Summary: In Acts 22:1-13, Paul told a crowd how He found Jesus. This sermons explains how you too can find Jesus
How to Find Jesus
November 26, 2017
NOTE: A PowerPoint presentation is available for this sermon by request at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEXT: Please turn to Acts 22
Illus. – A man, dazed from a knock on the head after falling out of a hunting tree stand, stumbled upon a church group baptizing in stream. Disoriented, he proceeded to walk into the water and bumped into the preacher.
The preacher turned around and asked, “Are you ready to find Jesus?”
The guy, still muddled and confused, muttered, “Uh, I, uh, guess” but the preacher thought he heard “yes” instead of “guess.”
So, the preacher grabbed him and dunked him in the water.
Then he pulled him up and asked him, “Friend, have you found Jesus?”
The guy said, “No, I haven’t found Jesus.”
Shocked at the answer, the preacher put him into the water again a little longer.
Then again, he pulled him out and asked, “Have you found Jesus?”
Again, he answered, “No, I haven’t found Jesus.”
Frustrated, the preacher submerged the guy once more and held him down for about 30 seconds until he began kicking his arms and legs, whereupon he pulled him up.
The preacher again asked him, “For goodness sakes, man, have you found Jesus?”
The guy wiped his eyes and caught his breath and finally said to the preacher, “Are you sure this is where he fell in?”
Aside from the wrong theology of the preacher in this story, let me tell you: There’s a better way to find Jesus that I want to tell you about today.
The last time we saw Paul in the book of Acts, he’d been misunderstood and abused by both Jews and Romans. He was trying to mend a divide that was occurring between the Jewish and Gentiles parts of the church, and to ameliorate the Jewish legalists, he agreed to perform a purification ceremony in the Temple to prove his Jewish bone fides. Paul had been seen with some Gentile believers before the ceremony, and then he and some of his Jewish friends went into the Temple to perform the ceremony. When he came out, the Jews mistook Paul’s Jewish worshippers with the Gentiles he had been with earlier and falsely accused him of bringing Gentiles into the inner part of the Temple, something strictly forbidden upon pain of death. In a rage, Jews began to beat him to a pulp until the local Roman garrison, hearing of a disturbance, came and rescued him.
But instead of arresting the TROUBLEMAKERS beating Paul, they arrested PAUL, mistaking him for a notorious criminal the Romans had been searching for! In Acts 21:39, Paul asked the Roman captain for permission to address the crowd. Apparently, the captain thought he might be able to get more information by letting Paul speak, so he allowed him to address the crowd.
Now put yourself in Paul’s situation. If it were me, I think I would have been relieved to be rescued by the Roman soldiers and let the Romans hightail me out of there as quickly as possible.
But Paul saw every circumstance as another opportunity to share about Jesus. He was simply irrepressible about the Gospel of Christ; he just couldn’t keep it in. Knowing the Jews probably would not do anything rash in the presence of heavily armed Roman guards, do you know what he did? He “opened up and let her rip,” as we say down in Tennessee.
In this passage, Paul tells how he found Jesus. This is one of the places in Acts where Paul gives his personal testimony. Let’s look at Paul’s story today, and see how you or anyone you know can find Jesus:
I. FIRST PAUL TELLS THEM THAT HE HAD DISCOVERED THAT HIS DEVOUT SINCERITY AND ZEAL FOR GOD DID NOT SAVE HIM – Acts 22:3-5 – “I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. 4 And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. 5 As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.”
As far as religion and good works were concerned, Paul had all his ducks in a row.
-- He was born a Jew—God’s chosen people.
-- He was reared in Jerusalem, the center of God’s dealings with mankind up to that time.