Summary: A very religious Saul, on the way to Damascus to persecute Christians, is transformed in an encounter with Christ. Saul, the persecutor becomes Paul, the world's greatest missionary, and people living today can have their lives transformed.
SERIES: Adventures in Acts 010
TITLE: A Life Transformed
TEXT: Acts 9:1-8
INTRO: One day a lady was leaving a beauty shop, when she met another lady who said, Mary Smith, I haven’t seen you in years, my how you’ve changed…slimmed down, hair different, clothing style, what a difference Mary! She replied, the name is Martha Jones…“Well, you’ve even changed your name!”
Something like that happened to Saul. Born in the City of Tarsus in the Roman province of Cilicia, a descendant of the tribe of Benjamin, Saul spoke both Hebrew and Greek. He was sent to Jerusalem to be trained in Jewish theology, became a Pharisee and was very zealous for his faith. From the time of Stephen's death, Saul became the leader of the persecution of the church. But something happened that transformed his life. One day, everything was changed and he became a different person.
I. SAUL ON THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS
A. Saul Was Very Religious
1. As a Pharisee, he studied the OT scriptures and prayed
2. He rigorously kept the letter of the law
3. He participate in all the rituals and ceremonies of the
B. He Set Out to Pursue the Followers of Jesus
1. Many of the Christians who had left Jerusalem went to
2. Saul didn't ask God what he wanted him to do
4. He got letters from the high priest to the synagogues
there, so he could bring them back to Jerusalem for
trial, prison, & death
3. He set out, accompanied by soldiers, on the way to
Damascus - 150 miles, a 7 day journey on foot
C. He Was Like a Wild Beast
1. He was enraged, (v.1) And Saul, yet breathing out
threatenings and slaughter
2. All the way, he was thinking about how he would drag
those people back to Jerusalem
3. He thought he was on God's side
(Act 26:9) "I verily thought with myself, that I ought to
do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of
4. But he found out just how wrong he was
(Pro 14:12) There is a way which seemeth right unto a
man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
# This past week, the Washington Cathedral invited Muslims to hold a prayer service in the cathedral. I imagine they thought they were being tolerant by allowing that, but they forgot there is only one God, one Savior, and one Way to heaven.
II. GOD GETS SAULS ATTENTION
A. Saul is Arrested By God
1. He thought he was going to arrest others, but God had
a different plan
2. It takes a lot to get through to a hard-head
#A farmer claimed that he could command his mule with nothing more than a few soft words, no whips or prods necessary. His friend asked him to prove it. He went out into the field and picked up a 2x4 and hit the mule in the head. His friend said "You said you only had to use words to get this mule to do what you want him to do. " The farmer replied, "Well, first I have to get his attention!"
B. Approaching Damascus Saul was blinded by the light
1. Where he was threatening, now he was trembling
2. Thought he was in control, now...under God’s control
3. God blinded him so He could open his eyes
C. Then He Heard a Voice (4-5)
1. The same voice that spoke the world into existence.
2. Same voice that spoke to Moses and gave the Law
3. Same voice that spoke to Lazarus and raised him...
4. Same voice had cried out, “it is finished” on the cross
5. -This same voice calls to us today, follow me
D. Saul Asked Two Questions
1. (Q) "Who art thou Lord?" (v.5)
(A) "I am Jesus whom thou persecutest"
2. (Q) "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" (v.6)
3. (A) "Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee
what thou must do."
E. Have You Ever Asked the Lord
1. What do you want me to do?
2. Or do you just do what you think you should do?
III. SAULS LIFE WAS TRANSFORMED
A. Became Like a Little Child
1. Led by the hand into the city
2. Met by Ananias, a disciple
B. Filled With the Holy Spirit
1. Eyes now opened
2. Became an Apostle & Missionary
3. Started churches all over the known world
4. Wrote 14 books of the NT
5. Endured suffering for the cause of Christ
6. Imprisoned, ship-wrecked, and ultimately gave his life
C. Finished Well
-He wrote to Timothy,
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (2Ti 4:7-8)