Summary: When God works deeply in a life, spectators can become dizzy and confused.

A Perplexing Faith

(Acts 9:19b-31)

1. PARIS (AFP) – Heart attack survivors who eat chocolate two or more times per week cut their risk of dying from heart disease about threefold compared to those who never touch the stuff, scientists have reported.

…the new study, led by Imre Janszky of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, is the first to demonstrate that consuming chocolate can help ward off the grim reaper if one has suffered acute myocardial infarction -- otherwise known as a heart attack.

"It was specific to chocolate -- we found no benefit to sweets in general," said Kenneth Mukamal, a researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and a co-author of the study. "It seems that antioxidants in cocoa are a likely candidate" for explaining the live-saving properties, he told AFP in an exchange of e-mails.

2. It seems like everything they used to say was bad for you is now good for you, and everything they said was good for you is bad for you -- or not as good as they thought.

3. Take raw vegetables and spinach. They now say raw spinach is not nearly as good for you as cooked; the same is true with tomatoes. The cookies releases nutrients your body would not absorb otherwise.

4. There are lots of confused and confusing people and facts in life.

5. And sometimes God’s working in someone’s life can be very confusing…like Paul’s.

Main Idea: When God works deeply in a life, spectators can become dizzy and confused.

I. The PERPLEXING Nature of Paul’s Faith to the Jews (19b-25)

Geography (and Galatians 1) takes us from Damascus to Arabia back to Damascus to Jerusalem to Tarsus (map will be projected)

A. The Synagogue LEADERS Were Puzzled

1. Paul was welcome in the synagogues, this meant he kept the Law

2. His great training under Gamaliel gave him credibility

3. But his reversal about Jesus being the Messiah upset them

4. And his expertise at proving that Jesus was the Messiah from the Old Testament "baffled them." Still best apologetic.

B. Paul becomes a NEW enemy to the unbelieving, hostile Jews

1. Their plan: to kill him

2. Paul escapes in a basket

3. Note how inconsistent God’s miracles are: The Holy Spirit transports Philip but Paul escapes in a basket.

C. Paul was in Arabia for perhaps 3 years (see your notes). This is where God gave Moses the Law (Mt. Sinai) and where Elijah the prophet escaped to, where he heard the voice of God. It is in that same region where Paul was instructed by the Holy Spirit.

Probably a period of preparation and developing his theology. It was also about the same amount of time the disciples spent with Jesus.

When God works deeply in a life, spectators can become dizzy and confused

II. The Perplexing Nature of Paul’s Faith to the DISCIPLES (26-30)

A. Saul was DREADED by the church (26)

1. Their hesitation was understandable.

2. But Saul needed the church; he was now a believer; his old friends were now his enemies, and those who should be his new friends wanted nothing to do with him.

3. He was like the little boy who had made his mom and dad very upset with him. So they made him sit by himself at a different table during the evening meal. After the meal was finished and everyone was getting up, the boy quickly bowed his head and prayed, "Thank you, Lord, for preparing a table before me in the presence of my enemies." [source: sermon central, Steve Shepherd]

B. Barnabas embraces and CONNECTS Paul (27)

1. Barnabas’ nature to take others under his wings, develop them, & connect them.

2. Steve Shepherd used this illustration:

I heard about one young man who had come from a pretty wild life to accept Christ. And even though he had been wild he was very friendly, funny and everybody seemed to like him. People couldn’t help but like him. He wasn’t in the church very long when a man from his Sunday School class called him on the phone and said, "I was just wondering how you were doing tonight."

The new convert replied, "Well, I’m just sitting here all by myself realizing that I can’t have any women and can’t go out with my old drinking buddies. I was just thinking about the joy of the Christian life!" [Source: Sermoncentral]

3. When someone is new to our church, do you ever take it upon yourself to connect them to others? Or do you leave it to somebody else … maybe nobody? Do you introduce them to others or invite them to activities? Out to eat?

4. The mission of HPC is Reach, Connect, and Deepen.

C. Paul debates with the GRECIAN Jews (28-29)

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