Monday, January 26, 2009

The Conversion of Saint Paul

Acts 9:1-22, what an exciting text from Holy Scripture! Sunday was the festival of The Conversion of Saint Paul. It is the first time that I remember having occasion to preach a sermon on this text, Acts 9:1-22 — “For He Is a Chosen Vessel unto Me”.

A couple of excerpts include:

     Who would expect that such a miracle could happen? Who would even begin to imagine that a heart that was so violently set against the Lord Jesus and His Church would be converted to be a powerful vessel for God’s use in carrying the Gospel to the world? Yet this is what the Lord Jesus declares to Ananias. . .

     . . . No one in the world saw this coming. No one in the Church expected this. No one even imagined such a thing. Yet this is the way of the Lord our God. And this is not only the way with Saul, the devoted Pharisee, but also with you and me. . .

I generally read the sermon for myself again at various times during the week. Sometimes I listen to it again. Listening seems to have a different impact than reading. Somehow the spoken Word seems to penetrate differently. Moreover, I can listen while doing some mundane task at the desk and still hear the Word preached again. Even though I am the preacher, I benefit from hearing again. (Plus it allows me to hear areas where I can grow in my preaching.)

I also read and listen to other pastors’ sermons. Thankfully there are still a few pastors who actually preach the Gospel, and it is wonderful to hear and read them.

With the Internet has come the possibility of sharing far and wide in ways never before possible. Truly it is a heavenly blessing when a pastor preaches the pure Gospel and makes those sermons available for others. For all of us who depend upon the Gospel, it is a powerful blessing. Can anyone ever really get enough? Not in this lifetime! From what was revealed to St. John and recorded as the final book of the Bible, we will continue to rejoice in hearing it also in heaven.

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