Introduction: A key idea in the Books of Acts is that believers should be witnesses for the Lord, everywhere they go. Today, we hope to conclude our look at the account of Paul’s conversion and start looking at the aftermath of his conversion.
Read Acts 9:10:19a
1. The Account of Paul’s Conversion (continued). In this section of the book of Acts the Lord talks with Ananias about going to minister to Saul. Ananias has reservations. But the Lord tells him to go anyway.
The Lord has plans to use Saul. Ananias obeyed the Lord. He went and laid his hands on Saul. Saul’s sight came back. He was baptized. And he regained his strength, after eating.
- A word from the Lord. Notice in vs. 10 of this section of the book of Acts that God called Ananias in a vision in Damascus, while God was also working on Saul.
We should be mindful that God is a big God. He can be moving in our lives, while moving in the lives others. And God can move in different ways, just like He moved in a vision with Ananias and blindness with Saul.
As it relates to a vision, we need to be careful about saying what God does not do. However, we can say with confidence that if God uses a vision or any other means of communicating with us, His message will not contradict the word of God/Bible.
Let’s us be open to God speaking to us when and how He wants, with a mind to compare what we think is a word from the Lord with the Bible. Regular prayerful study can help discern true and false messages quicker.
- Being used in spite of our past. Notice in vss. 11-16 of this section of the book of Acts that God had a plan for Saul, in spite of Saul’s past.
First, Saul needs to realized that his past doesn’t stop God from using him. Too many of us are tempted to limit what God can do in our lives today and tomorrow because of the mistakes of our past.
Second, the church needs to realized the God can use people, in spite of their past. If we are not careful, we will hold the sins of yesterday over the heads of people, when God has forgiven those sins.
Let’s work on being open to God using whomever He wants to use, including those who used to be “big sinners.” This is especially helpful as we strive to minister to those in prison and who have been recently released.
Of course, all who say that God is using them are not being used. There should be some sustained fruit coming from the tree.
- Obeying God’s will. Notice in vs. 17 of this section of the book of Acts that in spite of Ananias’ apprehensions, he obeyed the will of God.
It is one thing to hear a word from the Lord. It is another thing to obey it. God is calling us to obey His will, even when we are apprehensive.
Think about God’s calling us to tithe and give, to love those who are difficult to love, to move out of our comfort zones and serve Him at our “maximum need meeting ability,” and to worship Him in ways that edifies others. Let’s work on being hearers and doers of God’s will.
- Baptized believers. Notice in vss. 17-19a of this section of the book of Acts that Saul received sight, baptism, and food.
The challenges of our lives should be viewed as if they are temporary inconveniences that can be moved at God’s command (i.e., sight and food). If troubles do keep on raging, God has a plan for them as well.
As for baptism, this is the Christian’s way of identifying with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Let’s work on living like resurrected Christians who believe that God can handle all of our problems.
Read Acts 9:19b-22
2. The Aftermath of Paul’s Conversion (9:19b-31). Saul spends time with the disciples in Damascus. He preaches about Jesus being the Son of God. Jews try to kill the transformed Saul. When Saul came to Jerusalem, the church was afraid of him.
However, Barnabas spoke up for him. The church protected Saul from those who sought to kill him. The pericope ends with the church enjoying a period of peace, growth, and fearing the Lord.
- Trees ought to bear fruit. Notice in vs. 20 of this section of the book of Acts that there is a great change in the life of Saul.
If we have really been born again and decided to obey divine directions then there should be so visible signs. We may not be like Saul, but there ought to be something that other believers and parts of your Christian family can see.
The greatest evidence of being with the Lord is to love one another (see Jn. 13:34-35). Let’s make sure we live like God is our all and all. Singing about it and living like it are two different situations.
- Discernment. Notice in vss. 21-22 of this section of the book of Acts that people had not forgotten the old Saul. And they were suspicious of him. But God kept on using Saul.
On one hand, we should be careful about being overly suspicious. We may be missing out on what God is doing in the lives of others. God is moving, whether we believe or not.
On the other hand, we should prayerful seek to discern the moving of God. Everyone who claims to do a work for God is not of God. Let’s work on discerning God’s will in the times in which we live.
Conclusion: Let’s work on being witnesses for the Lord, everywhere we go. God has much for those who obey His will.
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