Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: The story of Paul on the road to Damascus. How did this change the future of Christianity?

Blinded by the Light (NLT)

(The Story of Paul from Acts 9)

Background of Paul

Name means-“one asked for”

He was born in Tarsus which is modern day Turkey.

Jewish parents who were also Roman citizens.

Paul was a determined, stubborn man. Exactly what God needed to carry his message to the Gentiles.

Romans 1:1-6

1 This letter is from Paul, Jesus Christ’s slave, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News. 2 This Good News was promised long ago by God through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. 3 It is the Good News about his Son, Jesus, who came as a man, born into King David’s royal family line. 4 And Jesus Christ our Lord was shown to be the Son of God when God powerfully raised him from the dead by means of the Holy Spirit. 5 Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name. 6 You are among those who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ, 7 dear friends in Rome. God loves you dearly, and he has called you to be his very own people. May grace and peace be yours from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Key Verses for Life of Paul

1 Thess. 1:1-2:12

Paul always prayed for, and was concerned with the churches he started. He brought the Word of God to Thessalonia. He always guided people. 1st and 2nd Thessalonians were written to answer their questions. He lived what he preached to people and that increased the power of his message. His aim and purpose what to please God not people and he made no apologies for that.

Galatians 1:11-2:16

Not everybody liked Paul’s message. He made it clear the message was coming from God and not him. Paul was the best of the best when it came to Jewish Law, but that changed after his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus.

Paul considered himself Christ’s ambassador. What is an ambassador? He is an authorized representative of a sovereign. He speaks not in his own name but on behalf of the ruler whose deputy he is, and his whole duty and responsibility is to interpret that ruler’s mind faithfully to those to whom he is sent.

Paul used this "ambassador" image twice -- both in connection with his evangelistic work. Pray for me, he wrote from prison, "that utterance may be given me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak" (Eph. 6:18-20). He wrote also that God "gave us the ministry of reconciliation...So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God" (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).

Paul called himself an ambassador because he knew that when he proclaimed the gospel facts and promises and urged sinners to receive the reconciliation effected at Calvary, he was declaring Christ’s message to the world. The figure of ambassadorship highlights the authority Paul had, as representing his Lord, as long as he remained faithful to the terms of his commission and said neither less nor more than he had been given to say.

James Packer, Your Father Loves You, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986.

Paul was not always a brave messenger for Jesus Christ

Paul was a Pharisee-strictly adheres to Mosaic Law and Jewish customs. If there was no Law for something they would make one up.

Galatians 1:14

14 I was one of the most religious Jews of my own age, and I tried as hard as possible to follow all the old traditions of my religion.

Paul’s entire world, mindset, and theology were forever changed on the road to Damascus.

Acts 9

The trip from Jerusalem to Damascus would have been a week long trip covering some 150 miles.

Acts 9:1-2

9 Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath. He was eager to destroy the Lord’s followers, so he went to the high priest. 2 He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains.

Paul had the full blessing of the Pharisees to capture and persecute Christians. Thought it was his duty as a “good Jew” to put and end to this foolish idea. He considered Christians to be rule breakers.

“The Way”-first name given to Christians, not called Christians until Acts 11:26 by the church at Antioch.

Acts 9:3-4

3 As he was nearing Damascus on this mission, a brilliant light from heaven suddenly beamed down upon him! 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”

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