Summary: No RENEGADE of grace is TOO FAR from the long arm of the Lord.
Shortly after I had left the livestock business, I was sitting in my office at FBC Quitman, GA where I just begun serving as the minister of youth and education. I received a call from my dad and he told me he was in a dilemma. He said their semi driver had just unloaded a load of hogs at the local packing house which was also in Quitman. The driver jumped off the side of the truck and turned his ankle, he thought it might be broken. Dad needed me to go over and see what I could do.
I got in my car and drove over to find the semi backed up to the loading dock and the driver there, in pain, holding his left ankle. There was no way he could drive the semi because he couldn’t press the clutch, but he could drive my car because it was an automatic. We determined I would drive the semi to my house about 4 miles away, park it, he would follow in my car, then I’d take him to the emergency room. Now mind you, although I had driven the semi many times on the farm, I had never driven it on the road – nor did I have a commercial license to drive it on the road.
Well, here I am, sitting behind the wheel of a big-rig 18-wheeler. I cranked the diesel engine and put it in the first of 18 gears. I pulled out of the packing house onto the street and as I did I heard a creaking sound. I didn’t pay much attention to it but I later discovered that I had taken out part of their chain link fence with the trailer. You know those stickers on the back of semis that say, “Caution, wide right turns.” There’s a reason you’re supposed to make wide right turns. As I got to the end of that street I came to the intersection of the 4-lane divided highway that goes right through the center of town. As the traffic was clear, I made another right hand turn onto the highway. This time, I didn’t hear a creaking sound but I did feel a little bump and assumed the back tires of the 45ft trailer had gone up on the curb. The truck driver pulled up beside me in my car, honking the horn and yelling, “Make wider turns!!!” I later discovered I had taken out a telephone pole, cracked it in half and the top half was dangling from the wires.
When I finally got to the house, I parked the semi without further incident. When I went inside the house, the phone rang. It was my dad who said he just received a call from the Quitman city police saying that his semi was involved in a hit and run accident, destruction of city property, and they were in search of the driver. I was a wanted man
As we continue our series through the book of Acts this morning, we’re going to look at another wanted man whose crimes were much more notorious than mine. His name was Saul. And in Acts chapter 9, he’s finally apprehended. That’s how Paul refers to his capture by Christ in Philippians 3: Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12 (KJV)
Saul, who later became known as Paul, referred to his conversion experience here in chapter 9 as being “apprehended of Christ Jesus.” That word the KJV translates “apprehended” means to lay hold of, to seize, to capture or to catch. We find the first account of Paul being apprehended in this passage before us today. I say the first account, because Paul retells this event a couple more times in the book of Acts. We’ll look at those accounts as well in order to expand and understand all that happened.
1But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.