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Summary: What made Saul look so different? How did they recognise the change? What was it about him that brought about such astonishment? Let’s see if we can pinpoint the changes that occurred. We want to discover how we as fellow believers should look, in order t

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ASTONISHED!

Acts 9:18-31

INTRODUCTION

Hold up picture of antlion and ask – ‘What do you think this is?’

(AWAIT RESPONSES)

Hold up picture of antlion pits and explain that these are the traps antlions build to catch their prey.

Hold up picture of lacewing and ask – ‘What do you think this is?’

(AWAIT RESPONSES)

How can we tell the difference between an antlion and a lacewing?

(AWAIT RESPONSE)

That’s right we’ve just got to look at them to see the difference – don’t we.

You know, in thinking about the antlion becoming a lacewing we come face to face with one of the most extraordinary transformations possible. Antlion and lacewing - same creature - profoundly different! The way each moves, what they eat, where they live, how they look – no similarity at all and yet one and the same!

Did you know that when someone becomes a Christian, an even greater transformation takes place! Listen to what the apostle Paul says – and he should know because he himself experienced this transformation when he met the risen Christ on the road to Damascus: ‘Therefore, (says Paul) if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!’ (2 Cor 5:17) And the ‘new’ that has come is in the person of the Holy Spirit. Scripture teaches us that by God’s Spirit we are ‘born again’ and by God’s Spirit we are changed and by God’s Spirit we are kept and by God’s Spirit we are sealed. Transformed into the image of Christ.

We are told in the passage that John read to us a little earlier that Saul in his new found life was ‘astonishing’. Listen again to verse 21, ‘All those who heard him were astonished & asked…’ ‘Is this the same Saul?! – this man bears no similarity to the Saul we know!’

What was it that made Saul so astonishing? We noted a moment ago that we can distinguish at a glance the antlion from the lacewing (HOLD UP PICTURES). What do we see when we look at the metamorphosed Saul. Saul was more than metamorphosed – he now had the risen Christ dwelling in him through the person of the Holy Spirit. And Christ had Saul in Him – Saul was ‘in Christ’.

What made Saul look so different? How did they recognise the change? What was it about him that brought about such astonishment? The antlion (HOLD UP PICTURES AGAIN) had become a lacewing – let’s see if we can pinpoint the changes that occurred. We want to discover how we as fellow believers should look, in order to be astonishing to those around us. We want as Saul did to give a living testimony to the reality of Jesus.

The first thing Saul did was -

1. Make His Trust In Jesus Public?

Look at verse 18 - ‘... He got up and was baptised…’ Saul wanted it to be known that he was different because Christ had changed him. Saul hadn’t changed himself – the risen conquering Christ had created Saul afresh! Astonishing!

Saul immediately publicly proclaimed his allegiance to Jesus Christ. He wanted it to be clear that he now belonged to the King of kings. He had gone from being His enemy to being His obedient subject.

If it is your desire to be astonishing for Jesus ask yourself these questions: ‘Have I made it public that my life is all that it is because of Him?’ ‘Have I been baptised?’ ‘Have I been obedient to my Lord in this regard?’ ‘Or is Jesus in fact not my Lord at all for I have not really surrendered to Him!?’ You see baptism goes way beyond ritual – it symbolises submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It proclaims that His death and resurrection are mine. It proclaims that in Him the antlion has become a lacewing.


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