Summary: God’s light is the only way man can be saved as seen through the experience of Saul on the road to Damascus.
New Series: Christmas - A Celebration of Light (Acts 9:1-31)
Today’s Message – God’s Light calls us to Salvation (9:1-9)
1 December 2002
Christmas is a time for lights. It seems this weekend most of my neighbors were out hanging their annual Christmas lights. Lights are a wonderful way to illumine something. They captivate audiences at the 4th of July during fireworks. They illumine a field so our favorite baseball team can play or it allows our favorite receiver catch that game winning touchdown. Lights illumine our life. And in the spiritual realm, light does the very same thing – it illumines our lives. John 1:4 states, “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.”
Christmas is a celebration of lights, and more specifically of life. Because Jesus came into the world, his light revealed our need for spiritual life and when his light illumines our hearts, it reveals our need for his life.
We are embarking on a journey. A journey through the advent season in a dark world. But we’re not alone. In fact, we have a light that will take us through the darkest of life’s moments and it is this light we will turn to each week. This week, our path will be illumined so we may understand God’s light calls us to salvation.
We are going to learn three key component of this light today. They are: God’s light allows us to see His truth; God’s light allows us to hear his voice, and God’s light allows us to follow his call.
1A. GOD’S LIGHT ALLOWS US TO HEAR HIS VOICE (1-4)
In this chapter, Luke makes not only a transition to Judea and Samaria, but also a transition in his focus of characters in the saga called the Acts of the Apostles. Whereas the focus was on Peter with a small interlude of Stephen and Philip, the focus now turns on Saul. Let’s look at how Luke describes this man at this point (read vs. 1-2).
“Saul was still breathing threats…” not being content with the death of Stephen, Paul seeks to root out and destroy any remembrance of this movement called “the way.” His actions shows two things: 1. he had parted company from his mentor, Gamaliel, who warned the Sandhedrin not to find themselves fighting against God (Acts 5:39), and 2. Paul was fulfilling the very words of our Lord Jesus (John 16:2).
In order to make his mission official, Saul went to receive legal papers from the High Priest. This would bring authority with him, seeing he was going to Damascus. Damascus was a strategic city with a large population of Jews. For in the Annuals of Jewish History, it is recorded that during the war between the Romans and Jews in AD 66, no fewer than 10,000 Jews were killed.
In addition, Damascus is one of the two oldest cities from ancient history that remains today. In fact, Damascus is recorded in the Genesis records with Abraham (Gen 14:15; 15:2). Damascus was a five to six day journey from Jerusalem that covered nearly 175 miles. Now the reason why this is important to mention is: 1. it shows how far the church had expanded at this point. 2. it shows just how far Saul would go to stop this movement called “The Way.” Why? Because Damascus was a major trade city from different areas of the known world, it served as a hub. Thus, Saul’s attempt to go to Damascus was to prevent “The Way” from extending beyond those borders to other Jewish synagogues.
Let’s now pick it up in verses three and four to find out how God’s light calls us to salvation, and more specifically, how God’s light allows us to hear his voice…(read vs. 3-4).
This light was no ordinary light. In 26:13, Paul said it was “brighter than the sun…”
The light from God stopped Saul in his tracks. The text said, Saul “…fell to the ground…”
Sometimes, it takes something extraordinary for us to hear God’s voice – a death of a loved one; a life change; a disease; a 40th birthday; an anniversary; or maybe Christmas season. For some, it’s the only time they hear the gospel message.
For me, the extraordinary event was college. I remember when I was going through college, seeking my own way through life, that I was on the verge of joining a fraternity. It was here God allowed me to see his truth in a way I never saw it before. The Word of God became alive to me. Yes, I was already saved, but at this time, I was on the throne of my life. But God allowed my life to become so unraveled, that I was ready to hit rock bottom. It was then, the Lord’s light illumined his word. I began to realize, Jesus is not only my savior, but he is my Lord.