Wednesday, October 27, 2010

No one, anywhere, under any circumstances, is beyond the reach of the Gospel.

If the conversion of Saul teaches us anything, it is that “no one, anywhere, under any circumstances, is beyond the reach of the Gospel.” That’s what we learned last Sunday as we looked at the unlikely conversion of Saul, and it’s what I had to remember today when I went to get my hair cut. Truth is, I think the haircut is a bit expensive, but it’s a small price to pay for the privilege to share Christ.

Every time I go to the barber, we have a great conversation. He tells me what’s going on in his life and I tell him what’s going on in mine. Much of the stuff going on in his life is not easy. Some of it is his fault and some of it isn’t, but in the end I think it’s God trying to get his attention. Just like Saul, God is breaking into his life subtly and suddenly prodding him to believe and receive Christ as his Savior.

In reality, Saul was anything but deserving of being saved. After all, he was almost solely responsible for the persecution of the early church, yet, God loved him so much that He showed up suddenly in his life, blinding him with a bright light, vv. 3-4.

3As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"

That is often the way it works. Suddenly and without warning, God steps onto the scene and gets our attention. Maybe it's the sobering words of a doctor who says, “your biopsy isn’t good.” Or the unexpected news that one of your children has been in an accident. Amazingly, the jolt awakens our senses, and we suddenly remember that we are not in control, . . . no matter how wealthy, how educated or how accomplished we are.

For more than three decades Saul controlled his own life. He did everything he wanted to do; went everywhere he wanted to go; told people everything he wanted to tell them; and, probably, even bought everything he wanted to buy. But, SUDDENLY one day, EVERYTHING changed. No longer was he in control. Before he was standing and now he is kneeling. Before he was seeing and now he is blind. Before he was telling others what to do, and now he is being told what to do. And, before he is leading and now he is being led.

The most fascinating thing in this story is what God does next. Rather than “kick him while he is down,” God reaches out in grace towards Saul and offers him both forgiveness and a future, vv. 5-6.

5"Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked.  "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. 6"Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."

Saul never got over the grace of God that took hold of him on that fateful trip to Damascus, Philippians 3:12.

12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Literally in the Greek it says Christ Jesus arrested me. How ironic! PAUL WAS ON HIS WAY TO ARREST CHRISTIANS AND ALONG THE WAY, CHRIST ARRESTED HIM. I am praying now that God would use the circumstances in my barber’s life to “arrest” him, believing that “no one, anywhere, under any circumstances, is beyond the reach of the Gospel”

I wonder who you have in your life that you want to see saved. Maybe it’s your barber. Maybe it's a family member, a boss or an employee. Maybe it’s a mate or one of your children. Well, don’t give up. Remember that if the conversion of Saul teaches us anything, it is the fact that “no one, anywhere, is beyond the reach of the Gospel.”


Sally Morris said...

That was a very beautiful way to tell the story of Saul. God arrested me one Sunday evening in the basement of my home. I had nothing but a life of one mess after another. Suddenly when I least expected it, He showed up as I called for God to help me and He instantly showed up I've never been the same. Suddenly the words to Amazing Grace made sense to me! The little Bible I was given many years before for memorizing the books of the Bible made sense to me! I went into a church for the first time after 35 years of swearing I would never step foot in a church and was glad to be there and hung onto every word the preacher said, hungry for truth, truth that would turn my life from the darkness it had been, starving for answers on how to move forward on a different path. Was God planting seeds in my life way before I heard Him that evening? I.m not sure I can't put my finger on anything or anyone who had ever told me about a God who would love me unconditionally before, oh I knew about Him, I knew that Jesus died on a cross to pay for my sins intellectually, I knew these things, I had heard these things all my life but there was always a but in there, there was always the rules that I always managed to break no matter how hard I tried not too. I just couldn't live up to that salvation and then God showed me that I was no surprise to Him and that His grace was free and it was forever and it didn't depend on my behavior and I couldn't do anything to make Him not love me because when He looked at me He saw His Son now, I was covered for past present and future sins and I was already sitting in heavenly places. Jesus paid it all one time for all sin. It was such a freedom in knowing that. I want to do His will, I don't want to sin and when I do it grieves me so where before if I sinned I knew it was wrong but I just thought I'll never be perfect so I might as well do whatever feels good I'm going to Hell anyway. I can't live the Christian life and I'm not even going to try. Heaven is probably boring anyway. I am so very very thankful that He didn't give up on me like I gave up on Him.
Jesus saved a wretch like me and I will never get over being amazed.

Sally Morris said...

What a great way to tie Saul's conversion with your witness to your barber. God shows up in the most unexpected ways and places. He saved a wretch like me!

Carolann said...

Beautiful testimony by sally.
I was saved after my first son was born. I knew of god and all bible verses. Yet I never knew Christ as my personal Savior. Then after my son was born. The holy spirit quicketh in me..I needed him more than ever. I have never looked back and I am now 68.
My son is now a man and he has two sons and a wife of course. I then had a daughter and she is married. Then amother son God gave us. He is Aaron my last. He is married with a family. I am blessed now with six Grandchildren.