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AF-S106-012206 Acts 9

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Acts 9:1&2 ~ Meanwhile Saul, still breathing out threats to murder the Lord’s disciples, went to the high priest and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, either men or women, he could bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem.

~ high priest – In other accounts we have different focus so, different details – The Council selected Saul. Saul needed cooperation from Dam.

~ Damascus – Oldest continuously occupied city on earth. Archeological evidence suggests it was thriving more than 5,000 years ago.

Genesis 15:2 ~ But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliēzer of Damascus?”

It is now the capital of modern Syria; slightly larger than North Dakota may be the oldest continuously occupied city on earth. It is about 145 miles NE of Jerusalem.

Damascus was conquered by Egyptians, Tuthmosis III conquered Syria in 1450 B.C. Interesting time because Moses and the boys left Egypt at about the same time.

Aramaeans, Hebrews, David subjugates Damascus when it was the capital of the Aramaean kingdom in about 1000 B.C.

Assyrians, Tiglath-Pilēser III, Chaldeans, Nebuchadnezzar, Persians, Darius, Greeks, Alexander, Romans, Pompey

Arabs, Mongols, Ottomans, French, British and finally Egypt again more than three thousand years later. Syria, slightly larger than North Dakota, became independent in 1961.

~ Way – John 14:6 ~ Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. Hodos, Alêtheia & Zôê

~ women - Roman law, gave the right of extradition. In 47 B.C. Julius Caesar confirmed those rights anew to the high-priesthood.”

Acts 9:3-7 ~ As he was going along, approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” So he said, “Who are you, Lord?” He replied, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting! But stand up and enter the city and you will be told what you must do.” (Now the men who were traveling with him stood there speechless, because they heard the voice but saw no one.)

~ light

" Ezekiel 1:25-2:1 ~ there came a voice from above the expanse I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice speaking. He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.”

John 8:12 ~ Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

~ persecuting me – Jesus is the Body

~ Lord – No question in God’s presence, but who is God?

~ Jesus – The earthly human name, Stephen was right!

John 1:1-14 ~ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

~ you must do – Never mere salvation; the commission is always present

Acts 9:8&9 ~ So Saul got up from the ground, but although his eyes were open, he could see nothing. Leading him by the hand, his companions brought him into Damascus. For three days he could not see, and he neither ate nor drank anything.

~ see nothing – his blindness was the blindness of the Jews and all

~ neither ate nor drank – maximum fast, only for extreme situations

Acts 13:6-12 ~ When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they found a magician, a Jewish false prophet whose name was Bar-Jesus, who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence. This man summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the magician (for so his name is translated) was opposing them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him, and said, “You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord?  “Now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and not see the sun for a time.” And immediately a mist and a darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking those who would lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed when he saw what had happened, being amazed at the teaching of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 4:3-6 ~ And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Acts 9:10-16 ~ Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias,” and he replied, “Here I am, Lord.” Then the Lord told him, “Get up and go to the street called ‘Straight,’ and at Judas’ house look for a man from Tarsus named Saul. For he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and place his hands on him so that he may see again.” But Ananias replied, “Lord, I have heard from many people about this man, how much harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem, and here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call on your name!” But the Lord said to him, “Go, because this man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before Gentiles and kings and the people of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”

~ Ananias – Bishop of Damascus, one of the 70, and martyr under Nero in 67 A.D. The words, “Brother Saul” must not have come easily to Ananias.

~ Sometimes, “Double Vision,” is good.

1- Gentiles - accept
2- Kings - listen
3- Jews - refuse

~ “I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”

2 Corinthians 11:23b-29 ~ I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?

" 2 Timothy 4:2-18 ~ Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing Only Luke is with me The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Talking about Paul’s Conversion:
Acts ch 9, ch 22, ch 26; Romans 1:1-7, 1:13-17 15:15-21; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, 9:1, 15:3-11; 2 Corinthians 2:14-17, 3:12-18, 4:1-18, 5:17-21, 6:13-7:1, 11:32-33; Galatians 1:11-2:10; Ephesians 1:11-2:10, 3:1-13; Philippians 3:1-14; Colossians 1:24-29;1 Timothy 1:12-17; 6:13-16; 2 Timothy 1:8-12; Titus 2:11-15, 3:1-7.

u Salvation is for sinners 1 Timothy 1:15 “chief of sinners.”

u Salvation is personal “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”

u Salvation is miraculous Blinding Light, enemy to friend

u Salvation is an act of divine grace Saul’s work for God was Kakos

u Salvation is a conversion from Latin to turn around!

u Salvation is Christ-centered You must meet Jesus!

u Salvation is into Christ’s body You must be part of the solution

u Salvation implies obedience it is the great commission

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Romans 8:29 & 30 ~ For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

Romans 8:28 ~ And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

God is sovereign. God is immutable. God is not constrained by time.

He already has been enjoying relationship for eternity before He created the scenario to get to the relationship of those who love Him

He doesn't look down the hall of time and choose those who he sees chose Him.

Can we choose - From God's perspective there are no choices, but from our perspective that's all everything is… a choice.

שָׁאוּל

Shah-ool

Acts 9:17-19a ~ So Ananias departed and entered the house, placed his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came here, has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, his strength returned.

Acts 22:12-16 ~ “And a certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, came to me, and standing near said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very time I looked up at him. “And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth. ‘For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. ‘Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’

Acts 9:19b-22 ~ For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “This man is the Son of God.” All who heard him were amazed and were saying, “Is this not the man who in Jerusalem was ravaging those who call on this name, and who had come here to bring them as prisoners to the chief priests?” But Saul became more and more capable, and was causing consternation among the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.

" Galatians 1:16b-2:1 ~ I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus. Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days. But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord’s brother… Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia… Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also.

Acts 9:23-27 ~ Now after some days had passed, the Jews plotted together to kill him, but Saul learned of their plot against him. They were also watching the city gates day and night so that they could kill him. But his disciples took him at night and let him down through an opening in the wall by lowering him in a basket. When he arrived in Jerusalem, he attempted to associate with the disciples, and they were all afraid of him, because they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took Saul, brought him to the apostles, and related to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.

Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (Son of Encouragement) Barnabas left for Tarsus to look for Saul; and brought him to Antioch. And for an entire year they taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. {Ch 11}

Acts 9:28-31 ~ So he was staying with them, associating openly with them in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. He was speaking and debating with the Greek-speaking Jews, but they were trying to kill him. When the brothers found out about this, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus. Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria experienced peace and thus was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, the church increased in numbers.

What can you say about Christianity when its most outspoken and zealous opponent suddenly claims to have seen the risen Christ, and to have trusted in Him as the Messiah?

The importance of Saul’s conversion can hardly be overestimated. Three times in the Book of Acts it is reported, the first time in the third person (“he”) by Luke (Acts 9:1-31), the second time in the first person (“I”) by the apostle, as he spoke to his Jewish unbelieving brethren in defense of his ministry (Acts 22:1-21), and the third time, again in the first person, as his personal testimony to King Agrippa, Festus, and Bernice (Acts 26:1-23). This three-fold repetition is a clear indication of the importance of this event, especially in the themes Luke is seeking to develop in the Book of Acts.

We know from other accounts (22:6; 26:13) that it was “high noon” when Saul was stopped in his tracks by a bright light from heaven. This light was more, much more, than just a bright light. It is, in the Bible, the radiance of God’s glory. Frequent biblical texts speak of God in terms of light:

In the end, God Himself will provide the illumination so that the sun and the stars will not be needed for this function:

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it (Revelation 21:23-24).

Israel was called of God and set apart to proclaim the way of salvation to the Gentiles. They were to be a “light to the Gentiles,” but they failed. They wanted to keep God’s blessings to themselves.

He says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6).

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