Summary: The transformation of Saul
The Journey of Faith Acts 9:1-22—
What we see is that this is happening at the same time as the story of Philip and the eunuch that we were talking about last week
Ya see The church had been growing in Jerusalem,
• But at same time resistance against the church had been growing as well
• It’s all seemed to come to a head following the death of Stephen,
• After Stephen is killed a great persecution starts,
• And the main person who is spearheading this is a Pharisee by the name of Saul
Now last week we saw that In Acts 8:1-3
• That Saul went from house to house, arresting men and women
• These people were Jesus-followers. / The Early Christians
• And Because of this people started getting scared and the church scattered
• That’s how Philip ended up in Samaria
Believers are leaving / Scattering to places throughout Judea and Samaria to Escape.
• Some of these people were so freaked out that they ran as far away as Damascus,
• And that was 130 miles away to the north.
• (ELAB HOW LONG AND FAR THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN IN THOSE DAYS)
ButSaul, was on a mission
• He was going to Damascus with the intention of arresting disciples / Early Christians
• His plans were to bringing them back to Jerusalem for trial.
• And It’s on this mission to Damascus
• That Saul is intercepted by God’s grace.
Saul was a man who had no idea he needed grace.
• He was born into an Jewish home, / Circumcised as an infant,
• He was a faithful Pharisee. / a Defender of his religion.
• And When it came to the legalities of Jewish law,
• His behavior was faultless.
When we look at Saul, on the surface he appears to be
• A successful, religious, righteous, self-made man,
• Who’s doing a fine job fulfilling the requirements of the law / What he’s supposed to
• He appears to be a shining example of purity and justice in his community.
So, with all this in mind Why did Saul need grace? - And, why do we need grace?
This is a good question
• If you’ve lived a pretty good life, If you’ve play by the rules,
• If you’ve done a good job raising your kids
• If you’ve gone to church regularly,
• If you’ve never really made any real mistakes in your life,
Then Why would we really need grace?
• And how would God’s grace impact our lives?
The question that we might ask is
• Have you had a transformational encounter with grace?
• Saul’s had an encounter with GRACE
• And that encounter was so great that it changed him so much that he had to change his name
• Because He was no longer the same person
We went from being Saul of Taurus to Paul the Apostle.
• And it was through this transformation process
• That Paul eventually realized that friendship with God is not earned,
• But received by faith.
Phil 3:9 I no longer count on my own goodness or my ability to obey God’s law, but I trust Christ to save me. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.
Question: So How can we experience a life-altering encounter with God’s grace?
1. We become aware of our own sin READ Acts 9:1-6
Now what we see here is that when Saul stands up he’s blind,
• He couldn’t see his hand in front of his face
• But at the same time I believe that he is seeing for the first time.
• He sees that he was fighting God instead of serving him.
• He sees that Jesus is the resurrected Lord and not a fake.
• And He sees that he has been the cancer in the synagogue, Not the Christian believers.
What we see here is A life-altering encounter with God’s grace
• And it Starts when we become aware of our own sinfulness.
• About just how sinful we are (Taking off the blindfold for the 1st time)
We do this a lot even though we don’t realize it
-Church splits (believe they are doing right)
-Living for family while losing family (ministry over family)
-Good Christian mom who is bitter towards ex-husband
It is an act of God’s grace when he makes us aware of our own sin.
2. We are awakened to God’s mercy Acts 9:10-19
Saul, the man who has been fighting God without realizing it,
• Is shown Mercy by God. (Parable of lost sheep, prodigal son)
John Newton was born in London, almost a half a century before the American Revolution,
• His mother possessed incredible spiritual qualities