in local gatherings of believers throughout the world (Colossians 1:3-8), devoting themselves to the Bible (Acts 17:10-12) and practicing the two ordinances Christ gave: baptism and communion (Matthew 26:26-29; 28:18-20).

Pastor Matt has changed the format of his sermons to include a question and answer period after he speaks. Because questions are unique to each service, all the questions Pastor Matt answered from both services have been edited together at the end of this sermon.

 

Published in: on July 1, 2013 at 12:22 am  Leave a Comment  

From an Enemy to a Son

Stories From the Life of Paul
Romans 8:14-17
Matthew Raley (6-16-13)

In an instant, Saul went from being the rising star among Jewish leaders to lying in the middle of a road. The risen Jesus Christ stopped Saul with intense light, confronted Saul’s persecution of the church, and commanded him to wait for instructions .

When the vision was finished, Saul was left on the baking Roman pavement. The blaze of light left him blind. He pushed himself up hoping his eyes would adjust. They didn’t. He could not tell which way to go, so one of his men took him by the hand and led him into Damascus.

At least as devastating as Saul’s physical blindness was his grieving conscience. When he arrived in the city, he ate and drank nothing for three days (Ac 9.9). His heart and mind were demolished. He had built his life on upholding Moses and opposing Jesus. Now it was obvious that Jesus had risen from the dead, that he is at the right hand of God, just as Stephen said before he was martyred.

How is Saul going to be a part of Jesus’s kingdom if not through the law?

Today, as we continue examining our proposed belief statement, we will look at the life and words of the man who once was Saul.  We will see how he, in an instant, became a different man, and learn how the work of the Holy Spirit made it possible for him to go from being the enemy of Christ to a member of his family:

“The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus Christ (John 16:14). He does this by showing human beings that they are sinners (John 16:8) and by giving new life in Christ’s death and resurrection to those who believe (John 3:1-21). The Holy Spirit also unites believers with Christ (Ephesians 2:19-22) and adopts them as heirs in God’s family (Romans 8:15-17). He lives in them (Romans 8:9), enlightening their minds (1 Corinthians 2:12-13), guiding their steps (John 16:13), equipping their work (1 Corinthians 12), and empowering their whole being with Christ’s strength (Romans 8:1-8).”

Pastor Matt has changed the format of his sermons to include a question and answer period after he speaks. Because questions are unique to each service, all the questions Pastor Matt answered from both services have been edited together at the end of this sermon.

 

Published in: on July 1, 2013 at 12:15 am  Leave a Comment