Summary: This is a look at Sauls conversion on the road to Damascus and the consequences.
The lamp post experience (conversion)
"Have you ever had a lamp post experience?"
What do I mean by that? Well you know your walking down the street and then out of nowhere a lamppost appears and your walk straight into it."
Saul would hit something far bigger than a lamp post, on his way to Damascus with letters to persecute people of the way, he would encounter the One who said, "I am the Way the truth and the life." His walk would come to an abrupt stop, he would hit a dead end and his whole life would take a complete U - turn.
Saul had a rich heritage and a glowing Curriculum vitae. Saul was passionate and immersed in religion so much so he would persecute and even kill for what he believed in but on that day as he went out with letters from men. He would return with a word from God. Which would set his life on a whole new adventure.
Paul’s pre-conversion credentials
Here was a rising star in pharasical circles born in Tarsus and taught under Gamaliel in Jerusalem. He was from the tribe of Benjamin, circumcised on the 8th day, regarding the law he was faultless. Here was zealot in every matter of Religion. He was advancing beyond his peers Gal.1v13-14.
Saul knew his position in life a Pharisee, his purpose was advancement and his priority in life persecution!
We witness his priority in Act: 9 v1-2 Breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord and as he sought letters to continue and carry out his threats. Acts 8:1 He also approved the execution of Stephen. Acts 22.v4. I persecuted the followers of this way to their death arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison says Paul.
What would we call him today? A religious terrorist?
Here we see the need for religous people to be ruely converted.
Conversion is more than becoming deeply religious,
Saul was deeply religious, and his God was the living God yet prior to this encounter he served God according to the pharisaical law. But what God always desired from his people was mercy and not sacrifice. He was living according to rules; Here was a young man who went through the outward form with no inward change.
We need to beware of doing Church, being religous, doing things out of habit, having the outward form but without the inner reality of God the Holy Spirit.
Saul also served with his whole heart, Saul loved God and yet the very God he thought he was serving, he was fighting against. Saul was wrapped up in the form without the heart change that God himself brings.
People say, "If your hearts in the right place." But it’s not enough.
Islamic fundamentals serve God with all their heart. But lets never forget the human heart is corrupt...
Beware of the Human heart Jer 17:9 its decitful desperately wicked in its naural state. Somebody once said, "The heart of the problem is the problem of the human heart."
Christian Barnard was a South African heart surgeon who pioneered the first heart transplant. Yet he wasnt able to save himsef from dying of heart trouble. You see we cannot save ourselves. The heart change we need is radical only the greatest physician can ever accomplish it!