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Sermon #5539

The Conversion of Saul of Tarsus

A Sermon on 1 Corinthians 15:8-11


1 Corinthians 15:8-11 ESV KJV
Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me …

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Sermon Description

Saul of Tarsus had a dramatic encounter with the risen Lord on the road to Damascus, and he was never the same afterward. In this sermon on 1 Corinthians 15:8–11 titled “The Conversion of Saul of Tarsus,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones makes the case that Christians go through a remarkably similar process in their own conversions. There is much to be learned of the Christian faith from the life and writings of the apostle Paul, formerly Saul of Tarsus. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul highlights his own conversion to show that the gospel he preaches is the same gospel he received. Dr. Lloyd-Jones maintains that this is the same gospel that has transformed individuals throughout the history of the church, and continues to transform lives even today. The process is that God seeks out people, makes Himself known to them, and shows them the way of salvation. Christian conversion is completely dependent upon the power of the grace of God. By the grace of God, a Christian can say, “I was…but I am.” Dr. Lloyd-Jones challenges his audience to consider the conviction of sin, repentance, and rebirth.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul is reminding the Corinthians of the fundamentals of the Christian faith.
  2. The Corinthians had fallen into confusion and were arguing over preachers, tolerating sin, boasting in their gifts, abusing communion, and denying the resurrection.
  3. Paul had to remind them of the gospel he preached to them.
  4. The Christian message is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ according to the Scriptures.
  5. Paul now discusses how this message becomes relevant in our lives.
  6. He uses his own experience as an example. Though Paul's experience was unique, what made him a Christian is the same for all.
  7. Becoming a Christian is a personal, individual experience. It is not based on opinions or philosophy but on a relationship with God.
  8. Modern society devalues the individual, but Christianity starts with the individual. Social change comes from individual change.
  9. Paul insists he is only a Christian by the grace of God, like all Christians. No one can earn salvation through good works.
  10. God's grace is powerful, as seen in Paul's radical conversion. Only God's grace can save.
  11. The Christian life is a gift from God, not something we achieve ourselves.
  12. God's grace brings conviction of sin, repentance, and regeneration. It changes our whole being.
  13. Paul was blinded by sin but given new understanding. His proud heart was humbled. His will was changed.
  14. Regeneration is a complete change, a new creation. It is greater than the original creation.
  15. The test of a Christian is whether they can say they are what they are by God's grace alone, giving Him all the glory. True Christians praise God's grace to others.

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Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.