MESSAGE SERIES

Galatians: Verified

Called by God Sermon Only Cal Jernigan March 20, 2022

Called by God Sermon Only
Cal Jernigan March 20, 2022

Called by God Full Service Cal Jernigan March 20, 2022

Called by God Full Service
Cal Jernigan March 20, 2022

[00:00:00] Everybody and welcome. Welcome, welcome, welcome. Uh, wherever you are on any of our sites, welcome to those of you who are watching this online and, uh, it's spring break week in Arizona. And, uh, if you remember being a kid that was an absolute highlight. Can I get an name in? Okay. That was as week as it could. So you didn't like spring break. All right. And as you became an adult, you like it, Les. Now this is, um, on most of our campuses. This is spring break week, this week and next, and I love the fact that you're here. Um, and as I was thinking about that, you know, spring break is, uh, it often families get away and it's a great time and that's awesome. But I was thinking about this and this is not meant to be a downer, but we're at a time where like, it's like the highlight of spring, like you a it's spring break. And then I was thinking about what's going on in the world and obviously thinking about the plight of the Ukrainian people. And I thought, you know, this would be a really good time. For us to just pause, we've done this every week, but I wanna do it right now. Uh, I just want to, uh, just ask that we would pause and together, we would just pray on behalf of Ukraine [00:01:00] and the, and the plight of those folks. And, uh, it, I don't know what all your opinions are about all of this. I know it's complicated, but, um, I know, uh, an atrocity when I see it and I'm seeing it, so let's pray and then we'll get to, uh, the message. So father, we do want to just pause right now and lift up. Uh, these people, uh, a whole other side of the planet, uh, Lord, just a whole lot of wrong is happening. And, uh, again, don't understand all the motivations as to what, uh, Putin is up to and why he feels this is the right thing to do. Uh, and, but God, there, there is massive suffering going on and we're witnessing, uh, um, children and. Uh, innocent civilians, just being slaughtered and for what purpose and God, uh, we just pray that you would intervene. And we deep down inside as we watch this, we know that this is not right. And we're also very, very concerned about this escalating and, uh, and, uh, [00:02:00] God, if that happens, uh, none of our life will ever be the same. And so we right now, just pause to just put it before you and say, please intervene, please intervene and, uh, help us father to, uh, to, to continue to remember, uh, these people that are suffering and those who have lost their lives. Uh, it's very sobering. So be with them father and Jesus name. Amen. Okay. Well, sorry about the, uh, the sadness of that. I want to change moods real quick. I wanna talk about last weekend. If you were here last weekend at the end of the message. I. I said, look, I'm just not gonna let you leave without offering you, uh, an opportunity to say yes to Jesus, if you want say yes to Jesus. And so we did that and I I'm just, I don't know the actual number of 60, some people came forward and said, I want to say yes to Jesus. Yeah. And that is awesome. And that is worth rejoicing. You know, it's interesting. The scripture says that the, uh, angels in, in heaven, rejoice when any single person. Says yes to God. And it seems like we obviously ought to celebrate as well [00:03:00] because these 60, some people have joined thousands of others of us who have some time in our life, said, you know what I'm done with living for myself. And I wanna live differently. I wanna, uh, live for Jesus now, every one of us and every one of them who said yes, last weekend and us at some prior point in, I. We have a story and I want you to stop right now. And I want you to think about your story. If you were describing your story to somebody else, how would you tell your story? Now? This is how your story would go. If, if, if you understand where I'm going is you would talk about who you used to be. How you met Jesus and how you're different. Okay. So it's kind of a past to present. And then, you know, here's kind of the future, uh, depending on again, how you tell your story. Um, but all of us who have come to Jesus have a story to tell, and we have a past, and then we have an encounter with Jesus. And then we have a different story, uh, as we go off into our future and, uh, uh, the, the, the life that I want to lived, I no longer live and I don't wanna live that life anymore. And now I, I get to. I [00:04:00] kinda like what I, what I was, uh, and I get to be what I was meant to be. And I want you to stop for a moment and just think about that, what I was, and then I get to live for what I was meant to be. And that's the difference. So, God is doing a miracle in people's lives. And I don't know that we ever really stopped to think about this. Um, if you are walking with Jesus, you are a walking miracle. And I, I want you to understand, I don't mean this in any boastful way. I am a walking miracle. See, the greatest thing I could tell you about my life is nothing to do with me. It's everything to do with Jesus and, and what Jesus is did once he, uh, got a hold of me and the, the storyline changed significantly. And, uh, in, in your life, the greatest thing that you'll ever experience is, is when you surrender to Jesus and you go from what I used to be to what I'm becoming, and that's the text, that's the context of the message we want to talk about today. Uh, I want to take you, um, to. Uh, something that Paul said in second Corinthians, three 18, talking [00:05:00] about this miracle and, and we all who with unveiled faces, contemplate the Lord's glory are being transformed into his image with ever increasing glory. You should be changing. You should be growing. You should be becoming more of what you were meant to be all along. And, and there's a history, a past story, an encounter with Jesus and a future. And, uh, you know, this ought cause some reaction with people who knew you, where they go, you know what? You, I don't know what ha what happened to you, man. You're so different than you used to be. I mean, I knew you win and then you've just changed. And it's interesting because you have story. And so often we never tell anyone our story. We never tell them, uh, what, uh, we used to be. Uh, and we, we never like take advantage of the fact that Jesus did so much for us to just help them because so many people are stuck in their past. Please hear me. So many people are stuck in their [00:06:00] past and they're so longing for something more. And, and we had a story to tell, but we didn't tell by the way, uh, the apostle Peter was very, very clear. Or let me remind you of what he said first, Peter three 15 says, but in your hearts set apart, Christ Lord always be prepared, always to give an answer. To anyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have find the words. Uh, and, and that's kind of the idea of this message. You have a story to tell, tell it, tell it. Now we're in a study right now. So let's just open our Bibles. We're in gala Galatians, which we started a couple weeks ago and I told you from the very beginning, we're not gonna be in a, her we're not racing to get through here. It's not how fast can we cover the material? And, and so if you would open your Bible situations, chapter one, We've titled this series set free to live free is kind of the master theme that we're developing each and every week. And so set free to live free, uh, is kind of the idea. And this study is a study of a number of things, a study about the grace of God. [00:07:00] It's about freedom in Christ. It's about getting your eyes on God and keeping your eyes odd and taking your cues from him. And, uh, we're gonna just keep working our way through this. Now, let me just quickly review. Uh, if you haven't been with us, what, what we've talked about and I'll do this very, very fast. Uh, this letter is from the apostle Paul to churches in an area called Galatia Galatia in their day is Turkey in our day. And, uh, Paul has planted these churches and then he left them. Then, um, they, they were kind of establishing so three to six months later, he got word. That there was, uh, a problem. Now I need to digress through just a moment. I wanna remind you about something about the apostle Paul. He was intense and all of us know intense people and I are one of them, but, um, intense people, uh, have like just a driving passion that, uh, that literally, so you just, you, it defines them. Paul had a number [00:08:00] of things to defined him. Number one was, he was a church planner. He planted churches everywhere. He went, he would. Bring people into a relationship with Jesus and then structure them so that they could thrive. He, he was a passionate theologian. He wrote two thirds of the new Testament of the Bible. This guy was prolific. All right. He was, uh, an apologist for the faith. What does that mean? It means he would defend the faith to anyone who would take it on. And so you see this intensity in him, but anyway, so all of this passion, he puts into these churches that he plants in this region. Called gala Galatia. And then he leaves them. And then people from the outside came in and started winning them over to a different way of thinking. Uh, they, they basically, uh, turned them away from what Paul had taught them to something. They were teaching them and Paul got word of what they were doing. And that is why he writes the letter to these people. [00:09:00] How can you let go of what you had for what they offer you? and what were they offering them? Uh, not a relationship with Jesus, but a religion of rules. And I'm here to tell you folks, people are making this swap all the time from a relationship with Jesus to a religion of rules and he was intense. Um, and how did they do it? They basically came along and I'll say a couple things. They said, you know, this grace, that Paul, if you were last week, this great, this is, this sounds too good to be true, cuz it's too good to be true. And, and it's not, it's not real. And basically they came along and said this instead of grace, you have to prove yourself worthy to God. Instead of grace, you have to know the rules and you gotta keep the rules, there's laws and there's customs. And if you blow those things off, there's no way God's gonna accept you. And, and I'd also say this and this again, you have to understand this, to understand the letter of Galatians. They have to somehow [00:10:00] destroy. The credibility of Paul. And that's what this section is all about, that we're talking about today. They have to destroy this guy. They have to take him down. And so they just attack. They, they undermine Paul as a person and they undermine Paul as a leader. They literally insinuate that the gospel message, this story of grace was a figment of Paul's imaginate. He made that up. They basically said he's not even a credible witness. And worst of all, they suggest. That he's not even an apostle, he's a junior apostle at best a junior staff member of the, of the real apostles. And so what we have in our text today is Paul's response where he is basically saying stop just a moment and remember how it began, Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, and they're attacking him and he's got to give a response. He's gonna tell his story. And that's what we're gonna look at. So gala chapter one, we're gonna do what we do each week. And that is we're just gonna take a little. Section and, and just kind of look at it a little bit more closely. So [00:11:00] we're gonna look, actually, we're gonna look at verses 11 down to 24 at the end of the chapter, but we're looking at him in little chunks and it it'll go quick. So here we go. Gala Galatians chapter one, verse 11 and 12 starts his defense. Okay. It starts his defense because they're literally saying he's not credible. It says this. I want you to know brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preach is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it. Rather, I received it by revelation of Jesus Christ. Folks. This is huge. They're saying you're just, you're just spewing stuff. You've made up. You've just created this or, or whatever you, whatever source you got this, it's not for real. And what he's saying is I need you to understand something. What I got, what I've given you, what I preached last weekend. If you were here, that is from Jesus Christ. Even though there's lots of people that say that cannot be real. That sounds just too good to be true. And Paul goes, it is true now. Here's what we gotta do. [00:12:00] So leave yourself in gala gala chapter one and flip over to the book of acts, go to the left and, uh, find the book of acts. And I wanna show you something, I, I just need to teach you something so you can understand your Bible better, uh, because here's what you need to understand. Jesus. When he was walking on the earth prior to Paul, he chose 12 apostles. All right. Now these were not disciples disciples or follow apostles were the designated leaders. There were 12 tribes of Israel and, and so Jesus chose to the number 12. And the idea was, this is the ministry to Israel, these 12. And, and at what happened is one of the 12 did something atrocious and you know what he did a Judas is scar. It sold out Jesus. And he, he, he literally led the, the religious people to where Jesus was so that they could capture him and ultimately have him crucified. And he did this for 30 pieces of silver. That was the whole point. He did it to prophet himself. He [00:13:00] absolutely regretted it once he had done it, but here's what happens. He suicide. I don't know if you know this, he commits suicide. Uh, and it's a tragedy, but now there's 11 and there were supposed to be 12. Now I need to show you this. Explain what's happening with Paul. Okay. So let's, uh, let's pick this up. I'm gonna read, I'm gonna read fast. Okay. So I'm gonna be in acts chapter one and, uh, I'm gonna pick it up from verse 12. We're just gonna fly just if, if you can follow along or you can just listen. All right. So Jesus. Uh, rises from the dead. He appears to people. And then he ascends, uh, up into heaven. That's acts chapter one. All right. Now I'm in chapter one. I'm a little farther down. Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of olives established. They walk from the city. Now when they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Now those present were Peter, John James, and Andrew Philip and Thomas Baru and Matthew James, the son of ALS and Simon, the zealot [00:14:00] and, and Judas son of James, not Judas. ASCAT. Now they all joined together constantly in prayer, along with all the women and marry the mother of Jesus. Uh, and, and with his brothers Jesus' brothers, which he had brothers in those days, Peter stood up among the believers, a group numbering about 120 and said brothers and sisters, the scripture had to be fulfilled in which the holy spirit spoke long ago through David concerning ju us who served as a guide for those who arrested Jesus. He was one of our number and shared in our ministry. With the payment, uh, with, with the payment he received for his Wickes Judas bought a field and there he fell head long. His body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Sorry for the graphic nature, but don't ever say the Bible, doesn't say it as it is. All right. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about the, this, and they called that field in their language, a Kema, which is filled to blood. Four said Peter, [00:15:00] it is written in the book of Psalms. May his place be deserted, let there be no one to dwell in it and may another take his place of leadership. Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time. The Lord Jesus was living among us beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us for one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection. So they nominated two men. Paul and no, Paul's not in this equation. Paul is not even a believer in Jesus at this point. So they nominated two men, Joseph Cal, Barabbas, also known as justice and Mathias. Then they prayed Lord, you know, everyone's heart show us, which of these two, you have chosen to take over the apostolic ministry, which due to left to go, where he belong. Then they cast lots and the lot fell to Matthias. So he was added to the 11 apostles. Now, this is very, very important because the 11 now become 12 again. And their mission is literally the people of Israel. [00:16:00] And you go, well, see, Paul's not an apostle, except that when you get to the book of, of donations, which is where we are. I want you to look at chapter one, verse one, Paul and apostle sit, not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ. So, what he's saying is I have encountered Jesus personally in my story and he has given me a task and I'm going for it. And you'll see that now, uh, the, the good news was Paul wasn't left as he was, and he became some of the, he never was. Now this go-to Galatians chapter one, verse 13. okay. So he is basically saying guys, I'm an apostle, not by the will of men. That was an accounts of the gather together that nominated me. They cast lots and God appointed me as an apostle. This is what you need to know. So gala Galatians, one 13 on down, he said this for you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism. How intensely I persecuted this church of God had tried to destroy it. [00:17:00] I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age. I remember Judaism is this group over here. This is this, uh, old Testament. Keep all the rules, keep all the laws. He was a, a very good Jew, but he was a part of an elite group called the Pharisees. Um, and so I was advancing in Judaism between, uh, beyond many of my own age among my people and was extreme. Reley zes for the tradition, uh, traditions of my father's, but win God. Now I want you to note those three words, those three words are the transition point of our lives. Your life and my life, your story, and my story. Paul's story. But win God. but when God, all right, don't forget those three words, but when God who set me apart from my mother's womb and called me by his grace was pleased to reveal his son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles. My immediate response was not to consult any human being. I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before was, but I went into Arabia and later I returned to [00:18:00] Damascus. Okay. There's a whole lot in here. Let me go, let me go quick. Um, who I was. I was in, I was intense about destroying the church. I was intense about ruining this thing that Jesus started. I wanted to see it disappear. And the word destroy is where we get the word destruction. I want you to think of the, of the idea of sacking the city. I wanna wipe, I want you to think of Keo. I want you to think of scorched earth. That is what he says. That was my frame of mind. I will scorch earth the church. I will destroy it in every way I can. But when God and that's for the transition, but when God, Paul, wasn't asking for God, Paul, wasn't anticipating God, Paul wasn't deserving of God, just like you and me. But when God acted, everything changed. He, he revealed him to me. Paul says I was saved. I was set apart by grace. And, uh, a transition has taken [00:19:00] place. Here's what you need to know. Paul was over earlier in his life and don't misses. He was a passionate church persecutor who became a passionate church planter. And you can't go, uh, uh, more extreme than that. And he's saying, here's the point man had nothing to do with this. This was not because I hung out with the apostles. This was not because I got voted in. Because I encountered Jesus Christ and he transformed my life, but win God. And here's what I want you to think about in your story. Who were you before you met Christ your, you know, BC and, and who have you become since you have that encounter? Paul says I'm a whole different person. And by the way, Paul had no sense of pride in his past. Now. He, he certainly knew he had it made over here. But when he came to faith in Jesus and he became a part of the church, can you imagine living with a [00:20:00] pain of what you've done, the remorse, you killed people who, who now you you've destroyed churches. And now you've given your life to planning churches. He says this in first Timothy, he was saying this to a, a young guy that he was mentoring. Uh, this is one 16, but for that very reason, I was shown mercy. so that in me, the worst of sinners Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example, for those who would believe on him and receive eternal of life. What he's saying is, look, if God could change me from what I was, he could change you from who you were and, and what was this incredible thing? God was. Doing but win God. He, he was gonna call Paul, don't miss this. He was gonna call Paul not to serve among the Jewish people, but to become literally an ambassador of Jesus Christ, [00:21:00] to Gentiles who are Gentiles non-Jewish people. And again, I want you, you, this, you just gotta understand. He says my special calling from God was not what I would've guessed. I am so thoroughly knowledgeable about the ways of Judaism send me to the Jews. No, Paul, I'm gonna send you to the Gentiles who, who you, you, you're gonna take your message to that group now again, just hold that in your mind for just a moment. Because in the book of acts time, after time, after time, you see Paul appearing before the Gentiles, you see his testimony. He gives it in acts nine. He gives his testimony in acts 22. He gives his testimony in acts 26. He gave his testimony right here. We just read it. Well, my former life, this is who I was. He is telling everybody everything is the greatest story and listen carefully. The greatest story of what God has done is the story of what he's done in you. And everybody can argue with Jesus and go, or I don't believe in God, they cannot argue [00:22:00] with what God has done in you. And the greatest thing about my life is what God has done, not what I've done. And you can't tell me he didn't do it. I've lived it. You can't take that from me. I know the difference he's made. And, and the thing that I would say, nobody knows your story better than you. Tell your story. Let me pause here. When is the last time you've ever told anyone about who you used to be and about how you met Jesus and about the difference he's made and see the point. I'm not trying to make us feel bad. I'm going, it's just so easy. Go. I know, I know. I know what happened. Paul's going, I know what happened and I can not tell people about what happened. And, uh, so he is gonna tell everyone, all right, let me let, let's keep going here. Cause I want to get to the takeaway. Uh, Colosians one 18, just keep working our way down in another little chunk. He says then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with CIFA, by the way, that's Peter and stayed with him 15 days. [00:23:00] I saw none of the other apostles, only James. The Lord's brother. And I assure you before God, that what I am writing to you is no lie. Isn't it interesting as to put that, because those who had taken over the church, that he's lying to you about who he really is, he's lying to you about his story. They had to say that to undermine him, to get them, to listen to the, to get the church, to listen to these people, these Judis that wanted to be all about rules. And, and, and you can't even trust anything he says to you and Paul goes, I'm telling you, I'm not telling you any I'm, there's no lies here, but I do want you to see this. After three years, I went up to Jerusalem and this is gonna be really, really important that we understand. After three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with SIFA and stayed with him. For of 15. I saw none of the other apostles, only James, um, by the way, um, what was he doing during these three years? See, we have this picture of Paul came to fame and he was just on [00:24:00] fire and he was telling everybody, and he was, but three years later, he's gonna go visit the apostles that we read about in acts chapter one. This is what you gotta understand. He doesn't run up there. Oh, endorse me, endorse me. Give me, tell me a, tell everyone that I'm one of you. He need to do that. He had an encounter with Jesus and Jesus set him apart. That's what he's saying. And, uh, the, you know, the approval of these folks is not important. And by the way, when he says James, the Lord's brother, let's just, we've gotta pause on this for just a minute. When I read the list of the apostles in acts chapter one, there was a James mentioned, okay. There was another James mention. One is the brother of John. He was killed by this time story. When we get to acts where we are in 13, 14, 15, he's killed. You can read about that earlier in acts. and the other James, uh, is not the one, the son of alpha says not who we're talking about. James. He says the Lord's brother now just pause here. He's not an, he's not an apostle, [00:25:00] but he's the head of the church in Jerusalem. James, the Lord's brother. No. Now look, I don't know if you know this, but Jesus had half brothers. I dunno if you know that he had half, he had a family. He, uh, I mean his Mary and Joseph had kids. and, um, James is one of those now, now follow this, uh, there's an encounter with, uh, Jesus, where his family shows up. You can read about this in the gospels where they think you're crazy. You're going around telling people you're the son of God. We gotta take you home. And, and, and Jesus won't go with them, but later don't miss this. But later, later, uh, James, his brother goes, he is who? He said he was now just top pod for just a moment. If there is no reason, To follow Jesus, except this reason, this is reason enough, how much, I mean, how hard would it be if one of your siblings tried to convince you, they were the son of God. Now go there people, this is your brother running around. He's going, eh, just want you to know I'm [00:26:00] special. Uh, you know, and ever there's a, you know, well, the, the Seth, the Lord ends the conversation, right? How hard would it be to convince you. James goes, he is that's who he is. And I think that's just absolutely remarkable. All right. So what, he's the point he is making right here is that, um, these others accepted him. That's what he's saying, that they didn't kick me out. They didn't say you don't belong. He's saying that will show you more of that next week. And then let's finish this section installations. Uh, 1 21 to 24. He says, uh, then I went to Syria and, uh, Licia. And that by the way is where Tarsis where his home is. And that's just below gala Galatia. Uh, I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea now that are in Christ. They only heard the report. The man who formally persecuted us is now preaching the faith. He wants, tried to destroy and they praise God because of me. And so what he's trying to say is, look, I, I don't have the [00:27:00] endorsement of a whole bunch of people. I don't need the endorsement. I encounter Jesus Christ and he set my course now in the last few moments I've got, I, I just wanna point out some things that I think are really, really important here that affect you and me. And we'll close with this. All right. I, I want you to see this all right. But when God, I want you to go back to those words, but when God, when God who set me apart from my mother's womb called me in grace. But when God. who set me apart from my, what do you mean set you apart from your mother's womb? Well, when were you in your mother's womb? Well, that goes way back, right? I mean, that goes way back because that's kind of like the beginning. Well, actually it's the beginning before the beginning. Cuz you would say your life began when you were born, but the beginning of the beginning is when you were conceived and you know, somebody's saying. But when God [00:28:00] who set me apart in my mother's womb, who, but God had a purpose for my life be before I was even here. But when God, now I, I just pause here and I want you to think about your life. Could it be possible that this story of your life, uh, from the very beginning God's known it and, and that your past, he was fully aware, it would be your past. And that encounter that you had with him. If you've come to faith with him, he knew about, and that he knew how he was going to use your past to give you purpose for your future. Just think with me, because that's what he's saying to Paul, Paul, you think it was just a coincidence that you were born into this Judaism, you were born into the faith. Uh, you, you think there's a coincidence. You became a Pharisee. You think it was a coincidence that you studied under Gaal, this prominent rabbi, you think all that was just a coincidence to you and me? You think it's just a [00:29:00] coincidence you were born when you were born, where you were born to whom you were born, how you were born, you think all that just happened? Could it be possible? You were designed and created and gifted and equipped for something that was gonna come later on in your story. then your birth because we look at the first part of our story and go, yeah, this is what happened. That's not your story. That's the beginning of your story, a transition when you make Jesus, but win God. And then your future now stay with us. All right. Jeremiah chapter one, verse four says this, the word of the Lord came to me saying before I formed you in the womb, I knew you before you were born. I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations, sovereign and Lord, I said, I don't even know how to speak. I'm only a child, but the Lord said to me, do [00:30:00] not say I am only a child. You must go to everyone. I send you, uh, send you to and say, whatever I command, you do not be afraid of them for. I am with you and will rescue you declares to the Lord and understand what's going on. God's calling Jeremiah and Jeremiah's going, oh, oh God, I, I, I got. Uh, I'm just, I'm way. I'm inadequate in every CAPA. I'd be young. I'm just a kid. I don't know. I don't even know how to speak, man. I get my tongue toed every time I try to talk and it just comes out wrong and I I'm just not. And God goes, sh do not say you're inadequate from before you were born. I set you part for the purpose of testifying on my behalf. Oh, you were designed for that. You were created for that you were equipped for that. You were gifted for that. Now. What about Paul? What about Paul? All right. Let's talk about Paul's purpose, uh, [00:31:00] in Ephesians three eight, and he said it here, but I wanna show you in Ephesians three eight, this grace was given to me and a watch to preach to the Gentiles, the UN searchable riches of Christ. Now I need you to just stop here. Think about this. I am so qualified to speak to Jewish people about Jesus goes, that's not what I called you to. I want you to go into Asia and Asia minor, and I want you to go to Europe and I want you to make these missionary journeys where you tell people who know nothing about Jewish customs. I want you to go tell them about this incredible thing called grace. I want you to go teach them. Because I, I called you for that purpose, stay with it. What, what, what a coincidence you you're born in a Jewish family, a coincidence, you were trained under Gaal who happened to be the grandson of Hillel under the most prominent of all rabbis, a coincidence that, you know, you have this passion [00:32:00] for theology. You have this passion to involve yourself in the, in, you know, in like what your faith is about. That's just coincidence. they'll stop. Let's talk about you for just a moment. What is in your story that you've just written off as yeah. That, yeah, that was for nothing. That was a waste. That was a, see, we all came from something. You all, you have a journey and what you were before, you can look at it, you go is absolutely worthless. It's absolutely worthless. That's new one. That's what I used to prepare you for the purpose, for which I created you. , that's what I used to prepare you for the purpose, for which I created you, that's your past. But when God, everything changes and you go off into the future. Somebody said this there's two incredibly important days in your life. The day you were born and the day you figure out why you were born. Why, [00:33:00] why, why were you born? I, I want to show you one more thing and I'm gonna be done. . I wanna point out that the apostle Paul, who had all of this intensity and all of this wisdom and all of this knowledge and all of this history comes to faith in Jesus. And he says, and then I spent three years in the wilderness. Now, what, what was he doing in the wilderness? Where was the wilderness? He said in Arabia, I went to a Arabia. Now that's not Saudi Arabia. That can be in a number of places. He went out into the wilderness. What was he doing in the wilderness? Here's what he was doing. Listen carefully. He was trying to figure out how does my past, but when God change me to the future, what does my past have to do with my, my future? It's fascinating to me that God, um, usually sends us in the wilderness before he points out our purpose. Stay with me. [00:34:00] Moses Moses was born. He was putting a basket on the Nile. He was fetched out of the river by Pharaoh's daughter. He was raised in Pharaoh's house as literally the son of Pharaoh. He was educated. He was, uh, he was educating the highest schools in, in Egypt. He lived literally in the Pharaoh's palace because of the, and luck of being plucked out of the river by Pharaoh's daughter. And man, he was so ready to go after 40 years. And then he saw that Egyptian that was hurting one of his own, a Hebrew and he inter intervened and he killed the Egyptian and word got around. And Pharaoh said out, you are out 40 years of, uh, I mean, just. Like the great life, the laid back life, and then sent out for 40 more years in isolation, out in the wilderness. That's where he went. He went out nowhere in Sinai, out there, just out there. [00:35:00] Life's over. There's no point. There's no purpose. I have no future. It's all over. And then this crazy experience with a Bush that burned wasn't consumed, and God, I want you to go back and now I'm gonna give you 40 years of purpose. And guys, you just don't wanna miss that. 40 years of preparation, 40 years of isolation. 40 years of purpose. I want you to think about Elijah. I want you to think about David. David was a pointed king, and then he was chased under the desert of Vietti. The caves of Vietti. If you've never been there, overlook in the dead sea, the desert of the desert of the desert of Israel to go langu out there for a while. Jesus baptized in the Jordan comes up out of the water and it immediately led by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. That's exactly how it's worded. And Paul's going, I don't know, man. I came to faith and then I spent three years before I actually went and even introduced myself to the other apostles. So let me, let me close with this thought. [00:36:00] Could it be that all these things in your life, whatever they are, as you told your story, that all of was God like God was in that even in your rebellion, he was in it. That he was protecting you, shaping you using circumstances. I, I think about my life and my story, which I will spend very few moments on. I grew up without a dad and you go that, that was the worst thing it ever happened, except it really wasn't the worst thing, because what it did was it put a longing in me for a relationship with a father who I met later on when I was a high school student, a heavenly father. Was it a coincidence? I grew up without a father. Uh, I don't, I don't know. I I think about Lisa and my, uh, journey in ministry. And I think about the worst experience we've ever had was, uh, the church that we were at before this church, which we've been here. Like I think we started our 36th year here, but before this was the closest we've ever come [00:37:00] wasn't about us. But I saw the ugliness of what first can turn into when it turns bad was that we weren't in the focus. It went about us. But I witnessed so much. I saw so many things that disgusted me about church. I don't ever want to be a part of this thing and at least, and I came as close. I, I can't speak for her. I came as close to walking away from my faith and walking away from ministry in that experience. But the weirdest thing happened is I didn't walk it, but I ended up here and I can tell you what, I couldn't see it at the time. I could look back on it. and I can tell you with crystal clear vision, why God put me through the wilderness, why he put us through the wilderness? Because this was what I was being prepared for. Not enough about me. Let me close talking about you. Do you think it's just a coincidence you're here. Do you think it's a coincidence that your story has taken the first chapters that it's taken and then if you've come to faith in Jesus, [00:38:00] you think it's just a coincidence. You think God uses your past. to prepare you for your purpose. What's your purpose? I don't know the answer to that. I certainly know this. You have a story to tell when's the last time you told it. What did you determine this week? You're gonna tell your story to somebody. Listen to the words again of your story. You'll see something you'll never see if you don't put it into words, tell your story, see where it goes. We'll pick this up next week, but let me pray and we'll wrap up for that. We're not, we're gonna don't don't leave please. Yeah. So God, um, thank you for Paul and God. It's it fascinating to watch, you know, if he would've planned his life, it would not have gone the way it went. If I would've planned my life, it had not gone. And the way it went and most of people, most of the people who are hearing me would go, I would never plan this either, but you have this really. [00:39:00] Bizarrely crazy marvelous way of taking the chaos of our lives and using that to create purpose in our lives, to define us, to shape us, to mold us, gotta pray for each and every person who's hearing me right now to be really deeply thinking about who they are and why of they are who they are and what was it that they were made for. And God, if we could all discover that and just live within our purpose. We would have so much passion for life. So God caused us to think about this, caused us to think people and in this, I pray in Jesus name. Amen. Thank you guys.
✖ CLOSE

[00:00:00] Everybody and welcome. Welcome, welcome, welcome. Uh, wherever you are on any of our sites, welcome to those of you who are watching this online and, uh, it's spring break week in Arizona. And, uh, if you remember being a kid that was an absolute highlight. Can I get an name in? Okay. That was as week as it could. So you didn't like spring break. All right. And as you became an adult, you like it, Les. Now this is, um, on most of our campuses. This is spring break week, this week and next, and I love the fact that you're here. Um, and as I was thinking about that, you know, spring break is, uh, it often families get away and it's a great time and that's awesome. But I was thinking about this and this is not meant to be a downer, but we're at a time where like, it's like the highlight of spring, like you a it's spring break. And then I was thinking about what's going on in the world and obviously thinking about the plight of the Ukrainian people. And I thought, you know, this would be a really good time. For us to just pause, we've done this every week, but I wanna do it right now. Uh, I just want to, uh, just ask that we would pause and together, we would just pray on behalf of Ukraine [00:01:00] and the, and the plight of those folks. And, uh, it, I don't know what all your opinions are about all of this. I know it's complicated, but, um, I know, uh, an atrocity when I see it and I'm seeing it, so let's pray and then we'll get to, uh, the message. So father, we do want to just pause right now and lift up. Uh, these people, uh, a whole other side of the planet, uh, Lord, just a whole lot of wrong is happening. And, uh, again, don't understand all the motivations as to what, uh, Putin is up to and why he feels this is the right thing to do. Uh, and, but God, there, there is massive suffering going on and we're witnessing, uh, um, children and. Uh, innocent civilians, just being slaughtered and for what purpose and God, uh, we just pray that you would intervene. And we deep down inside as we watch this, we know that this is not right. And we're also very, very concerned about this escalating and, uh, and, uh, [00:02:00] God, if that happens, uh, none of our life will ever be the same. And so we right now, just pause to just put it before you and say, please intervene, please intervene and, uh, help us father to, uh, to, to continue to remember, uh, these people that are suffering and those who have lost their lives. Uh, it's very sobering. So be with them father and Jesus name. Amen. Okay. Well, sorry about the, uh, the sadness of that. I want to change moods real quick. I wanna talk about last weekend. If you were here last weekend at the end of the message. I. I said, look, I'm just not gonna let you leave without offering you, uh, an opportunity to say yes to Jesus, if you want say yes to Jesus. And so we did that and I I'm just, I don't know the actual number of 60, some people came forward and said, I want to say yes to Jesus. Yeah. And that is awesome. And that is worth rejoicing. You know, it's interesting. The scripture says that the, uh, angels in, in heaven, rejoice when any single person. Says yes to God. And it seems like we obviously ought to celebrate as well [00:03:00] because these 60, some people have joined thousands of others of us who have some time in our life, said, you know what I'm done with living for myself. And I wanna live differently. I wanna, uh, live for Jesus now, every one of us and every one of them who said yes, last weekend and us at some prior point in, I. We have a story and I want you to stop right now. And I want you to think about your story. If you were describing your story to somebody else, how would you tell your story? Now? This is how your story would go. If, if, if you understand where I'm going is you would talk about who you used to be. How you met Jesus and how you're different. Okay. So it's kind of a past to present. And then, you know, here's kind of the future, uh, depending on again, how you tell your story. Um, but all of us who have come to Jesus have a story to tell, and we have a past, and then we have an encounter with Jesus. And then we have a different story, uh, as we go off into our future and, uh, uh, the, the, the life that I want to lived, I no longer live and I don't wanna live that life anymore. And now I, I get to. I [00:04:00] kinda like what I, what I was, uh, and I get to be what I was meant to be. And I want you to stop for a moment and just think about that, what I was, and then I get to live for what I was meant to be. And that's the difference. So, God is doing a miracle in people's lives. And I don't know that we ever really stopped to think about this. Um, if you are walking with Jesus, you are a walking miracle. And I, I want you to understand, I don't mean this in any boastful way. I am a walking miracle. See, the greatest thing I could tell you about my life is nothing to do with me. It's everything to do with Jesus and, and what Jesus is did once he, uh, got a hold of me and the, the storyline changed significantly. And, uh, in, in your life, the greatest thing that you'll ever experience is, is when you surrender to Jesus and you go from what I used to be to what I'm becoming, and that's the text, that's the context of the message we want to talk about today. Uh, I want to take you, um, to. Uh, something that Paul said in second Corinthians, three 18, talking [00:05:00] about this miracle and, and we all who with unveiled faces, contemplate the Lord's glory are being transformed into his image with ever increasing glory. You should be changing. You should be growing. You should be becoming more of what you were meant to be all along. And, and there's a history, a past story, an encounter with Jesus and a future. And, uh, you know, this ought cause some reaction with people who knew you, where they go, you know what? You, I don't know what ha what happened to you, man. You're so different than you used to be. I mean, I knew you win and then you've just changed. And it's interesting because you have story. And so often we never tell anyone our story. We never tell them, uh, what, uh, we used to be. Uh, and we, we never like take advantage of the fact that Jesus did so much for us to just help them because so many people are stuck in their past. Please hear me. So many people are stuck in their [00:06:00] past and they're so longing for something more. And, and we had a story to tell, but we didn't tell by the way, uh, the apostle Peter was very, very clear. Or let me remind you of what he said first, Peter three 15 says, but in your hearts set apart, Christ Lord always be prepared, always to give an answer. To anyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have find the words. Uh, and, and that's kind of the idea of this message. You have a story to tell, tell it, tell it. Now we're in a study right now. So let's just open our Bibles. We're in gala Galatians, which we started a couple weeks ago and I told you from the very beginning, we're not gonna be in a, her we're not racing to get through here. It's not how fast can we cover the material? And, and so if you would open your Bible situations, chapter one, We've titled this series set free to live free is kind of the master theme that we're developing each and every week. And so set free to live free, uh, is kind of the idea. And this study is a study of a number of things, a study about the grace of God. [00:07:00] It's about freedom in Christ. It's about getting your eyes on God and keeping your eyes odd and taking your cues from him. And, uh, we're gonna just keep working our way through this. Now, let me just quickly review. Uh, if you haven't been with us, what, what we've talked about and I'll do this very, very fast. Uh, this letter is from the apostle Paul to churches in an area called Galatia Galatia in their day is Turkey in our day. And, uh, Paul has planted these churches and then he left them. Then, um, they, they were kind of establishing so three to six months later, he got word. That there was, uh, a problem. Now I need to digress through just a moment. I wanna remind you about something about the apostle Paul. He was intense and all of us know intense people and I are one of them, but, um, intense people, uh, have like just a driving passion that, uh, that literally, so you just, you, it defines them. Paul had a number [00:08:00] of things to defined him. Number one was, he was a church planner. He planted churches everywhere. He went, he would. Bring people into a relationship with Jesus and then structure them so that they could thrive. He, he was a passionate theologian. He wrote two thirds of the new Testament of the Bible. This guy was prolific. All right. He was, uh, an apologist for the faith. What does that mean? It means he would defend the faith to anyone who would take it on. And so you see this intensity in him, but anyway, so all of this passion, he puts into these churches that he plants in this region. Called gala Galatia. And then he leaves them. And then people from the outside came in and started winning them over to a different way of thinking. Uh, they, they basically, uh, turned them away from what Paul had taught them to something. They were teaching them and Paul got word of what they were doing. And that is why he writes the letter to these people. [00:09:00] How can you let go of what you had for what they offer you? and what were they offering them? Uh, not a relationship with Jesus, but a religion of rules. And I'm here to tell you folks, people are making this swap all the time from a relationship with Jesus to a religion of rules and he was intense. Um, and how did they do it? They basically came along and I'll say a couple things. They said, you know, this grace, that Paul, if you were last week, this great, this is, this sounds too good to be true, cuz it's too good to be true. And, and it's not, it's not real. And basically they came along and said this instead of grace, you have to prove yourself worthy to God. Instead of grace, you have to know the rules and you gotta keep the rules, there's laws and there's customs. And if you blow those things off, there's no way God's gonna accept you. And, and I'd also say this and this again, you have to understand this, to understand the letter of Galatians. They have to somehow [00:10:00] destroy. The credibility of Paul. And that's what this section is all about, that we're talking about today. They have to destroy this guy. They have to take him down. And so they just attack. They, they undermine Paul as a person and they undermine Paul as a leader. They literally insinuate that the gospel message, this story of grace was a figment of Paul's imaginate. He made that up. They basically said he's not even a credible witness. And worst of all, they suggest. That he's not even an apostle, he's a junior apostle at best a junior staff member of the, of the real apostles. And so what we have in our text today is Paul's response where he is basically saying stop just a moment and remember how it began, Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, and they're attacking him and he's got to give a response. He's gonna tell his story. And that's what we're gonna look at. So gala chapter one, we're gonna do what we do each week. And that is we're just gonna take a little. Section and, and just kind of look at it a little bit more closely. So [00:11:00] we're gonna look, actually, we're gonna look at verses 11 down to 24 at the end of the chapter, but we're looking at him in little chunks and it it'll go quick. So here we go. Gala Galatians chapter one, verse 11 and 12 starts his defense. Okay. It starts his defense because they're literally saying he's not credible. It says this. I want you to know brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preach is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it. Rather, I received it by revelation of Jesus Christ. Folks. This is huge. They're saying you're just, you're just spewing stuff. You've made up. You've just created this or, or whatever you, whatever source you got this, it's not for real. And what he's saying is I need you to understand something. What I got, what I've given you, what I preached last weekend. If you were here, that is from Jesus Christ. Even though there's lots of people that say that cannot be real. That sounds just too good to be true. And Paul goes, it is true now. Here's what we gotta do. [00:12:00] So leave yourself in gala gala chapter one and flip over to the book of acts, go to the left and, uh, find the book of acts. And I wanna show you something, I, I just need to teach you something so you can understand your Bible better, uh, because here's what you need to understand. Jesus. When he was walking on the earth prior to Paul, he chose 12 apostles. All right. Now these were not disciples disciples or follow apostles were the designated leaders. There were 12 tribes of Israel and, and so Jesus chose to the number 12. And the idea was, this is the ministry to Israel, these 12. And, and at what happened is one of the 12 did something atrocious and you know what he did a Judas is scar. It sold out Jesus. And he, he, he literally led the, the religious people to where Jesus was so that they could capture him and ultimately have him crucified. And he did this for 30 pieces of silver. That was the whole point. He did it to prophet himself. He [00:13:00] absolutely regretted it once he had done it, but here's what happens. He suicide. I don't know if you know this, he commits suicide. Uh, and it's a tragedy, but now there's 11 and there were supposed to be 12. Now I need to show you this. Explain what's happening with Paul. Okay. So let's, uh, let's pick this up. I'm gonna read, I'm gonna read fast. Okay. So I'm gonna be in acts chapter one and, uh, I'm gonna pick it up from verse 12. We're just gonna fly just if, if you can follow along or you can just listen. All right. So Jesus. Uh, rises from the dead. He appears to people. And then he ascends, uh, up into heaven. That's acts chapter one. All right. Now I'm in chapter one. I'm a little farther down. Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of olives established. They walk from the city. Now when they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Now those present were Peter, John James, and Andrew Philip and Thomas Baru and Matthew James, the son of ALS and Simon, the zealot [00:14:00] and, and Judas son of James, not Judas. ASCAT. Now they all joined together constantly in prayer, along with all the women and marry the mother of Jesus. Uh, and, and with his brothers Jesus' brothers, which he had brothers in those days, Peter stood up among the believers, a group numbering about 120 and said brothers and sisters, the scripture had to be fulfilled in which the holy spirit spoke long ago through David concerning ju us who served as a guide for those who arrested Jesus. He was one of our number and shared in our ministry. With the payment, uh, with, with the payment he received for his Wickes Judas bought a field and there he fell head long. His body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Sorry for the graphic nature, but don't ever say the Bible, doesn't say it as it is. All right. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about the, this, and they called that field in their language, a Kema, which is filled to blood. Four said Peter, [00:15:00] it is written in the book of Psalms. May his place be deserted, let there be no one to dwell in it and may another take his place of leadership. Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time. The Lord Jesus was living among us beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us for one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection. So they nominated two men. Paul and no, Paul's not in this equation. Paul is not even a believer in Jesus at this point. So they nominated two men, Joseph Cal, Barabbas, also known as justice and Mathias. Then they prayed Lord, you know, everyone's heart show us, which of these two, you have chosen to take over the apostolic ministry, which due to left to go, where he belong. Then they cast lots and the lot fell to Matthias. So he was added to the 11 apostles. Now, this is very, very important because the 11 now become 12 again. And their mission is literally the people of Israel. [00:16:00] And you go, well, see, Paul's not an apostle, except that when you get to the book of, of donations, which is where we are. I want you to look at chapter one, verse one, Paul and apostle sit, not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ. So, what he's saying is I have encountered Jesus personally in my story and he has given me a task and I'm going for it. And you'll see that now, uh, the, the good news was Paul wasn't left as he was, and he became some of the, he never was. Now this go-to Galatians chapter one, verse 13. okay. So he is basically saying guys, I'm an apostle, not by the will of men. That was an accounts of the gather together that nominated me. They cast lots and God appointed me as an apostle. This is what you need to know. So gala Galatians, one 13 on down, he said this for you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism. How intensely I persecuted this church of God had tried to destroy it. [00:17:00] I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age. I remember Judaism is this group over here. This is this, uh, old Testament. Keep all the rules, keep all the laws. He was a, a very good Jew, but he was a part of an elite group called the Pharisees. Um, and so I was advancing in Judaism between, uh, beyond many of my own age among my people and was extreme. Reley zes for the tradition, uh, traditions of my father's, but win God. Now I want you to note those three words, those three words are the transition point of our lives. Your life and my life, your story, and my story. Paul's story. But win God. but when God, all right, don't forget those three words, but when God who set me apart from my mother's womb and called me by his grace was pleased to reveal his son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles. My immediate response was not to consult any human being. I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before was, but I went into Arabia and later I returned to [00:18:00] Damascus. Okay. There's a whole lot in here. Let me go, let me go quick. Um, who I was. I was in, I was intense about destroying the church. I was intense about ruining this thing that Jesus started. I wanted to see it disappear. And the word destroy is where we get the word destruction. I want you to think of the, of the idea of sacking the city. I wanna wipe, I want you to think of Keo. I want you to think of scorched earth. That is what he says. That was my frame of mind. I will scorch earth the church. I will destroy it in every way I can. But when God and that's for the transition, but when God, Paul, wasn't asking for God, Paul, wasn't anticipating God, Paul wasn't deserving of God, just like you and me. But when God acted, everything changed. He, he revealed him to me. Paul says I was saved. I was set apart by grace. And, uh, a transition has taken [00:19:00] place. Here's what you need to know. Paul was over earlier in his life and don't misses. He was a passionate church persecutor who became a passionate church planter. And you can't go, uh, uh, more extreme than that. And he's saying, here's the point man had nothing to do with this. This was not because I hung out with the apostles. This was not because I got voted in. Because I encountered Jesus Christ and he transformed my life, but win God. And here's what I want you to think about in your story. Who were you before you met Christ your, you know, BC and, and who have you become since you have that encounter? Paul says I'm a whole different person. And by the way, Paul had no sense of pride in his past. Now. He, he certainly knew he had it made over here. But when he came to faith in Jesus and he became a part of the church, can you imagine living with a [00:20:00] pain of what you've done, the remorse, you killed people who, who now you you've destroyed churches. And now you've given your life to planning churches. He says this in first Timothy, he was saying this to a, a young guy that he was mentoring. Uh, this is one 16, but for that very reason, I was shown mercy. so that in me, the worst of sinners Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example, for those who would believe on him and receive eternal of life. What he's saying is, look, if God could change me from what I was, he could change you from who you were and, and what was this incredible thing? God was. Doing but win God. He, he was gonna call Paul, don't miss this. He was gonna call Paul not to serve among the Jewish people, but to become literally an ambassador of Jesus Christ, [00:21:00] to Gentiles who are Gentiles non-Jewish people. And again, I want you, you, this, you just gotta understand. He says my special calling from God was not what I would've guessed. I am so thoroughly knowledgeable about the ways of Judaism send me to the Jews. No, Paul, I'm gonna send you to the Gentiles who, who you, you, you're gonna take your message to that group now again, just hold that in your mind for just a moment. Because in the book of acts time, after time, after time, you see Paul appearing before the Gentiles, you see his testimony. He gives it in acts nine. He gives his testimony in acts 22. He gives his testimony in acts 26. He gave his testimony right here. We just read it. Well, my former life, this is who I was. He is telling everybody everything is the greatest story and listen carefully. The greatest story of what God has done is the story of what he's done in you. And everybody can argue with Jesus and go, or I don't believe in God, they cannot argue [00:22:00] with what God has done in you. And the greatest thing about my life is what God has done, not what I've done. And you can't tell me he didn't do it. I've lived it. You can't take that from me. I know the difference he's made. And, and the thing that I would say, nobody knows your story better than you. Tell your story. Let me pause here. When is the last time you've ever told anyone about who you used to be and about how you met Jesus and about the difference he's made and see the point. I'm not trying to make us feel bad. I'm going, it's just so easy. Go. I know, I know. I know what happened. Paul's going, I know what happened and I can not tell people about what happened. And, uh, so he is gonna tell everyone, all right, let me let, let's keep going here. Cause I want to get to the takeaway. Uh, Colosians one 18, just keep working our way down in another little chunk. He says then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with CIFA, by the way, that's Peter and stayed with him 15 days. [00:23:00] I saw none of the other apostles, only James. The Lord's brother. And I assure you before God, that what I am writing to you is no lie. Isn't it interesting as to put that, because those who had taken over the church, that he's lying to you about who he really is, he's lying to you about his story. They had to say that to undermine him, to get them, to listen to the, to get the church, to listen to these people, these Judis that wanted to be all about rules. And, and, and you can't even trust anything he says to you and Paul goes, I'm telling you, I'm not telling you any I'm, there's no lies here, but I do want you to see this. After three years, I went up to Jerusalem and this is gonna be really, really important that we understand. After three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with SIFA and stayed with him. For of 15. I saw none of the other apostles, only James, um, by the way, um, what was he doing during these three years? See, we have this picture of Paul came to fame and he was just on [00:24:00] fire and he was telling everybody, and he was, but three years later, he's gonna go visit the apostles that we read about in acts chapter one. This is what you gotta understand. He doesn't run up there. Oh, endorse me, endorse me. Give me, tell me a, tell everyone that I'm one of you. He need to do that. He had an encounter with Jesus and Jesus set him apart. That's what he's saying. And, uh, the, you know, the approval of these folks is not important. And by the way, when he says James, the Lord's brother, let's just, we've gotta pause on this for just a minute. When I read the list of the apostles in acts chapter one, there was a James mentioned, okay. There was another James mention. One is the brother of John. He was killed by this time story. When we get to acts where we are in 13, 14, 15, he's killed. You can read about that earlier in acts. and the other James, uh, is not the one, the son of alpha says not who we're talking about. James. He says the Lord's brother now just pause here. He's not an, he's not an apostle, [00:25:00] but he's the head of the church in Jerusalem. James, the Lord's brother. No. Now look, I don't know if you know this, but Jesus had half brothers. I dunno if you know that he had half, he had a family. He, uh, I mean his Mary and Joseph had kids. and, um, James is one of those now, now follow this, uh, there's an encounter with, uh, Jesus, where his family shows up. You can read about this in the gospels where they think you're crazy. You're going around telling people you're the son of God. We gotta take you home. And, and, and Jesus won't go with them, but later don't miss this. But later, later, uh, James, his brother goes, he is who? He said he was now just top pod for just a moment. If there is no reason, To follow Jesus, except this reason, this is reason enough, how much, I mean, how hard would it be if one of your siblings tried to convince you, they were the son of God. Now go there people, this is your brother running around. He's going, eh, just want you to know I'm [00:26:00] special. Uh, you know, and ever there's a, you know, well, the, the Seth, the Lord ends the conversation, right? How hard would it be to convince you. James goes, he is that's who he is. And I think that's just absolutely remarkable. All right. So what, he's the point he is making right here is that, um, these others accepted him. That's what he's saying, that they didn't kick me out. They didn't say you don't belong. He's saying that will show you more of that next week. And then let's finish this section installations. Uh, 1 21 to 24. He says, uh, then I went to Syria and, uh, Licia. And that by the way is where Tarsis where his home is. And that's just below gala Galatia. Uh, I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea now that are in Christ. They only heard the report. The man who formally persecuted us is now preaching the faith. He wants, tried to destroy and they praise God because of me. And so what he's trying to say is, look, I, I don't have the [00:27:00] endorsement of a whole bunch of people. I don't need the endorsement. I encounter Jesus Christ and he set my course now in the last few moments I've got, I, I just wanna point out some things that I think are really, really important here that affect you and me. And we'll close with this. All right. I, I want you to see this all right. But when God, I want you to go back to those words, but when God, when God who set me apart from my mother's womb called me in grace. But when God. who set me apart from my, what do you mean set you apart from your mother's womb? Well, when were you in your mother's womb? Well, that goes way back, right? I mean, that goes way back because that's kind of like the beginning. Well, actually it's the beginning before the beginning. Cuz you would say your life began when you were born, but the beginning of the beginning is when you were conceived and you know, somebody's saying. But when God [00:28:00] who set me apart in my mother's womb, who, but God had a purpose for my life be before I was even here. But when God, now I, I just pause here and I want you to think about your life. Could it be possible that this story of your life, uh, from the very beginning God's known it and, and that your past, he was fully aware, it would be your past. And that encounter that you had with him. If you've come to faith with him, he knew about, and that he knew how he was going to use your past to give you purpose for your future. Just think with me, because that's what he's saying to Paul, Paul, you think it was just a coincidence that you were born into this Judaism, you were born into the faith. Uh, you, you think there's a coincidence. You became a Pharisee. You think it was a coincidence that you studied under Gaal, this prominent rabbi, you think all that was just a coincidence to you and me? You think it's just a [00:29:00] coincidence you were born when you were born, where you were born to whom you were born, how you were born, you think all that just happened? Could it be possible? You were designed and created and gifted and equipped for something that was gonna come later on in your story. then your birth because we look at the first part of our story and go, yeah, this is what happened. That's not your story. That's the beginning of your story, a transition when you make Jesus, but win God. And then your future now stay with us. All right. Jeremiah chapter one, verse four says this, the word of the Lord came to me saying before I formed you in the womb, I knew you before you were born. I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations, sovereign and Lord, I said, I don't even know how to speak. I'm only a child, but the Lord said to me, do [00:30:00] not say I am only a child. You must go to everyone. I send you, uh, send you to and say, whatever I command, you do not be afraid of them for. I am with you and will rescue you declares to the Lord and understand what's going on. God's calling Jeremiah and Jeremiah's going, oh, oh God, I, I, I got. Uh, I'm just, I'm way. I'm inadequate in every CAPA. I'd be young. I'm just a kid. I don't know. I don't even know how to speak, man. I get my tongue toed every time I try to talk and it just comes out wrong and I I'm just not. And God goes, sh do not say you're inadequate from before you were born. I set you part for the purpose of testifying on my behalf. Oh, you were designed for that. You were created for that you were equipped for that. You were gifted for that. Now. What about Paul? What about Paul? All right. Let's talk about Paul's purpose, uh, [00:31:00] in Ephesians three eight, and he said it here, but I wanna show you in Ephesians three eight, this grace was given to me and a watch to preach to the Gentiles, the UN searchable riches of Christ. Now I need you to just stop here. Think about this. I am so qualified to speak to Jewish people about Jesus goes, that's not what I called you to. I want you to go into Asia and Asia minor, and I want you to go to Europe and I want you to make these missionary journeys where you tell people who know nothing about Jewish customs. I want you to go tell them about this incredible thing called grace. I want you to go teach them. Because I, I called you for that purpose, stay with it. What, what, what a coincidence you you're born in a Jewish family, a coincidence, you were trained under Gaal who happened to be the grandson of Hillel under the most prominent of all rabbis, a coincidence that, you know, you have this passion [00:32:00] for theology. You have this passion to involve yourself in the, in, you know, in like what your faith is about. That's just coincidence. they'll stop. Let's talk about you for just a moment. What is in your story that you've just written off as yeah. That, yeah, that was for nothing. That was a waste. That was a, see, we all came from something. You all, you have a journey and what you were before, you can look at it, you go is absolutely worthless. It's absolutely worthless. That's new one. That's what I used to prepare you for the purpose, for which I created you. , that's what I used to prepare you for the purpose, for which I created you, that's your past. But when God, everything changes and you go off into the future. Somebody said this there's two incredibly important days in your life. The day you were born and the day you figure out why you were born. Why, [00:33:00] why, why were you born? I, I want to show you one more thing and I'm gonna be done. . I wanna point out that the apostle Paul, who had all of this intensity and all of this wisdom and all of this knowledge and all of this history comes to faith in Jesus. And he says, and then I spent three years in the wilderness. Now, what, what was he doing in the wilderness? Where was the wilderness? He said in Arabia, I went to a Arabia. Now that's not Saudi Arabia. That can be in a number of places. He went out into the wilderness. What was he doing in the wilderness? Here's what he was doing. Listen carefully. He was trying to figure out how does my past, but when God change me to the future, what does my past have to do with my, my future? It's fascinating to me that God, um, usually sends us in the wilderness before he points out our purpose. Stay with me. [00:34:00] Moses Moses was born. He was putting a basket on the Nile. He was fetched out of the river by Pharaoh's daughter. He was raised in Pharaoh's house as literally the son of Pharaoh. He was educated. He was, uh, he was educating the highest schools in, in Egypt. He lived literally in the Pharaoh's palace because of the, and luck of being plucked out of the river by Pharaoh's daughter. And man, he was so ready to go after 40 years. And then he saw that Egyptian that was hurting one of his own, a Hebrew and he inter intervened and he killed the Egyptian and word got around. And Pharaoh said out, you are out 40 years of, uh, I mean, just. Like the great life, the laid back life, and then sent out for 40 more years in isolation, out in the wilderness. That's where he went. He went out nowhere in Sinai, out there, just out there. [00:35:00] Life's over. There's no point. There's no purpose. I have no future. It's all over. And then this crazy experience with a Bush that burned wasn't consumed, and God, I want you to go back and now I'm gonna give you 40 years of purpose. And guys, you just don't wanna miss that. 40 years of preparation, 40 years of isolation. 40 years of purpose. I want you to think about Elijah. I want you to think about David. David was a pointed king, and then he was chased under the desert of Vietti. The caves of Vietti. If you've never been there, overlook in the dead sea, the desert of the desert of the desert of Israel to go langu out there for a while. Jesus baptized in the Jordan comes up out of the water and it immediately led by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. That's exactly how it's worded. And Paul's going, I don't know, man. I came to faith and then I spent three years before I actually went and even introduced myself to the other apostles. So let me, let me close with this thought. [00:36:00] Could it be that all these things in your life, whatever they are, as you told your story, that all of was God like God was in that even in your rebellion, he was in it. That he was protecting you, shaping you using circumstances. I, I think about my life and my story, which I will spend very few moments on. I grew up without a dad and you go that, that was the worst thing it ever happened, except it really wasn't the worst thing, because what it did was it put a longing in me for a relationship with a father who I met later on when I was a high school student, a heavenly father. Was it a coincidence? I grew up without a father. Uh, I don't, I don't know. I I think about Lisa and my, uh, journey in ministry. And I think about the worst experience we've ever had was, uh, the church that we were at before this church, which we've been here. Like I think we started our 36th year here, but before this was the closest we've ever come [00:37:00] wasn't about us. But I saw the ugliness of what first can turn into when it turns bad was that we weren't in the focus. It went about us. But I witnessed so much. I saw so many things that disgusted me about church. I don't ever want to be a part of this thing and at least, and I came as close. I, I can't speak for her. I came as close to walking away from my faith and walking away from ministry in that experience. But the weirdest thing happened is I didn't walk it, but I ended up here and I can tell you what, I couldn't see it at the time. I could look back on it. and I can tell you with crystal clear vision, why God put me through the wilderness, why he put us through the wilderness? Because this was what I was being prepared for. Not enough about me. Let me close talking about you. Do you think it's just a coincidence you're here. Do you think it's a coincidence that your story has taken the first chapters that it's taken and then if you've come to faith in Jesus, [00:38:00] you think it's just a coincidence. You think God uses your past. to prepare you for your purpose. What's your purpose? I don't know the answer to that. I certainly know this. You have a story to tell when's the last time you told it. What did you determine this week? You're gonna tell your story to somebody. Listen to the words again of your story. You'll see something you'll never see if you don't put it into words, tell your story, see where it goes. We'll pick this up next week, but let me pray and we'll wrap up for that. We're not, we're gonna don't don't leave please. Yeah. So God, um, thank you for Paul and God. It's it fascinating to watch, you know, if he would've planned his life, it would not have gone the way it went. If I would've planned my life, it had not gone. And the way it went and most of people, most of the people who are hearing me would go, I would never plan this either, but you have this really. [00:39:00] Bizarrely crazy marvelous way of taking the chaos of our lives and using that to create purpose in our lives, to define us, to shape us, to mold us, gotta pray for each and every person who's hearing me right now to be really deeply thinking about who they are and why of they are who they are and what was it that they were made for. And God, if we could all discover that and just live within our purpose. We would have so much passion for life. So God caused us to think about this, caused us to think people and in this, I pray in Jesus name. Amen. Thank you guys.

Called by God

by Cal Jernigan • March 20, 2022

What does it look like to be called by God? Are only certain people called or are all of us called? Paul was the most unlikely person to be called by God, yet Jesus did the extraordinary. God used Paul’s history and his story to transform the world. Did you know God can use your story too? Join Pastor Cal Jernigan this week as he teaches on the power of the story you’ve been given.