Focal passage: Acts 22:3-8, 15-22
J.D. Greear, a pastor in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., said, “It is one thing to understand the gospel but it is quite another to experience the gospel in such a way that it fundamentally changes us and becomes the source of our identity and security.”
Greear’s point is that the gospel is not just a message to hear.
It is a message to be believed.
It is a message that is life-altering. It is message that transforms.
For those who accept the claims and work of Jesus Christ on their behalf, their lives are changed forever.
In the opening verses of Acts 22, Paul recounts what his life was like apart from Christ.
Describing himself as “zealous for God” he was so opposed to the people of “The Way” that he “delivered men and women to prison” (Acts 22:4).
Paul then describes his experience on the road to Damascus where he encountered Jesus Christ who would radically change him.
We see his thought process clearly in the book of Philippians.
Of his former source of identity and accolades, Paul says he “counts them as rubbish” or dung.
The fact that he was circumcised, a Hebrew and a Pharisee were of no concern to him anymore.
Why? Because Paul understood what experiencing the gospel will do for someone.
Not only did it change Paul’s primary source of identity, but God would then use him to bring about His redemptive purpose as Jesus said, “Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles” (Acts 22:21).
You may not have had as dramatic of a turnaround as the Apostle Paul, but if you are a true follower of Jesus Christ then your story is no less miraculous. You have been brought to life.
You are no longer chained by the shackles of sin. And God wants to use your transformed life to make other disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).
The question we must all answer is: have I truly experienced the gospel?
And if so, how does God want to use me?