Greetings brothers and sisters in Christ. This week our suggested reading is Acts 22, in which the Apostle Paul gives an account of his conversion and early Christian life. I have used the life of Paul as an evidence for the truth of Christianity many times. Paul is the perfect example of someone who had nothing to gain and everything to lose by becoming a Christian. He already had social status, the best education, power, political influence, everything you could want from a worldly perspective. Why would Paul throw all that away? Because he had an encounter with the risen Christ, and it changed him forever. A similar argument could be made for the other disciples. What took them from cowering in a upstairs room for fear of the Jews to standing in the Temple preaching fearlessly just after breaking out of prison? They had seen Jesus raised from the dead, knew Him to be God in the flesh, and thus had no fear of man or earthly government. Consider adding these facts to your apologetic arsenal. They make very quick, concise arguments that can quickly be brought back to the gospel, and I have found them to be very effective if the listener is open-minded at all.
I’m here to tell you the truth.
I’m here to share a chapter from the bible, which is the truth of God, and the truth of history.
Please understand that I am not sharing things that are just true for me, that make me feel better, or give me comfort when times are tough. They are either actually true or actually false.
If what I am reading is not the truth of God, and is not the truth of history, it is useless
If it only makes us feel good, but has no eternal benefit, it is a horrific, dangerous lie.
1 Corinthians 15:17-19 - if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
Don’t make the mistake of dismissing the bible and Jesus Christ as something interesting that helps some people. They are true, or they are false.
I believe one of the best evidences for the truth of Jesus Christ is the life of the Apostle Paul. Listen to this recount of his conversion and early life as a Christian.
READ ACTS 22
What is special about this? Paul had no motive to become a Christian unless Christianity was true
Paul had status is society. Among the Jews, he has a Hebrew of Hebrews and a Pharisee of Pharisees, one of the religious elite with all the right pedigrees. Among the Romans, he was a Roman citizen, a title which was highly prized.
He had the best education, having studied at the feet of Gamaliel, one of the greatest Jewish teachers and intellects of the time.
He power, and political influence. He was trusted enough that he was given letters by the Jewish ruling council that allowed him to go from city to city and round up Christians and have them thrown into prison.
He had zeal. When Stephen, the first Christian martyr was stoned to death, he was there holding the cloaks of those who stoned him.
What would make a man like this change his mind? He had an encounter with the risen Christ
God in human form came to him and confronted him on his rebellion.
Are you in willful rebellion again God, as Paul was?
Do you know God’s word to be true? Listen to your conscience. You know you have broken God’s law, as I have.
GO THROUGH THE LAW
If you have sinned against the living God, you are in serious danger, and deserving of eternity in Hell. But God, in his mercy, has provided a way for you to be cleansed of your sins.
Repent of your sins, and put your faith in Jesus Christ to save you. If you do, Christ’s righteousness will be credited to your account, and you will be able to stand before God on the day of judgment.
Don’t take my word for it. Look into God’s word to see if these things are true. Examine yourself to see if you are in the faith, and are bearing spiritual fruit that shows that God has changed you.
Don’t put this off, and presume on God’s patience. Repent and trust in Him while He has given you time.
Remember that none of this outline material is set in stone. The purpose of the suggested chapters and outlines in not to force you into a mold so you preach the same as me. After all, I’m no expert, and certainly no great theologian. It is simply to provide encouragement and ideas for those of you wishing to grow and mature in your ability to share the gospel, both through open-air preaching and in one-to-one conversations. One member of Project Ezra recently mentioned keeping a notebook of open-air preaching ideas. This is an excellent idea, and one that I would suggest for all of you. I have kept my own notebook of ideas for a while now. Also, while you should spend some time with the chapter before you read, don’t get too tied to your outline when you go out to preach. Sometimes you will get through your gospel presentation front to back with no interruption, but sometimes you may be interrupted early in the presentation, or may end up in a conversation that keeps you from doing the reading at all. That’s OK! The goal of this endeavor is that God may be glorified through our obedience to proclaim His word, and how He chooses to do that will be a little different every time. So relax, give your time completely to Him in prayer, and hang on to see what He does!
For the praise of His glory,