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The Man on a Horse

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We are looking at building up our faith.
Of you as an individual
And of us as a corporate body - the church
Because the enemy is out to devour who he may
He does that through the destruction of our faith.
But he can’t rob from us, or kill things in us or even destroy us if our faith is founded in the right God.
I say the right God because not all christians know the God whom they say they have faith in
They don’t know his character
They don’t know his word
And so they don’t know how to exercise the faith that they think they have.
WE said that faith is the tool that God uses in our lives to defeat the attacks of the enemy.
We need to have faith in the God whom:
can restore all things - to the point that it’s as if they never happened.
who can make us forget all of our troubles
Who will make us fruitful in the very place where we are suffering
Having that faith means that we are constantly seeking out and learning who God is, what he has promised and how those promises effect our lives.
It means that we are allowing God access to the inner depths of our lives so that he can cut out the wrong things and establish a powerful base for us to stand on
It means that we have placed him as the center of our lives - that he truly is our Lord, Savior and King
Having faith in this God also means that we will give him the room to move in and beyond our time restraints
That we will not allow our hurts in life and the discouragments of life to change our faith in God or change the God in whom we have faith.
If God said he will do it, then no matter what, he will do it.
We have to believe that he has a plan that will give him the highest praise from our lives
That he will give us the greatest testimony in our lives
And that he wants to use our lives to make us part of that intergenerational body of Christ - Seeing God in our past and especially our children
We have to be careful that we don’t allow life to get ahead of our faith, but that faith will always dictate our lives
We need to wait on the truth - God is greater than all of our sin and brokenness
We need to wait on the power and process of his salvation
And we need to trust in his grace - God is not finished with us yet.
And then last week we said that if we are to have strong faith, we just need to start stepping out in it.
If God has made us promises, and if we believe those promises than we need to walk in those promises
We need to make God our source of everything
We need to see God as the loving God that he is
WE need to keep moving forward. No setting up camp here
And we need to trust God that he will tell us when we’ve arrived.
What we want to look at this morning is

A Faith That Sees Internally

If you read chapter 11, you know that Pastor Cymbala says that this is where God really works
I think his exact words were, “The greatest things That God does are internal.”
Why is this important to our subject of faith? Because most of what we tend to have faith in God for are for those external things.
That God would heal us
That God would protect us from harm
That God would be with our children or some other loved one.
And if this is where our faith is focused, we can miss what God is really up to.
We may even be duped by the enemy into believing that God is not answering our prayers or that God just doesn’t care about us.
We need a faith that sees the invisible hand of God at work in the deepest areas of our lives.
I’ve entitled this message, “The man on a Horse.” And I want to look at a very familiar person in the scriptures today.
Turn with me to
Acts 9:1–22 NKJV
Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.” Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized. So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus. Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. Then all who heard were amazed, and said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?” But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.
I ask you a question today?

What was Saul’s (Paul’s) real problem?

Was it that he hated the church - it would seem that way.
Was it that his religious beliefs were being called into question - it would seem that way
Was it that he had something to prove to this new church of new believers? - It would seem that way
But when he converses with the Christ, it has nothing to do with any of those things.
In fact, those things were direct effects of what the real problem was.
Saul’s problem was internal - He was fighting against this savior of the world and son of God - Jesus the Christ.
And it would seem from Jesus’ words here that Paul was in direct conflict of what Jesus was trying to accomplish in his life.
kicking against the goads -
goads = a prod
It would seem that the Holy Spirit had already begun to work on Saul’s heart, but that he was fighting against it. he was resistant to what the Holy Spirit was doing within him.
And so it is this internal battle that causes this man, Saul, to get on a horse and head to Damascus to hurt the people whom Jesus loves.
What was Saul’s Fix???
Jesus could not give him a love for his church without first having a love for the one who died for and empowered the church.
Jesus could not make him see the light of THE WAY until he first became blinded to his way
Jesus couldn’t make him stop persecuting the followers of the Way until he first understood the importance of walking in THE WAY

Jesus Needed to Give Saul a New Heart

Saul had a battle heart. A heart that loved the old, was committed to and fighting for the old. It wasn’t a changed heart that he needed, but a heart change.
It seems that this happens almost immediately for look what Saul says in verse 6 - “Lord, what do you want me to do?
This was not something that we would have ever heard Saul say to Jesus before.
We know from OSL that the Word there for Lord that Saul uses is translated Master, ruler, controller.
So this was a huge statement for Saul
There was a recognition there, in this moment, that though he may not understand all of this, this Jesus was not someone to take lightly
Up to this point, Sauls devotion and passion for life was destroying this Jesus
Now he is saying, what do you want me to do?
It is part surrender
It is part questioning - How do I change? How does this work in my life? Lord you know who I am, what happens now?
It may even be part of the fight - the questioning. Right, so what do I do with that?
No matter what, it shows a heart change that is taking place in Saul.
Church, this is key to our faith today. God wants to give us a new heart.
Ezekiel 36:22–38 NKJV
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord,” says the Lord God, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations. Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities and your abominations. Not for your sake do I do this,” says the Lord God, “let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel!” ‘Thus says the Lord God: “On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt. The desolate land shall be tilled instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass by. So they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’ Then the nations which are left all around you shall know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted what was desolate. I, the Lord, have spoken it, and I will do it.” ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I will also let the house of Israel inquire of Me to do this for them: I will increase their men like a flock. Like a flock offered as holy sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem on its feast days, so shall the ruined cities be filled with flocks of men. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.” ’ ”
That heart of stone is the heart that is immovable.
It is totally rebellious
It is set on it’s own way
It is unable to believe in the things of God.
And God says to his people that he is changing that.
He has so much more for them to know and live in, but the hardened heart is in his way
And so he is going to give them a heart that he can move upon and that can move and feel for Him.
This is what had to happen to Saul, and it is what has to happen to you and I as well.
So have faith in a God who is at work in the deeper things of your life.

Jesus was renewing the Spirit of the Man named Saul

What’s the next thing that happens to Saul? He gets up from the ground, and opens his eyes and realizes that he cannot see.
I want to spiritualize this a little bit today. This is not what happened to Saul, but I feel that it has to happen in everyone’s life for us to begin to see the way that God sees.
So let me tell you that Saul was physically blind.
But I believe that there has to come a physical blindness towards some of our stuff in life so that we can begin to see what God is up to spiritually.
Does that make sense.
And so many times we get upset with God because we can’t see what he’s doing
We get mad when it doesn’t seem like he’s doing anything.
And I think that what the Holy Spirit is doing is kind of blinding us to what is going on around us so that if we are patient and trusting him we will begin to zoom in on the spiritual aspect of what’s going on.
We don’t have to read it, but in Daniel (tell story of angel being delayed)
What’s happening to Saul. He is being led around by the hand. He is stationary at Judas’ house and he is waiting for one from The Way to be his strength.
This strong strapping man is now waiting for one of whom he was there to persecute to lead him in life.
Talk about God getting a hold of a life.
But what was Saul doing during his time of blindness?
Acts 9:11 NKJV
So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying.
Acts 9:11–12 NKJV
So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.”
He is praying. He is getting a hold of God. He is beginning to see in the Spirit realm. And because of that vision, he is waiting for a man of God.
The man on the horse is now waiting for the man of God.
Actually he was waiting on God and how he would move through the man of God.
Are there people waiting for you today?
Waiting for you to hear from God about them?
Waiting for you to go to them and heal them in Jesus’ name
Waiting for you to wait on God for them and about them?
Are you in a place where you aren’t hearing from God.
Things don’t seem right, it’s as if you are blinded
God wants to open your spiritual eyes so that you can trust him in greater things.
Ask God to blind you to the physical realm, just long enough so that you might see the spiritual realm around you.
What a difference that will make.

Jesus was granting Saul a willing Spirit

Acts 9:15–16 NKJV
But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
Acts 9:15 NKJV
But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.
Acts 9:
Can you see that Saul needed to have a willing Spirit.
He would stand before Kings and world leaders
He would stand before the people of God - those he had formerly tortured and speak God’s Word
He would suffer many things for Gospel
You see the calling of God upon our lives is wonder, but it is also trying
Many of the people that you work with will not like or or accept it.
Some will even fight against it.
My brother and sister, you will need a willing Spirit
A spirit that won’t give up.
A Spirit that says, no matter what I’m following God.
Philippians 2:12–13 NKJV
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Saul the man on the horse, who was fighting against the goads, persecuting Jesus Christ, becomes Paul the apostle who falls in love with the Lord of the church he was out to get, and then falls in love with the people of God and gives his life, his freedom to see them mature and grow into something amazing in his day.
And I have a sense that there are quite a few of us on our high horses, that need God to give us a new heart
That need God to renew a steadfast spirit within us
And need to God to give us a willing Spirit to follow him - NO MATTER WHAT!
That’s what this whole summer has been about.
Is your Faith in that God???
Let’s Pray!
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