Faithlife Sermons

Persecutor to Disciple

Notes
Transcript
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

Breathing Out Fire

Acts 9:1–2 KJV 1900
1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
Saul was on fire, but for all the wrong reasons.
He was furious that Christians were now scattered all over the place in Judea, Samaria, Syria, and going as far as almost to Greece.
He was “breathing out threatening and slaughter” against the followers of Christ.
Acts 22:5 KJV 1900
5 As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.
Acts 26:10–11 KJV 1900
10 Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. 11 And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.
Acts 26
He was acting the part of an enemy of God, rather than a child of God. His spirit was against God rather than for Him (Job 15:13).
Psalm 27:12 KJV 1900
12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: For false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.
How did he know which people were Christians and which were not?
Acts 9:2 KJV 1900
2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
“Found any of this way.”
The term “this way” or “the Way” means captures the entire Christian system, but especially the manner of Salvation by Christ.
John 14:1–6 KJV 1900
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. 5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 14:5–6 KJV 1900
5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 14:6 KJV 1900
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Acts 22:4 KJV 1900
4 And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.
Acts 24:14 KJV 1900
14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
Acts 18:24–26 KJV 1900
24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. 26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.
Act 18

Damascus Experience

Acts 24:22 KJV 1900
22 And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter.
Acts 18:26 KJV 1900
26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.
5-6
Act
1-
The apostles experience of being surrounded with a light from heaven and having this incredible encounter with Jesus might have then or after awakened in the mind of Paul a prophecy of the work and influence of the Messiah.
Acts 9:4 KJV 1900
4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
The pronoun “me” is actually significant. It was “me” that was speaking in the prophecy given Zechariah.
Zechariah 2:6–13 KJV 1900
6 Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the Lord: For I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the Lord. 7 Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon. 8 For thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: For he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. 9 For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, And they shall be a spoil to their servants: And ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me. 10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: For, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord. 11 And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, And shall be my people: And I will dwell in the midst of thee, And thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee. 12 And the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, And shall choose Jerusalem again. 13 Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord: For he is raised up out of his holy habitation.
6-9
What condition is given to dwell and be able to stand in the presence with the “One” who is “raised up out of His holy habitation?”
Isaiah 57:15 KJV 1900
15 For thus saith the high and lofty One That inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, With him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
Paul needed to be humbled in order that he might fulfill the purposes of God in His time.
Acts 9:5–9 KJV 1900
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. 7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. 8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
Acts 9:5–6 KJV 1900
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
5-
When Jesus said to Paul, “it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks,” Paul’s mind might have realized the truthfulness of his teacher, Gamaliel’s words:
5-
Acts 22:3 KJV 1900
3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.
Acts 5:34–39 KJV 1900
34 Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; 35 And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. 36 For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. 37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. 38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: 39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
34-
Paul reveals his humility by asking Christ, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”
Jesus then sends him to go into Damascus and it will be told him what he must do.
This experienced physically blinded him and he was led by the hand into the city and was three days without sight and without food or drink.
Paul had now no excuse to doubt who Christ was and the gospel which His disciples were proclaiming. The experience of was being fulfilled in Paul’s life:
Isaiah 42:19 KJV 1900
19 Who is blind, but my servant? Or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? Who is blind as he that is perfect, And blind as the Lord’s servant?
Isaiah 43:8–13 KJV 1900
8 Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, And the deaf that have ears. 9 Let all the nations be gathered together, And let the people be assembled: Who among them can declare this, And shew us former things? Let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: Or let them hear, and say, It is truth. 10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, And my servant whom I have chosen: That ye may know and believe me, And understand that I am he: Before me there was no God formed, Neither shall there be after me. 11 I, even I, am the Lord; And beside me there is no saviour. 12 I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, When there was no strange god among you: Therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God. 13 Yea, before the day was I am he; And there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?
Isa 43

Love is as Fire that Melts

Acts 9:10–18 KJV 1900
10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. 17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
Acts 9:10–16 KJV 1900
10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
10-
Paul kept praying after his Damascus experience for those three days of fasting.
He was repenting of his persecution against Christ and His followers and thinking of the prophecies that related to the first advent of Christ. It was a time of self-examination and deep humiliation.
Acts of the Apostles Chapter 12—From Persecutor to Disciple

As Saul yielded himself fully to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, he saw the mistakes of his life and recognized the far-reaching claims of the law of God. He who had been a proud Pharisee, confident that he was justified by his good works, now bowed before God with the humility and simplicity of a little child, confessing his own unworthiness and pleading the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour. Saul longed to come into full harmony and communion with the Father and the Son; and in the intensity of his p 120 desire for pardon and acceptance he offered up fervent supplications to the throne of grace.

The prayers of the penitent Pharisee were not in vain. The inmost thoughts and emotions of his heart were transformed by divine grace; and his nobler faculties were brought into harmony with the eternal purposes of God. Christ and His righteousness became to Saul more than the whole world.

Ananias showed true Christian love to Saul.
It wouldn’t have been easy to approach a man who had put all his energy into making havoc of the church.
A man who put men and women in prison and consented to their death.
Ananias though put his trust in Christ and chose to believe that the impossible was possible.
That the most dreaded enemy against the gospel was now about to become one of its best advocates.
When he meets Saul he calls him, “brother,” he acknowledges Saul as a brother, even before he was baptized. Although baptism is still a requirement of Christ and necessary, a person is a brother as soon as they have felt the converting power of God in their life.
Ananias fulfilled the law of Christ:
Matthew 5:43–44 KJV 1900
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
43
The prayer of Ananias would have served as a reminder of the self-less, Christ-like attitude of prayer whose experience had a profound effect on Saul.
Acts 7:60 KJV 1900
60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Acts of the Apostles Chapter 12—From Persecutor to Disciple

For three days Saul was “without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.” These days of soul agony were to him as years. Again and again he recalled, with anguish of spirit, the part he had taken in the martyrdom of Stephen. With horror he thought of his guilt in allowing himself to be controlled by the malice and prejudice of the priests and rulers, even when the face of Stephen had been lighted up with the radiance of heaven. In sadness and brokenness of spirit he recounted the many times he had closed his eyes and ears against the most striking evidences and had relentlessly urged on the persecution of the believers in Jesus of Nazareth.

Related Media
Related Sermons