Summary: Sometimes lost people reject the Gospel because they do not understand, sometimes because they do. We must be faithful and recognize the results are in God’s hands, not ours.
A Tectonic Collision: Truth Confronts Hatred
1. We have had our embarrassing social situations.
2. One woman writes, “This is my favorite story… and it’s a true one. I’ve made my mother tell this story so many times she’s got to be sick of it.
“My mom, Rhonda Willeford, has a beautiful singing voice. Because of that, she is often asked to sing at weddings, funerals, and such. One time, when she was in her mid-twenties, she was asked to sing for an 80 year old woman’s funeral. Mom lived about an hour away from the church, so she had to dress and get ready at home and then drive the hour long trip.
“As she was walking up the sidewalk at the church, another woman stopped her. “Have you been by the funeral home?” Mom replied that she had not, that she had just gotten into town.
“She’s wearing that dress,” the woman said.
Mom listened intently, thinking the woman was trying to communicate that there was something sentimental about the deceased woman’s dress. Mom asked, “What dress?”
“The one you have on!”
Panic ensued. How strange is that–to sing at a funeral, dressed as the deceased??? Then when you add the age gap…
There was no time to change–she lived an hour away. There wasn’t enough time to go shopping–she needed to be doing her mic check at that very moment. Mom was mortified.
She and the funeral director found the only workable option: they rearranged all of the flowers so that Mom could be completely hidden as she was singing. She then slipped out and left. [source: rashelcornish.com]
3. Embarrassing situations are bad enough, but hostile situations are worse. They can explode like a volcano.
4. My oldest grandson is fascinated with Volcanoes Both volcanoes and earthquakes have the same underlying perpetrators, the tectonic plates, the huge slabs of slate that are the foundation for the earth’s surface. If one is moving and gets stuck, and then breaks free, we have an earthquake.
If two tectonic plates collide, they form a convergent plate boundary. Usually, one of the converging plates will move beneath the other, a process known as subduction. ... The new magma (molten rock) rises and may erupt violently to form volcanoes, often building arcs of islands along the convergent boundary [source: https://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov]
5. This illustrates a spiritual volcano that erupted in Jerusalem as Paul the Apostle was explaining his conversion, and the instructions Jesus gave him.
Today’s sermon is about speaking the right language to quell a riot, one solitary word that reignited a greater riot, attempted flogging in violation of the law, and Roman soldiers in deep, deep trouble.
Main Idea: Sometimes lost people reject the Gospel because they do not understand, sometimes because they do. We must be faithful and recognize the results are in God’s hands, not ours.
I. Paul Had the OPPORTUNITY to Share His Testimony (1-21).
One of the best ways to share Christ is to share your testimony.
A. Paul shared his BACKGROUND as a devout Jew (1-5).
1. He spoke Hebrew fluently.
2. He was very strict in his religious practice, discipled by Gamaliel.
3. He persecuted Christians because he thought them heretics.
4. He was specially authorized by the high priest to tract down Jewish Christians.
5. The high council, high priests, and Jewish elders held Saul in high esteem.
B. Paul shared HOW he came to faith in Jesus as Israel’s Messiah (6-11).
1. On road to Damascus, a great light.
2. Other heard noise but could not understand intelligible speech –except Paul.
3. Jesus asks why he was persecuting Him.
4. Paul has no idea Who He is talking to?
5. Paul asks Jesus what to do. God to Damascus.
6. Paul was blind from the great light.
7. Do you remember your conversion? It probably wasn’t like Paul’s, but just as miraculous. We are brought to spiritual life from spiritual death….
8. I came to Christ 47 years ago…hard to believe…
C. God prepared Ananias to ACCLIMATE Paul to the faith (12-16).
1. Christ appeared to Ananias in a vision to prepare him.
2. Ananias prayed over Paul to restore his sight.
3. He told Paul that God has set him apart as a special witness to others.
4. Ananias immersed him n Christian baptism and told him to call on the name of the Lord for forgiveness of sin.
I Peter 3:21, Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…
5. Baptism is a test of our obedience, a symbol of the Gospel, and the formalization of our conversion. In Acts, there are not unbaptized believers, so that issue doesn’t come up because the question was never raised. What we do learn, however, is that NT believers are saved the same as OT believers, by grace through faith alone.