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Valeroso, Eunice Pearl L.

TTH 3:00-4:30pm
ReEd 23-43


Apostle Paul
The story of Paul is a story of redemption in Jesus Christ and a
testimony that no one is beyond the saving grace of the Lord. Far from
ordinary, Paul was given the opportunity to do extraordinary things for the
kingdom of God. Pauls early life was marked by religious zeal, brutal
violence, and the relentless persecution of the early church. Fortunately, the
later years of Pauls life show a marked difference as he lived his life for
Christ and the advancement of His kingdom.

Pauls Early Life

Paul, previously was as called Saul, he was born in the city of Tarsus in
Cilicia, which was a major Roman city. He was born as a Roman citizen that
made him unique among the early Christians. Until about the midpoint of his
life, Paul was a member of the Pharisees, a religious party that emerged
during the later Second Temple period. What little is known about Paul
the Pharisee reflects the character of the Pharisaic movement. Paul spent
much of the first half of his life persecuting the nascent Christian movement,
an activity to which he refers several times. Pauls motivations are unknown,
but they seem not to have been connected to his Pharisaism. The chief
persecutors of the Christian movement in Jerusalem were the high priest and
his associates, who were Sadducees (if they belonged to one of the parties),
and Acts depicts the leading Pharisee, Gamaliel, as defending the Christians.
Pauls persecutions probably involved traveling from synagogue to
synagogue and urging the punishment of Jews who accepted Jesus as the
messiah. Disobedient members of synagogues were punished by some form
of ostracism or by light flogging, which Paul himself later suffered at least

five times, though he does not say when or where. According to Acts, Paul
began his persecutions in Jerusalem, a view at odds with his assertion that
he did not know any of the Jerusalem followers of Christ until well after his
own conversion.

The Transformation of Paul

The pivotal passage in Pauls story is Acts 9:1-22, which recounts Pauls
meeting with Jesus Christ on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus, a journey
of about 150 miles. Saul was angered by what he had seen and filled with
murderous rage against the Christians. On the road Saul was caught up in a
bright light from heaven which caused him to fall face down on the ground.
He hears the words, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? He says,
Who are you Lord? Jesus answers directly and clearly, I am Jesus, whom
you are persecuting (vv. 4-5). As an aside, this might not have been Sauls
first encounter with Jesus, as some scholars suggest that young Saul might
have known of Jesus and that he might have actually witnessed His death.
From this moment on, Sauls life was turned upside down. The light of the
Lord blinded him, and as he traveled on he had to rely on his companions. As
instructed by Jesus, Saul continued to Damascus to make contact with a man
named Ananias who was hesitant at first to meet Saul because he knew
Sauls reputation as an evil man. But the Lord told Ananias that Saul was a
chosen instrument to carry His name before the Gentiles, kings and the
children of Israel (v.15) and would suffer for doing so (v.16). Ananias followed
the Lords instructions and found Saul, on whom he laid hands, and told him
of his vision of Jesus Christ. Through prayer, Saul received the Holy Spirit
(v.17), regained his sight and was baptized (v.18). Saul immediately went
into the synagogues proclaiming Jesus and saying He is the Son of God
(v.20). The people were amazed and skeptical, as Sauls reputation was well
known. The Jews thought he had come to take away the Christians (v.21).
Sauls boldness increased as the Jews living in Damascus were confounded
by Sauls arguments proving that Jesus was the Christ (v.22).

Paul believed that his vision proved that Jesus lived in heaven, that
Jesus was the Messiah and Gods Son, and that he would soon return.
Moreover, Paul thought that the purpose of his revelation was his own
appointment to preach among the Gentiles (Galatians 1:16). As a result of
this miraculous transformation, Saul became known as Paul (Acts 13:9). Paul
spent much of his life as a Christian traveling throughout the Roman Empire
establishing churches and spreading his new faith. When Paul arrived in a
new city, he typically preached to the Jews in the synagogue. He was often
expelled, and then focused on converting gentiles. Paul spent time in Arabia,
Damascus, Jerusalem, Syria and his native Cilicia, and Barnabas enlisted his
help to teach those in the church in Antioch (Acts 11:25). Interestingly, the
Christians driven out of Palestine by Saul of Tarsus founded this multiracial
church (Acts 11:19-21). Paul took his first of three missionary journeys in the
late 40s A.D. Paul wrote many of the New Testament books. Most theologians
are in agreement that he wrote Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians,
Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Philemon, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 and 2
Timothy and Titus. The Apostle Paul spent his life proclaiming the risen Christ
Jesus throughout the Roman world, often at great personal peril (2
Corinthians 11:24-27). It is assumed that Paul died a martyrs death in the
mid-to-late 60s A.D. in Rome.

Learnings we can get from Apostle Pauls life story

We learned that God can save anyone. The remarkable story of Paul
repeats itself every day as sinful, broken people all over the world are
transformed by Gods saving grace in Jesus Christ. Some of these people
have done despicable things to other human beings, while some just try to
live a moral life thinking that God will smile upon them on the day of
judgment. When we read the story of Paul and know what he had done, it is
difficult for us to believe that God would allow into heaven religious
extremists who murder innocent women and children. Today, we might see
people on death row as unworthy of redemption because their crimes against

humanity are just too great. Yet we live our lives in a sinful manner,
expecting that God will be impressed by the fact that we havent killed
anyone. The story of Paul is a story that can be told todayhe isnt worthy in
our eyes of a second chance, yet to God he is worthy. The truth is that every
person matters to God, from the good, decent, average person to the
wicked, evil degenerate. Only God can save a soul from hell.
Second, we learn from the life of Paul that anyone can be a humble, powerful
witness for Jesus Christ. Arguably, no other human figure in the Bible
demonstrated more humility while sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ as Paul.
Acts 20:19 tells us that he served the Lord with all humility and with tears
and with trials that happened to [him] through the plots of the Jews. In Acts
28:31, Paul shares the good news of Jesus Christ: Boldly and without
hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus
Christ. Paul was not afraid to tell others what the Lord had done for him.
This verse is the very definition of Pauls newfound life in Christ. He would
spend the rest of his days working tirelessly for the kingdom of God.
Finally, we learn that anyone can surrender completely to God. Paul was fully
sold-out for God. I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to
me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known
throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my
imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become
confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the
word without fear (Philippians 1:12-14). Paul was in prison when he wrote
these words, yet he was still praising God and sharing the good news.
Through his hardships and suffering, Paul knew the outcome of a life well
lived for Christ. He had surrendered his life fully, trusting God for everything.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). Can we
make the same claim?