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A Chosen Instrument

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Saul commissioned for service

Notes & Transcripts
find illustration about a chosen instrument that will lead into the sermon on Saul’s election to serve Christ
previous messages on God’s sovereignty in the saving of the Eunuch and the saving of Saul
the experience of coming to faith by the eunuch and Saul were very different
the eunuch was engaged in a search that started months or even years before his conversion
Saul was not searching, was self-righteous and was suddenly forced to his knees in his murderous rampage
as he single-mindedly set him mind and heart to persecute believers Jesus confronted him and converted him instantaneously
God sovereignly worked in both these men but he did so in a way unique to their circumstances
God directed the paths of both the Eunuch and Philip so that they would meet as the Eunuch was reading
God stopped Saul dead in his murderous attempt to destroy the Jewish church
both started out dead in sin, the gospel was foolishness to them, they did not seek after God, they were enemies of God
having elected them to salvation God called them both out of their spiritual deadness into newness of life
as we learned from our series on the Reformation,
We are saved by God’s grace alone, on the basis of Christ’s works alone, received through faith alone, so that all things lead to God’s glory alone, revealed in the scripture alone as the only final authority teaching these truths. (John Piper)

Saul’s Commission from Jesus

Acts 9:6 ESV
6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”
Acts 9:
note that Jesus did not ask Saul if he wanted to serve him!
in the bright light and speaking to Saul Jesus completely overpowered him, changed his heart, his mind and his will and made him his servant
slaves have no say in their being purchased
purchasers don’t ask whether potential slaves whether they would like to be owned by them
Saul was a slave even though he believed himself to be free
John 8:34 ESV
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.
Romans 6:16 ESV
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
Titus 3:3 ESV
For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.
Jesus went to the Jewish slave market and purchased Paul and made him his slave/servant
Jesus purchased Paul and made him his slave/servant
- redeemed us from the curse of the law
tit 2:14 - redeem us from all lawlessness
- redeems them from the transgressions committed
- redeemed from mankind
purchasers don’t ask whether potential slaves whether they would like to be owned by them
Acts 9:7–9 ESV
7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
says that when Jesus spoke to Saul he spoke in the Hebrew language
those with Saul would have spoken that language but they could not understand it when Jesus spoke it
so it is with all who have not been given grace to hear!
the gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing ()
they are unable to understand because they are spiritually discerned ()
Saul was given grace to hear while those who were with him were not given that grace
if we piece together the 3 accounts recording Saul’s encounter with the Lord Jesus it looks like what was recorded in occurred while he was in Damascus fasting, praying and waiting for Ananias
in the following passage Saul gives us a summary of the conversation he had with Jesus while he was in Damascus fasting and waiting for Ananias
Acts 9:4–6 ESV
4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”
Acts 9:
Acts 26:16–18 ESV
16 But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, 17 delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you 18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

Saul Was Appointed to be a Servant and Witness

“to appoint you as a servant”
servant: an assistant to another as the instrument of his will
Saul’s job was to assist Christ as His instrument
Jesus made Saul his personal assistant
Saul would act on Jesus’ behalf making his cause his own
2 Corinthians 5:20 ESV
20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
“a chosen instrument of mine” (9:14)
chosen: elected, set apart for a purpose and to a person
Jesus chose Saul to carry his name to Jews and Gentiles and kings
as such he was a vessel, elected by Christ to carry his name
a witness:
“and witness”
defined in 9:14:
“to carry my name”
Saul was chosen by Jesus to tell Jews, Gentiles and kings aboutJesus
one of the most important questions a person can ask: “who is Jesus?”
: how will they hear unless someone tells them
2 Corinthians 5:20 ESV
20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
Application:
everyone whom God calls to himself is chosen to serve him
God does not save people to spectate but to serve
each person whom God saves he gives specific gifts suited to that person’s abilities and talents and he expects them to use those gifts to build his kingdom
1 Peter 4:10–11 ESV
10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Timothy 4:10–11 ESV
10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. 11 Command and teach these things.
Philippians 2:5–7 ESV
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
verses which highlight the believer’s responsibility
Matthew 6:33 ESV
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Galatians 5:13 ESV
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Romans 7:6 ESV
6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.
Hebrews 9:14 ESV
14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
John 12:26 ESV
26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
Romans 12:11 ESV
11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
Matthew 12:27–28 ESV
27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
Mt 12:20-1

Saul Was Appointed to Suffer

Acts 9:16 ESV
16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
Acts 26:17 ESV
17 delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you
Saul was to tell people what he had seen and what Jesus would further reveal to him
Acts 9:
delivering you:
God was sending Saul to those from whom he would have to deliver him
Saul’s work would not be well received by either the Jews or the Gentiles
in other words, God was sending Saul to those who would seek to destroy him as he carried the message of Christ to them
why this hostility to Saul and his message about Christ?
John 3:19–20 ESV
19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
2 Corinthians 4:3–4 ESV
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV
14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
John 14:15–17 ESV
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
note how Paul says he suffered in
God was sending Saul to Jews and Gentiles who would be hostile toward him because of what he preached
this was God’s means of saving hostile sinners: preaching

Saul Was Appointed to Open Eyes

note the irony: Saul was blinded so that he could see whereas blind Jews, Gentiles and kings need their eyes to be opened through Saul’s ministry
Acts 26:18 ESV
18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
Saul was to be Jesus’ chosen instrument to carry his name to hostile people in order that some would be saved
“to open their eyes that they may turn”
why? because Jesus’ purpose was to turn some of them away from the power of Satan to God
John 3:19–20 ESV
19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
2 Corinthians 4:3–4 ESV
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
John 3:19 ESV
19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV
14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
2 Cor 4:2-
John 14:15–17 ESV
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
John 14:15-17
“from the power of Satan to God”
Jesus to those who believed in him: “you are of your father the devil”
“you are slaves of sin, children of the devil”
they were blind to their condition
they thought that because they were descendants of Abraham that they were automatically accepted by God
Jesus to these Jews: “you may have some of Abraham’s blood in your veins but you have nothing of God’s HS in you”
this was a great insult to them because they were completely blind
2 Corinthians 3:15 ESV
15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts.
2 Cor 3:
2 Corinthians 3:15–16 ESV
15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.
2 Cor 3:15-
2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV
4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
Matthew 13:19 ESV
19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.
1 John 5:19 ESV
19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place
Ananias
- a devout man according to the law
- well spoken of by all the Jews
contrast him with Saul whom the Jews wanted to kill!
Saul’s approach to the Jews was very different than Ananias’!
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