Summary: Paul's incredible expereince that changed his life, and others.
As we begin this message we need to look at this man named Saul. He was:
1)Very religious – blameless according to the Law of Moses, a Pharisee among Pharisees, very zealous for the faith of his fathers and absolutely convinced that he was doing the Will of God.
2)Rich Heritage – a Jew among Jews, born into the tribe of Benjamin
3)Well educated – Trained at the feet of Gamaliel, one of Israel’s greatest teachers of the day
4)Ambitious – advancing quickly up the ranks of the Pharisees and had ability, desire and talent far above his peers.
5)Full of bitterness and hatred – hated anything and anyone who could be a threat to the things that he believed, and those who would cause trouble for his people and those who opposed the teachings of the high priest and the Law of Moses. He hated those who preached and taught heresy against the Law that had led Israel for so many years.
6)A man of Loyalty – sought out the permission and approval of the High Priest before he acted
READ verses 1-2. Saul was on his way to do the Will of God as he traveled to Damascus – at least what he thought was God’s will. Saul was destined for a confrontation, for change and for the greatest challenge of his life!
I want you to know that we are traveling down that road too! Too many Christians are convinced that they are the only ones that are right. We have become such a self-centered church (the church in general) that we think that we have the right and moral and spiritual obligation to fight against anything and anybody that is different.
Just like Saul, we set out on our journey to defend the faith with “blood in our eye”. We are determined to confront, convert or convict anyone who doesn’t agree with us. There is no love for the lost – only condemnation and judgment for what we see as “sinners who hate God.” The majority of those who claim to know Christ today are bent on confrontation with the world and with the society around them.
Show your support by joining our March, or walking our picket line, or boycotting our enemy or blocking the entrance to a building or any number of methods of disrupting the plans of those we consider as our enemies. I am as much, if not more, against many of the same things that these well-meaning and totally convinced people are, but I believe that there is a far better way to bring about the changes that are needed.
Saul headed out ready for confrontation with the enemy of the Law of Moses. He rode along with his vigilante committee with the permission of the High Priest. He would do everything within his own power to stop the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ and to arrest or kill his followers.
READ v. 3. Suddenly – a blinding flash of light knocked him off his high horse.
GOD KNOWS HOW TO GET YOUR ATTENTION! God showed up and interrupted Saul’s plans. God shot a laser beam of light out of the throne room of Heaven and knocked Paul to the ground.
Suddenly all of the education, the plans, the hatred, the condemnation that had been controlling Saul was erased in one quick flash and Saul became the accused and the condemned. The God of Heaven had hunted down the hunter and felled his prey.
READ v. 4. Saul had not really heard the voice of God. He had listened only to the voice of religion and of the world. But now he heard a different voice – a voice with power and authority that shook him to the core of his soul. Think about this voice that Saul heard. Do you realize that:
This same voice had spoken the world into existence?
This same voice had called to Adam in the Garden.
This same voice had spoken judgment upon Satan, the serpent and all of creation as a result of sin.
This same voice had spoken to Moses on Mt. Sinai and given the Law.
This same voice had spoken to Lazarus and raised him from the dead.
This same voice had raised the Window’s son at Nain.
This same voice had caused the Soldiers to fall backward in the Garden of Gethsemane.
This same voice had cried out, “it is finished” as he paid the price of redemption on the cross.
This same voice cries out to us today – follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
This same voice speaks to each of you – this is my will for your life, now do it.
This same voice will someday say to us “Well done my good and faithful servant.”