At first he was a rabid persecutor of the early followers of Jesus Christ, and then became a man called and set apart —
This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News. Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name. – Romans 1:1,5
It’s an astounding story and is perhaps the most noteworthy transformation in history – the story of how this man laid the foundation for the Gentile church and set in motion a missionary movement that continues to this day.
Awe inspired believers reached out spontaneously with the good news of Jesus Christ. We can trace the exciting possibilities of neighbour evangelism. Messianic Jewish congregations grew in size and number as their members courageously faced persecution.
In the midst of his violent career, while traveling to Damascus, he was suddenly overtaken by Jesus Christ. In those moments of initial encounter – of repentance, surrender and dawning faith – Saul received his call to missionary service.
But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles… – Galatians 1:15-16
Paul had to learn how he was to preach the gospel. He was given the following evangelistic method —
… I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’ – Acts 26:17-18
Paul gladly embraced this evangelistic method that Jesus had followed in His own earthly ministry. Where before he had sought to destroy the followers of Jesus, he now sought to proclaim that Jesus was the Messiah of the Jewish people and the Saviour of the world.
… I obeyed that vision from heaven. I preached first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that all must repent of their sins and turn to God—and prove they have changed by the good things they do. – Acts 26:19-20