Summary: The Body of Christ functions best when individual believers have an attitude of "yes" toward God.
1. Life has its awkward or distasteful moments. A recent Time article read:
2. "Have economic times gotten so bad that some of the dead are going unburied? Several large counties across the country are experiencing unprecedented increases in the number of unclaimed deceased - not only because the dead people could not be identified, were indigent or were estranged from their family, but also apparently because more people simply cannot afford to bury or cremate their loved ones. The phenomenon has increased costs for local governments, which have to dispose of the bodies."
3. When God told Ananias, a devout Jewish Christian, to seek out Saul of Tarsus, the great persecutor and hater of the church, it was awkward and distasteful.
4. I mentioned that, apart from Jesus, Paul most important man Christian history.
5. We don’t know what Paul looked like; it doesn’t matter. But this past week, they discovered a 4th century painting of Paul. (show painting of Paul)
6. Paul left his mark not in the art world, but in our Bibles, 13 books
7. Despite the anointing Paul had, not a loner; could depend upon others -- team player.
8. Some of us, in this nation of rugged individuals, are weak when it comes to team play.
9. We somehow think that God’s commands are really just suggestions
10. The opposite attitude is one of submission: "yes, here I am Lord" perspective.
Main Idea: The Body of Christ functions best when individual believers have an attitude of "yes" toward God.
I. Submitting To God’s WILL Before We Know It Can Lead in Surprising Directions (9:10-19)
A. Ananias Was Called to An AWKWARD Task (10-14)
1. Ananias was not a leader, just a disciple; this was the greatest time of his life
2. The HS works independently from the apostles; an obscure layman lay hands upon the greatest of all the apostles
3. Also note the “double vision” here; both Ananias and Paul had visions
4. Ananias answers, literally, “I am here.” Did God really misplace him?
5. What a contrast to Adam and Eve who tried to hide from God, or Saul, who had to ask, “Who are you, Lord?”
6. How like the young lad Samuel, who said, "Speak, for your servant hears."
B. God’s Will, However, Was Purposeful and CLEAR (15-16)
"…my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles…"
1. Similar to what happens between Peter and Cornelius in Acts 10
2. A double vision, Peter questions God, objection overcome, and Peter obeys
3. awkward, uncomfortable, stressful, uneasy, distasteful; outside his comfort zone.
C. Ananias OBEYED (17)
1. Ananias goes to Straight Street, which is still the main east-west thoroughfare in Damascus! He goes to the home of a leading Jew named Judas, who was probably quite perplexed!
2. Note that Ananias calls Paul “Brother.” We are saved at the point of belief; Paul’s eyes were not yet healed, he had not yet received the Holy Spirit, and he had not yet been baptized; but he is already a brother in the Lord.
D. Ananias was BLESSED (18-19)
1. He lays hands on Saul
2. Scales fall off his eyes
3. He is filled with the Holy Spirit
4. He then follows Jesus in Believer’s Baptism
5. Ananias provides food for Paul to end his 3 day fast
The Body of Christ functions best when individual believers have an attitude of "yes" toward God.
II. Notice the COORDINATION Between Believers
A. Paul was BLESSED through Ananias
1. A balance in Scripture between leaders and laymen
2. The "priesthood of all believers" and the Reformation
3. This was Paul’s first friendly Christian relationship
B. The Church would be Mega-blessed by PAUL
1. But Ananias would have fellowship, participation with Paul
2. Laymen develop leaders and leaders develop laymen
3. The word "collaboration" is defined as, "to work jointly with others or together"
C. The Church is a Two-Direction Body: VERTICAL and Horizontal
1. God saved Paul without human intervention, but God set things up so that Paul needed another to continue
2. God speaks to us but the Word also provide a blueprint for Body Life & church
3. God has ordained it so that you are incomplete apart from a church body, and a church body is incomplete apart from its individuals…lots of people don’t get this.
4. He wants you to have a "Yes" attitude not only toward Him, but toward His body, the church. You cannot love Jesus and hate the bride He loves so much.
D. RELATIONAL Probation is part of life
1. Ananias would not have trusted Paul if God had not given him a vision
2. Others gave Paul a chance, at first from a distance
3. Trust is not meant to be immediate; trust is earned through faithfulness