A Name to Match the Message
Easter Sunday - April 16
Sinners to Saints: Becoming Who God Sees - Lent Sermon Series
Acts 13:2-12 (NRSV)
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
The Apostles Preach in Cyprus
So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia; and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John also to assist them. When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they met a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet, named Bar-Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and wanted to hear the word of God. But the magician Elymas (for this is the translation of his name) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, "You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? And now listen - the hand of the Lord is against you, and you will be blind for a while, unable to see the sun." Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he went about groping for someone to lead him by the hand. When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was astonished at the teaching about the Lord.
On Easter Sunday we celebrate the fact that over 2000 years ago God intervened in human history to let us know that evil and death do not have the last word on any of our lives. In Jesus Christ, we hear the good news that he has been resurrected from the dead and has made God's grace available to each of us.
This news was just as surprising to the first-hand witnesses as it is to us. Our sermon today will focus on one of the key figures of the early Christian movement, the apostle Paul. We will see that Paul found the news to be so good that he would stop at almost nothing to share it with everyone he met. This Easter news can transform our lives just as it transformed Paul's!
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