Changed In A Twinkling Of An Eye

Introduction

Bible Text: Philippians 1:21-30 KJV – Philippians 2:1-18 KJV

 In Acts we saw that Saul was changed by his meeting with the risen, and ascended, Jesus. We saw that Saul previously had been a zealous Pharisee in that he was adamant about his religion and the practices thereof.

We see that Saul was changed after his meeting and was as, if not more, zealous for Jesus and his message as he was against him before. But how was Saul, now Paul, changed in himself? What was he changed into? What was his new personality like? How did he think or feel inside?

Paul’s change of heart and attitude should be like our own, after our own meeting with Jesus. Perhaps we’ve forgotten what that was like and need a reminder. This very attitude and change of spirit are what we are to manifest to the world! What does it look like? Perhaps we need an example to show us the ropes, so to speak. We can find such an example in Paul.

So, lets dive into it from Paul’s own words which we can find in our bible text for today.

Paul’s Personality

PERSONAL’ITY, n. That which constitutes an individual a distinct person, or that which constitutes individuality.

In Acts 9:18-22 KJV we saw that Saul, now become Paul, became a champion for Christ such that he amazed even those that knew he had come for the Christians there in Damascus. In the twinkling of an eye, Jesus had altered the very core of who Paul was and his mission in life. Paul had realized who Christ truly was, not just a man but the true Messiah, and what that meant for the world.

And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. [19] And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. [20] And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. [21] But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? [22] But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.

Though Paul had grown up with religion his whole life, had been taught by the very best and truly considered himself to be a religious, and pious, man of God, he came to realize that he was as much a sinner as everyone else in the world and had been cut off from God as a result. Before his meeting, we see that Saul was a prince among the religious men of the time. After his meeting, we see that Paul realized he was nothing more than a pauper among men of all time!

We see that this changed Paul’s personality so fundamentally it altered his entire perspective of himself, his life, his religion, and the world around him at large!

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Paul’s Perspective

PERSPEC’TIVE, n. A glass through which objects are viewed. (Physically or figuratively)

With Paul’s change of personality, we saw that his perspective also changed. We see in Philippians 1:21 KJV

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

His encounter with Jesus radically changed Paul so that his every waking thought and action was centered on Jesus. Paul sought how to be like him, how to live up to Christ’s expectations and to expose, or manifest, that essential change into the world around him for all to see. This single verse sums up the totality of the change Christ had done in Paul.

If Paul died while living his life in such a way that Christ was exemplified to the world, he considered that to be a win too! Paul was totally, and utterly, sold out to, and for, Christ! His life here no longer mattered if he was accomplishing the mission Jesus had given him and living a life that exemplified the Savior. The only reason he was willing to stay alive was because he knew his brothers and sisters in Christ needed him and that this was part of the calling God had placed upon his life. We see this in Philippians 1:22-26 KJV

But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. [23] For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: [24] Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. [25] And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; [26] That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

This applies to us today because when we meet Jesus, ourselves, our own perspective on our lives and who we thought we were changed and did so dramatically and to our core.

When our perspective changed, so too did our own purpose in life. Our repentance before God of the sins we had come to realize we had truly committed became the catalyst of change within our very souls. We became supremely willing to change our lives to no longer honor ourselves but to honor Him!

 

Paul’s Purpose

PUR’POSE, n. That which a person sets before himself as an object to be reached or accomplished; the end or aim to which the view is directed in any plan

In Paul’s specific case, we see from Acts that God wanted the Gospel to be spread to the Gentiles and Paul was to be his primary instrument of that purpose! But it went beyond that! That change of perspective that God had given him caused Paul to seek to encourage others as well; to help them grow, to help them become more than they were before Christ, and in Christ! Jesus laid out the perfect example of this when he willingly humbled himself to fulfil the Father’s redemption plan. Jesus was, and is, co-equal with God. Jesus could have wanted more for himself as Satan had done when he attempted to exalt himself above God the Father. But instead, we see that he humbled himself of his glory, took on the form of a servant and willingly followed through with God the Father’s plan for redemption and reconciliation. This is laid out in Philippians 2:5-8 KJV

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: [6] Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: [7] But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: [8] And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 

I want you to notice something else as well. Not only did Jesus purpose to fulfill the Father’s will, but when he humble himself in doing so, he took upon himself the form of a servant. What form was that servanthood? Nothing other than the likeness of Man!

Man was originally created as servants of God. As servants, we were to worship and praise him! So, when Christ took on the form of servanthood, its little wonder that he was made in the likeness of man; the express image of servanthood! In doing so, he became the light of the world! What better example do we have of how Christians of any era are to live? NONE!

The point here is that Paul is telling us, and Jesus showed us, the way we are to express the purpose God has laid out for the church! We are to humble ourselves. We are to be obedient to God, we are to express the love Jesus showed us to the world, we are to be beacons of hope as this world becomes more and more lost! We see this stated explicitly or all to see in Philippians 2:2-4 KJV

Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. [3] Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. [4] Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

 We are the map and compass that points to the one and only sanctuary of relief for this world: The Lord Jesus Christ! We see this as well in Philippians 2:14-16 KJV

Do all things without murmurings and disputings: [15] That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; [16] Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

We are to do this even if it should also mean our death, as Paul thought it would eventually mean his. Rather than looking upon the loss of our lives as a bitterness, we should look upon it as a great gift and do so with joy We see that both Jesus and Paul did the same. Of Paul, we read in Philippians 2:17-18 KJV

Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. [18] For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.

And we read of Jesus, in Hebrews 12:2 KJV

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.