Summary: The Great Commission ought to drive us like it drove Saul.
A Man On A Mission
Text: Acts 9:20-31
1. Illustration: You gotta love a man on a mission. LeBron James is currently a man on a mission. Since returning to the Cavaliers last summer he has recruited players, caused previously selfish players to accept a role with a team and put their selfishness aside, worked side by side with a coach he was unfamiliar with, held the team together through a playoff run that has been riddled with serious injuries, and has encouraged previously unheralded players to step up and fill a need. Currently he has his team in the NBA finals. He is a man on a mission to bring a championship home to Cleveland.
2. While winning an NBA championship is a great mission to have, it pales in comparison to the Great Commission. That's the mission that Saul (Paul) was on, and one that we should be on.
3. You can always tell a person on a mission because they're...
A. Chomping At The Bit
B. Devil's On Their Back
C. Other's Want To Help
4. Let's stand together as we read Acts 9:20-31.
Proposition: The Great Commission ought to drive us like it drove Saul.
Transition: The first clue that a person is on a mission is they're always...
I. Chomping At The Bit (20-22).
A. Immediately He Began Preaching
1. One things for certain, when you are on fire for God and have a call on your life you can't wait to get started.
A. Jeremiah 20:9 (NLT)
But if I say I’ll never mention the LORD or speak in his name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it!
B. If you don't get that message out it's like it's burning a hole right through you.
2. This was the situation for Saul, and he couldn't wait to get to work. As Luke tells us, "And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is indeed the Son of God! All who heard him were amazed. “Isn’t this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem?” they asked. “And didn’t he come here to arrest them and take them in chains to the leading priests?”
A. Saul at once became part of the body of disciples in Damascus. Because he accepted the Lord's commission, he did not wait to start preaching Christ.
B. He did not go to the Gentiles immediately.
C. Instead, as he would continue to do, he went to "the people of Israel" (v. 15) first. Here he went to the synagogues where he had intended to search out the believers and send them bound to Jerusalem.
D. But to everyone's astonishment, almost knocking them out of their senses, Saul, filled with the Spirit, repeatedly proclaimed Christ Jesus as the "Son of God."
E. The content of Saul's preaching in the Damascus synagogues focused on Jesus: "Jesus is the Son of God" (v. 20) and "Jesus is the Messiah."
F. That Saul could preach such a message immediately after his conversion is not impossible because the certainty of Jesus' messiahship was deeply implanted in his soul by his experience on the Damascus road.
G. And while he had much to understand and appreciate about the implications of commitment to Jesus as Israel's Messiah, he was certainly in a position to proclaim with conviction and enthusiasm the foregone conclusion of Jesus as Messiah (Longnecker, The Expositor's Bible Commentary – Volume 9: John and Acts, 376).
H. The people could hardly believe that this was the same person who "raised havoc" among (laid waste, ravaged, brought destruction on) those in Jerusalem who called on this Name (Horton, 186).
3. We can also be assured that this was no wild mannered, weak kneed preaching either. That fire in his bones had to come out. It says in v. 22, "Saul’s preaching became more and more powerful, and the Jews in Damascus couldn’t refute his proofs that Jesus was indeed the Messiah."
A. Saul, however, was "more and more" filled with the mighty power of the Holy Spirit. He later said, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength" (Phil. 4:13).
B. By divine enablement he "baffled the Jews" living in Damascus, confounding and throwing them into amazement and confusion.
C. Those who heard Saul preach, Luke says, were "astonished" and "baffled." But with his interest in advance and growth, Luke also says that "Saul grew more and more powerful," suggesting by that a growth in his understanding of the meaning of commitment to Jesus as Messiah and Son of God and also an increasing ability to demonstrate the validity of his proclamation (Longnecker, 376).