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March 29, 2022 4:00 am
Before he became a committed apostle Paul was a Pharisee. He captured and killed Christians. So how did a fierce persecutor of the church become a powerful preacher of the gospel find out today on the life Alister Meg is continuing his study in chapter 3 of the book of Titus begin today with a look at a passage, Paul is warning the people in Philippi about folks who are suggesting to them that they have to engage in all of these external things in order to have confidence before God in order to be accepted by God. So Paul says if that were the case then there was nobody there would be nobody who had a greater sense of confidence that God would accept him than me. And then he rehearses his background and he turned back a little more to ask and to chapter 9 let's just look at the transformation that Grace brings about in the life of Paul. He was Saul of Tarsus and invest one fax nine Luke tells us that he was continuing to breathe out threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord and on his way to Damascus. He was seeking to do that, when suddenly he was arrested by a light flashed from heaven and hear the voice Luke tells us, and Saul.
Saul, why are you persecuting me Saul would've said to himself.
I don't understand the question I'm persecuting the followers of Jesus Christ, then it suddenly dawned on him. Jesus is actually the head of the church, his body to persecute them is to persecute him and he says who are you, Lord, the Lord said, I'm Jesus, whom you are persecuting so easy.
What happened to Saul was that he encountered Christ and he realized that he was offending against Christ and that this Christ. This Messiah had actually come to seek him out that he needed grace. He was now finding grace and mercy and then he was going to become the preacher off that same RC we could not preach mercy until he knew Marcy and so when he says, but when the goodness and lovingkindness of God our Savior appear referencing the incarnation of Christ, he surely could not miss the fact of the appearance of Jesus. If you like his own personal epiphany on the Damascus road when Jesus Christ appears to have an suddenly everything is changed and the prosecutor becomes a preacher. He discovers that Jesus is Lord.
He discovers the mercy that is provided in Jesus. He discovers the fight that he is now part of the very people that he was prosecuting as a look at verse 20 and immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying he is the son of God, did you see verse one of chapter 9. Saul still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord went to the high priest for lectures and so on. So they might go to Damascus and wrestling here.
I'm in heaven. In verse 20, and immediately proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues in the synagogues that Jesus is the son of God did this come about, how does it ever come about by nature. We don't go out and declare that Jesus is the Messiah. We may not actually believe that is the Messiah, we may have lived all of our life saying I actually was a good man and a great man. By the idea of them being an incarnate God could never swallow that that might've been the kind of thing you once said, but if you been converted. If you been changed if you've been saved, then you have an entirely different view of Jesus. Now your view of Jesus is that he actually is the Messiah of God and salute does is look at verse 22 or 21 and all who heard him were amazed and said in Jerusalem, isn't this the guy who made of those who called upon this name. Is this the fellow that was here to kill Christians hearing things correctly. He's actually declaring a notice it says in verse 22, but Saul increased all the more in strength and he confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ. What happened to the goodness and lovingkindness of God had appear to when he wrote to the Corinthians, and is on the front of our bulletin this morning. He summarized it in one versed in the if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation the old is gone, the new has come.
I was once totally convinced that my righteous deeds would be acceptable to the God that I worshiped until I met Jesus.
When I met Jesus and realize that I was persecuting Jesus that all of my rebellion against God and all of my insults and relationship to them were against him that I was confronted by this when I laid hold of him as a savior and as a friend and I was changed I used to be a prosecutor now I'm a preacher.
You see, Jesus is the one who turns is upside down.
He's the one who turned as inside-out changes us from the inside.
And this, you will notice according to his own. Marcy according to his own mercy, not because he found is desirable not because we were particularly attractive to them because we weren't, but because of his own mercy and waitresses chosen not for good in me and waking up from Ross to flee when Paul writes to the church at Rome he said would you show contempt for the kindness of God our Savior for his mercy to see until I realized my offense against God that I am in the wrong with him. In the story of his mercy means little to me when I realize that the punishment that is junior to the sin has been born in Christ that if I were to get my just desserts for who and what ion than I deserve to die for the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. So Jesus seems as we don't save ourselves. That's what he's reminding time to Saul so that he will preach it in Cretan so that I can preach in Cleveland. We did a sidestep to notice that this story is not an arms length theology for Paul, but it is actually simply emblematic of his own encounter with Jesus and then return to the text and notice the way in which he uses these theological words to explain the comprehensive nature of what it means that he saved us, he did so, according to his own mercy notice by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior. What is this regeneration. What is it mean it means spiritual rebirth, spiritual rebirth is an instantaneous change performed by God in the soul of a man or woman. It is something that God does. That's why enjoy on one. You remember it says that that that we are born again in John three that were born again, not as a result of a human decision or of a husband's will born of God, so that this transformation that is brought about is a God ordained transformation is performed by the Holy Spirit as we are renewed. It is portrayed in baptism. A picture of washing and Paul uses the word which was at least in some measure understandable by the people of his day is not an entirely Christian word regeneration because within a relatively short period of time. Some of the Hellenistic philosophers have begun to use the very same terminology what they were looking for when they use the word regeneration was a quest for the natural world to experience periods of restoration and regeneration to be to be renewed.
They were looking if you like for a transformation of the world and understandably so. Because there was so much of that was marked by that which is in need of fixing what he said I seems a long way away from our day and age there is it not not if you're reading your newspaper doesn't the world was treated to pictures from Times Square this week. On the summer solstice, the daily telegraph carried a picture of all of these hundreds of people in a variety of poses engaging in a quest for whatever is the gathering Times Square. There were dramatic pictures.
I went and looked at him again as I was thinking about them reaching out for something reaching out for someone.
Welcome to the land of the brave and the home of the free. Here is 21st century America. The summer solstice celebrated by the Druids in Stonehenge and celebrated by the contemporary pagans in Times Square before we get high horses in judgment in relationship to these things. That is acknowledge the fact that these individuals are longing and hoping for something better than they presently have and you may be here this morning and that is exactly your situation that you would like to live in a new world in a better world in a clean world in a green world in a just society. If like me you listen to NPR you know it just rings in your mind. This was brought to you today by the John Dee and Catherine MacArthur foundation, one of the largest foundations philanthropic foundations, private ones in contemporary America and they always have a little byline about it says this to this foundation is committed to things like international peace to conservation to juvenile justice and so long but I understand that Dona I understand why men and women looking around on our world today would be interested in all of these things would be looking at the predicament of humanity unfixed by example by education and by experience and saying to themselves. I wonder if there is no place or if we can create a place in which things will be put to write in which things will be fixed.
Of course he has with his address. That is dated classically if I find myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. So I want to say to my friends who are gathering in Times Square and reaching out for someone or for something I understand is nothing very new Roger Whittaker the whistling singer with a 12 string guitar in the late 60s and early 70s. He was saying about a brave new world in the morning listening. Everybody talks about a new world in the morning you world in the morning so they say in the refrain and I can feel a new tomorrow coming on really has not been going for the last 40 years. I was the new world going is new thought its new ages. New world is understandable. The human predicament is undeniable is the explanation of the human predicament that we long for. The Bible gives the explanation we where likeness, hated and hated living in and be trapped enslaved messed up. Here is the gospel. Lots when the goodness and lovingkindness of God appeared. He saved us as emirs into religious people and seeing that he took in and transformed one set of external circumstances for another, it says that he regenerated us. We were born again we were made new. From the inside out that his conversion anything other than that is not conversant the fixing of ourselves. The engaging in spiritual things the turning over a new lease and all be done by us all day every day, but only God can save us. Only God can regenerate us. Only God can answer the deepest longings of our hearts when we were at this conference together this past week gives wonderful to have me in a week has passed, was wonderful to have the input from all over the place, and in one of the speakers was describing the fact that Tolkien and CS Lewis and how we would love to be in there for some of those conversations, and in Oxford, Tolkien and CS Lewis engaged in all kinds of dialogue and banter concerning fairy stories and talkie and wrote a classic SC on the nature of fairy stories and talkie and argues in that very strongly that the reason that fairy stories have such validity, and such timelessness to them is because the address longings of man and one and then for particular areas. One, the longing for a supernatural realm to for a love that is stronger than death. Three for a good that triumphs over evil, and for for a closer relationship to nature that explains, for me at least, why Avatar was the largest grossing movie in the history of moviemaking because it is a gigantic fairytale about please and gardens in the supernatural and the transformation of trying the new world somewhere in the fairytales that we read have an abiding power because we wish they were true. Don't you wish they were true. I do anything that's crazy but I know I like the idea of gnomes and and and creatures in my garden.
Like if I wake up at three in the morning maybe move around and and maybe they're doing things. I love the idea that I could live in a little world. I love the idea that sin middle earth sin, and in all these kind of places in badgers that talk and makeups of tedium.
It is fantastic while see this one Tolkien was say he saying when you go to Jesus, you're not going to fairy story. But when you go to Jesus, you're going to the underlying reality to which all of those very stories point the longing for a beautiful place. What is the story of the Bible is the story of my garden is the story of a garden in which Adam follows it up and thorns and thistles grow and it is a story of a man who is taken to be the gardener by Mary on the back of the resurrection. He isn't, but in the sense he is because he's making a beautiful new place in which drugs righteousness a new heaven and a new art in which righteousness dwells. Longing for the supernatural that God has invaded our time and our space in the person of Jesus that he has come down to us. The longing for a love that conquers evil longing for a good that triumphs over bad I don't have you ever consider this, but all of those longings. All of those understandable longings of the human heart are answered in the gospel. That's what Paul is saying here we were transformed maxi sex black when the goodness and kindness of God our Savior.
He saved us he made us absolutely new and he will save you today if you will call on never called on him to save you all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.
That's what the Bible says is the one who is supposed to do what I have to do on just call. See you made me you pursued me.
I've met you and my friends and their love for me. I've discovered you in the story of the Bible. I need you save me otherwise I'll be in Times Square. Otherwise, I'll be looking to fix everything unless you fix me, but if you're entirely contented where your you never call in. Why would you recall 1965 June Eric burden and the animals. What was the song I see was September the United States we got it get out of this place. It was the last thing we ever do was a big hit with the US forces in Vietnam. Understandably so, we get out of this place they met you today.
Send yourself I gotta get out of this mess going to get out of this predicament.
I don't know what in the world is going on here: the Lord: the Lord, why, why were they going to. Why did he need to get out of the place while the line was girl, there's a better life for you and me. There's a better life for you and me. Yes there is a better life for you and me is the life is found in Jesus's life is offered to us in the gospel. What was for Jesus three of death is for you if you will call on a tree of life because the goodness and lovingkindness of God our Savior has appeared, Jesus saves us. We don't see ourselves. Good news, listening to Truth for Life Alastair Greg encouraging us to call on Christ today to be say. Hope you'll keep listening. Alastair will be back to close the program with prayer in just a minute if you'd like to know more about what it means to commit your life to Jesus, you can visit our website watch a helpful video that explains the story of salvation as we just heard from Alastair are good deeds and best efforts can't save us.
Only Jesus can you find the video it Truth for Life.org/the story we love sharing the gospel message. Truth for Life and you're invited to join us in this effort, you can give your support by praying that God will use this program to convert unbelievers to bring believers into a closer relationship with Jesus and to build up local churches.
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Know the truth is been used by believers for over 40 years as a helpful source for understanding Christian doctrine. The addition available today has been revised and updated with the expanded discussion on topics like creation and providence human nature and sexuality. The sanctity of human life whole lot more. Once again, you can request a copy when you give a firstname.lastname@example.org/donate or you can call us at 888-588-7884. Now let's join Alastair in prayer. Father, thank you for your grace. Thank you for your mercy. Thank you for the love that drew the plan of salvation and brought it down to is in Christ, come to our weary souls are heavy laden, hearts, and smash the idols that are so compelling and yet at the same time so unsatisfying. Thank you that you reach down into our souls and save us to your work. Today we pray for Christ's sake and unpopular opinion. We hope you can join us tomorrow. One will find out why salvation is a lot more than life improvement. It's a complete radical transformation. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living