40.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  -Ephesians 2:10

The Greek word for workmanship is poiema, from which we get our word for poem. WOW! You and I are poems of God. The word could be translated “masterpiece.” A work of art becomes a masterpiece when an art master begins their work on it. If you found an unfinished painting by Rembrandt, it would still be considered a masterpiece, because the master had worked on it! We became masterpieces the moment God saved us by His amazing grace! We are as yet unfinished works, but His work has begun in our life, and He will see it through!  Hebrews 12:2 calls Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith! Philippians 1:6 says “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it!”

 

41.  Then Saul, breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from Heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “arise and go into the city, and you will be told what to do.”               -Acts 9:1-6

This is the account in the book of Acts of Paul becoming a Christian. Think about this question – Do you think that Paul could have said no to God in this encounter? It certainly is hard to imagine Paul saying no to Jesus in that moment! From the time he saw the light he followed the Lord’s direction into the city where he had something like scales fall off of his eyes. That’s my story too – when God got my attention all my arguments against Christianity melted in His presence! Looking back I don’t think I could have resisted Christ any more than Paul did in this encounter. A horse tries in vain to fight back against the goads in which its master is prodding it onward. The Holy Spirit had been convicting Paul, “goading” him toward Christ. And now th3e moment of salvation has come! The person who can take or leave Jesus probably has never really been converted. But true believers testify that there came a time in their life when God became so real to them that they couldn’t do anything else but follow. It’s like the bug in the movie Bug’s Life that is flying toward the bug zapper, and his friends yell to turn away, but he says, “I can’t help it, it’s so pretty.” ZAP!

 

42.  Paul later describing his conversion to King Agrippa…Jesus said to him, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of these things which you have seen and the things that I will reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom now I send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me. Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. For these reasons the Jews seized me in the Temple and tried to kill me. Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing to both small and great…”            -Acts 26:15-22

In His wisdom God uses preaching and witnessing to save people. We see wonderful truths here. God breaks through to Paul. He obeys he vision! He repents and believes in Jesus, being counted among those he used to persecute, looking forward to the inheritance the redeemed will get. As he preaches, Jesus promises that eyes will be opened as his were, and that people will go from darkness to light, from Satan’s power to God’s. All of this happened in Paul’s life because he had received “help from God.” Note clearly that Paul’s message was that the truly repentant will bring forth the kind of fruit Christians should have in their life!