Summary: Part 1 of a new series about encountering Jesus. This message addresses the cost of encountering Jesus and why it is worth the cost.
Sermon Series: Encountering Jesus
We are going to start a new sermon series today called “ENCOUNTERING JESUS.”
Because what you and I need more than anything else in the world is…An encounter with Jesus!
In this series we going to look in the Bible at different people’s encounters with Jesus
•To see what lessons can we learn to help us have our own encounter with Jesus
To start the series off I want us to look in the Bible at Acts chapter 9
•It’s here that we have the account of the Apostle Paul and his very first encounter with Jesus.
•And it’s here we get to learn some important lessons on what it means to encounter Jesus
Reading Acts 9:1-6
“Meanwhile, Saul (who later became the Apostle Paul) was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or Women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.
As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Who are you, Lord? Saul asked. I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.” (V1-6)
Lesson #1 about encountering Jesus
1. Encountering Jesus is very dangerous business!
Now I’m not trying to discourage any of us here from encountering Jesus…
I just don’t want someone to say later that “no one told me there were dangers involved in encountering Jesus." Because there are dangers involved in encountering Jesus. There always was and there always will be.
Look again at verses 1-2 and you will see that anyone who had encountered Jesus were targeted for violent persecution.
“Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or Women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.
In fact later on; after Saul had his very own encounter with Jesus we are told that
“After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him…Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.” (Acts 9:23-24)
Then after barely escaping this first attempt on his life he arrives in Jerusalem and we read…
“He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him. When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus. ” (Acts 9:29-30)
Here we see that in the case of Saul of Tarsus; To encounter Jesus and be caught for it amounted to a death sentence!
We might be tempted to think “well that was then…”
They don’t kill people for encountering Jesus anymore
In some parts of the world today if you encounter Jesus and it’s found out; you are violently persecuted and maybe even killed. Fact: It is estimated that over 160,000 people are killed each year for their faith in Christ!
I’m not suggesting we might get killed for encountering Jesus -but I am saying that there is always a danger to encountering Jesus and then telling others about it.
“Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
1.Because you have encountering Jesus you will be rejected by someone for it
2.Because you have encountered Jesus you will face resistance from someone for it
You could lose your job because you encountering Jesus
You could lose your friends because you encountered Jesus
Now there is one more piece of bad news I need to share about encountering Jesus
Again I just want to preclude someone saying nobody told me any of this
2. When you encounter Jesus He will tell you to do things you might be afraid to do
We see this clearly in Acts 9:10-17
“In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered. “The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
“Lord, Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”