Paul: Sincere and Separated
I.  The apostle Paul was always a sincerely religious person.
    A.  He always loved God.
    B.  No one could question his sincerity.
II. But Paul found out his 1st religious condition was incorrect.
III.    When he understood the truth, he changed.
    A.  That is the true mark of sincerity.
    B.  But he never lost his religious fervor.
    C.  His changing didn't mean he was previously dumb.
    D.  His changing didn't mean he was previously insincere.
IV. Let s note Paul s former religious state & his latter religious state.
    A.  Paul was sincere.
        (Acts 23:1 NKJV)  Then Paul, looking earnestly at the council, said, "Men and brethren, I
        have lived in all good conscience before God until this day."
        1.  Paul had always maintained a good conscience.
            (1 Cor 4:4 NKJV)  For I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but
            He who judges me is the Lord.
        2.  He had always worshiped God with a pure conscience (2 Tim 1:3).
            (2 Tim 1:3 NKJV)  I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my
            forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day,
        3.  Yet, he was religiously wrong. {Jacob & Joseph}.
    B.  Paul was serious.
        1.  Paul was a Pharisee (Ax 26:1-5).
            a.  Pharisee = "separated ones."
            b.  Josephus = appeared more religious than others.
        2.  Paul opposed what opposed his religious.
            (Acts 9:1-2 NKJV)  Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples
            of the Lord, went to the high priest {2} and asked letters from him to the synagogues
            of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women,
            he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
    C.  Paul was schooled.
        1.  Paul had the best religious training (Ax 22:1-3).
            a.  Taught by Gamaliel   (Dr. of the Law).
            b.  Gamaliel was called "Rabban" = "Our teacher" Master, teacher.
                (1)  Rabban was higher rank than Rabbi = "My teacher."
    D.  Paul was zealous.
        1.  Paul had an incredable drive to give his all.
            (Gal 1:13-14 NKJV)  For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I
            persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. {14} And I
            advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being
            more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
        2.  Paul was fervent in his religion.
            (Phil 3:4-6 NKJV)  though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else
            thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: {5} circumcised the eighth
            day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews;
            concerning the law, a Pharisee; {6} concerning zeal, persecuting the church;
            concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
            a.  Paul went above & beyond the call of duty (Ax 26:12-13   Midday).
    A.  Paul was sincere.
        1.  He was sincere in becoming a Christian (Ax 9:4-6, 9-19).
        2.  Paul lived & taught religious sincerity.
            (2 Cor 1:12 NKJV)  For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we
            conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly
            wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.
    B.   Paul was serious.
        1.  Paul was dead serious (Ax 21:10-13),
            (Acts 21:10-13 NKJV)  And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named
            Agabus came down from Judea. {11} When he had come to us, he took Paul's belt,
            bound his own hands and feet, and said, "Thus says the Holy Spirit, 'So shall the
            Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands
            of the Gentiles.'" {12} Now when we heard these things, both we and those from that
            place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. {13} Then Paul answered, "What
            do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be
            bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus."
        2.  Paul's change in religion didn't make him less serious.
            (2 Cor 11:23-26 NKJV)  Are they ministers of Christ?; I speak as a fool; I am more: in
            labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in
            deaths often. {24} From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. {25}
            Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was
            shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; {26} in journeys often, in
            perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the
            Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils
            among false brethren;
        3.  Paul was still separated.
            (Rom 1:1 NKJV)  Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle,
            separated to the gospel of God
            (Gal 1:15 NKJV)  But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's
            womb and called me through His grace,
    C.  Paul was schooled.
        1.  Paul was taught by the Master teacher.
            (Gal 1:11-12 NKJV)  But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was
            preached by me is not according to man. {12} For I neither received it from man, nor
            was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
        2.  Paul's message came from Christ (1 Cor 11:23; 14:37).
    D.  Paul was zealous.
        1.  Paul was zealous in living the Christian life.
            (Acts 9:20-22 NKJV)  Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He
            is the Son of God. {21} Then all who heard were amazed, and said, "Is this not he
            who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for
            that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?" {22} But Saul
            increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in
            Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.
        2.  Jesus refocused Paul's zeal.
            (Acts 20:31 NKJV)  "Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not
            cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.
        3.  Paul understood that people could be zealously, sincerely, religiously mistaken.
            (Rom 10:2 NKJV)  For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not
            according to knowledge.
                (1)  Had great love for souls.
                (2)  Man of great zeal.
                (3)  Became all things to all men.
                (4)  Worked well with others.
            c.  PAUL WAS A GOSPEL WORKER.
                (1)  Sent to preach the gospel.
                (2)  Felt an obligation to preach.
                (3)  Was not ashamed to preach the gospel.
                (4)  His glory was in the gospel.
                (5)  Didn't preach himself.
                (1)  Chief of sinners [Humility].
                (2)  Content prisoner of the Lord.
                (3)  Felt less than other.
                (4)  Needed the prayers of others.
                (5)  He was a servant of the Lord.
                (6)  One who pressed forward.
                (7)  Lived and died in Christ.
            e.  PAUL DEPENDED ON THE LORD.
                (1)  God was his strength.
                (2)  Christ lived in Paul.
                (3)  Can do all things through Christ.
                (4)  Didn't trust in his own ability.
            f.  PAUL HAD SEEN HARD TIMES.
                (1)  Problems.
                (2)  Suffering.
                     (a)  Beaten, ship wreck, hungry, cold.
                     (b)  Didn't turn away from God.
            g.  PAUL WAS AN EXHORTER.
                (1)  One who could be followed.
                (2)  Put on the whole armor of God.
                (3)  Preached the word
I.  No one could ever doubt Paul's sincerity.
    A.  He always loved the Lord.
    B.  He just needed to be guided by the truth.
II. No one could ever doubt Paul's separation.
    A.  When Paul understood the truth & obeyed it, & he never lost his enthusiasm.
        1.  In fact he worked harder for the Lord.
III.    You may be in a religion which God does not want you in.
    A.  Do as Paul did.
    B.  Listen to Jesus.
    C.  Do what God wants.
            D.  Live as He wills.

** If you have any questions or if you would like to become a Christian, please let us know. 
Alan C. Cole
26th St. Church of Christ
101-26th Street Huntington, WV 25703
Phone - (304) 522-0717
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