Old Saul, Ain't What He Used to Be
INTRODUCTION: In this text we have the story of a very popular man that went from persecuting the church to the preaching of Christ. Saul had been a Jew of the first order - ''circumcised the 8th day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.'' (Phil. 3:5-6). Here is a man, indoctrinated by the religiously dominant Scribes and Pharisees, had long since lost sight of God's grace and had instead come to trust in his own works and goodness to please God.
Imagine with me the chaos with all of his former religious comrades, once he comes to grip with the teaching of salvation by grace alone. In this text Saul's former friends had now become his chief adversaries. One of the primary objectives of the Judaziers was to stir up such controversy and confusion as to discredit Paul's apostolic authority. They knew they could not successfully undermine his teaching of God's gracious gospel until they undermined his divine authority in the eyes of the church members. In order to accomplish that end, they spread the idea that Paul was not a legitimate apostle but was self-appointed and that his motivation was to elevate himself and build up a personal following. Notice the Apostle Paul's response:
I. THE MOTIVATION BEHIND HIS CALLING. v.10-12
Paul had nothing to prove, but someone to please. Paul's concern was not for his own popularity or personal success but God's truth.
A. ACCUSATIONS. 10
If Paul was seeking the favor of men, I doubt he would pronounce the curse of v.9.
B. AMBITION. 10
''bond servant'' he had surrendered his life entirely to the lordship of Jesus Christ. By nature, people pleasers are not martyrs.
Paul's ambition, according to II Cor. 5:9, was ''to be pleasing to Him.'' His second purpose was to see men saved a ...
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