June 29, 2008: A Jew, A Promise, and God

Sunday begins our summer study of Galatians. As we begin, it helps to know a little about who wrote the letter, so we will look at the conversion of Saul, who became Paul. Believed by many scholars to be Paul’s first letter, Galatians lays the deepest foundations of Paul’s theology; its theological truths are incredibly important. It wasn’t written as a doctrinal treatise, however; it was written as a letter to help believers in the province of Galatia, who had drifted away from the truth.

As we know from our past messages, the Holy Spirit called the apostles, deacons, and early believers to move out and share the gospel to bring others to faith in Christ. But with Paul, it was Jesus himself who called him to faith. Sunday’s Scripture is certainly the most famous conversion story in the Bible. As we read it let’s consider what we know of Paul the apostle and compare the “before” and “after” pictures of his life. It was an amazing turnaround. And looking at it will help us grasp the meaning of the book of Galatians because Galatians explains all about that turnaround.

As you prepare for the message, read the Scripture of Paul’s encounter with Jesus on the Damascus Road in Acts 9:1-9, and also read Galatians 1 to hear Paul’s commentary on that event. Although the Holy Spirit is not mentioned here, what do you think was the role of the Holy Spirit in Paul’s conversion? What about the role of the Holy Spirit in his later call?

  • Put yourself in his shoes. What if you encountered Jesus in the same dramatic way (perhaps some of you have!). What things have changed in your life because Jesus Christ is a part of it?
  • What hope does this passage bring to you?

Sermon: A Jew, A Promise, and God