Enemy to Advocate
December 28 2001 by Lisa Horton , Gate City Baptist Church, Greensboro

Enemy to Advocate | Friday, Dec. 28, 2001

Friday, Dec. 28, 2001

Enemy to Advocate

By Lisa Horton Gate City Baptist Church, Greensboro Throughout history, many Christians have considered it an honor to suffer persecution for Christ. One such person was the great preacher, John Wesley. One day Wesley realized that three days had passed in which he had suffered no persecution - not a brick or an egg had been thrown at him. He wondered if he had sinned, or if he had backslidden. Alarmed, he slipped from his horse, fell to his knees and prayed for God to show him where he might be at fault. A rough fellow, on the other side of the hedge, heard him praying and recognized the preacher. "I'll fix that preacher," he said, picking up a brick and tossing it at him. The brick missed. John Wesley jumped to his feet, joyfully exclaiming, "Thank God, it's all right. I still have His presence."

A Mission of Hate

(Acts 9:1-2)

Consumed with a burning desire to destroy the church and to stop the spread of Christianity, Saul of Tarsus set out on a bloodthirsty journey to arrest and punish Christians living in Damascus. Saul deliberately rejected the advice of his own respected teacher, Gamaliel, who had advised the Sanhedrin to leave the apostles alone and let them go. Gamaliel said the movement could not be stopped, if it was of God, and to try to stop it would mean, "fighting against God" (Acts 5:33-39, 22:3).

Driven by hatred, Saul was willing to take that risk and soon found himself "fighting against God." But his battle came to an abrupt end on the Damascus road when, instead of Saul taking Christians captive, the resurrected Christ took Saul captive.

Over the centuries, numerous people have tried to destroy Christianity. Diocletian, a Roman Emperor, killed so many Christians and destroyed so many Bibles that he was convinced he had put an end to Christianity. He had a medal inscribed with this motto: "The Christian religion is destroyed, and the worship of the gods is restored."

Voltaire, an 18th century French philosopher, boasted that he would destroy Christianity within 50 years. He viciously began writing books against God. Ironically, 20 years after his death, the Geneva Bible Society purchased Voltaire's house and used it for printing the Bible.

Atheist leader, Madalyn Murray O'Hair spent her life rejecting Christianity and spreading her atheistic views. She thought she had successfully eliminated prayer from public schools, but on Sept. 11 prayer could be heard echoing through the hallways of schools across our country.

These people, like Saul, thought they were fighting against Christians, when, in fact, they were fighting against God Himself.

An Encounter With Jesus

(Acts 9:3-9)

Startled by a blinding light, Saul fell on his face in the dusty road before the one in whom he had not believed. Calling Saul by name, Jesus revealed that He knew who Saul was. But even more significant, Jesus knew who Saul "could be" by the grace of God. Looking compassionately through Saul's calloused, empty heart, Jesus saw a sinner He had loved enough to die for. And Saul found in Jesus a Savior worth living for (Phil. 1:21). This glorious encounter with Jesus left Saul "physically" blind for three days, but his "spiritual" blindness was gone forever!

A Radical Transformation

(Acts 9:10-16)

After his encounter with the living Christ, Saul became a new person. He was now driven by a love and a purpose greater than he had known before. Saul the persecutor became Paul the preacher. Saul the murderer became Paul the missionary. Paul later wrote, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17-18)! Saul had become a new creation. He was no longer the man he used to be.

While in college, author and speaker, Josh McDowell, believed Christianity was a farce and set out to prove it. But, instead of proving Christianity to be false, Josh was faced with the undeniable truth of the gospel. He became a Christian and Jesus transformed his life. One of the areas God changed was Josh's hatred toward his father. His hatred turned into love. Josh's father noticed the change and said to him, "Son, if God can do in my life what I've seen Him do in yours, then I want to give Him the opportunity." Josh's father prayed and received Christ.

Have you allowed Jesus to transform your life? If so, what effect is your transformation having on others who need to accept Christ?

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12/28/2001 12:00:00 AM by Lisa Horton , Gate City Baptist Church, Greensboro | with 0 comments
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