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Intro: Every time I read this story, I stand amazed at the great grace of God. I see the Lord take this man Saul, save him by grace, and transform him into the great Apostle to the Gentiles and I realize that there is hope for people like you and me to be used of the Lord.

The truth is, Saul was a very unlikely candidate for the service of the Lord. Here was a man who was feared and hated by Christians and one who did everything in his power to destroy the name of the Lord Jesus. Yet, God reached down in grace and took this man from where he was and used him to change the world. God used him in such a great manner that Paul's ministry is still reaping fruit today. Just the fact that we are talking about his life and the impact he had on the world is a testimony to way God used him than and is using him now.

When we look at Paul, we may be tempted to think that he was some kind of gilded, super saint. We may feel that there is no possible way that the Lord could use us like He did Paul, or that God could even use us at all. I suppose that we all feel inferior and unworthy to be used of the Lord in His work, but I am here today to tell you that Jesus can and will use you if you will make yourself available.

Some of you may have asked the question, "Can God really use my life?" I would like to answer that question today by taking a few minutes to look at the life of the great Apostle Paul and by showing you the obstacles that seemed to be in the way of his service. Obstacles which God had no problem in overcoming by His power and grace.

The short answer to your question is, "God can use your life!" Now, from these verse and others dealing with Paul's life and ministry, allow me to show you why I say God can.


A. According to Paul's own testimony, he was guilty of doing every thing in his power to put Christianity to death, Acts 22:4; 26:10. In 1 Timothy 1:13-15, Paul tells us something about his past. Paul was a murderer, he was a rebel against the Lord Jesus. Religiously, he was a man to be envied, but internally, he was as wicked as any man who had ever walked the face of the earth. In Acts 7:58, the Bible indicates that Saul/Paul gave his approval to the murder of Stephen, since he guarded the clothes of those who stoned the preaching deacon to death. Paul was a wicked man, but this proved to be no obstacle to the grace and saving power of the Lord. When Paul received Jesus into his heart, he was changed forever by the grace of God!

B. Let me tell every person under the sound of my voice today that your past is no obstacle to your future in the Lord's work! Regardless of what you did before you received Jesus as your Savior, it matters no longer. When He saved your soul, He washed your past away forever! It is just as though you got a brand new start at that precise moment. In fact, the Bible refers to that event as a "new birth", John 3:3; 7.

C. Ill. There are 3 records of your past deeds in the world today. First there is the record you carry in your mind. Secondly, there is the record carried by all those who knew what you were before. Third, there is the record carried by Satan, and he will throw your past up to you all the time. But, may I remind you today that even though I may remember my past, my friends and family may remember my past and even though Satan surely remembers my past, God in Heaven has forgotten my past and it is no obstacle to Him using me now or into the future! (Ill. Psa. 103:12; Isa 38:17; Isa. 43:25; Jer. 20:50; Micah 7:19; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; I John 1:7!)

D. Throughout the Bible, God used people in spite of, and after their greatest of failures.

1. Simon Peter preached his greatest message and had his greatest ministry after he denied the Lord.

2. Moses was a murderer, yet God used him for His glory.

3. Samson sinned against God, yet he slew more Philistines in the end of his life than he had during his entire ministry.

4. Abraham lied, yet he was used of the Lord.

5. Jacob was a deceiver, yet the Lord transformed and used him greatly.

There are many others that could be named among these, but these are sufficient to show that the Lord can take those who have failed in the past and that He can still use them for His glory today, and into the future!

I. Your Past Condition Is No Obstacle


A. Ill. Paul was on his way to Damascus to find Christians to arrest and to take them to their deaths. He was filled with hatred and wanted nothing more than to completely destroy anyone or anything connected with the name of Jesus Christ. Yet, in spite of all this, the Lord was able to change this man and to use him for the glory of God.

B. May I remind you that He can do the same thing in your life and mine. He can take us, with all the baggage that we carry, and He can use us for His glory. (Ill. We all bring certain liabilities to the table. Some are uneducated, others have few resources, some are weak in faith, others are arrogant and filled with pride. However, I would like to remind you that the Lord is able to take us exactly where we are, change what needs to be changed and then use us greatly!)

C. Again, the Bible is filled with this kind of story.

1. Moses was 80 years old when the Lord called him into the ministry, Ex. 7:7. He had other problems as well. He was not very eloquent, Ex. 4:10. He was filed with fear, Ex. 4:1. He was totally opposed to the Lord's plan for his life, Ex. 4:13. Yet, despite all this baggage, God was able to use this man for His glory.

2. The Gadarene Demoniac, Mark 5:1-20, was a man feared by everyone. But, the Lord was able to take this man, who had caused has caused so much trouble and He was able to use him as a witness for the glory of God. God took him where he was and used him for God's glory.

3. 2 Kings 7:1-10 tells the story of four lepers who became the unlikely Saviors of Jerusalem. God just took them where they were and used them in spite of their circumstances.

D. What I am trying to get you to see this morning is that your present circumstances did not catch the Lord by surprise! He knows everything there is to know about you, Heb. 4:13. He knows where you are, Job 23:10. And, He still can use your life if it is yielded to him for His glory. The secret lies in putting Rom. 12:1-2 into practice!

I. Your Past Condition Is No Obstacle

II. Your Present Circumstances Are No Obstacle


A. Paul was feared by the followers of the Lord Jesus. His conversion was seen by many to be nothing more than some sort of a trap designed to find them and their leaders. In fact, when he went to Jerusalem to meet the Apostles, Barnabas had to go with him and introduce Paul to the leaders. Yet, God was able to overcome this hurdle and still used Paul in a great fashion. If you take the time to look at Paul's life, you will find that he was a man with many personal characteristics that seemed to be unfavorable to his success. Note 2 Cor. 10:10; 2 Cor. 11:6; Gal. 4:13-14; Gal. 6:11. Paul had many personal hurdles to get over to be used by the Lord, but God was able to use him in spite of what was wrong with him physically.

B. If we get into the business of comparing ourselves with others, then we are in for a rough ride! Many of us have personal characteristics that may make us feel that we cannot be used of God effectively. However, I would like to remind you that God can take that thing that we consider to be a weakness and can use us anyway. He excels in taking the weak and foolish things of this world and using them in a great way - 1 Cor. 1:27!

C. Let us again turn to the pages of the Bible to find proof of this great truth.

1. We have already mentioned Moses, but God took this old man who had a speech impediment and used him as the arm of God.

2. God used a young Jewish girl named Esther to save His people from slaughter.

3. God used a young, unknown boy named David to be the greatest king to ever sit on the throne of Israel.

4. God used a beggar named Lazarus to preach a daily sermon to a rich man.

5. God used 12 unknown men from various walks of life to set the world on fire for God - Acts 17:6.

6. Even the Son of God had several strikes against Him. All the people assumed that He was the bastard child of a Roman soldier, John 8:41. Others saw Him as being no more than the son of Mary and Joseph, John 6:42. Most thought that there was no way God could use someone from Nazareth, John 1:46. Others questioned the fact that He came from Galilee, John 7:41-42. Some even said that Jesus was nothing more than the tool of Satan, Mark 3:22. Even with these marks against Him, who can deny that the Lord used this life more than any other which had even walked upon the face of the earth?

D. I said all of that to say this, regardless of who you are, where you came from, what problems you have, what personality quirks you exhibit, what your level of education, what you level of acceptance by other, God can and will use you if you will make yourself available to Him and His work! God has all kinds of people in His service, Ill. The kinds of preachers and servants He has. All He is looking for are those who are willing to serve Him! Are you one of them?

I. Your Past Condition Is No Obstacle

II. Your Present Circumstances Are No Obstacle

III. Your Personal Characteristics Are No Obstacle


A. I have already touched on this, but God was able to use the Apostle Paul in spite of all the physical infirmities that plagues his life. In fact, Paul stated that his weaknesses guaranteed him greater strength. 2 Cor. 12:10!

B. Like Paul, you may look upon yourself as being weak and unable to do much for the cause of Christ. However, the truth of the matter is that God doesn't need us to be strong and able to stand up on our own two feet. He needs us to be weak and to be totally dependent upon Him and His power. God isn't looking for spiritual powerhouses, He is looking for people who have nothing more than faith and a desire to cling to the Lord.

C. As we look back at the Bible, we can find times when God took the weak and used them in a great way.

1. Hannah wanted a child and she turned to the Lord in desperation and God gave her a son who was destined to be a great spiritual leader to the Israelite people.

2. Daniel was a mere teenage boy when the Lord gave him the strength to stand against the king of Babylon. All because Daniel was totally yielded to the Lord.

3. Mary was a young teenage girl when God asked her to carry the Messiah in her virgin womb. What reproach she lived under! Yet, she was strong in the Lord and He used here to minister to millions! For when she gave birth, she gave life to the Lord Jesus Christ.

D. Some of you fight depression, others battle loneliness, some fight against feelings of inferiority, some keep their wickedness of days gone by constantly before their eyes, some of you feel so inadequate to do the Lord's work. Whatever name your particular weakness may carry, it can be an obstacle to you if you allow it to be. However, to the Lord, your problem is nothing! He can take you in the midst of your weakness and still use you to confound the strongest of those about you. He can take your life and make it an inspiration everyone who comes into contact with you. The secret lies in one word - Surrender! Are you totally surrendered to the Lord and to His will for your life?

Conc: Can God use your life? Yes He can! However, it must first be His to use! There are just a few questions that need to be considered as we wrap up these thoughts.

1. Are you really saved? (Not good, baptized, church member, but truly saved?)

2. Are you fully surrendered? (Is you absolute all on the altar for Jesus? Are you holding anything back? Everything must be His!)

3. Are you available for Him to use? (That is, is your life so cluttered with everything that you do that there is nowhere for the Lord to get in an use you?)

4. Are you willing to be used by the Lord? (He won't force you to serve Him. He may make you wish you had, but He will never force you into anything. You must come to the place where you are willing for the Lord to use you.)

If the answer to any of these question is "no", than the Lord cannot use you until those things are taken care of by His grace. I challenge every person in this room to examine your hearts and do that thing that you need to do right now. Let's all strive to get into that place where the Lord can and will use our lives for His great glory! Will you come?

Sermon By Alan Carr

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