Holy Spirit – He Converts Hard Hearts
Concordadmin   -  

Sermon #9 He Converts Hard Hearts

Main Passage (Acts 16:6-40)


God saves sinners. This is the clear message of the Gospel. Most church-going folks believe this to be true. But we sometimes struggle with applying this concept when we cross paths with a swindler, a drug dealer, or a terrorist. We might question if the Gospel power of transformation is effective in these extreme cases. The truth is the Gospel is still transformative even among the most wicked sinners. If you ever doubt this, then consider the life of Paul the Apostle. For he was confronted by Jesus. Then, filled with God’s Spirit, he became the most transformative missionary in the past 2000 years.

Opening Question: Do you know someone that despises Christianity? They probably do not hate it as much as Paul the Apostle.

  1. No amount of past sin can overcome the power of God’s grace (Acts 8:1, Acts 9:3-20, Acts 22:6-16, 26:12-18)
    1. Before Paul was converted, he had dedicated his life to eradicating this new movement started by Jesus. Here is how Luke describes this:
      1. “Severe persecution.”
      2. “Ravaging the church.”
  • “Dragging off men and women.”
  1. “Committed them to prison.”
  2. “Breathing threats and murders.”
  3. “Bringing them bound to Jerusalem.”
  1. What sin do you think you have done that is beyond the grasp of Jesus’ love?
  2. No one else can love you like Jesus can. The conversion of Paul proves the power of the Gospel.
  1. Sometimes God will grab your attention and break you down before He decides to use you (Acts 9:3-8)
    1. W. Tozer once penned ““It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until he has hurt him deeply.” God actually rises up storms of conflict in relationships at times in order to accomplish that deeper work in our character. We cannot love our enemies in our own strength. This is graduate-level grace. Are you willing to enter this school? Are you willing to take the test? If you pass, you can expect to be elevated to a new level in the Kingdom. For He brings us through these tests as preparation for greater use in the Kingdom. You must pass the test first.”
    2. God will one day get your attention- one way or another.
  2. To persecute the Church is to persecute Christ (9:4-5)
    1. The way you treat believers is a direct result of the way you treat Christ.
    2. We cannot separate Christ from the Church any more than we can separate a living body from a soul.


Consider this- many transformative leaders where once critics of Christianity.

Joy Davidman- Poet and wife of C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis, Professor of Medieval Literature, Oxford

Alister McGrath- Biochemist

Francis Collins- Director of the Human Genome Project

Lee Strobel- Journalist for the Chicago Tribune

Rodney Stark- Sociologist, Professor, Author

Now, let’s be patient with our critics. One of them may be the next Paul, the Apostle.

In the meantime, love those who are new to faith.

Take notes below