For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel.  For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.  For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it.  And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers.  But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace,  was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone;  nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days.  But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother.  (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!)  Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.  And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ.  They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.”  And they glorified God because of me. (ESV)
One of the things that amazed Paul so much about God’s grace in the gospel is the fact that it could save someone like him, the chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1:12-15).
If God could save someone like Paul, he could save us too! (1 Tim. 1:16)
1. PAUL’S SINFUL CONDUCT
(a) Destructiveness (verse 13; Eph. 2:1-3; John 8:44)
(b) Self-Righteousness (verse 14; Phil. 3:4-6; Luke 18:11-12)
2. PAUL’S SUPERNATURAL CONVERSION
(a) Election (verse 15; Eph. 1:4; Rom. 9:10-13)
(b) Revelation (verse 16; Matt. 16:13-17; 1 Cor. 2:14)
(c) Vocation (verse 16b; Eph 2:8-10; 1 Tim. 2:7)
3. PAUL’S SURPRISING CHANGE (verses 23 and 24)
(a) It involved a complete turnabout (From Persecutor and Slave to Sin to Preacher and Servant of God)!
(b) It resulted in people giving glory to God (Matt. 5:16; Eph. 1:5, 6, 12).
“If anyone be in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed; behold all things have become new!” (2 Cor. 5:17)
– Are we thankful for the great change that God has allowed to come upon our lives?
– Are we living proof of the power of the gospel?
– Are we leading people to praise God because of how God has changed us?