Trusting God With Your Impossible Past
“ The next day Moses said to the people, “You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to the LORD; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” (Exodus 32:30, ESV)
“The LORD said to Moses, “Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. 2 Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain. 3 No one shall come up with you, and let no one be seen throughout all the mountain. Let no flocks or herds graze opposite that mountain.” 4 So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the first. And he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand two tablets of stone. 5 The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,” (Exodus 34:1-6, ESV)
We can trust God because He is merciful and gracious!
"6 The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious…”
“17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. 18 Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:17-18, ESV)
We can trust God because He is slow to anger!
"6 The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger…”
“37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37, ESV)
“38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38, ESV)
We can trust God because He is abounding in love and faithfulness!
"6 The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,”
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, ESV)
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:1-5, ESV)
Trusting God with Your Impossible Past
This week’s sermon discussed our past. Everyone has one! Some are more checkered than others, but as believers in Christ, we are not defined by our past, we are liberated from it. This week’s life group study will be on Saul/Paul and the testimony of his conversion! We have recorded for us on the pages of scripture, one of the most dramatic stories of life change ever. Let’s go to the Scriptural account of Saul/Paul’s life!
1. How would you describe Paul’s life, his testimony, and his legacy? As a group read: Acts 9:1-31
Saul/Paul’s “Past”: Acts 9:1-2
2. What can we tell about Saul/Paul before GOD changed his life?
3. What do we see about Saul/Paul in:
a. Acts 7:54-58 –
b. Acts 8:1-3 –
4. What can we tell about Saul/Paul from Ananias’ reaction in Acts 9:13-14?
5. At this point in Saul/Paul’s life…what would his legacy have been?
Saul/Paul’s “After”: Acts 9:18-31
6. What do we see in v.18? What is happening here?
7. After Saul/Paul is converted in v.18, we begin to see him behave a little differently.
What evidence do we see of Saul/Paul’s life and legacy beginning
to change in:
a. V.20 –
b. V.21 –
c. V.22 –
d. V.31 –
8. How would you describe what is happening in Galatians 1:11-24?
9. What does Saul/Paul say is ultimately the result of his “Testimony of Faith” in Galatians 1:11-24?
10. We have just seen how Saul/Paul’s “Testimony of Faith” began to immediately impact his relationships, peers, and anyone he came into contact with while he was alive. But what does it say about Saul/Paul’s legacy, that I am still writing about his “Testimony of Faith” in this study? And what does it say that preachers across the country preach about his letters and use his life story as a tool to change the lives of others long after his death?
How will you live your life so that people will see that your past does not define you? It defines how you have been liberated through Christ. Paul had a past that was murderous! He persecuted, killed, and imprisoned Jesus’ Bride, the Church! And while we are aware of His past, it is not what defines him. His previous transgressions stand as an opportunity for God’s glory to be wrought; as his past is a stark contrast against the foreground of his legacy faith! Paul was saved from his sin and his treacherous past, and God would ultimately use it for His glory!