Persecutor to Preacher

Persecutor to Preacher

Persecutor to Preacher

William Stout / General

Acting out Acts Part 12

 

 

Acts 9:1–9 NKJV

1 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest

2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.

4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”

5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”

6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

7 And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one.

8 Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.

9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

 

  • Saul still breathing threats and murder
  • Sought authority to go to Damascus – another country
  • Why are you persecuting me
  • Think about this for a moment
  • Jesus asked “why persecute “me””
  • When we sin against others, we sin against Jesus himself
  • Jesus said whatever you do to the least of these, you have done unto me
  • We should really consider this in so many of our actions
  • What if we really believed that Jesus would consider our behavior towards others as being toward Him
  • If you are a Christian, you are one with Him
  • And so our your Christian brothers and sisters
  • What if Jesus said to you:
  • That was me that you hurt
  • that was me that you lied to
  • that was mine which you stole
  • that was me that you cursed at
  • that was me that you neglected

It is hard to kick against the goads

  • God had been calling Saul throughout all of these things
  • When Stephen was preaching – that message was for Saul
  • When so many others were arrested, imprisoned and killed
  • The Holy Spirit was convicting him with the truth
  • Yet he raged on “breathing out slaughter”
  • So many people who seem to be enemies of the gospel are like Saul “kicking against the goads”
  • Maybe you are hearing today, and realize that you are doing that yourself
  • Kicking against God’s call in your life
  • Kicking against God’s will for you
  • resisting God’s grace to save you, and transform you
  • Its a hard place to be, kicking against His grace

Lord, what do you want me to do?

  • Finally, freedom through surrender
  • In that moment, Saul understood, Jesus is Lord!
  • He made a decision, to trust and obey
  • His life was forever transformed
  • That is the place that God wants us to be
  • Simply willing to say: “What Lord shall I do?”

Three days without sight

  • So He was three days without sight, and fasted
  • Fasting is an important part of our spiritual walk
  • Should be a part of every Christians life
  • A time for turning down the flesh and turning up the spirit
  • Especially when we need to see what God is showing us
  • Saul’s period without sight could be symbolic of many new Christians
  • Sometimes after making a decision to follow Him, we still can’t see
  • We need to wait, in faith, for His direction
  • If it seems dark, and silent, fasting and prayer may be the right choice

Ananias

Acts 9:10–18 NKJV

10 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”

11 So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying.

12 And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.”

13 Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem.

14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.”

15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.

16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.

 

  • The Lord Said “arise and go”
  • remember last week when Phillip was told to arise and go
  • Sometimes it may not be convenient to go
  • Ananias had heard about this man
  • He had many reasons to be afraid of Saul
  • And just as many reasons to hate him
  • How many of Ananias’ friends had been imprisoned or killed by Saul?

Lord, I don’t Want to go!

  • Ananias even protested to the Lord
  • He had good reasons for not wanting to go
  • He was not unlike many people who didn’t want to go at first
  • Consider Moses, Jonah, and Peter, for example
  • Maybe God has put some great things into your heart to do or accomplish
  • perhaps it was a long time ago, or maybe recently
  • So often, as soon as we hear the idea, we are flooded with fears, and doubts and reasons why it couldn’t be
  • Usually we just dismiss it as our own ideas, and quit
  • We begin to think about all the reasons we can’t serve the Lord
  • Like Moses, we can’t speak good enough
  • we have too many bills and debts, our job won’t let us
  • we have so many cares of the world
  • Or, like Jonah and Ananias, maybe we don’t like the people involved
  • Or maybe it involves forgiving something we don’t want to let go of
  • We all have reasons: (David Ring example)

But the Lord said Go!

  • Thank God for His patience
  • Like with Jonah, when the Word came the second time
  • God doesn’t change His mind, but He is very patient, and kind toward us
  • We knows our fears, and cares, but God knows what is best
  • Only He knows the future
  • Ananias couldn’t have known what was going to happen with Paul
  • Moses had no way of knowing what great things God was going to do through him
  • Jonah couldn’t have foreseen the amazing revival that would happen in Nineveh
  • And you have no way of knowing how amazing it will be when you fully trust the Lord to obey Him
  • When we just step out in faith, it is always good for us

Acts 9:17 NKJV

17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

  • Brother Saul
  • Ananias went from counting Saul an enemy to considering him a brother
  • At the Word of the Lord – only
  • Before there was any evidence to prove it
  • When he did the scales fell away from Saul’s eyes and he received his sight
  • When we trade fear and doubt, prejudice and unforgiveness for love and faith:
  • Things become clear
  • miracles happen
  • we can see the transformation God brings
  • What about you?
  • Are there people God wants you to forgive, but your own fears and doubts stop you
  • Places that He wants you to go?
  • A gospel he want you to speak?
  • Are there people you thought were never going to change?
  • Let’s ask God, where He would have us to “arise and go”

 

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