He was determined to stop the followers of Jesus, even if it that meant taking their life, as in the case of Stephen. He was going to Damascus next with a clear goal – find the followers of Jesus so they could be punished. But this trip did not go as planned.
Without going into the details of what happened on the road to Damascus, he became what he so despised – a follower of Jesus, but not only a follower, among the greatest of followers, which made him the greatest of leaders. I am talking about the man named Saul, who would eventually change his name to Paul, the apostle Paul.
As a leader of the followers of Jesus, Paul lived his life in a manner I can respect.
Paul’s life is worthy of my respect for three reasons: 1) his actions agreed with his beliefs; 2) he endured severe hardship joyfully; and 3) he denied himself the rights due him out of consideration for other people.
I.Paul lived his life in accordance with his beliefs.
First, Paul’s actions agreed with his beliefs. He knew from the very beginning what he was called to do, which was to tell others about his Lord. Even while he was still in Damascus, some people conspired to take his life, but he found out about their plans and safely escaped (Acts 9:23-25). He truly had become what he had hated so much before. And thus began Paul’s life as a follower of Jesus. I can respect a man whose life and beliefs agree with each other. I can respect Paul.
II.Paul endured severe hardship joyfully (2 Cor. 11:24-29).
A. Paul suffered.
Next, Paul endured extreme hardship joyfully. He was severely whipped five times. Three times he was beaten with rods. One time he was stoned. Three times he was shipwrecked, even spending a night and day in the open sea. He knew hunger and thirst and had often gone without sleep. He knew...