What we see as a problem, God see's as potential

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I remember watching a few different tv shows I like. Such as home makeover, the biggest loser(which is about health and fitness) and some others.
One common theme I find in most of these is in the before and after photos. You see a transformation in people’s lives and it’s a radically difference in most!
Maybe you watched some of the same shows or shows that inspire you to be better.
We see some before and after images of men and woman throughout scriptures. We are going to look at a snapshot of one of them today in Apostle Paul.
Let’s read Galatians 1:11-24
A. The revelation (1:11–12)
1. It is not of man (1:1, 11): The gospel was not compiled by any human authority, reasoning, or logic.
In verses 11-12 Paul testifies that the gospel is “not of human origin.” Paul “did not receive it from a man;” this is a reference to oral tradition: the ancients passed down the wisdom of the ages to their students who were said to “receive” it and would then commit it to memory.
Nor was Paul taught the gospel; the first century world had its own centers of learning, but the gospel was not some new religious concept circulating around the academic centers of the day.
The good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ is not in any sense a human creation, invention, or conception. On the contrary, Paul declares that he received the gospel “through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”
2. It is not from man (1:12): The gospel was communicated to Paul by none other than Jesus Christ.
Paul said that he recieved the gospel through a revelation from Jesus Christ. Revelation means to reveal, or uncover what was hidden. Paul was blinded from the truth but now he could see. I love what Hebrews 1:2 says about this revelation
in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
This speaks about Gods final revelation. All that God reveals to mankind is found in Jesus. There is nothing to add or subtract. There is no more new revelation that we need. Everything we need to know is found in Jesus.
in verse 16 it says that God was pleased to reveal his son in Paul. Now at first glance, you might be like duh! God was please to reveal his son in Paul after all Paul has done to wreck havoc in the church but I believe God was pleased to reveal his son in Paul not because he was a problem but because he seen potential. What we see a problem. God see’s as potential.
I remember earlier this week I drove in the church parking lot and seen a guy looking through the church dumpster. It just broke my heart. So I went over to talk with him. He talked real fast and i couldn’t really under what he was saying until he slowed down. He said that he knows he needs to clean up his life. He has a 2 year daughter who deserves it and said he has some demons that he is battling and as he was talking a tear ran down his cheek. Now he never asked for money and he took some paper from the dumpster because he said he likes to draw.
Now I could of ignored it or chased him away. I could of seen it as a problem but i knew God seen potential in this man because he was created in God’s image.
I prayed with the guy. I prayed for freedom from any demonic oppression in his life and that he would feel the love of God. I also spoke Jeremiah 29:11 over him...”I know the plans I have for you, thus says the Lord...
Because we never know who is going to be the next Apostle Paul or Billy Graham and how the love of God that we show somebody will impact someones life.
B. The review (1:13–24)
1. Paul speaks of his pre-conversion activities (1:13–14).
In verses 13-14 Paul presents a brief autobiographical sketch of his past life. His devotion to the religion of the Jews, his life as a Pharisee) and his hostility against the gospel and the church of Jesus Christ were well known facts.
In That line “tradition of my fathers’ ” was a tagline for the law of Moses. So zealous was I for the law of Moses that I violated the law of Moses to defend and protect the law of Moses.
Do you see the irony of here? Its a cold dead religion that numbs us inside. If you have ever been around self righteous religious people long enough you will notice a common trait in them all.
They are well aware of your short-comings, but they never see there own.
Even though their own shortcomings are causing a lot of problems in their own life, they never take responsibility for their own choices and the reason to them that people just don’t like to do life with them, is because they do it like it should be done.
For that person I would say...
No, you have a personality disorder, and you’re self-righteous. That’s why people tend to not like to be around you. Because you tend to be judgmental, opinionated and you disguise it under a disguise of spirituality.
You attach Jesus’ name to your self-righteousness, and that is a problem.
it took an act of God’s sovereign grace to turn Paul from the religion of the Jews to the salvation found in Jesus Christ alone
from the very way he phrases it, it is evident that Paul had a deep awareness that he had been saved to serve God, and to do so in the capacity of being an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now the old Paul, if he would of seen a guy like i did at the church dumpster would of acted in his religious, legalistic lawful spirit and chased him off.
We see a snapshot here of Paul though and how his heart and mind were transformed by Christ.
2. Paul speaks of other activities in his life (1:15–24).
a. His chosen by God. He was chosen before he was born, and the Son was revealed to him.
This is the prevenient grace of God. The grace that comes before. God was drawing Paul to himself before he was even thinking about God.
All Credit goes to God for Paul’s transformation. This in no way denies the reality of human choice and consent.
It does indicate though that this was Gods will and plan for Paul.
The doctrine of election from John Calvin says that some are destined for eternal life and others to eternal damnation which simply isn’t true. John Wesley on his essay on predestination said election means that “God foreknew those in every nation, who would be saved”. God is not confined by time like we are. He knows what was on yesterday, today, and tomorrow. God knows what choices we will make. He doesn’t treat as puppets though or robotic creatures where we are forced to do his bidden.
God gives us free will and the ability to choose him or reject him. True love is not forced. True love gives us a choice and freedom to do so. God doesn’t need us but, he wants us. It’s not his will that any would perish but that all would inherit eternal life.
b. The next thing Paul says is that he was unknown to some in the churches.
i. Paul didn’t spend time with other Apostles
ii. Paul didn’t consult with flesh and blood immediately
iii. This furthers his case and evidence of the defense of the gospel. That’s its not Paul’s gospel, it’s not mans Gospel. It’s Gods gospel.
c. Next the text says that some glorified God because of him
i. People from other churches heard about Paul. They heard about the ugly. Now they are hearing about the good and they are praising God for his profound grace upon Paul.
ii. The people see a snapshot of Paul before and after he encountered Christ
Now there is also a before and after picture of you. When you got saved by Jesus Christ there was a radically transformation of your life. Or at least there should of been. Now the transformation for the one who didn’t grow up in church is easy to see.
They stop drinking, cursing or smoking but for the one who grew up in the church it might be harder to see but for everyone you should be able to look back on a specific day in a specific space and say I met Jesus!
If not, then you should ask yourself “Am I really saved”? Do you still have that anger problem you always had? Do you still have that critical and judgmental spirit? Do you still gossip and slander just because someone doesn’t fit a description of how someone should be?
Can you imagine what our church would look like if everyone was transformed by the message of the gospel? I can guarentee you that this church would be full every Sunday. Paul was a man who was passionate about the law and his traditions. He knew it better than most. Then he met Jesus and everything changed.
What we see as a problem, God sees as potential
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