I. PAUL'S CONVERSION TO CHRISTIANITY WAS QUICK AND RADICAL.
A. After he met the Lord he did a fast 180.
1. He had come to Damascus to imprison the Christians. He left Damascus a radical Christian.
2. Immediately after he received the Holy Spirit and his sight he went to the Jewish synagog and began to preach that Jesus was the Son of God.
3. He confounded the Jews that lived in Damascus for he proved that Jesus was the Messiah.
a. When he was in Thessalonica he alleged that the Messiah must suffer and rise again from the dead, and Jesus whom he preached to them was the Messiah. Acts 17:3
b. When he was in Corinth he testified to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. Acts 18:5
c. When he came to Achaia we read that he helped the brethren much for he testified to the Jews publicly showing by the scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah. Acts 18:28
d. When Paul came to Rome he testified to the Jews and expounded to them of the Kingdom of God and persuaded them concerning Jesus both out of the law of Moses and from the prophets from morning till evening. Acts 28:23
B. In His birth, life, death and resurrection Jesus fulfilled more than 300 predictions concerning the Messiah found in the Old Testament scriptures.
1. As Matthew gives us the story of Jesus he over and again uses the phrase, that it might be fulfilled referring to the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah.
2. Concerning His being born of a virgin he said,
Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
3. Concerning their escape to Egypt he said of Joseph:
When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.
4. Concerning the order of Herod to kill all the babies in Bethlehem he said;
Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,
In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping [for] her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
5. Concerning the move back to Nazareth he said,
And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
6. When Jesus moved the headquarters of His ministry from Nazareth to Capernaum he said,
And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, [by] the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles;
The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.
7. Concerning Jesus healing all the sick that came to Him he said,
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare [our] sicknesses.
8. When the Pharisees plotted to destroy Jesus, Matthew tells us that Jesus just removed Himself from that place and great multitudes followed Him and He healed them all,
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.
He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.
And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.
9. When Jesus began to speak in parables Matthew said,
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
10. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey Matthew said,
All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
11. When Jesus was arrested in the garden and Peter drew his sword and started to defend Him Matthew tells us,
Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
12. When Jesus was crucified and the soldiers cast lots for His robe Matthew said,
And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
C. Almost every major act in the life of Jesus was a fulfillment of prophecy.
1. God had laid out such a clear picture in the prophecies there could be no excuse for not recognizing the Messiah.
2. You cannot say that it was just an accident. The odds of this just happening are too great.
3. You might say that it was a plot, that Jesus studied all of the prophecies and deliberately went about to fulfill them.
a. In a sense you would be right. It is something that He and the Father had plotted from the foundation of the world.
b. But to say that He plotted it as a man here on earth, would be difficult to prove.
1. Arranging to be born of a virgin.
2. Arranging the travel to Bethlehem that He might be born there.
3. Arranging for Herod to order the slaughter of the children.
4. The flight to Egypt.
5. The soldiers casting lots for His vesture.
II. WHAT THESE PROPHECIES PROVE.
A. That Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.
B. That God is outside of our time continuum.
1. It would be totally impossible for one inside the time continuum to make so many predictions that were fulfilled with 100% accuracy.
2. Only the eternal God who has declared of Himself that He knows the end from the beginning could have authored these scriptures.
C. That the Bible is indeed inspired by God.
1. David said,
The spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word [was] in my tongue.
2. Jesus acknowledged that this was true,
For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.
3. Jesus acknowledged that the Old Testament scriptures were spoken by God.
But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,
I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
4. Paul declared that the Holy Spirit was speaking through the prophet Isaiah.
And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed. After that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Spirit by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers,
5. Peter confirms the inspiration of the scriptures,
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.
D. It proves that the death of Christ was not some fluke of history.
1. It was a predetermined event to reveal to man the greatness of God's love, even for the sinner.
2. God sent His Son into the world to die for our sins, to provide a righteous basis for the forgiveness of our sins.
III. WITH THEIR OWN SCRIPTURES, PAUL WAS ABLE TO PROVE THAT JESUS WAS THE MESSIAH.
A. This means that the acceptance or rejection of this fact is something that is entirely up to you.
1. You choose to believe the facts or you choose not to believe the facts.
2. This old argument of intellectual difficulties dissolves, because if you study the facts you will be convinced that the proof is there. Let's be honest,
a. You don't believe because you don't want to believe.
b. You don't want to believe because you are not willing to give up the evil in your life.
c. Therefore the judgment of God upon you will be entirely just, for God will and must judge sin.
d. And when He pronounces your sentence for your sins, the voices will declare, "Holy and righteous are Thy judgments O Lord."