Thank you Pastor Charles E. Burton and the people of Second Missionary Baptist Church for an awesome three nights of Revival. It was my privilege to be your evangelist for this year and tonight – wow, what a crowd! The sermon, “Don’t Let Your Past Mess Up Your Future” (Acts 9:26), was received very well. The Gospel Choir from FBC sung us crazy – thank you Lord for dedicated singers and musicians!
In our text is a prime example of the past attempting to destroy the future. The subject of this text is Saul, who you probably know better as the Apostle Paul, the Church Planter Paul, the Pastoral Advisor Paul, the Shaper of Young Preachers Paul, the Doctrine Gatekeeper Paul – but in the ninth chapter of Acts, he is simply Saul. But he is Saul in the midst of transition.
Born Saul of Tarsus, he was anti-Church, and anti-Christian. He started out on the wrong foot theologically. He was trained by others to hate Christianity. He held the coat of Stephen as he was stoned to death. He grew up, educated and foolish, rich financially and poor spiritually, smart but defiant, systematic yet wreckless. He spent the bulk of his younger years hating the church.
Let me say to all of us one thing that’s plaguing the church today – some people don’t like the church. They don’t appreciate the church house, the church preacher, the church ministries, the church goals, the church worship, the church meetings, the church evangelism efforts – they just don’t like the church. I also need to say thank God for the church.
Thank God for preaching preachers and singing singers and praying deacons and trustworthy trustees and matronly mothers and off the hook young people, ministering missionaries, excited young people, praying saints, Sunday School teachers, Bible Study students, prayer meeting people and tithing members – yes, thank God for the church. Because it was the same Church, the same God, the same Jesus, the same Holy Spirit, that Paul resented, hated and persecuted that God hand delivered him to.
I’ve come to find out that some of us are in the church today after having uttered those words, “when I get grown, I’m never going to church.” However we found out, just like Paul, that the same things that we hate wind up being the same thing that you serve.
Who hated the church, but now love worship.
Who hated the preacher, but now love preachers.
Who hated to carry a Bible, but now love the Word.
Who hated being in church all day, but can’t wait to get there.
Who hated all that noise, but now shouts all over the place.