Summary: ’Tis the season, and we can see 3 schools God took Saul thru before he graduated as ’Paul.’ The schools of Solitude, Suffering, & Seasoning. Link included to formatted text, audio, and PowerPoint Presentation w/ graphics and animations.

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Back to School

Acts 9:21-30

ILL.- Teacher to student, “What are you – animal, vegetable or mineral?” The boy replied, “Vegetable. I’M A HUMAN BEAN.”

ILL.- It was the little girl’s first day at school and the teacher was making out her registration card. “What is your father’s name?” She said, “Daddy.”

“Yes, I know he’s your daddy, but what does your mother call him?” “Oh, she don’t call him anything. SHE LIKES HIM.”

ILL.- The teacher said, “Why don’t you brush your teeth? I can see what you had for breakfast this morning.”

Boy, “What did I have?” Teacher, “Eggs.” Boy, “You’re wrong! THAT WAS YESTERDAY!”

ILL.- A girl student to a boy student, “Too bad you flunked the test. How far were you from the right answers?” Boy, “TWO SEATS.”

ILL.- A father was examining his son’s report card. He said, “One thing is definitely in your favor. WITH THIS REPORT CARD YOU COULDN’T POSSIBLY BE CHEATING.”

ILL.- A librarian said, “Please, be quiet. The people next to you can’t read.” The little boy said, “What a shame! I’ve been reading since I was six.”

ILL.- Johnny’s first day of school the class was to put their right hands over their hearts and repeat the Pledge of Allegiance.

The teacher watched the children as he started the pledge, "I pledge allegiance to the flag..."

She stopped when she noticed Johnny’s right hand over the left side of his rear end. "Johnny, I will not continue until you put your hand over your heart,” the teacher said.

Johnny replied, "Ma’am, it is over my heart." After several attempts to get Johnny to put his hand over his heart, the teacher asked, "Why do you think that is your heart?"

"Because whenever my Granny visits, she picks me up, pats me here, and says, ’Bless your little heart!’"

Saul’s conversion was instantaneous, but his transformation into the Apostle Paul took some time…and it all happened when he went back to school…in 3 key locations. And there are tools God used in Saul’s life in each location:

1st place God sent him: desert of Arabia.


And in Arabia, God used the tool of Solitude on Saul.

v. 23 many days were fulfilled

The Bible often takes long periods of time and compresses them into a short statement. In this case, a 3 year period of time, acc’d to Gal. 1.

Galatians 1:15-18

But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, [16] To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: [17] Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. [18] Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.

He spent those 3 years in the Arabian Desert, alone w/ God! For 3 yrs., God Himself taught him!


Study the lives of great men and women of God, and each can point to some formative times they spent alone w/ God. They may have been surrounded by people, but they were at a point at which they felt that God was all they had…and in their solitude, God shaped and molded them.

Moses—you can divide his life into 3 40 yr. segments:

1st 40 yrs.—Pharaoh’s house

next 40—same Arabian Desert we read about today, just 3,000 years earlier!

Last 40—leading Israel out of Egypt and to Promised Land.

Which of these 3 40 yr. periods was most imp’t? We’d be tempted to say the latter, but I believe it never would’ve happened w/out the middle period of solitude and formation!

What was the last thing Moses did before leaving Egypt for the desert? He killed a man! He took matters into his own hands, in the power of the flesh, so God sent him to the desert and it took years to sandblast the pride out of him! He learned that when you come to the place that God is all you have you find He’s all you need!

David—when anointed king of Israel, the reigning king, another Saul, became so enraged w/ jealousy that he actually chased David thru the wilderness like an animal. Listen to the cry of David’s heart in his 7th Psalm:

Psalm 7:1-2

O Lord my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me: [2] Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver.

There’s a man that’s down, despondent, a man that feels like God has forgotten him!

Then in v. 10 it says:

Psalm 7:10

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W. Richards

commented on Jul 14, 2009

Your "Back To School" message on St. Paul was a real blessing to me as I was preparing to preach on Acts. 9:20-30. Thanks for sharing this powerful message.

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