Biddulph Thur pm 20th March 2008
Place: Biddulph AOG. Date: Thursday pm 20th March 2008.
Text: ACTS 9:10. Theme: THE CHRISTIAN GOD USES.
Introduction: Reading: ACTS 9:10-19, 22:12-21.
“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.”
It is sometimes said in the lives of well known men, “It is the woman behind the man, who brings success.” Well! I want to tell you of “the man, behind the man.” Everyone knows about Paul the Apostle, but who knows about Ananias? Yet it was Ananias who led Paul to the Lord, which we will note in the next few verses.
One of the most humbling truths revealed in the Word of God is, that the Lord God uses YOU and ME for the success of His purposes. This is a wonderful, awe inspiring thought! The infinite, eternal, all-powerful, ever-present God uses people like YOU and ME, to fulfil His work on the earth.
One man that was wonderfully used by the Lord was Ananias, whose name means: “Jehovah has been gracious.” We read about him only TWICE in the New Testament, in Acts 9:10-19 and 22:12-21. He is the TYPE of Christian that the Lord uses; let us look at this passage:
10 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.” (HEARING FROM GOD – SPEAKING TO GOD).
11 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. (WORK TO DO).
12 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.” (HEALING MINISTRY).
13 Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. (SPEAKING TO GOD).
14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.”
15 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. (WORK TO DO).
16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake.”
17 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.” (SERVICE, HEALING MINISTRY, INFILLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT).
18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.
19 So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus. Acts 9:10-19 (NKJV)
1st POINT: ANANIAS WAS A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH.
The Christian the Lord uses must be a committed member of the Body of Christ. For God works through Christians who, by the miracle of the new birth, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, have been made members of Christ's Body, the Church.
Jesus clearly told Saul of Tarsus that in persecuting Christians, he had been persecuting the Lord Himself, for believers are members of the Body of Christ (Acts 9:4-5). From heaven, Jesus the Head of the Church, works through individual members of that Body (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).
Ananias, was a member of that Body, and was greatly used by the Lord. If YOU and I are to be used by the Lord, the same must be true of us. Have YOU been converted? Have YOU followed the Lord in New Testament believer's baptism? Are you a member of a local church where YOU are actively working for Christ?
2nd POINT: ANANIAS WAS A VERY UNLIKELY PERSON.
The Christian the Lord uses will probably be a very unlikely person.
1. Ananias: Was used of the Lord, in the healing of Saul's blindness, verses 17-18.
2. Ananias: Was used of the Lord, in leading Saul to understand how to become a Christian, verses 17-19.
3. Ananias: Was used of the Lord, in helped Saul to receive the filling of the Holy Spirit, verses 17-18.
4. Ananias: Was used of the Lord, to led Saul to be baptised, verses 17-8.
5. Ananias: Was used of the Lord, to encourage Saul to associate with a local church, verse 19.
The whole ministry of the Apostle Paul was launched by a disciple named Ananias, of whom we know very little. He is simply called “a certain disciple” Acts 9:10. As far as we know, he was not an apostle, pastor, elder, teacher or deacon. He is simple a “disciple” named Ananias, which God used.
Ananias was used of the Lord, to lead Paul, the Apostle, into a deeper walk of the Christian life. Do YOU know that the Lord can use YOU also? Most of the time, the Christian the Lord uses is a very ordinary person.
3rd POINT: ANANIAS LIVED A DEVOUT CHRISTIAN LIFE.
The Christian that the Lord uses must be living a devout Christian life.
The Bible speaks of Ananias as being “a devout man” Acts 22:12. This text goes on to say that he had “a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there.” There was no falsehood about his life or testimony.
He just “put on the words, deeds, and doctrines of Christ Jesus;” that is he in-lived the teachings of the Bible in flesh and blood.
We also must “live out our salvation” before men and the Lord God. The Lord Jesus wants YOU to yield YOUR heart, soul, and spirit to Him, Jesus wants our ALL. And who knows that else will follow in the Lord.
4th POINT: ANANIAS WAS UTTERLY AT GOD'S DISPOSAL.
The Christian the Lord uses MUST BE utterly at the Lord's disposal.
Ananias was living in such close touch with the Lord that he could hear the Lord speaking to him. The Lord said in verse 10 “Ananias,” and he answered immediately, “Here I am, Lord.” Are YOU close to the Lord, that YOU can hear His voice and calling?
Ananias was on speaking terms with the Lord. Are YOU? Acts 9:10-16 reveals the personal, intimate conversation that went on between Ananias and the Lord. The Lord asked Ananias to go verse 15, and Ananias went verse 17. That is complete obedience to the Lord.
5th POINT: ANANIAS WAS FULL OF CHRISTIAN LOVE.
The Christian that the Lord uses must be full of Christian love.
When Ananias went to Saul, he did not say, “You villain, you persecutor of the church! You have done much evil.” But, what did he say, and do? What was his attitude towards Saul? When he met Saul, he put his arm around Saul, and said, “Brother Saul” verse 17. There was great love, and compassion, in his words.
This is a test of our Christianity. When YOU are harmed and hurt by another Christian, are YOU able to go and say “Brother?”
This is the Christian that the Lord uses. The Bible tells us to be kind, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as the Lord God has forgiven us. We need to have the Lord's love in our hearts.
The Christian that the Lord uses should lead others into the blessings of Christianity.
Ananias, knew how important it is for any Christian to be filled with the Holy Spirit, if he or she is to be an “over comer” in the Lord's service. God commands us to be “filled with the Holy Spirit” Ephesians 5:18.
Let EACH OF US, be a: Member of His Church, open to be used, living a devout life, utterly yielded, and full of love.