Summary: This is about Paul’s conversion.
Turning points are those things that happen, where after it life is never the same. Inventions are often turning points. The automobile altered life forever. The PC altered life forever. Cell phones (the electronic leash) altered life forever. It took almost a week for the assassination of A. Lincoln to get the England.
There are turning points in the history of the Church: Pentecost, the Reformation, the Wesleyan revivals and others. Paul’s conversion has been called the second most important event in the Book of Acts.
Read Acts 9:1-9.
Saul’s name was later changed to Paul.
CONFUSION about God.
Paul was a godly man. He was doing what he thought was right. These followers of the Way were distorting the true religion of God. Paul said of himself, “If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness, under the law blameless” (Phil. 3:4-6). Paul was a follower of God, but he missed God’s true will.
Do we miss God’s true will? Paul’s preconceived notions clouded his vision. Do we have preconceived notions about God’s will? Do we allow them to cloud our vision?
CONFRONTATION with God.
God had great plans for Paul. Paul was a zealous man. God wanted to turn that zeal to work for his will. This required that Paul be brought to a point of confrontation with God.
Paul was likely plagued by the death of Stephen, but to quell his thoughts he plunged into all out persecution of the church. The trip from Jerusalem to Damascus was 140 miles, which was a week’s journey, which gave Saul time to think. He would have passed through Galilee, the home area of Jesus. All these thoughts were running through his mind. When his heart was tender enough, God came and confronted him.
He is confronted with the risen Christ. He had stumbled over the cross of Christ. He couldn’t have been the Messiah. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (1 Cor. 1:23).
Paul is confronted with his persecution. Paul is confused still. How could he have been so wrong?
CALL of God.
God then calls him into his service. The once arrogant persecutor is turned into a humble servant. He is told to go on into the city and wait further instruction. God’s call for Paul was to be the apostle to the Gentiles. God had great plans for him.
God has great plans for us, but we have to listen for the call. Paul was so stubborn, God had to stop him in his tracks. Psalm 37:7 says, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” In order to hear God’s call we have to be quiet and listen. God forced Paul to be quiet and blind.
CHANGE toward God.
Paul’s life was changed at this very moment. He changed from a brash, self-righteous persecutor of the church into a humble servant. In all but two of his letters, Paul calls himself either a servant or apostle of Christ. Apostle meaning one who is sent.
Notice that Paul’s change didn’t change his personality. He approached his new relationship with God with the same zeal that he had in persecuting the church. Paul said, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:7-8).
Have you been radically altered by a God encounter?
CLEANSING from God.
God cleansed Paul. Paul had been responsible for numerous deaths of Christians, but God forgave him.
Forgiveness is for everyone. No one is beyond it. Paul was a murderer, but God used him to shape our faith. He wrote 13 of the 27 NT books.
CONNECTION to God.
Paul gained a greater connection to God during those three days. He went from saying prayers to praying. The religious, pious prayers that he was accustomed to saying would do him no God. He had to cry out to God.
We often say prayers: “Rub-a-dub-dub, thanks for the grub.” “Now I lay me down to sleep….” Is that really praying? No. Prayer is our connection and lifeline to God. Since Paul couldn’t see, he was forced to spend time with God.
We have to spend time connected to God. When power lines are down, we lose the connection, and our home are without power. How’s your connection to God?
YOUR GOD ENCOUNTER
What does God want from you? Are you confused about what God’s will is?