Sermon Notes: Have You Met Saul ?
The following are Pastor Crutchfield’s notes from today’s sermon at Compassion Church of Katy.
There is a certain trap that a lot of people fall into. They think I have messed up way too many times, “I’m sure even God could not forgive everything I have done.” they say, or they think, I’ve done some really horrible things. God could never forgive some of the things I have done. Both sets of people believe that they are lost causes, that they could never be saved. Maybe you fit in one of these categories, or maybe you know someone who does.
Today I want to introduce you to a man named Saul. His full name is Saul of Tarsus. Saul was a Pharisee, and thus was very learned in Jewish law and tradition. He also was a very early and active persecutor of the followers of Christ. Consider Saul’s own description of his treatment of Christians in
“ I really thought that I ought to oppose the name of Jesus the Nazarene in every way possible. And that’s exactly what I did in Jerusalem. I locked up many of God’s holy people in prison under the authority of the chief priests. When they were condemned to death, I voted against them. In one synagogue after another-indeed in all of the synagogues– I would often torture them, compelling them to slander God. My rage bordered on the hysterical as I pursued them, even to foreign cities.”
So Saul was a man who murdered, tortured, and even defiled the very sanctuaries whose care he was entrusted with. He even was involved in a great many of what we would call these days, home invasion type robberies. No one though of Saul as a good man. I don’t even think Saul saw himself as a good man. Fortunately for Saul God had different ideas. Again in Saul’s own words we hear what happened next in
“On one such journey, I was going to Damascus with the full authority of the chief priests. While on the road at midday, King Agrippa, I saw a light from heaven shinning around me and my traveling companions. That light was brighter than the sun. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice that said to me in Aramaic “ Saul, Saul, why are you harassing me ? It’s hard for you to kick against a spear.” Then I said “ Who are you, Lord ?” “The Lord replied, I am Jesus, whom you are harassing.””Get up ! Stand on your feet ! I have appeared to you for this purpose: to appoint you as my servant and witness of what you have seen and what I will show you. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to open their eyes. Then they can turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God., and receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are made holy by faith in me.”
Can you say BUSTED ? Saul was clearly in ore trouble than any of us could ever understand. Yet God not only forgave him, but in fact sent him out to engage in saving others ! In fact Christ so believed in the new Saul, that he gave him a new name, Paul. The same Paul that we know as one of the Apostles ! The same Paul whose epistles or letters make up much of the new testament. God in Paul did a wondrous work in what had been indisputably an evil man. If God can do this for Saul who was so undeserving by any measure, why not you ?
So you can see that there is no number of bad acts high enough to be too high. The crimes Saul committed have probably never even been counted they are so high, and many of them only known to God Himself. Murder, even mass murder is not bad enough to cause you not to be saved. No crime known to man is so bad as to cause you to lose your chance at salvation. It is always within your grasp no matter what you have done in the past !
Consider what we have been listening to in combination with the words of ,
2 Peter 3:9
“The Lord isn’t slow to do what he promised, as some people think. Rather, he is patient for your sake. He doesn’t want to destroy anyone but wants all people to have an opportunity to turn to him and change the way they think and act.” ( God’s Word Translation)
So God ‘s word tells us clearly you cannot be too bad to be saved ! Faith in Jesus Christ is sufficient to save any one of us. God is extending his hand, it is up to us to reach out to him and grab it.