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Logo of Michigan Camp Meeting 2016: The Harvest is Great

This is My Story

Clifford Jones



  • June 14, 2016
    7:15 PM


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If you have your bible verse. And I see one of your members down friend sister Barbara who for years and several of our committees the Andrews University board seminary executive committee. And we served together several years ago and eighteen may think it was that was passed with a special responsibility there at the university. She chairs one of us up committees on the board and we really appreciate her service these many years and her love and support. Good to see in the house and Acts Chapter nine. Chapter nine reading from verse ten and there was a certain disciple at Damascus named N.I.S. and to him said the Lord in a vision an anonymous and he said Behold I am here. Lord and the Lord said unto him arrives and go into this street which is called Straight. And inquiry in the House of Judas for one called Soul of process for behold the prayer and have seen in a vision a man named and a nihilist coming in and putting his hand on him that he might receive his sight verse thirteen then enter nighest and lot I have heard by many of this man how much evil he have done to vice saints at Jerusalem and here he hath authority from the chief priest all that coal on nane by the lower. To him Go thy way for he is a chosen vessel unto me to be at my name before the Gentiles and King and the children of Israel. I will show him how great things he must suffer for mine and the nice when his way and entered into the house and putting his hands on him said Brother soul the Lord. Even Jesus that appeared on to the in the way as that came and had sent me that they might just receive the eyesight and be sealed with the Holy Ghost and immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been and he received forth ways and roles and was baptized and when he had strengthened me the was and when he had received me he was twenty and then was told certain days with the disciples which were at the mass and straightway he preached Christ in the synagogue that the title of awesome and tonight. This is my eyes. This is my eyes Father speak to us. I exhort and inspire us. We pray man was born in Tass US university city. Licia known for its culture and teaching was a free born Roman citizen. I was I was descended from Abraham of the tribe of Benjamin and I was circumcised on the eighth day my father was a Pharisee. But not just any Pharisee. He was a strict Pharisee who was required to make sure that I was circumcised that I was taught the law and that I learned a trade my father succeeded in all three there. I was raised strictly after the manner of the Jew I attended the synagogue school and I learned with devotion and brilliance all that was expected of me as a student of the Scriptures and the law of the fab. I was exposed to Greek philosophy and I was school by a top notch rabbinical think a name gamma Leo and I was such an excellent student that I became an expert in the law. I guess you can say that what I lacked physically I made of for intellectually. In fact in Judaism. I advance well beyond many who were much older than me. I could embarrass older and more educated persons with my bike things our CASM and my incisive reasoning and my eloquence. If a vote for most likely to succeed had been taken while I was a student of Judaism and Greek philosophy are I would have won it hands down as a Pharisee I was blameless as to touching the right Christmas which is of the law earned is seat on the Sanhedrin and I was usually present when Christians were brought before that important religious body. I always voted against the Christians and I was present when young Stephen was known that there are early in my professional life. I became a persecutor of the infant Christian Church in Christianity this new religion. I found that which was repugnant and repulsed. And I wanted to stamp out the new religious every three more than anything else. And so I became an unrelenting prosecutor who handed down Christians all of whom I hate with a passion. I would go to any and all to find these people and I expended all my energies in making sure that they were harassed. If not executed used to go from half dragging out the Christians and putting them into prison. Now the OR day she is claiming on the part of these are. Unlearnt absence of Galilee. That's what they work on learn lessons of Galilee particularly the cranes of a cross the fight and resin Messiah were contrary to the Jewish teaching and rabbinic close thirty's like other families G.'s. I to look for a promised Messiah but not one who would die as a felon on a cross I X protected that gods are known did one would come in all of his glory as a king now blasphemous heresy about forty five and a risen Christ was the mall then in regular It had to be X. terminated then up rooted and distraught and so blinded by my prejudice. I concluded that it was the will of God that I should appall these persons and pursuit to death all who followed and believed this heresy destroying Christians became the supreme passion of mine life. I must admit I am honest with myself that when Stephen was brought before the council. I was touched by his faith something about that man spoke to me I saw evidences of God's presence in his life. Shall I say that the Spirit of God must have worked a bit on my heart I don't know I would never admit it whatever it was that pricked my conscience. I decided it to goal. Again and so I quite. Did the voice of conscience and then it happen. What happened. Well hearing that Damascus was becoming a Christian asylum for the now serene fugitives. I sought and gained permission from the high priests to go to Damascus opposition had caused the believers to flee to many places including the man. Now when I started out for Damascus the cause of Christianity never looked more bleak you can imagine how the Christians must have trembled on receiving word that their fierce and tag a noose was on his way to destroy them. But as this man proposes but God disposes and so on my way to Damascus on my way to the Masters on the last day of my journey with Damascus inside with Damascus inside. I was startled by this bright light this bright like that literally knocked me off my high horse. Even though it was around midday this light was brighter than the sun and it blinded me I could not see a faint Luckily though I could not see I still could hear. And so I heard this war this mysterious war and somehow I recognized the voice as belonging to Jesus Christ. Saul all the voice said Why do you proceed cute me line didn't be real good. I made it. We shot back. Oh you lawyer to which the board. I am who you are persecuting then the voice commanded me to go into the city and to wait there until I was told what to do now that encounter that encounter that encounter was so sudden and dramatic and devastating I actually saw the Course to fight and risen Crites in that vision and it was to this visible presence that I would have toward be a witness. I saw Jesus as demon had seen him when Stephen said our lives. See the heavens opened and the son of man's ending at the right hand of God when I heard those words from Stephen I thought Stephen was just being blasphemous. But when I met when I saw Jesus on the road to Damascus. I learned or otherwise what a revelation. What a revelation. I realized that the priests back in Jerusalem were fabricator was I realize of the cut the crucifixion the crucifixion and the resurrection and the year ascension of Jesus had been foretold I realized that what Jesus said about himself had been foretold I realized that Jesus was home he had slain AAA I realized the cheese was true without a doubt. I knew that it was Jesus of Nazareth rather encountered on that road. I guess you can see that if God could save a person like for all of the persecutor and brass nobody need despair of finding grace and of being say when I got off the ground when I got off the ground. I still could not see my traveling companions had to lead me by the hand into Damascus my entrance into the Masters was told to be different from what I had planned and you see it had been my plan to enter the city as the settlers persecutor of the followers of Jesus of Nazareth and I had fear maskers weighted down. I had near Damascus weighted down with feelings of self-satisfaction. But after meeting the law himself. I entered Damascus humbled and humiliated and friends for whatever reversal. I started out for Damascus intending to make the Christians tremble when I arrived in Damascus. I was the only one trembling and first I spent three days in seclusion self-examination and in heart humiliation for those three days I ate and drank nothing as I turned the flashlight in word as I looked at my heart I realized the error of my way the proud Pharisee in me gave way to the submissive right there and then I decided to turn my life. Oh geez after a while I married this type of mean and a knight who stepped forward and declared that God had directed him to restore my sight. At first and a nice was aghast by the admonition admonition of God. And a nice didn't want to do what God told him to do. He bought he could not believe it is he knew that I had been a persecutor of Christians. How could God knew me. Must be I guess if there's a lesson in my transformation. It is that God can use anybody once and a nice God all for his ambivalence he baptized unknown to me in a manner of speaking and I began to preach change as Christ and him crossly far. I preached about Jesus with the same intensity and passion with which I used to persecute the early Christians as a former enemy of Christianity. I know the ins and outs of the new religion and as a former enemy of Christianity. I was an finitely more qualified to be one of its proponents everybody Jew and Gentile alike couldn't believe that our if formal and tag could now be true in fact the Jews in Damascus resisted me so I went into the desert. Then I saw got a new they I we painted again. Then I searched the Scriptures. Then I desired to know nothing save the price and him closely far my desire to know Jesus and Him course if I was matched by my desire to share Jesus Christ. You see I just could not you were ass knowing that people needed the law having experienced a difference. Living faith and that dead formalism. I went every way I could possibly travel frenching change us as the savior of the world and I wanted people everywhere to know that Jesus died for their sins and that he would return to earth soon to redeem them to take them home to heaven with him and to live forever from the moment I pledge my allegiance to Christ my life was characterized by planting traction isn't Jesus. I wanted people everywhere to know that Jesus died for this. Now Peter who walk with Jesus has been the apostle to the Jews. I guess you can call me the apostle to the Gentiles as the Hebrew of Hebrews I had a passion when my own kinfolk to Christ but the Jews rejected my witness. So I had to turn to the Gentile is God the God of jewels only is you. Not the God of gentiles to Barnabas and John Mark went with me first out we went to preach Christ to whoever would listen I went from place to place city to city country to country telling the story of the Cross getting people to commit to Jesus and planting churches. It was my ambition to preach the Gospel everywhere. Christ was not no in all I made three missionary journey over a ten year period covering an eight thousand one hundred miles. I labored in solution and Cyprus and the colony a man lie. Kone and then the coal came from Macedonia and so into Europe I went south a long night Athens calling efforts glaciers. And room was all covered I firmly believe I firmly believe that I had the Gospel that would change the world and I wanted people Joel and gentile I like to be followers of me even as I am all. So if on the wall of right now. How did I succeed in planting churches in place after place city after city region after region. How did I do in my attempts to meet the learned and the wise folk of my days of forerunners of the post-mark model of first of all I want you to know brothers that the Gospel that I preach was not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man nor was I taught it rather I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ for Ashton formals in my preaching I emphasize the cross of Jesus Christ across was and remains the center and content of all of my preaching and all of my teaching if ever I were going to boss. It would be in the cross it was not easy preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified to the Jews you see the cross was a stumbling block to the Greeks it was foolish ness the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing jumbos demanded miraculous signs Greek look for wisdom. Yet I earlier realized that God has chosen the Folies things of the world to shame the wise God chose the weak meaning of the world to shame the strong he chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things and the things that are not to nullify the things that are so that not all was before him. I believe that it will cost more to be lifted up more all in people's witnessing their efforts will be more. Successful. After all Jesus question. And I if I be lifted up would draw all men unto me if sinners will only to be left to give up was their would have a fuller revelation of the Savior without the cross. You see we are I myself am a witness to the power of the cross. I'm a witness that the Gospel transforms my own conversion is proof that Jesus is my cue to save because I want to cancel plans to travel to Rome. I was accused of being unsure of the Gospel but I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation. Jamie just cries changed me. He even changed mind me I went from being called Soul to being named Paul I am a witness that Jesus if I am a witness that there is power in the blood and I have been crucified with Christ and I know you are no longer live but Christ lives in me the life I live in the body. I live by faith in a Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me I do not set aside the grace of God I will give up everything to get to know Jesus Christ more and better I consider a everything a loss compared to the surpassing quickness of knowing Christ Jesus. The Lord for whose sake. I have lost all things I consider them rubbish that I may gain cry and be found more than anything I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings becoming like him in death and so somehow to attain to the resurrection from the day what I want to get across what I want to emphasize is that Jesus is. Is everything to me for to me to live is Christ and the Gospel to the world in seeking to convince the Learn and the why. According to the world of the love of God old soul kept it requires did not send me to baptize but to preach the Gospel not with words of human wisdom lest the cross of quite emptied of its power. Please understand that it was not easy for me before my conversion. I aim to impress with my always poor weaker and debating skills. Often it is believe that in seeking to convince others of the relevance of the cross one must be ever died and scholarly one must try to be intellectual not necessarily when I came to the Corinthians for example I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaim the testimony about God for I resolved to know nothing while I was with them except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to the Corinthians in weakness and fair and with much trembling my message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words but with a demonstration of the spirits our walk so that their faith might not rest on man's with them but on God's power my companions and I did speak a message of wisdom among the mature but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age no we spoke of God's secret wisdom it wisdom that has been hidden and they got destined for glory before time began none of the rulers of the age understood it for if they had they would not have cross if I had a lot of glory but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit this Spirit searches all things even the deep things of God the man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God What they. Our whole mission is to him and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned I am happy to say that God was plea to the whole issue of what was preached to save those who believe for the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom and though we miss of God is stronger than man's a strain. You see no eloquence of words no force of argument can convert sinners. It is the power of God alone that can apply truth to the Har now when sharing Christ or are used different strategies to reach different people groups to the Jews I became like a Jew to when do those under the law. I became like one under the law though I myself am not under the law so as to when those under the law to those not having the law. I became like one not having the law though I am not free from God's law but are under crisis law so as to when those not having the law to the weak I became weak to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might see them. I do this for the sake of the Gospel that I may share in its lesson in preaching the gospel in court when for example I followed different course. From what characterized my efforts in Athens in Athens I attempted to meet logic with a larger science with science philosophy with the loss of Athens you see was inhabited with people of intelligent. And Koch are their worst actors of gods and they've fired heroes of history. Yes we are aware Athenians believe in the on known our magnificent acted texture met the eye and grand poetry met the here in Athens. I shifted my strategy in common. Where I left it up the quotes more than anything else on preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection in Athens. I was all able Babylon. Some of my heroes sneered some dismissed me but some wanted to hear from me again thank God. Some believe in Corinth again to use a different strategy. I addressed the Corinthians as people who were worldly men in France in Christ. I gave the middle not solid food for they were not ready for solid food ice which strategy. I work at tent making and in so doing gave me access to a people group. I would not have encountered had I not done so in an attempt to reach the Jews I asked my companion and protege Timothy to be circumcised. Not because circumcision was any longer required for salvation but because of the principle that we must try is to be all things to all people in order to win them to cry share in Christ also for task. Born of Divine Love. Incidentally the mention of Timothy leads me to point out that sharing the good news requires partnership. No man no woman is an island sufficient unto themselves from the beginning of my ministry up to the end I had companions everywhere when just about I had companions Barnabas done much science Timothy a policy. Titus demons. I could go on and all in many instances and labored alongside others mentor ring. And encouraging them in other instances others followed me watering what I had planted We do not all process the same gives or no like in the human body. There is a diversity of gifts among the people of God we work together for the glory of God and in the case of grue all in the church. It is God who gives the increase as we share cries sharing Christ was and will always be a daunting task for struggle is not against flesh and blood but again the rulers against the authorities against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm. I have endured all kinds of hardship for the sake of us. Incidentally and my conversion I was warn of the many things I would have to suffer for crisis and suffer I D. I have been physically assaulted beaten stone left for dead ship way driven from city to city. I can go on and on and I have experience in gratitude prejudice and desertion. I have known anxiety and want through it all where I have learned that when our young we then truly God's strength is made manifest in human and we through it all I have learned that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who all holding to his name in other words the things that happened to me the impression of men etc have really served to advance the Gospel you can say that I was into. Chains for crime because of my chains most of the brothers in the Lord have been in curve which speak the Word of God more courageous Lee and feeling in a sense. I was often more effective. While I was in prison. And while I was a free man. Through it all I have learned that if God is for us then who and be against us. He who did not spear his almost one but gave him up for us all how will he not all so along with him graciously. Give us all. So this is my store. This is my song Raising my Savior all the day long. This is my eyes. This is my zone praising mine I say via all day long. This is March story. Mazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like. I once was lost but now I'm fine once Blon but now I was. I started out persecuting the church my conversion let me become the greatest evangelist perhaps missionary and I have had the most profound impact on Christianity. Other than Jesus Christ. This is Mani door not I but cries. We are. Love eggs no this is my story for to me to live is Christ and to live is again. This is my story I can not myself to have apprehended. But this one thing I do I press for this is my story for the good fight. I have finished their radios. I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness missed the Lord the righteous Judge will award me on that day. And not to me only but also to all who have lost for his appear. This is my goal. And the question tonight is. What's your story. What is your story. Each and every one of us is us all and the greatest form of evangelistic witnessing is simply to share our soul. What's your story. Tell me a story or Mariette. Tell me yours will share your story and others will be lead to Jesus Christ. And please don't discount or downgrade your store. Your story is as powerful as that of all who was anybody. Else in this auditorium tonight. You have a unique story share every challenge. We want to win people across Let us tell all let the world know what the law has done for you and what he means to what's your story. Tell me a story that is tell me your school. You love the Lord tonight want to share your story gets revised to your feet with me wherever you are a few years ago a member of one of my former churches gave me a book entitled tell to win tell to win written by some business professors in the thesis of the book was that businesses without us story to tell. We'll say we can extrapolate from that church is without a story and people without us story will say we must tale to win. So I want to encourage you deny to share your story to tell your store so that somebody may come to know Jesus crimes as you can you know Father God we thank you. That Jesus Himself taught vs stories and we thank you. That the Gospel in its essence is Us story. The greatest story though. Thank you for the story of soul who became all and who because of his story was able to plant churches all over this great earth. We thank you all God that we have a story that each and every one of us. Or maybe we so that others may come to know you as we know maybe share the Greatest Story Ever Told we look forward to that day when Christ will come and another chapter in OS or we will begin one that will last throughout eternity and never come to an end. Thank you Father. Thank you for making us part of your ongoing loves your thank you. We praise you were aware that is the wonderful name of all Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and all God's people this media was brought to you by Adil first a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more service leave a Visit W W W audio verse or.


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