Read Acts 9:23-31
2. The Aftermath of Paul’s Conversion (9:19b-31). In this section of the book of Acts 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.
- From friends to enemies. Notice in vs. 23 of this section of the book of Acts how used to be friends can be used by the devil to be new enemies.
On one hand, we should not be surprised by the devil trying to stop the progress that God is making in your life, by whatever means he can.
Be careful about putting too much trust in people. On the other hand, don’t let the devil use you to be an enemy of the work of God.
Let’s be aware of the devil’s tactics and keep him from using us in his plans. Prayerfully studying and obeying God’s word with the support of other disciples will help you live out this application.
- Faithful works. Notice in vss. 24-26 of the book of Acts that we see a demonstration of both faith and works.
It took faith for Saul to minister before and after the persecution came. And it was a working faith that escaped, instead of waiting for a miraculous occurrence. There are too many who have faith without works and are captured in the city.
This crowd tends to blame God (often silently) for their lot in life. And there are too many who have works without faith. They are safe but have no ministry or good works to show.
Let’s seek the wisdom and energy to have the working faith that God is calling us to have. Think about the need for working faith in our families, on our jobs, in our communities, and in our churches.
- Acceptance, faithfulness, and godly caution. Notice in vss. 26-27 of this section of the book of Acts that Barnabas had the ministry of escorting Saul into the fellowship of the Jerusalem church.
First, there is a great need for some “Barnabas Ministry” today. This is what the follow-up workers and accountability partners are doing with our newer members.
Second, we need to live so people can vouch for us. Saul had given Barnabas some items to talk about.
We cannot be late, leave early, and simply watch and then expect people to vouch for us. We need to prove ourselves faithful over a few things as a test of how we will do with being ruler over many.
Third, there should be some prayerful caution used in letting people into especially church leadership positions. We have enough baby Christians and people with apparently wrong motives in offices now.
The last thing we need to do is allow more of the same. But we must not be so conservative that we disallow those whom God is sending. Let’s work on helping people be accepted, being faithful, and exercising godly caution.
- Peace, strength, growth, and fear of the Lord. Notice in vs. 31 of this section of the book of Acts that the church is noted for peace, strength, growth, and fear of the Lord. We know that God is not the author of confusion.
The people of God should be known for peaceful coexistence. The people of God should be known for their strong convictions and ministries for the glory of God.
Strong ministries call for strong trained discipled ministry managers and teachers. God’s people should be known for growing. Too many are repeating the same year of spirituality, instead of graduating to a higher grade each year.
If we are growing spiritually, we will also grow numerically. The people of God should be known for fearing and reverencing the Lord enough to obey His word.
When we see how few people have stopped robbing God of His tithes, we have to agree that the level of fear is too low. Let’s work on our level of peace, strength, growth, and fear of the Lord.
Read Acts 9:32-43
C. The Conversion of Gentiles (9:32-11:30)
1. The Preparation of Peter. (9:32-10:23a). In this section of the book of Acts Peter is being used by God to do great things.
A lame man named Aeneas is healed. A woman named Dorcas is brought back to life. And the fame of Peter’s ministry is spreading around the area of Joppa and Lydda.
- Spread the word and do the work. Notice in vss. 32-35 that the word of God was being shared and great works were being done. The people of God should be known for the word and work of God.
This calls for each one doing his/her part, instead of expecting someone else to share the word and do the work for us. Let’s work on being word and work people. Every believer should be able to share the “Plan of Salvation” and do some kind of good work.
- Non-traditional ministry. Notice in vss. 36, 39 of this section of the book of Acts that Dorcas had a ministry of sewing. This is a great text for non-traditional ministry.
There is so much more ministry to do than preaching, singing, and ushering. We should prayerfully exam what abilities, opportunities, and desires or willingness we have to meet a need in the name of Jesus.
Near this intersection may well be our call to ministry. Notice that some times, we may not have a desire to do what needs to be done, but we are willing. Let’s work on letting God use us to do what needs to be done for His glory.
- Pursuing God, not simply the spectacular. Notice in vss. 40-43 of this section of the book of Acts that God did a great work through Peter. The greatest thing was the saving of souls, even though the resurrection seems to be greater.
Dorcas died again. But salvation is eternal. Let’s guard ourselves from seeking after the spectacular; instead let’s pursue whatever God is concerned with. God wants people saved.
Some times He does spectacular things as a part of helping people get saved and some times He doesn’t. Trust God to handle God stuff. Focus on doing your part.
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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