First Baptist Church of San Bruno
Sunday June 28 - From Murderer To Martyr
10,000 Reasons

Chorus 1

Bless the Lord O my soul

O my soul

Worship His holy name

Sing like never before

O my soul

I'll worship Your holy name


Verse 1

The sun comes up it's a new day dawning

It's time to sing Your song again

Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me

Let me be singing when the evening comes


Verse 2

You're rich in love and You're slow to anger

Your name is great and Your heart is kind

For all Your goodness I will keep on singing

Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find


Verse 3

And on that day when my strength is failing

The end draws near and my time has come

Still my soul will sing Your praise unending

Ten thousand years and then forevermore


Ending

Worship Your holy name

Lord I'll worship Your holy name

Be Thou My Vision

Verse 1

Be thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;

Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art -

Thou my best thought, by day or by night,

Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.


Verse 2

Be thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;

I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;

Thou my great Father, I Thy true son,

Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.


Verse 3

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise,

Thou mine inheritance, now and always;

Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,

High King of heaven, my treasure Thou art.


Verse 4

High King of heaven, my victory won,

May I reach heaven’s joys, bright heaven’s Sun!

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,

Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Stronger

Verse 1

There is Love that came for us

Humbled to a sinner's cross

You broke my shame and sinfulness

You rose again victorious


Verse 2

Faithfulness none can deny

Through the storm and through the fire

There is truth that sets me free

Jesus Christ who lives in me


Chorus 1

You are stronger

You are stronger

Sin is broken

You have saved me


It is written

Christ is risen

Jesus You are Lord of all


Verse 3

No beginning and no end

You're my hope and my defense

You came to seek and save the lost

You paid it all upon the cross


Bridge

So let Your Name be lifted higher

Be lifted higher

Be lifted higher

(REPEAT)

Before The Throne Of God Above

Verse 1

Before the throne of God above

I have a strong and perfect plea

A great High Priest whose name is Love

Who ever lives and pleads for me


My name is graven on His hands

My name is written on His heart

I know that while in heav'n He stands

No tongue can bid me thence depart

No tongue can bid me thence depart


Verse 2

When Satan tempts me to despair

And tells me of the guilt within

Upward I look and see Him there

Who made an end to all my sin


Because the sinless Saviour died

My sinful soul is counted free

For God the Just is satisfied

To look on Him and pardon me

To look on Him and pardon me


Verse 3

Behold Him there the risen Lamb

My perfect spotless righteousness

The great unchangeable I Am

The King of glory and of grace


One with Himself I cannot die

My soul is purchased with His blood

My life is hid with Christ on high

With Christ my Saviour and my God

With Christ my Saviour and my God


Verse 4

I bow before the cross of Christ

And marvel at this love divine

God's perfect Son was sacrificed

To make me righteous in God's eyes


This river's depths I cannot know

But I can glory in its flood

The Lord Most High has bowed down low

And poured on me His glorious love

And poured on me His glorious love

      • John 16:33NIV2011

      • Psalm 89:1–4ESV

      • Psalm 89:15–18ESV

  • 10,000 Reasons
  • Be Thou My Vision
  • Stronger
  • The title of my sermon today is “From Murderer to Martyr”
    The word Martyr comes from the greek word “Martyres” - It literally means “witness” - Like seeing something and proclaiming what you’ve seen.
    It’s usually used now to describe some one who dies for some type of cause. But, that isn’t the original meaning.
    Today we will see how Saul went from being a murderer to becoming a martyr. A witness.
    Acts 9:1–9 CSB
    Now Saul was still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord. He went to the high priest and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he traveled and was nearing Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul said. “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting,” he replied. “But get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the sound but seeing no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing. So they took him by the hand and led him into Damascus. He was unable to see for three days and did not eat or drink.
    Acts 9:17–22 CSB
    Ananias went and entered the house. He placed his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road you were traveling, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” At once something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. And after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul was with the disciples in Damascus for some time. Immediately he began proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues: “He is the Son of God.” All who heard him were astounded and said, “Isn’t this the man in Jerusalem who was causing havoc for those who called on this name and came here for the purpose of taking them as prisoners to the chief priests?” But Saul grew stronger and kept confounding the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.
    This man Saul, is who most of us know as Paul.
    Saul being his Hebrew name, and Paul, most likely being his Greek/Roman name.
    You’ve probably read some of Paul’s writings like this:
    Philippians 3:7–11 CSB
    But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them as dung, so that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ—the righteousness from God based on faith. My goal is to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death, assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead.
    We are going to be taking an in depth look at how Saul/Paul came to the place where he could write things like this.
    Main Idea
    A powerful encounter with the risen and glorified Jesus forever changed the purpose and trajectory of Saul's life.
    Guess What!
    It can do the same for you!
    Four things we see in Saul’s journey from being a murderer to becoming a messenger.
    First thing we see is...

    Saul’s Heart Problem

    Verses 1-2
    Saul’s evil actions were a result of a deeper and darker problem that needed to be dealt with.
    Acts 9:1–2 CSB
    Now Saul was still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord. He went to the high priest and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem.
    Now Saul was still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord.”
    breathing” - in this sense means conceiving something as that thing being one’s life’s breath. Completely dedicated to something. Your life’s breath.
    Saul’s persecution mission was the delight and desire of his heart. He was completely consumed by it.
    Some people are workaholics. Some people dress up as comic book characters and go to Comic Con. Some people live and breath a professional sports team. Well, Saul was living and breathing persecution against the Church of Christ.
    This is likely something he did for a good amount of time.
    Acts: Expanded Digital Edition Explanation of the Text

    The present participle “breathing” (ἐμπνέων) indicates that Saul was involved over an extended period of time in uttering (lit., “breathing out”) “threats” (ἀπειλή) and “murder” (φόνος) against the believers.

    “He went to the high priest and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus...”
    “requested” - From what we can see based on the testimony in Acts, Saul wasn’t recruited to persecute Christians. He didn’t have to be asked. In fact, he was the one asking to do it. This was something he was deliberately going out of his way to do. This shows us just how devoted he was to this mission.
    Persecution Christians came naturally to Saul. He was passionate about it.
    “so that if he found any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem.”
    Saul targeted everyone associated with “the Way” -
    The Way was an early Christian description of what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. The true way to God. Jesus being the way, the truth, and the life.
    It didn’t matter if you were male or female, white or black, of Jewish descent or a proselyte. As far as Saul was concerned, you were his enemy. A traitor to Judaism. Someone deserving of persecution.
    Remember, historically, the Jews had suffered oppression, even up to this point. Egypt, Philistia, Syria, Babylon, and even during the historical period this is describing, Rome.
    Evil prejudice and oppression isn’t a respecter of persons.
    Even the most faithful Social Justice Warrior will fall prey to a heart deceived by prejudice and pride.
    Today’s “oppressed” are tomorrows tyrants! It happens every time.
    We see this alive in Saul.
    Why?
    Jeremiah 17:9
    Jeremiah 17:9 CSB
    The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable—who can understand it?
    The problem with all people is their heart. All that is “breathed out” to the outside originates from the inside.
    All evil manifestations on our outside originate from the motives we have on the inside.
    We consume others because we have sin consuming us on the inside.
    Mark 7:20–23 CSB
    And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, self-indulgence, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a person.”
    Maybe you’re thinking “I’m sure glad I’m not evil like Saul.” He had a real heart issue. Just look at his actions.”
    Or, I’m thankful I’m not a racist, a murderer, or commit sins like that.
    Matthew 5:21–22 CSB
    “You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Whoever insults his brother or sister, will be subject to the court. Whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be subject to hellfire.
    How about this...
    Matthew 5:27–28 CSB
    “You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
    Guess what. Even though you may not have physically murdered someone, or had an adulterous affair, 100% of people have done it internally. In their thoughts.
    You are guilty. I am guilty.
    Beloved,

    Have you recognized your own heart problem?

    Really ask yourself this? Consider this.
    I’ll tell you this: Every authentic Christian knows this about themselves. Knows that what they bring to the table for their salvation is their sin that has taken root deep in their heart. And Christ has dealt with it.
    If you don’t mourn over the sin your heart natural gravitates to then I am concerned for you, friend.
    Have you recognized your own heart problem?
    Second thing we see is,

    Saul’s Christ Encounter

    Verses 3-9
    Saul was humbled when he encountered the risen and glorified Jesus Christ.
    Acts 9:3–9 CSB
    As he traveled and was nearing Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul said. “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting,” he replied. “But get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the sound but seeing no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing. So they took him by the hand and led him into Damascus. He was unable to see for three days and did not eat or drink.
    “As he traveled and was nearing Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him.”
    On his journey, Saul is stopped, and consumed with a light. Likely being the glory of the risen and glorified Jesus. A sight that would blind us all.
    Hebrews 1:3
    Hebrews 1:3 CSB
    The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
    Revelation 21:23
    Revelation 21:23 CSB
    The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because the glory of God illuminates it, and its lamp is the Lamb.
    For sin stained eyes to behold even just a small fragment of God’s radiating glory would blind them.
    “Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul said. “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting,””
    Two observations:
    1. Saul had a real, physical, and incredible encounter with Jesus. Jesus is really before him and is really speaking to him. Jesus is singling out Paul.
    Have you ever experienced Jesus singling you out? Conviction? From the Word of God?
    NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible: Follow God’s Redemptive Plan as it Unfolds throughout Scripture Chapter 9

    I am Jesus. These words transform Paul’s world: he recognizes that the one whose followers he has been persecuting is the Messiah, his Lord.

    2. Jesus personally takes ownership for His Church. Persecuting Jesus’ Church is persecuting Jesus.
    When people hate Christ’s Church, they really hate Christ.
    ““But get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.””
    Jesus gives Saul an expectation for more.
    “The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the sound but seeing no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing. So they took him by the hand and led him into Damascus. He was unable to see for three days and did not eat or drink.”
    This episode was so powerful that it:
    Silenced Saul’s companions.
    Blinded Saul.
    Caused Saul to be unwilling to eat or drink.
    Saul’s entire world was thrown upside down.

    Have you been humbled by encountering Christ’s glory?

    Some people encounter Christ’s glory, but not in a humbling way. Some hear the gospel of the glory of God and are not humbled of their unbelief. I preach to make you encounter Christ’s glory. I pray every week that it’s an encounter that humbles you and me.
    When you look at Jesus, read of Jesus, hear of Jesus...
    Does it do something to you? Does it stir you? Do you consider where your allegiances lie?
    Or are you apathetic?
    Do you believe that Jesus is just a token for your key chain?
    “I’ve got a Jesus fish on my bumper. I wear some christian shirts. I vote as a conservative. I get it”
    Do you get it?
    Has Jesus humbled you?
    Have you yet to be stunned by the majesty, the glory, the unrelenting love, the all consuming passion, the ravaging hope found in Jesus?
    Seriously!
    Third thing we see is...

    Saul’s Miraculous Healing(s)

    We are fast forwarding a little bit. On to verses 17-19a
    God used a simple servant to miraculously heal Saul on the inside and outside.
    Acts 9:17–19a CSB
    Ananias went and entered the house. He placed his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road you were traveling, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” At once something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. And after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul was with the disciples in Damascus for some time.
    “Ananias went and entered the house. He placed his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road you were traveling, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.””
    There were two types of healing for Saul that day: A healing of Saul’s eyes (“regain your sight”) and a healing of Saul’s soul (“be filled with the Holy Spirit”).
    Praise God for both healings. But,
    Saul would have been incomplete if only his eyes were healed!
    Some people get so obsessed with their physical limitations or handicaps that they forget that the deeper and most important healing every person needs is internal. Spiritual.
    I even think Saul would tell us today that if he had only received the Holy Spirit and stayed blind, he would have still love Jesus and changed the trajectory of his mission.
    By God’s grace, Saul was still healed of his blindness. Likely for the purpose of showing externally what was happening internally!
    “At once something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. And after taking some food, he regained his strength.”
    “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind but now I see.”
    My question for you is...

    Have you experienced soul healing from the Holy Spirit?

    Have you experienced the sensation of having the Holy Spirit take up residence in you?
    Listen to how Ezekiel prophesied about this Holy Spirit Soul healing available to us!
    Ezekiel 36:25–27 CSB
    I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place my Spirit within you and cause you to follow my statutes and carefully observe my ordinances.
    Have you been flooded with what Galatians 5 says that the Spirit brings to us:
    Galatians 5:22–23 CSB
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.
    Or are you still consumed by the flesh?
    Galatians 5:19–21 CSB
    Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I am warning you about these things—as I warned you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    Have you experienced soul healing from the Holy Spirit?

    Forth thing we see...

    Saul’s Powerful Preaching

    Verses 19b-22
    Saul proclaimed a powerful, yet, simple message that confounded all those who were opposed to it.
    Acts 9:19b–22 CSB
    And after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul was with the disciples in Damascus for some time. Immediately he began proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues: “He is the Son of God.” All who heard him were astounded and said, “Isn’t this the man in Jerusalem who was causing havoc for those who called on this name and came here for the purpose of taking them as prisoners to the chief priests?” But Saul grew stronger and kept confounding the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.
    “Saul was with the disciples in Damascus for some time.”
    Likely, Saul experienced being discipled during this time. Another time he recounts his conversion he says he spent time in Arabia after his conversion. This doesn’t contradict that claim, this simply fills in a gap for us.
    Saul is not “with the disciples” instead of murdering the disciples.
    “Immediately he began proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues: “He is the Son of God.”
    Paul’s focus “Immediately” changed from “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” to “proclaiming Jesus...” “is the Son of God”.
    What a radical change!
    Saul went from hating the message of a crucified, risen, and glorified Jesus to proclaiming a crucified, risen, and glorified Jesus.
    All because he witnessed this Jesus for himself.
    Has there been a radical change in your focus and perception of Jesus?
    Is your focus on Christ?
    Is your desire to please Christ?
    Have you fallen in love with the Jesus who ransomed your soul by dying in your place!
    Those who knew you before you attended church regularly, can they say what the Jews are about to say about Saul?
    “All who heard him were astounded and said, “Isn’t this the man in Jerusalem who was causing havoc for those who called on this name and came here for the purpose of taking them as prisoners to the chief priests?””
    The people could see a difference in Saul.
    Can people say that about you?
    Maybe your asking “how much of me is supposed to change?”
    Let me point out something to you But Saul grew stronger and kept confounding the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.”
    Saul’s personality was essentially sanctified. Not replaced. Sanctified.
    The zeal with which he persecuted the church is now directed at propagating the church.
    Scripture says we are new creations in Christ. That is primarily pointing to our soul and what we worship.
    We were idolators. But now we worship Christ.
    1 Corinthians 10:31 CSB
    So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.

    Has your life’s purpose been redirected for Christ?

    Conclusion
    We just read of...
    Saul’s Heart Problem.
    Saul’s Christ Encounter.
    Saul’s Miraculous Healing.
    Saul’s Powerful Preaching.
    I like this quote from the New American Commentary as it recalls describes what we’ve seen...
    The New American Commentary: Acts The Former Persecutor’s Witness to Christ (9:19b–22)

    Paul the persecutor was stopped dead in his tracks on the Damascus road. The risen Jesus showed himself to Paul; and with this confirmation that the Christian claims were indeed true, Paul was completely turned from persecutor to witness. Only one category describes Paul’s experience, a category not uncommon in Acts. It was a miracle, the result of direct divine action

    This entire TRUE story is the result of direct divine intervention from God.
    Indeed, every conversion and gospel transformation is a direct divine intervention from God.
    The reality is, that the greatest scandal of the ages isn’t that God has consigned people to wrath because of their sin.
    The greatest scandal of the ages is that God has graciously intervened to save depraved rebels from the penalty for cosmic treason.
    Simply put: We deserve hell but God gives us grace.
    I’ve been thinking about my grandmother a lot this week. My Nanny. Dad’s mom.
    My dad could tell you very honestly that she was not a perfect woman. Especially in her younger years.
    She was vain, harsh, and critical. She struggled with that her whole life.
    But, I remember something different about her. I remember a conversation with my cousin Baxter a few years back about this. He remembers something different too. And my dad told me this week that she changed later in her life.
    You see, I remember every night I would stay with her, that she would be up late, with her Bible opened, tears in her eyes, actively listening to christian preaching.
    Of all my memories about her, that is what is most seared into my mind.
    A frail, old widow, studying the bible late into the evening.
    My dad told me something changed in her later in her life. She still had similar struggles. But he says what changed was deep in her.
    She went from being a proud vain woman to being a humbled woman who struggled with pride and vanity.
    These memories have caused me to rethink my own life. And who I want to be now.
    I want to be humbled by the glory and majesty of Jesus. I want to be hungry for him. I want to be a person who lives and breathes Christ because I’ve been so smitten by the love I’ve received from this scandal of grace.
    I want to be a person who sears memories into the minds of others like my Nanny seared into my mind.
    It’s never too late to go from being a “murderer to a martyr”
    Maybe you’ve realized today that you thought you were a christian, but now, today, you’ve witnessed something that showed you how deceived you’ve been. You've had it wrong all along.
    Adrian Rogers Sermon Archive Conclusion

    A wife borrowed her husband’s car, and she wrecked it. It didn’t hurt her. But she just demolished the car. And it was a brand new car. She felt so bad. She reached in the glove compartment where they kept the insurance papers and she got the insurance papers out. And when she opened the insurance paper, there was a note right in the middle written by her husband—and this is what it said. I think it’s one of the sweetest things I’ve ever heard. He said to her, “Remember, Sweetheart, it’s you I love.” Isn’t that great? “It’s you I love.” “This car is not important. Honey, you’re the important one.” Isn’t that great? I want to tell you, you may have wrecked your life; but God says, “It’s you I love.” God loves you.

    Know the redeeming love of Jesus.
      • Acts 9:1–9CSB

      • Acts 9:17–22CSB

      • Philippians 3:7–11CSB

      • Acts 9:1–2CSB

      • Jeremiah 17:9CSB

      • Mark 7:20–23CSB

      • Matthew 5:21–22CSB

      • Matthew 5:27–28CSB

      • Acts 9:3–9CSB

      • Hebrews 1:3CSB

      • Revelation 21:23CSB

      • Acts 9:17–19aCSB

      • Ezekiel 36:25–27CSB

      • Galatians 5:22–23CSB

      • Galatians 5:19–21CSB

      • Acts 9:19b–22CSB

      • 1 Corinthians 10:31CSB

  • Before The Throne Of God Above
      • John 16:33NIV2011

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