“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with HIM…
I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.”
Philippians 3:8,12 NLT
Taken. Seized. Apprehended.
Paul, originally known as Saul, was accomplished, well read, a premier authority on The Scriptures, a zealot, filled with passion. Can you picture him in his day? Walking down the street, with flowing robes, purpose in his stride and people hustling to get out of his way. He wasn’t to be messed with or opposed. A rebellion was underfoot among his people and his purpose was squelching it. He had the authority to arrest Christians, have them whipped and thrown into prison.
On his way to stamp out Christianity in Damascus, he came into the very Presence of CHRIST JESUS…and everything in his life changed. You have probably heard the story, but if not you can read the account in the 9th chapter of Acts.
Face to face with a brilliant light and this penetrating question,
“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
His reply, “Who are You, Sir?”
And the voice replies, “I am JESUS…”
JESUS sent Paul on to Damascus, where he spent three days in blindness, fasting and solitude. Can you imagine what was racing through his mind? Paul knew every Scripture and prophecy, which pointed to JESUS as The CHRIST. Ananias shared The Truth with Paul, scales fell from his eyes, he got up and was baptized. The next thing we hear is that Paul is boldly preaching of JESUS to others!
Paul was headed in one direction, meets JESUS, and turns 180 degrees to head the other direction. He was taken...seized...apprehended...changed!
This same thing happens in each of us as we come to faith in CHRIST. Our experience may not be as physically impressive, but the reality of what happened to us is every bit as dramatic. The truth is, we were headed in one direction, and now we are headed in the opposite direction. The exact same thing that happened to Paul happened to us. The power of The Gospel is the same for all of us, from death to life.
“What this means is those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! – 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
“Once you were dead, doomed forever because of your many sins. You used to live just like the rest of the world, full of sin, obeying Satan, the mighty prince of the power of the air. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey CHRIST…
But GOD is so rich in mercy, and HE loved us so much, that even while we were dead because of our sins, HE gave us life when HE raised CHRIST from the dead.” – Ephesians 2:1-2,4-5 NLT
Have you been Taken? Have you forgotten what a miracle of eternal transformation this was? If you’re in Austin tomorrow morning, join us (Murchison Middle School, at 10) to hear more about what it means to live our lives, TAKEN.