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From Adversary to Advocate (1 of 5)
Sermon Series: Easter
Grace and peace to you, my name is the apostle Paul. Your pastor asked me to step in and preach for him. I hope you don't mind. He really felt that this Easter you need to hear my story. I'll let you be the judge of that.
Before I share my story with you, permit me to ask you a few questions: Have you ever wrestled with the claims of Jesus Christ? Have you ever rejected some of the teachings in the Bible? Have you ever felt that God could never love you or accept you because of things that you have done? When you have been given an opportunity to serve God, have you ever wondered if your past will haunt you? Have you ever struggled forgiving yourself for sins you've committed in your past?
If you can identify with any of these questions, you may be able to relate to my life. I have personally struggled through all of these concerns. I hope that my story will help you in some of your own soul-searching.
1. Paul's History. I was known for many years as Saul of Tarsus. I was born to Jewish parents in the city of Tarsus, located in what is today southern Turkey. I was a faithful Jew. I was a member of the proud tribe of Benjamin, one of the two tribes that had remained faithful to King David. I was named after Saul-the first king of Israel, who came from the tribe of Benjamin. Growing up, my father taught me the trade of tent making. We made tents out of the heavy hair of goats, which were grazed by the thousands in the neighboring mountains. However, being a devout Jew, my father had greater ambitions for his son. Though tent-making would be my trade, my father sensed a divine calling upon me. So when I turned 13 he sent me to Jerusalem to enter the school of the rabbi's. At this school I was able to study under Gamaliel, who was one of Israel's greatest teachers. Under Gamaliel's superior tutelage I became an expert in the Old Testament. Later, I became a Pharisee. The Ph ...
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