Summary: 2 of 3 messages on the salvation of Saul and his transition into the Apostle Paul
Changed From Inside Out
"Before and after" pictures make very convincing proof of change.
The problem is that this kind of change is all on the surface.
Beauty is skin deep - Ugly goes all the way through!
Saul Changed From Inside Out
What happened is that Saul changed dramatically and completely.
But it wasn’t just a surface makeover.
It was a real change that started in the innermost parts of his heart - in the secret places where the little doubts lived and eventually began to grow into monsters of despair and uncertainty.
Saul’s "Before" Life:
With written warrants of arrest issued by the high priest, he set out for Damascus, a city 135 miles N.E. of Jerusalem.
But this is not bad. This is how real change takes place.
Saul’s "After Life"
In this message I want to consider the after picture
Let’s look at real change
The kind that works from Inside Out
(9:17) Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord--Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here--has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
(9:18) Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized,
(9:19) and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. (9:20) At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.
(9:20) At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.
(9:21) All those who heard him were astonished and asked, "Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?"
(9:22) Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.°
Real Change comes from the Inside
Let’s talk about Ananias a little.
Ananias a remarkable man
He was a really remarkable fellow. This had to be a bit scary for him. Saul’s movements were not in secret. His activities were well known. And Ananias was on the hit list!
Yet when God told him to go to Saul and to tell him about Jesus he went.
Listen folks if you are going to really follow God and really trust him with your life there is one thing you have to get and get it good...
It’s God’s world. It’s God’s church. It’s God’s people. He is in charge and He will prevail. Now, that is easy to say and hard to live by - especially if you live in Afganistan and you are a Christian with a Taliband govenment that says you can’t tell people about Jesus.
I want to encourage you with a simple truth.
God can change the heart of a person.
Change on the Inside is God’s work and He’s good at it!
In fact God specializes in this kind of change.
Trust God to do his work well
This is about the time of year when some people who should know better start trying to give you their extra tomatoes. Tomatoes are an amazing fruit (they are a fruit by the way). I know people who put them out in the spring and always put out a few extra plants - just in case. They always end up with car loads of huge ripe tomatoes.
Here is the truth: You plant, you water, you fertilize - God causes it to grow! Not you. Not the farmers in California or Florida. God makes it grow and we really don’t understand it at all.
But it sure is exciting to watch God work!
I want to encourage you to Look for opportunities and Listen to his voice.
Don’t be surprised at who God works in and who he calls on to harvest the fruit.
It might be someone you’d never even dream would fall in love with Jesus and it may be you that God sends to talk to them about a real and authentic relationship with His son Jesus.
God’s word does not return void. It is powerful beyond belief
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Don’t ever be surprised at who God’s word touches.