Not Far From The Kingdom

“As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.” —Acts 8:3  

Does it ever seem as though God couldn’t save certain people—people whom you can’t imagine being followers of Jesus? You can’t, in your mind’s eye, envision them carrying a Bible or saying something like, “Praise the Lord!” You think that would never, ever happen.

Maybe they’re always hassling you. Every time they see you, they seem to have ten new questions to fire at you. They get a little angry about it. They get a little hostile. And sometimes they even make fun of you in front of other people because of your belief in Jesus Christ. You think, “That person is so far from the kingdom of God.”

But it may be the very opposite. The person who is giving you the hardest time might be very close to coming to the Lord. No one is beyond the reach of God. And sometimes the people we think are far away are closer than we realize.

There is no clearer illustration of this than Saul of Tarsus, who later became the great apostle Paul. He wasn’t satisfied with just mocking and criticizing Christians; he went out of his way to hunt them down like wild animals and imprison them. He presided over the death of the first martyr of the Christian church, Stephen.

When Saul came to faith, it was so unexpected that many greeted it with skepticism and suspicion. So significant was his conversion that it is recorded three times in the New Testament. Paul changed his world. He blazed a trail, leaving behind many churches and converts.

The day I became a Christian, the last thing I ever planned on doing was believing in Jesus. No person made that happen. Only God could. So keep praying for unbelievers in your life—and watch what God will do.

 

Pastor Greg Laurie