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The Conversion of Saul, pt. 2

Acts 9:1-22

 

And as we study about Paul we study the soul-saving power of the true gospel of Christ, who enables each of us to see the light!

 

If you were among the early Christians, just after Christ's crucifixion & resurrection, the name "Saul" would bring fear….

        BUT IN ACTS 9…Saul was blinded by unbelief, then he was blinded by the light of Christ before he was converted.   He became a trophy of God’s grace.  

God took a persecutor and made him an apostle

…a staunch defender of the law became a preacher of GRACE.

…he called himself a Hebrew of the Hebrews, but became the voice unto the Gentiles!

Great antagonist of Christian faith became great apologist!

 

        As we spoke of last week, there is great truth in II Cor. 5:17, say it w/ me…

2 Cor. 5:17

    Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  [he said it!]

 

A Spiritual LSD let’s call it!

 

1.     Saul received a new Lord.

        Just 5 seconds w/ Christ and this man Saul is under new management!

 

2.     Saul received new Sight.

v. 18        this truly happened in the physical realm, but it’s meant to illustrate what happens to us in the spiritual realm. 

 

The world is lost in spiritual blindness…

 

In those 3 days of blindness Saul had time to think…

…the scales fell off his eyes!  They were opened!

 

3.     He received a new Dynamic.

        God got his attention and touched him and tamed him in an instant!

“A Trophy of Grace.”  

You can be changed like that too…just do what Saul did as you face God today…say, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?

 

What you surrender He’ll take, and what He takes, He cleanses, and what He cleanses He fills, and what He fills He uses!

 

Ill—2 men looking at Niagara Falls.  1 says:  that’s the greatest unused power source man will ever know!  Other says no, the Holy Spirit is!

 

4.     He Received a New Love.

v. 19        “with the disciples”

compare to v. 1—“against the disciples”

        …what a dramatic change!

He once loathed them, now loves them/once threatened, now f’shipping with/these he once wanted to jail and kill, he’s now praying with them!/studying with them/spending time with them!

 

And the first 2 words he heard after he got saved were these in v. 17:  “Brother Saul.”  How much that must’ve meant to him.

Song:  “You will notice, we say brother and sister around here, it’s because we’re a family, and these folks are so dear, when one has a heartache we all shed a tear, and rejoice in each victory, with this family so dear…[join me] “I’m so glad…”

 

Application:  you cannot love Jesus without loving His people, and you don’t truly love His people if you don’t love being WITH His people.

        A true Christian is never so much at home as when they are in church, so no wonder God’s people love coming together, and coming back together, as often as possible.

 

Love the Lord=Love His Church!  [inseparable]

 

Notice in v. 4—“why persecutest thou ME?”  Saul could have said, I got nothing against you, Lord, it’s these Christians I have a problem with…he didn’t say that, because he knew Christ and the church are inseparable!

 

Saul knew that if you persecute the church you persecute Christ, and if you ignore the church, you are ignoring Christ!/neglect/give to/serve/honor!

 

The Law of Affinity:

“People gather themselves in groups based upon common interest and common values.”

[birds of a feather flock together!]

 

ill.—we spend a lot of time at McD’s:  just sit and watch groups come in, esp. after school…

Never just 1 cheerleader, but a group—“like, whatever!”

Jocks, football players—we want quarter pounder, make double, big fry!

Nerds—hey, spiderman toys…hey Billy, you can be Catwoman!

Thugs [pants crotch at knees]—drag in all disheveled, flip cigarette in the bushes on way in, order, sit down… “yo, man, give me a hit off your nuggets, man!”

 

Birds of a feather…

        May I tell you that a Christian is never so much at home as when he’s w/ other believers.

 

When a person is genuinely saved, you won’t have to beg them to come to church…it’s who you want to be with…but if you’re carnal, you’ll want to be w/ others in the world!

 

If you’re one of God’s people you’ll want to be in God’s house on God’s day with God’s family, studying God’s Word!  And you won’t want to toss God in the back seat for any other opportunity, event, or guests!

 

I’m not saying going to church makes you a Christian, any more than going into a garage makes you a car.  But if you get saved, you’ll get a new love, like Saul did!

 

Heard the excuses people are giving for laying out of church these days?  If it wasn’t so sad, it would be comical…let’s make it comical:

Let’s apply the same excuses people offer to bathing…

1. I was forced to bathe as a child.
2. People who make soap are only after my money.
3. I wash on special occasions like Christmas and Easter.
4. People who wash are hypocrites-they think they are cleaner than everyone else.
5. There are so many different kinds of soap, I can't decide which one is best.
6. I used to wash, but it got boring so I stopped.
7. None of my friends wash.
8. The bathroom is never warm enough in the winter or cool enough in the summer.
9. I’m just too busy.
10. I'll start washing when I get older and dirtier.

 

Saul got saved and he got a new love!

 

Ill.—California/giant sequoias/some as high as 20 story bldgs./70’ in circumference…you’d think trees that big would have really deep roots, but they don’t—roots very close to surface.

        Only way they survive and grow to large and tall is that they always grow together in groves, and their roots are intertwined!  You’ll never see a single by itself, would never survive the storms and winds.  But in groves they hold each other up, much like we need to right now!

        That’s what church is all about…we need each other—the strength, the support, the love we receive from one another.

 

Many churches don’t welcome a Saul into their f’ship, but that kind of person needs it more than anyone!

 

5.     Saul Received a New Purpose.

 His sole purpose before getting saved=destroy the church…he lived for that purpose!  After getting saved=to build the church.

Before…keep people from hearing about Jesus.  [stamping out that name!]  After…make sure all heard about Christ.

God puts within the heart of the truly saved a burning, passionate desire to see others saved!

        Paul spent the rest of his life talking, teaching, preaching about Jesus.

 

Paul asked 2 questions:

v. 5  Who are you, Lord?

v. 6  What do you want me to do?

 

Paul spent the rest of his life deeply searching out the rich, deep answers to those 2 questions…getting to know God better for who He is, and determining God’s will and then doing it, every turn of the way!

 

And God has left us here for a great and grand purpose, and it’s not to just make a living, accumulate wealth for your kids to fight over one day, or see how nice of a house, car you can work your way up to, but to reach our world…

        Your world is found in your circles:  family, friends, co-workers, neighbors…go reach your world!

 

This world is lost and wandering…as confused as a termite in a yo-yo! 

 

The religious world is just as confusing…so many names, denominations, beliefs.  Lost people today can’t find their way thru the maze unless they see the light for themselves!  They don’t need to see a Baptist, they need to see Jesus, and we are His feet to go to them, His hands to reach out to them, a sermon in shoes…the only Bible those in our circles may ever read!

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