God's Relentless Pursuit (Acts 8:1 - 9:19)

Sermon Date: 
Sep 03 2017
Sermon Audio: 

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"But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison."Acts 8:3 // "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me... I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting?" Acts 9:4-5

OUR ESCAPE FROM GOD
It seems right from the time of Adam and Eve it's become our human default to run away or escape from God. Adam and Eve were on the run with their decision to follow Satan's voice over their own intimate Creator's voice. It was time to hide from God in their guilt and shame.

SO WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN GOD DECIDES TO CHASE AFTER YOU? God didn't just turn the other direction when Adam and Eve rejected him. God went after them as it was time to have a chat; a time to reveal their lost condition, their consequences, and to be recipients of God's grace.

God's ultimate pursuit upon humanity is found through his Son Jesus Christ (God-in man). John 3:16 reads, "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that who ever shall believe in him will not perish but have everlasting life." Luke 19:10 Jesus tells us He entered this world TO SEEK and SAVE the lost.

THE DIVINE ENCOUNTER
Saul is escaping God's revelation of Christ by attacking those claiming to be following "this" dead Jesus. For Saul this is a false, dangerous, and threatening movement against Judaism. AND THEN...Saul has an encounter with the living Christ! In fact, Jesus knows Saul by his very name and his actions (see Psalm 139:1-3). In one moment Saul's whole life and understanding of God is turned upside down.

THE GREAT EMBRACE
Whatever happened to Saul? Well, we know him as Apostle Paul who shared the Gospel primarily to the Gentiles, planted several churches, and wrote 13 of the 27 New Testament books! Listen to what Apostle Paul wrote as a new believer in Christ, "Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him..." - Philippians 3:1-8

SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER
Apostle Paul shares how Jesus told him how he should have known better in receiving Jesus as the Messiah (Acts 26:14). John Stott states, "The implication is clear. Jesus was pursuing, prodding and pricking Saul. But Saul was resisting the pressure, and it was hard, it was painful, even futile, for him to kick against the goads."

ARE YOU STILL RUNNING AWAY FROM WHAT GOD IS TRYING TO SHOW YOU? God has made his deep love for you known personally through his son Jesus Christ. Christ took your sin and your death to the cross you may be forgiven, reconciled, and at peace with God. Perhaps it's time to stop running and begin receiving what God has been chasing you down for.
Revelation 3:20, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me."

May you received Christ who has come to give you life and life eternal with God!!
Don't let this invitation pass you by.

In our Risen Lord,
Pastor Trevor