Summary: Lessons drawn from the story of Ananias of Damascus
An Unsung Hero Acts 9:10-19
INTRO.: The story of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus includes the name of an unsung hero of the faith. Saul’s encounter on the Damascus Rd. with the Lord is recorded in verses 1-9. Following three days of blindness on his part, we are introduced to Ananias, a disciple in Damascus. All we know of him is told in our text.
Ananias was an ordinary Christian. Nothing is said of his having any office in the Church. His name, which means "Jehovah is gracious," tells us little about him.
We can’t help admiring his courage. He was an ordinary Christian who put his life on the line to obey God’s command. He is one of those little known and seldom praised saints who faithfully did his ordinary job in the ordinary way and was allowed to participate in a most extraordinary event affecting Christians all over the world right down to the present time.
In short, he is the stuff all great Churches are made of. What did he do that made him such a great man?
I. He heard God’s call: 10-12
A. He was receptive to the voice of God:
1. Most of us are too busy with the world’s pursuits.
2. Don’t know what God expects, let alone obey Him.
3. If you think that’s exaggeration, ask yourself how many Bible chapters you read last week or how much time did you spend praying.
4. If you must say none, then the world is crowding God out of your life.
B. He answered God’s call:
1. Receptive to God’s voice. Ready for God’s task.
2. If not a soul winner, he was ready to be one.
3. Bible calls upon all of us to be ready. I Pet. 3:15
4. Each Christian doing his part is the secret of growth
5. "If we depend on God alone to make the Church grow, it won’t grow." - Dr. Wayne Shaw
6. ILLUS.: the preacher said, "The Lord has really given you a beautiful farm." the farmer replied, "Yes but you should have seen it when the Lord had it alone." Irreverent but true.
II. He followed God’s directions: 17a
A. It was not easy to do so.
1. He knew there was risk involved.
2. He was one of Saul’s intended victims.
3. Had to have God’s assurance he would be safe.
4. Even having received that assurance, his decision was a truly heroic one.
B. He actually went where he didn’t want to go:
1. Might have been tempted to run like Jonah.
2. Have you ever done something for God you didn’t want to do or gone where you didn’t want to go?
3. We must be willing to proclaim God’s Word everywhere He sends.
4. It is a job for all of us. Each one telling another is how the Gospel is most effectively spread.
5. The mark of a great Church is not how many gather for worship, but how many scatter to witness.
III. He preached God’s message: 17b, 18
A. The content of his message is shown in Paul’s version of the story in A. 22:12-16
1. God sent him. It was God’s message he preached.
2. God had a plan for Saul. 22:14-15
3. Sauls first act of obedience. 16
4. This is essentially the message every Christian is called upon to tell.
5. We cannot discount the price any more than if we were a clerk in someone else’s store.
B. The result of Ananias’ testimony:
1. Saul is not only baptized. He immediately begins the work God called him to do.
2. No recognition is given Ananias, except he is mentioned in this record.
3. There was no "great harvest." Only one soul was won.
4. Yet, Ananias must have looked back on this hour with great satisfaction when Saul was winning multitudes to Christ.
CONC.: The Book of Acts is the story of the unhindered Gospel. It is the story of the proclamation of the Gospel to the entire world. Paul, the missionary, played a crucial role in that history. Ananias could not have fully undershoot Saul of Tarsus would become that great missionary.
Soul winning is an ordinary Christian task with extraordinary potential for good. We cannot know what changes may be brought about by a word spoken in behalf of Jesus.
The Gospel of Christ is an instrument for change in the lives of men and the world we live in. We have that power to use. Let’s not be ashamed or embarrassed to use it.