Summary: 3 of 3 messages on the salvation of Saul and his transition into the Apostle Paul
18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized,
19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus.
20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.
21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, "Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?"
22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.
23 ¶ After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him,
24 but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him.
25 But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.
26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple.
27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.
28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.
29 He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him.
30 When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.
An Issue of Trust
Trust is one of those characteristics that is both incredibly strong and terribly fragile
True in every conceivable relationship
Certainly true in a marriage relationship
True also in parent/child relationship - in both directions.
True in relationship between boss/employee; government/citizen; commander/soldier; friend/friend.
Where it is strong it can be shattered with one blow
We all know someone or we have experienced ourselves how quickly trust can be shattered - a letter from a well-meaning friend arrives in the mail with an accusation concerning your spouse.
You find a receipt in the trash that is for an unexplained expense.
The school or someone from work calls and asks to speak to a loved one - child or spouse - who is supposed to be at the school or work - and they aren’t at home.
It’s like driving along on a beautiful day and someone drops a bowling ball from an overpass and it goes through the windshield and lands in the pit of you stomach.
Once that bowling ball drops into your life it’s hard to drive on the freeway without fear.
Once trust is lost it’s hard to regain and once someone has hurt you it’s hard to trust them at all.
Now consider this man named Saul
Wouldn’t you have a hard time trusting someone like Saul?
Especially if it had been your loved ones he killed? Or if your name is on the list of people he wants to take out.
Even when there is forgiveness for past wrongs, trust is not something that just magically reappears. It takes time and it takes effort on the part of the one who has broken the trust and the one who forgives.
Yet Saul changed - he really did - dramatically and radically
Dramatically on the road to Damascas
Radically - From Inside Out
Let’s consider how this Saul’s change affected his relationship with the others in his life
At first the Christians had a hard time believing it could be true, that this persecutor could really be changed. But it wouldn’t be long before they would see that he was indeed a changed man.
As far as I’m concerned, the most convincing testimony of the credibility of Christianity is the way it changes lives, and not in just a few cases.
Baptism marks only the beginning point of the new life - a life of change for the better. Seldom is it very long before that change begins to become evident - as seen here in the case of Saul.
1) Saul became a witness…
Witnesses testify to what they know to be true…
Don’t have to study or sell someone something
Just tell people what you know to be true
Saul immediately began to preach in the synagogues