Summary: The God’s call is always a divine disruption. Salvation, discipleship, and service will disrupt your normal activities and redirect your life. It is life changing, redirecting, lonely, scary, but totally worth it!
Sermon: God’s Divine Disruption
Scripture: Acts 9: 1-18 Saul’s Conversion
“Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. So he went to the high priest. 2 He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains. 3 As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?” 5 “Who are you, lord?” Saul asked. And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! 6 Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7 The men with Saul stood speechless, for they heard the sound of someone’s voice but saw no one! 8 Saul picked himself up off the ground, but when he opened his eyes he was blind. So his companions led him by the hand to Damascus. 9 He remained there blind for three days and did not eat or drink. 10 Now there was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord!” he replied. 11 The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. 12 I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.” 13 “But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! 14 And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.” 15 But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. 16 And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.” 17 So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Introduction – One of the descriptive terms that defines God’s work in the world is disruption. Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Ruth and Naomi, Daniel and Isaiah and many others all had to come to terms with their lives being thrown into disarray. A common pattern emerges among these biblical figures whose lives God chooses to disrupt, God will disrupt lives and plans to accomplish his purpose. Disorientation became the order of the day in the early church. Amid the expansion, opposition, Jewish and Roman oppression, the church moved forward. A disruption is a major disturbance, something that changes your plans or interrupts our event or process. A disruption causes a break in the action, especially an unplanned and confusing one. Disruption may cause one to think and act differently, and maybe see opportunities and truth where you have not looked before. Saul’s conversion was a divine disruption. It changed his life, direction, understanding and purpose.
Our lesson is a story of a divine disruption in the life of Saul of Tarsus. Saul had been taught to work with his own hands, a tent maker by trade. He could travel with a few leather-working tools and set up shop anywhere. It is doubtful that his family was wealthy or aristocratic, but he was well educated. Saul was a member of the Pharisees, a religious party that believed in life after death, which was one of Saul’s deepest convictions. They accepted nonbiblical “traditions” and Saul was an expert in those “traditions.” Saul was the best Jew and the best Pharisee of his generation. Saul spent much of the first half of his life persecuting the new Christian movement. The chief persecutors of the Christian movement in Jerusalem were the high priest and his associates. It is possible that Saul believed that Jewish converts to the new movement were not sufficiently observant of the Jewish law, mingled too freely with Gentiles, and held to the notion of a crucified messiah. All of which made the movement a target of his wrath.
Saul’s persecutions involved traveling from synagogue to synagogue and urging the punishment of Jews who accepted Jesus as the messiah. Disobedient members of synagogues were ostracized or by light flogging. Saul was on his way to Damascus when he experienced a divine disruption. He had a vision that changed his life. God revealed his Son to Saul, and he saw the Lord. Following that revelation, God called Saul to a new direction, new life, and new assignment. Sometimes divine disruptions are necessary. Saul begins using his Greek name, Paul. Paul believed that his vision proved that Jesus lived in heaven, that Jesus was the Messiah and God’s Son, and that he would soon return. Moreover, Paul thought that the purpose of this revelation was his own appointment to preach among the Gentiles and he understood his own place in God’s plan. Throughout his ministry Paul recounted his encounter with God. It was a divine disruption.