Summary: This sermon deals with the unfamiliar word "goads".

Kicking Against the Goads.

Acts 26:4-14

[4] My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know.

[5] They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.

[6] And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers.

[7] To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope's sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. [8] Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?

[9] Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.

[10] This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them.

[11] And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.

[12] "While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,

[13] at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me.

[14] And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'

In our Bible passage for today,

Paul was brought before King Agrippa

to answer charges made against him by the Jews.

So Paul begins to tell the King about his conversion to Christianity.

Let’s focus on Verse 14.

[14] And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'

You probably have no idea what a “goad” is.

Goads were slender pieces of wood,

sort of like a pool cue stick.

They were sharpened to a point on one end.

Farmers used the pointed end to urge a stubborn ox into motion.

Occasionally, the beast would kick at the goad.

The more the ox kicked,

the more likely the goad would stab into its leg,

causing greater pain.

Now, many people believe Saul’s conversion

on that road to Damascus was

God’s first attempt to reach Paul with the truth about Jesus.

There’s a good reason why I don’t believe it was.

Look against what Jesus said to Paul

It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'

I think God was prodding Paul to go in the right direction.

I believe He’d been working on him for years,

prodding and goading him.

Paul’s encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus

happened approximately 5 years

after Jesus ascended back into heaven.

I believe the words and works of Jesus

haunted this zealous Pharisee known as Saul.

Saul probably heard Jesus teach and preach in public places.

Saul thought Jesus was a false prophet.

He was likely upset to see how Jesus was gaining popularity.

Saul likely believed Jesus had to be of Satan!

Nevertheless, Jesus stuck in Saul’s mind.

The more it goaded him, the more he resisted God’s proddings.

Point #1. Once you've seriously encountered Jesus, as Saul did, there's no escaping Him.

Paul had a strong commitment to know and serve Jesus.

His passion and love for the Lord was obvious.

Whether he was working as a tent maker,

preaching to the crowd,

or even sitting in chains at prison,

Paul was dedicated to serving the Lord Jesus.

Saul was a fanatic Pharisee with a false cause

that led only to death.

He knew all the theology of his time.

Saul was so stuck in his theology

that he persecuted those who were experiencing God:

Act 8:3 says; As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.

Acts chapter 7 says Saul saw Stephen being stoned to death.

Acts 7:58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.

So Saul sees this devoted follower of Jesus being murdered.

How was Stephen reacting to his execution?

Acts 7:55-56 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, [56] and said, "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!"

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