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Sermon Notes: 7/31/22


 

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“Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭9:1-2‬

“As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?””

‭‭Acts‬ ‭9:3-4‬ ‭

““Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.””

‭‭Acts‬ ‭9:5-6‬ ‭‬‬

“The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭9:7-9‬

‬‬ “In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered.”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭9:10‬

‬‬ “The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.””

‭‭Acts‬ ‭9:11-12‬

‬‬ ““Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.””

‭‭Acts‬ ‭9:13-14‬

‬‬ “But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.””

‭‭Acts‬ ‭9:15-16‬

Ananias, I know you don’t understand it, but I need you to go. This man, this one who’s been breathing out murderous threats towards my people. This man who signed off on Stephen’s murder in Acts 7, as they layed their coats at Saul’s feet. Go, because this man that drug Christian men and women out of their houses as their children screamed and begged him not to hurt their mommies and daddies, go because this man named Saul is MY chosen instrument.

I know you never thought that you’d see this day arrive, but Ananias believe it or not, I’m going to use this man to proclaim MY NAME to the Gentiles. Out of all my followers, I’m going to use this one to stand before kings. I’m going to use this one who used to persecute my people, to stand before my people the Israelites.

I know it’s a lot to take in Ananias—BUT THERE’S MORE TO HIS STORY. In fact the same goes for you.

I know you made some choices that you wish you wouldn’t have made. I know you did some things that you’re not proud of, and said some things that you wish you could take back. I know sometimes your life feels like a dead end or that it’s just is what it is. But I say to you today son, I say to you today daughter, I say to you today BELOVED…THERE’S MORE TO YOUR STORY. In fact, that’s our sermon title for today…

THERE’S MORE TO YOUR STORY

Saul’s life before all of us today is living proof that…

📝 God has the power to RENEW what the enemy set out to RUIN.

It was Paul Himself after he looked back over his life, after he looked back over everything that he had been through, after he looked back and saw how he went from persecuting Gods people, to being an ambassador for God’s people. It was then when Paul authored Romans 8:28 and said,

📝 "And we know that IN ALL THINGS GOD WORKS for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭

Paul is living proof to this. Even when it doesn’t look like it, God is working. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, God is working. Even when it doesn’t sound like it, God is working. In the worst of times while Stephen was being stoned, God was working! As long as God is sitting on the throne, as long as God is sitting in the Directors chair calling the shots, He’s working, and this is why I say to you today —THERE’S MORE TO YOUR STORY!

📝 Where you are NOW is not where you’ll always be. There’s more to your story.

Since there’s more to your story, I say to you our main ideas for today:

📝 Look to the AUTHOR.

📝 Believe in the EDITOR.

📝 Trust the PUBLISHERS timing.

📝 Look to author, because HE’S STILL WRITING.

📝 Paul’s life is LIVING PROOF that just because your life is one way today, doesn’t mean that your life has to be that way tomorrow.

📝 You’re not stuck. The Author isn’t out of INK. There’s more to your story.

📝 "looking unto Jesus, THE AUTHOR and finisher of our faith….

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭

God alone has the rights to your life.

God alone has the rights to your story.

He’s not out of ink. He’s not out of space to write. He’s not out of time to do it. He’s not out of power to make it happen. Look to the author because He’s still writing. Look to the Author because He’s still connecting the dots.

Here’s what I know to be true…

📝 Jesus FINISHES what He AUTHORS.

📝 Don’t judge THE BOOK OF YOUR LIFE just off of one chapter.

Paul said it like this in Philippians 1:6,

“And I AM CONFIDENT that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians‬ ‭1:6

This morning someone in here needs to loosen their grip and give Jesus the author and finisher of your faith His pen back. You know why? You’ve only lived one life. He’s authored more lives than you could ever live. (An eternal being how to use my time here on earth.) Stop trying to tell Jesus how to write your story. He alone is the author. He alone is the finisher of your faith. He knows what you can handle. He knows what you can’t handle. He knows what’s in you, because He made you.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”

‭‭John‬ ‭1:1-3‬ ‬‬

I declare the end from the beginning, and ancient times from what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and all My good pleasure I will accomplish.’ Isaiah 46:10

I declare the end from the beginning…

And here’s what I declared about you before you ever got here…

He declares, you are loved (Jeremiah 31:3).

He declares, you are forgiven (Colossians 3:13).

He declares, you are called (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

He declares, you are set apart (Jeremiah 1:5).

He declares, you are healed (Isaiah 53:5).

He declares, you are redeemed (Galatians 3:13).

He declares, you have power (Acts 1:8).

He declares, you are accepted (Romans 15:7).

He declares, you are a child of God (John 1:12).

He declares, you are a masterpiece (Ephesians 2:19).

““God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

‭‭Numbers‬ ‭23:19‬ ‭‬‬

📝 What you SEE doesn’t have the final say so over your life. What God SAYS over your life has the final say so over your life.

This moment that you’re in doesn’t have the final say so over your life.

Look to the Author. He declares the end from the beginning.

Not only do you need to look to the author, but BELIEVE IN THE EDITOR.

He inserts grace where He wants to insert Grace. He inserts mercy where He wants to insert mercy. God told Moses In Exodus 33:19

“....I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”” Exodus‬ ‭33:19‬‬‬

Every time I thought that my life was over, or that there was no coming back from this, here comes the Chief Editor making cuts where no one else could make a cut. Here comes the Chief Editor, making edits where no one else could make an edit! Isaiah 43:25 says,

““I, I am he who BLOTS OUT YOUR TRANSGRESSIONS for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” Isaiah‬ ‭43:25‬ ‭‬‬

He blots out what He wants to blot out. He uses who He wants to use. He blesses who He wants to bless. He pardons who He wants to pardon. He does what He wants to do. King Nebuchadnezzar found this out the hard way. When it was all said and done, King Nebuchadnezzar came to this conclusion about God in Daniel 4:35,

All the inhabitants of the earth are counted as nothing, and he does what he wants with the army of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth. THERE IS NO ONE WHO CAN BLOCK HIS HAND OR SAY TO HIM, "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?" Daniel 4:35

When I say believe in the editor, I simply mean this—BELIEVE IN HIS GRACE.

Paul Himself said,

“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.”

‭‭II Corinthians‬ ‭12:7-8‬ ‭

“And He said to me, “MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

‭‭II Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭

In 1 Timothy 1:15 Paul said,

“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, OF WHOM I AM CHIEF.”

‭‭I Timothy‬ ‭1:15‬ ‭‬‬

It’s because of the chief editor, the one who was once known as the chief sinner said in Ephesians 3:8,

Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, THIS GRACE WAS GIVEN ME: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, Ephesians 3:8

Grace REWROTE YOUR STORY and there isn’t anything your past can do about it.

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and LOOKING FORWARD TO WHAT LIES AHEAD,”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:13‬ ‭

Trust the PUBLISHERS timing.

Paul looked to The Author, He Believed in the editor, and His grace, and IMMEDIATELY moved by faith after the Lord called him. Acts 9:18-20 says,

Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭9:18

“So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭9:19‬ ‭

IMMEDIATELY he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭9:20‬ ‭

📝 Paul didn’t allow anything to talk HIM OUT OF, what the Lord was talking HIM INTO. He trusted the Publishers timing.

There’s a distinct difference between waiting on the Lord and stalling.

📝 When you wait on the Lord you’re STRENGTHENED in the wait. When you stall because of fear you’re WEAKENED in the wait.

But in this particular case there wasn’t a wait. Paul was called to move by faith immediately.

Regardless of where you’ve come, regardless of what you did, regardless of what you said, regardless of the setback you’re facing, just like Saul, THERE’S MORE TO YOUR STORY!

📝 You’re not what happened to you. You’re what God is doing THROUGH YOU. There’s more to your story.

📝 What you DID doesn’t have the last say so over what Christ has DONE.

“You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.”

‭‭Colossians‬ ‭2:13‬ ‭‬‬

“He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.”

‭‭Colossians‬ ‭2:14‬ ‭

“In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.”

‭‭Colossians‬ ‭2:15‬ ‭

You can’t unwrite God’s love. You can’t unwrite God’s grace. You can’t unwrite Gods mercy. You can’t unwrite God’s acceptance of you.

God has the power to RENEW what the enemy set out to RUIN.

Look to the Author—HE’S STILL WRITING!

‬‬ “But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.””

‭‭Acts‬ ‭9:15-16‬

The Apostle Paul would go to be one of the most influential leaders of the early Christian church. Paul would go on to play a crucial role in spreading the gospel to the Gentiles (non-Jews) during the first century, and his missionary journeys took him all throughout the Roman empire. Paul would go on to start more than a dozen churches, and to author 13 books of the Bible, more than any other biblical writer. Paul is often considered one of the most influential people in history. He had a greater impact on the world’s religious landscape than any other person besides Jesus Christ.

I know you never thought that you’d see this day arrive, but Ananias believe it or not, I’m going to use this man to proclaim MY NAME to the Gentiles. Out of all my followers, I’m going to use this one to stand before kings. I’m going to use the one who used to persecute my people, to stand before my people the Israelites. I know it’s a lot to take in Ananias—BUT THERE’S MORE TO HIS STORY. In fact the same goes for you. I know you made some choices that you wish you wouldn’t have made. I know you did some things that you’re not proud of, and said some things that you wish you could get back. I know sometimes your life feels like a dead end or that it’s just is what it is. But I say to you today son, I say to you today daughter, I say to you BELOVED…THERE’S MORE TO YOUR STORY.

Reflection Question: Do you trust what the author is writing?

God has the power to RENEW what the enemy set out to RUIN.

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