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 Morning Meditation - 9/26/08

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Registration date : 2008-02-24

PostSubject: Morning Meditation - 9/26/08   Fri Sep 26, 2008 10:30 am

SEVEN THINGS PAULíS CONVERSION DID FOR HIM
Acts 26:13-19

Morning Meditation 9/26/08

Verse 13-19 say, "At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision."

Paul rehearses his experience of salvation before king Agrippa. This is testimony. Paul is relaying an experience that he had on the road to Damascus. Salvation is an experience that can be related. What happened to Paul on the road to Damascus?

IT GAVE HIM A SIGHT OF HIMSELF

This is brought out in 1 Tim. 1:13: "Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief." Paul classifies himself as a blasphemer before his conversion. The word "blasphemer" translates "blasphemos" and means, "to speak evil, to be slanderous, reproachful, railing, abusive." Paul was an unbeliever and as an unbeliever thought Jesus was an impostor and His followers were wrong. He looked at the church within the nation of Israel as the church looks at heretics to split it, and go off on some doctrinally flawed tirade, and begin a new group. Paul was slanderous in his words against Christ and His followers.

He did not just talk, he persecuted. The word "persecutor" translates "dioktes" and is from a word that means, "to make to run or flee, put to flight, drive away." Paul aggressively pursued Christians. The word "injurious" translates "hubristes" and means, "uplifted with pride, either heaps insulting language upon others or does them some shameful act of wrong." This describes Paulís pre conversion days. He was not a nice man. He was aggressively opposed to the gospel.

What happened to Paul? He was saved and testified to the change he experienced. He says of himself, "Who was BEFORE a blasphemer . . ." (Caps mine for emphasis). There is a BEFORE and AFTER in Paulís life. There is in every Christians life. On the road to Damascus Paul saw himself for the first time. 1 Tim. 1:15 says, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." There was nothing but pride of religion before his conversion. But after Paul was converted, he saw himself as the chief of sinners. That is quite a change. Here Paul plainly admits that he was wrong. That is hard for some people to do. God is always there for the man who admits he is wrong. Conversion gave Paul a correct sight of
himself. Then his conversion,

CAUSED HIM TO APPRECIATE THE CROSS
This is brought out in Galatians 2:20: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." He saw himself as having been crucified with Christ. The word "crucified" translates "sustauroo" and is from two words in the Greek language, "sun" which means "with or together with," and "stauroo" which means "to crucify by means of a stake, to drive down stakes." It is a perfect passive indicative verb. This means that "I have been crucified in the past with Christ and as a result remain that way." It is not self crucifixion. The passive voice means it happened to Paul. This is true of every true believer. The old life stops at conversion and the new life begins. And the cross is the reason. Why will God forgive a blasphemer? Why will God forgive a person who is in open opposition against Him? Because of the Cross. Jesus loves us and died for us that we might be set free from the penalty of sin.

Paul says in Galatians 6:14: "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." This verse says it best. The cross is the reason for our salvation. Then next, his conversion,

MADE HIM SEE THE RISEN CHRIST
This is brought out in 1 Cor. 15:8: "And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time." Paul saw the risen Christ.

As important as the crucifixion of Christ is, it is very important to see that Jesus is not still on the cross. He is alive at the right hand of the Father. He is the one and only intercessor between God and man. I am afraid that many have not developed beyond the cross. They still have a DEAD Jesus that they worship. Romans 5:10 says, "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." The words "we shall be saved" are not only speaking of a future resurrection, but also, of being saved out of the pitfalls that face us in the immediate future, i.e., the traps that Satan sets for us. The cross is the place of the payment for sin and every sinner must come by way of the cross. But if one is to develop and live victoriously he must see that Jesus is alive and there to save us in our daily experience. We are saved by His life.

Hebrews 4:15-16 says, "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Jesus is the High Priest that is in the holy of holies in heaven in the presence of God for us. Hebrews 9:24 says, "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." Paulís conversion brought him to see that Christ is alive and is continually active in our behalf in the presence of God. Then his conversion,

BROUGHT HIM FORGIVENESS OF SINS

Paul says in Acts 13:38-39: "Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses."

Paul experienced this forgiveness on the road to Damascus. Now he is preaching to others. What a turn around! There is nothing like forgiveness. There is such a lifting of burden, there is such a surge of joy, there is such a release from condemnation. It is hard to explain the experience. Someone hold my mules!!! Hallelujah! Have you been released from the guilt of sin and condemnation?

Many Christians do not enjoy the release because they never get beyond the cross to the throne. I stand and tremble before the cross because there is where I see what my sins did to Jesus. But I stand and rejoice before the throne of His holiness because there sits a LAMB who is enthroned there for me. I am as accepted as His is. I am forgiven. This scene is dramatized in Revelation chapter 5. The scene is in heaven. John sees One sitting on the throne with a seven sealed book in His hand. Then a "strong angel" proclaimed with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?" When no one was found in heaven, on earth, or under the earth, John wept much. Then as John was weeping one of the elders said to him, "Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof." John watches as the drama unfolds and he describes what happens, "And I beheld, and, lo, in the MIDST OF THE THRONE and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, STOOD A LAMB as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne." (Caps mine for emphasis). You can read the rest. The glorified saints of God burst into a song of ecstatic praise, and it is a song of redemption by blood. No monotone voices in that crowd! Everyone will be in perfect pitch and harmony. An they glorified the Lamb for the forgiveness of sins.
Then Paulís conversion,

FIRED HIM WITH A HOLY PASSION
This is brought out in 2 Cor. 5:14: "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead." The word "love" is "agape" an is the unqualified love that loves at its expense without conditions. This is the same word that is found in John 3:16. This is the same love as is found in Romans 5:8 where Paul said, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

This is a quality of love that surpasses the understanding and must be accepted and practiced by faith. It is doing good to the undeserving. It is a holy fervor that drives one on to make living sacrifices because one knows the need and believes this is the way of the Lord to help people. The temptation of the flesh is to help only those who deserve and appreciate our help. That is not Godís way. Godís way is the love of Christ. And when Christ is living in me through my surrender and availability to Him, He is glorified. And the love He expresses through us is His love and is certainly not of this world. Then next, Paulís conversion,

MOVED HIM TO SACRIFICE HIMSELF

This is brought out in 1 Corinthians 15:31: "I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily." Paulís earthly life was lived dangerously. He was willing to die if necessary to get the message of the gospel out to those who had never heard. His life is recorded in the book of Acts and the Epistles that he wrote. And he is a good example of the "living sacrifice" that he talks about in Romans 12:1. I have read with tears the catalog of suffering that he tells us about in 2 Cor. 11:22-29. No man will do much if he is not willing to sacrifice. Our witness is hampered because of the fear of man and because we do not want to look like fanatics. If we are to be used, we must be willing to accept the "reproach of Christ" (Heb. 13:13) and make the sacrifice. Paulís conversion moved Him to sacrifice. Then his conversion,

OPENED HIS EYES TO A DIFFERENT OUTLOOK

Religious madness drove Paul to persecute the Church until his conversion but the love of Christ moved him to SACRIFICE all (Phil. 3:7-Cool after his conversion. He discovered the true purpose of life and that death for the Christian is "far better" (Phil. 1:23). He saw life completely different after his conversion. We need to ask ourselves, "Do we see life differently since our conversion?" Is heaven just a kind of a psychological narcotic or is it a driving force that removes the fear of death?
Paulís one drive in life is brought out in Philippians 3:10: "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead." Paul had a singular purpose in life, i.e., to know Christ intimately, derive power that flowed out of His resurrection, be conformed to His death, and that he might attain resurrection status in this life. The words "that I might attain" translate "katantao" and mean, "to come to, arrive, metaph. to attain to a thing." It is an aorist active subjunctive verb. The aorist tense means to stand up at a point of time and the subjunctive mood means it is possible. Paul is not talking about the resurrection at the rapture. He is speaking of resurrection power operating in the life of a believer while he is alive on this earth. We live in a graveyard. And most of us act like the rest of the corpses in the place! Paul wants to stand out from the dead as one who has ETERNAL LIFE NOW and is living the eternal life on earth while still in the body.

Paulís conversion gave him a sight of himself, caused him to appreciate calvary, made him to see the risen Christ, brought to him the forgiveness of sins, fired him with a holy passion, moved him to sacrifice himself, and opened his eyes to a different outlook. Amen!

May the Lord bless these words to you hearts.
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