Summary: This message is meant to emphasis the need for salvation and the means of a life changing experience. Not as just a single point in time but over an entire life time.
A LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE
A. I read an article on line at topachiever.com the other day written by Gail Elliott, president of Innovations.
1. The title of the article was Life Changing Experiences.
2. She was talking about one of those really bad hair days, when nothing was right: the weather was bad, she was feeling bad – you know – and she was getting cranky, as well.
3. As she rode the bus to work there was a man who got of at the same stop she did and they both went to a news stand, where the vender was nasty.
a. He was rude, abrupt, and unsmiling, just adding to her gloomy day
b. Yet the gentleman with her spoke kind words to him and thanked the man for being open that morning so they could get their paper.
c. She saw this and felt compelled to ask him how he could be so nice.
4. His answer was, “Why would I let someone else control what I say and what I feel or what kind of a day I’m going to have.”
5. She wrote, “That was 25 years ago, but the impact on my life has lasted.
6. Our interactions with people we encounter can impact so many more” – just as this one did. It changed her life.
B. Whereas her experience, which she describes as life changing, was within the temporal, Saul is about to learn this lesson on a much grander scale.
1. This man was fine with life as he knew it.
2. He was a self-righteous, educated, elitist as a Pharisee.
3. He had stood by, giving his consent, while others stoned Stephen for his testimony of Jesus.
4. And we read these words in the beginning of our text for this morning, Acts 9:1-2 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,  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.
5. As far as Saul was concerned he was doing God a favor by persecuting those who were of “The Way.”
6. Little did he know that on the way to Damascus he would have a life changing experience of “epic” proportions.
7. So great was the change I originally wanted to have a title of such proportions: it was almost entitled “A Miraculous Paradigm Commutation,” but in the end I settled on something I could understand and pronounce – hence “A Life Changing Experience.” We will begin by showing it all begins with
a. Salvation, moving us to
b. Discipleship and Fellowship, and crowing it off with
C. If you ever come to know the Jesus of the gospel you cannot help but have A Life Changing Experience for if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Cor. 5:17
1. Praise God!
2. A New Life In Christ!
Saul was going about his predetermined, self-appointed task of removing the blight of society from off the face of the earth when he encountered the Lord! The first step in this Life Changing Experience was
I. SALVATION, Acts 9:3-9 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:  And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?  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.  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.  And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.  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.  And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. Please note three specific things:
A. First, There Was Illumination, Acts 9:3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
1. As I read I could not help but think of so many verses which speak of illumination or the lack thereof, two of which are
a. 2 Cor. 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.