D. Converted and Called
D. Converted and Called 1 Timothy 1:12-17 (NIV)
The conversion of the Apostle Paul is both dramatic and inspiring. He was struck off his horse by blinding light and the resurrected Jesus spoke to him. The Gospel can powerfully and miraculously bring the most unlikely person into the Kingdom of God. Paul was not only saved on the road to Damascus, he was called with a purpose. We may not experience such a dramatic conversion, but we are called with a purpose.
1. Called by Jesus for faithful service v12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.
It is essential for followers of Jesus to be trustworthy and faithful. It is a fruit of the Spirit – “Love, Joy , Peace, patience, faithfulness…”(Gal.5:22-23). If you are faithful to learn and be changed by the Gospel, God can trust you. He will give you special tasks and you will have a very meaningful life.
David was faithful to take care for sheep before becoming king. I thank God that by his grace I have been faithful from being a Sunday school teacher, in accounting duties in service of a church, in small group leadership, and in pastoring a church. On the God side, if you are faithful and need help, if you ask, Jesus will then give supernatural strength to persevere. Paul says, I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength. Also, ‘I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.’ Phil.4:13).
2. First get saved! v13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. v14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. v15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
You are shown mercy when you acknowledge and receive Jesus. The grace of our Lord.. [is] poured out on..[you] abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. When I was saved, I looked at everything differently! I told my teacher that the Christian youth paper I was reading was more important than the maths lesson! (I kept faithful in my studies.) Did Paul deserves his being saved? He says, I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man. Do you deserve to be saved? If you think you do, dig a little deeper! Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Paul adds to this - of whom I am the worst. Note the present tense. Once a sinner, always a sinner at heart with the old nature, but saved by grace.
3. Then be a good example. v16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would [?about to] believe in him and receive eternal life.
The conversion of Paul and his writings in the New Testament have been a powerful influence for other followers of Jesus. After being saved, you have another purpose if life. You are to be a good example of faithfulness pointing others to the Lord’s mercy. Do not to be quick to judge others and write them off. God is patience, merciful to you and to them.
A final message to note. Paul’s testimony begins and ends thanking Jesus and in worship –
v17… now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen!