Summary: The obedient disciple Ananias had the privilege to change history because he heard God’s voice, obeyed it, and loved Saul into the church.
Acts 9:10-20 - Being Used by God: Don’t Let it Slip Thru Your Fingers
I spent some time this week looking on the computer at actual excuses people use, or have used, or might someday use, to miss church. Here are a few: I missed church because the little guy had a cold. The whole family had to stay home to blow his nose! - I missed church last Sunday because there was a sermon in the radio - I had to miss Church because the kids wanted to sleep in - I couldn’t go to church today because I had a flat on the car and didn’t think we could all fit in the truck - I just had this feeling I shouldn’t be there - Church gives me gas! - I’ve worked all week so I’m too tired to go! - There are too many hypocrites in church - There are too many sinners in church - I’m too young - I’ll go when I’m too old to have any more fun - It’s boring - I’m not good enough - I’m still a sinner - I’ll go to church after I stop smoking, drinking, cussin’, etc. - I work six days a week. The seventh day belongs to me - The Sabbath day is Saturday, not Sunday - I don’t get up in time on Sunday morning - Why should I give my money to some church? - I don’t want to be around a bunch of bible thumpers - I don’t like the songs we have to sing - It’s too cold in there, why don’t they turn up the heat - It’s too hot, why don’t they get air conditioning - The air conditioner is too loud - I worship God at home when I’m alone - My wife doesn’t go, so why should I? - My husband doesn’t go, so why should I? - My family never went to church when I was a kid - Jesus wasn’t a blue eyed white man - I can’t find a baby sitter on Sunday - The songs are too old - Nobody notices when I’m gone anyway - I don’t go to church on Sunday because getting the kids dressed in their Sunday Best first thing in the morning makes me cuss - I don’t go to church cause I have a feeling that God doesn’t like agnostics - Veni, Vidi, Non-Velcro (I came, I Saw, I didn’t stick around.) - The devil made me do it! - I didn’t miss church. In fact I had quite a good time without coming to church - I didn’t go to church because I had a dream. God was in it and he said not to go! - I didn’t miss church; I found a new Church. It’s a wonderful Church: no singing, no sit-stand-kneel, it’s very peaceful. Every Sunday you can faithfully find me at Bedroom Baptist with Pastor Pillow.
People can find excuses to justify whatever it is they want to do. They can blame it on their feelings, their health, their job. Even in the church. It’s amazing what we try to get away with and give God the blame or credit for it.
Today we will meet a man who is an unsung hero in the New Testament, because in the end he ignored all excuses and obeyed God anyway. His name is Ananias, Acts 9:10-20.
This Ananias is not to be confused with the Ananias of Acts 5, who, along with his wife Sapphira, lied to the apostles and to God about how much money they were giving to help others. That one died at the hands of God. This Ananias is only found in Acts 9, but he plays an important part in the history of the church. God used this man to help bring Saul the persecutor into the church. Saul had just met Jesus, but knowing the Lord isn’t enough. God wants people in the church as well. It’s not that the church will save anyone, but the church is God’s tool to save the world. Apparently God thought that Christians are more useful with the church than without the church.
You know, we all struggle with the question: am I useful? Does this matter? Am I important? Is the world a better place with me? Yet so many just stop with those questions, and never do anything about the answers. Even among church folk: we will notice problems, but expect someone else to be the solution. Meanwhile, the incredible privilege to be used by God to help other people find Jesus slips through our fingers.
I remember one summer when I was on a ministry team down south counseling at camps. There were four of us on our team – 3 others and myself. The other 3 were all from Nova Scotia, the names of the other 3 all started with J, and I was the only one who was old enough to drive the rental van. We were a fun team. Anyway, I remember one night in a large North Carolina building. Chapel had just gotten over, and we were roaming around the room looking for people to help. Jeremiah and I both saw the same kid, and thought he needed help. I let Jeremiah go help. And Jeremiah had the wonderful honor of leading that kid to Jesus. I let it slip through my fingers, because I didn’t just get up and go do it myself.