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"He is the Christ, The Son of God"

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Paul's immediate obedience and oppostion to his calling. Paul no longer blasphemes but recognizes Jesus and Christ and the Son of God and begins carrying him to the Jews, the Gentiles and to kings.

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Acts divided into 6 parts showing the fulfillment of
the growth of the church as it spread from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria to the uttermost parts of the earth
each section part ends with a similar proclamation:
Acts 6:7 ESV
7 And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
- birth of church at Jerusalem and its spectacular growth
the preaching of Peter and persecution, the first act of Church discipline, the choosing of the 7 to free up the Apostles
- spread of Christianity from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria and Galilee & conversion of Saul
Stephen’s martyrdom, persecution of the church causes the gospel to spread out from Jerusalem, Saul’s miraculous conversion from being a persecutor to a minister of the gospel
- explosive growth of church as it spread to Gentiles
Peter’s ministry and Cornelius, Peter’s report to the church in Jerusalem, spread of the gospel to Antioch which became the sending church for Paul’s missionary journeys, James killed and Peter’s miraculous rescue, death of Herod for not glorifying God
- church in Asia Minor and Galatia
Antioch church sent Barnabas and Saul on their first missionary journey, stops in Cyprus, Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, opposition of the Jews to Paul, Paul’s stoning at Lystra, Jerusalem Council and the problem of Jewish believers and their commitment to the ceremonial law, Council’s decision against them
- spread of the church further west
Paul & Silas’ trip to strengthen the churches they had established on their first journey, call to Macedonia, conversion of Philippian jailer, ministry in Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, return to Antioch, rise of Apollos, Paul’s ministry in Ephesus
to end - Paul’s final ministries and spread of gospel to Rome
riot in Ephesus instigated by the Demetrius and the idol craftsmen, ministry in Macedonia and Greece, raising of Eutychus from the dead, addressed the Ephesian elders, trip to Jerusalem, Paul’s arrest, trial and preaching to kings, appeal to Caesar, trip to Rome, ministry there and martyrdom
Saul one of God’s key servants in that spread
could not have happened if those whom Saul led to Christ did not take the gospel to their families, neighbourhoods and towns

Saul Carries Jesus to the Jews

Saul had been chosen by Jesus to carry his name (9:15)
he immediately set himself to accomplish this task by preaching to his own people (9:20)
“with the disciples” (19b)
up to this point they had fled from him, they refused to fellowship with him because they were afraid of him
example of Ananias’ fear (13,14)
Jesus had changed Saul from being their enemy to being their brother
when the disciples realized this they embraced him as a fellow member of the family of Christ
the disciples embraced him as their brother in the Lord
a mark of a transformed life is the desire to be with other Christians
“and immediately he proclaimed Jesus” (20)
1 John 3:14 ESV
14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.
true believers do not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of the scoffer ()
a professing believer who prefers the company of unbelievers is probably still one of them
“And immediately he proclaimed Jesus” (20)
another mark of Saul’s transformation: he could not stop speaking about God’s saving grace in Christ Jesus
Acts 26:19–20 ESV
19 “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.
Acts 26:19-
having been appointed to carry Jesus’ name before the Gentiles, kings and children of Israel (9:15) Saul wasted no time getting started in his new calling!
having been appointed to carry Jesus’ name before the Gentiles, kings and children of Israel (9:15) Saul wasted no time getting started in his new calling!
immediately: Saul did not delay
“proclaim” = herald
heralds were messengers sent by rulers to convey messages or proclamations
Saul went about proclaiming the good news about Jesus
remember that Jesus had chosen him as an instrument and a servant to carry Jesus’ name before the Gentiles, kings and children of Israel (9:15)
the inevitable questions about his change of masters did not deter him
questions the Jews were asking in v.21
he was not afraid of the fact that he had gone from being the darling of the Sanhedrin to an outcast
many of the unbelieving Jews to whom he had been sent would have looked upon him with suspicion
what would happen if we did this with our family and friends?
“did you know that Jesus is the Son of God? I just think it’s amazing! Can I tell you why?”
“he proclaimed ... in the synagogues”
Saul did not wander through the streets yelling, “Jesus is the Son of God”
Saul had a plan
he began with synagogues:
Saul’s reputation opened opportunities to speak in the synagogues
this was Saul’s preferred method of carrying the message of Christ to new cities
synagogues were often located in urban areas
this meant that the gospel would come to a city and then spread to the surrounding areas as new believers spread out
Saul was wise and intentional, seeking the most effective means of fulfilling his calling
gospel was to be sent to the Jew first
“Jesus”
Romans 1:16 ESV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
when the Jews rejected him and his message he would go to some other venue and teach all who followed him from the synagogues
with those people he would form new churches
if we would be wise and intentional in the spread of the gospel we will do like Saul
the most easily accessed venue is the church
stirred up the Gentile populace against him and his disciples
what are we doing to invite our family, friends, neighbours and co-workers to church?
80% of church goers came to Christ because someone invited them
invite to church and then to your home for discussion

Saul’s Message

Acts 9:20 ESV
20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”
Acts 9:22 ESV
22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.
end of v.22: proving Jesus was the Christ

Jesus

for the Jewish people this was his common name
it identified him as the carpenter son of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth
a carpenter
but Jesus was much more than this and Saul sought to teach them
the name Jesus means Saviour
Matthew 1:21 ESV
21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:20 ESV
20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
Acts 4:12 ESV
12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Acts 5:31 ESV
31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
synagogues were often located in urban areas due to the need for numbers
this meant that the gospel would come to a city and then spread to the surrounding areas as new believers spread out
Saul was wise and intentional about the most effective means of fulfilling his calling
went first to the synagogues
he knew he would have a hearing in the synagogues because he was a Jew
gospel was to be sent to the Jew first
Romans 1:16 ESV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
when he was eventually rejected he would go to some other venue and teach all who followed him from those synagogues
synagogue rulers would often persecute him and chase him out of town
stirred up the Gentile populace against him and his disciples
Saul first presented Jesus to them as their Saviour

Saul Carried The Gospel to the Jews

to do this he told them about their sins
“Saul increased all the more in strength”
he warned them against trying to earn their salvation
he called them to repent and believe
he experienced the same success that Stephen did when he debated in the synagogues in Jerusalem
increased: Saul learned how to communicate the gospel more and more effectively
his reasoning was such that his opponents could not answer or refute him
“amazed … confounded”
“amazed” = to be removed from its place i.e. to shake, to alter
to become astounded to such a degree as to lose one’s mental composure
example: how believers feel when a faithful Christian leader falls from grace; how we feel when betrayed someone we thought was our friend; how a team might feel when their star player is sidelined
when confronted with Paul’s radical life change they were utterly shocked and didn’t know what to do
“confounded” = to bewilder
to astonish in such a degree that the mental faculties are confounded and such a person is practically incapacitated
can’t think and so can’t act
Paul’s Message:
the irrefutable proof that Jesus was the Christ left them physically incapacitated

Jesus the Son of God

Paul’s Message:
“He is the Son of God”
when Jesus took this title to himself the Jews interpreted it as a claim to equality with God (; ; , 19:7)
devil and demons addressed Jesus as “Son of God” (; )
Peter & Martha’s confessions
Jesus affirmed this when adjured by the Chief Priest at his trial
Matthew 26:63–66 ESV
63 But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.”
this was condemned as blasphemy because Jesus, a man, was claiming to be God
if Jesus was just a man he could not have been our Saviour, our substitute
only a perfect man could stand for another
only the God/man could stand for many

Jesus the Christ

who was “the Christ” to the Jew?
a future Jewish king from the line of David (
would rule the Jewish people during the Messianic age
often referred to as “king Messiah”
will gather the Jews back to the promised Land ()
usher in a period of peace, build the 3rd Temple
when he comes the rulers of the world will look to him for guidance (; )
the whole world will worship him ()
belief in the coming Messiah a fundamental requisite of the Jewish faith
evil and tyranny will not be able stand during his reign ()
when Jesus was asked by the Jews in if the was the Christ he said was one with the Father
Jesus confronted their unbelief and said he was one with the Father
they sought to stone Jesus for blasphemy, i.e. making himself God
Saul presented Jesus to them as the only one who could save them because he was the Son of God and their Messiah
what would happen if we did this with our family and friends?
are you convinced that Jesus is the only one who can save those you love?
“did you know that Jesus is the Son of God? I just think it’s amazing! Can I tell you why?”
are you telling them?
“Saul increased all the more in strength”
Saul experienced the same success that Stephen did when he debated in the synagogues in Jerusalem
“Saul increased all the more in strength”
however they were not able to refute Saul’s teaching
Saul experienced the same success that Stephen did when he debated in the synagogues in Jerusalem
“amazed” = to be removed from its place i.e. to shake, to alter
increased: Saul learned how to communicate the gospel more and more effectively
to become astounded to such a degree as to lose one’s mental composure
his reasoning was such that his opponents could not answer or refute him
put them into a difficult position:
if they admitted Saul was right they would have to forsake Judaism
if they denied Saul they were rejecting God’s truth
increasing in strength requires knowledge and experimentation
classes will only do so much!
must know the Word
must use the knowledge we have
must grow in our proficiency
example: how believers feel when a faithful Christian leader falls from grace; how we feel when betrayed someone we thought was our friend; how a team might feel when their star player is sidelined
“amazed … confounded”
when confronted with Paul’s radical life change they were utterly shocked and didn’t know what to do
“amazed” = to be removed from its place i.e. to shake, to alter
“confounded” = to bewilder
to become astounded to such a degree as to lose one’s mental composure
“confounded” = to bewilder
example: how believers feel when a faithful Christian leader falls from grace; how we feel when betrayed someone we thought was our friend; how a team might feel when their star player is sidelined
when confronted with Saul’s teaching they were utterly shocked and didn’t know what to do
to astonish in such a degree that the mental faculties are confounded and such a person is practically incapacitated
“confounded” = to bewilder
can’t think and so can’t act
to astonish in such a degree that the mental faculties are confounded and such a person is practically incapacitated
the irrefutable proof that Jesus was the Christ left them physically incapacitated
can’t think and so can’t act
the irrefutable proof that Jesus was the Christ left them physically incapacitated
imagine their amazement and confusion when they were confronted with the fact that they had murdered their Messiah, God’s Chosen One!
the one that had been promised in Genesis and that every generation of Israelites had hoped would come to them they had put to death
Jesus did not fit these descriptions as the suffering servant
he was rejected as a liar and imposter and blasphemer
Jews failed to realize that the Messiah could only come to do and be these things through the path of suffering, through the cross
in spite of their amazement and confusion many of them continued to reject and oppose the gospel
our temptation is to think that when presented with such irrefutable proof that the natural response is to repent and acknowledge and embrace the truth
stems from a misguided assumption that all a person needs is to be persuaded about what is true and right
this ignores the clear teaching of the scriptures
Romans 8:7–8 ESV
7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Romans 8:8 ESV
Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
other NT descriptions of being in sin: dead in sin, lovers of darkness, suppress the truth, blinded by the devil, not seeking for God but going their own way
refusing to humbling themselves and unable to refute Saul, the Jews sought to silence just as Stephen had been
they sought to murder him just as Stephen had been murdered
such is the hardness of the human heart when faced with the truth of the gospel
they would rather kill the messenger than turn away from the lies they believe!
we do not yet face this kind of violent response because in our culture we have been conditioned to think that it doesn’t matter what we believe and that everyone is entitled to believe whatever they want and everyone is right in what they believe
it is not until a person is pressed with the truth that they become aggressive in their opposition and even violent
our culture: you can believe whatever you want and you are ok
as long as we don’t go past this in our witnessing we will avoid trouble
Paul presented the gospel in such a way that if the Jews did nothing they were giving tacit approval so their only option was to attack and kill Saul
we need to develop our ability to convey the gospel and the only way to do this is by trial and error
“He is the Son of God”
when Jesus took this title to himself the Jews interpreted it as a claim to equality with God
devil and demons addressed Jesus as “Son of God” (; )
Jesus affirmed this when adjured by the Chief Priest at his trial
Matthew 26:63–66 ESV
63 But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.”
Mt 26:63
this was judged by them as blasphemy because Jesus was claiming to be God
“Jesus was the Christ”
who was “the Christ” to the Jew?
classes will only do so much!
a future Jewish king from the line of David (Isa 11:1
would rule the Jewish people during the Messianic age
often referred to as “king Messiah”
will gather the Jews back to the promised Land ()
usher in a period of peace, build the 3rd Temple
when he comes the rulers of the world will look to him for guidance (; Zech 8:23)
the whole world will worship him (Isa 2:11-17)
belief in the coming Messiah a fundamental requisite of the Jewish faith
evil and tyranny will not be able stand during his reign ()
Jesus was asked by the Jews if the was the Christ
Jesus confronted their unbelief and said he was one with the Father
they sought to stone Jesus for blasphemy, i.e. making himself God
he was rejected as a liar and imposter and blasphemer
what would happen if we started talking with our family and friends about Jesus?
Jews failed to realize that the Messiah could only come to do and be these things through the path of suffering, through the cross
“did you know that Jesus name means Saviour? I just think it’s amazing! Can I tell you why?”

Saul Delivered From His Enemies

Acts 9:23–25 ESV
23 When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, 24 but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him, 25 but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.
Acts 9:23-
Acts 9:23 ESV
23 When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him,
“the Jews”
“the Jews”
often refers to the Jewish religious leaders and others under their influence who were staunchly opposed Christianity
according to Pauls testimony in they were able to turn the political rulers against him
2 Corinthians 11:32–33 ESV
32 At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to seize me, 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.
2 Cor 11:32
what do you do when every one is against you? give up? start to think you must be wrong? stop speaking out to avoid persecution?
example of the Hebrews who were tempted to turn back to Judaism ()
Hebrews 10:32–36 ESV
32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. 35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
Hebrews 10:32–39 ESV
32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. 35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37 For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; 38 but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” 39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.
Hebrews 10:32-
Paul’s warning to the Galatians who were thinking of going back to the law
Jesus promised to give them everything they needed to complete the work he had started
John 14:12–14 ESV
12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
examples of God doing this
2 Timothy 4:17–18 ESV
17 But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Saul himself was complicit in the killing of Stephen and other believers after him
2 Corinthians 1:10 ESV
10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.
the former persecutor of the church became the persecuted
2 Thessalonians 3:3 ESV
3 But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.
Romans 8:37–39 ESV
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:31–37 ESV
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
when the disciples found out about the plot they rescued Saul
those whom Saul once tried to attack and kill saved his life
such is the marvellous transformation that happens at salvation

Saul Ministers in Jerusalem

Disciples were afraid of Saul, believed he was lying
refused fellowship
Barnabas introduced Saul to the Apostles and gave them an account of Saul’s conversion
after this the disciples opened up to Saul and trusted him
Saul preached boldly to the disciples
Acts 26:19–20 ESV
19 “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.
Acts 26:
he preached to the Greek speaking Jews just as Stephen had done
“he spoke and disputed against”
he confronted their false thinking
to the Jews Jesus was a liar, an imposter, a blasphemer, a servant of the devil, did not rise from the dead
when Saul challenged their false thinking he challenged them with the truth of the Word
“disputed” - to discuss vehemently in order to reach a solution or an agreement
this was a heated discussion
Saul was unafraid to confront their lies and blasphemous attitudes
when they could not overcome him they sought to kill him
the Greek speaking Jews treated Saul in the same way as Stephen
the Greek speaking Jews treated Saul in the same way as Stephen
the same disciples who at first were afraid of him rescued him
brought him to Caesarea and sent him to Tarsus (9:30)
Acts 22:17–21 ESV
17 “When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ 19 And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20 And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.’ 21 And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”
Acts 26:19–20 ESV
19 “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.
Jesus saved Saul, the great enemy of the church, and raised him up to carry his name to world
persecution ends for a time and the church continued to grow
Matthew 16:15–18 ESV
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Matthew 16:18 ESV
18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
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