Summary: We need to encourage new believers.
LET THE ADVENTURE BEGIN
C: Purpose of the Community
Th: A People with Purpose
Pr: WE NEED TO ENCOURAGE NEW BELIEVERS.
TS: Our study today will focus on the new adventure that Saul begins as a new believer in Jesus.
I. CHANGE (19b-22)
II. CONFLICT (23-25)
III. CONFIDENCE (26-30)
PA: How is the change to be observed?
RMBC 28 May 06 AM
On the Upper West Side lived a man who was a very militant atheist but he sent his son to Trinity School because, despite its Christian roots, it was a great school. After a month, the boy comes home and says casually, "By the way Dad, do you know what Trinity means? It means the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost."
The father can barely control his rage. He seizes his son by the shoulders and declares, "Danny, I’m going to tell you something now and I want you never to forget it. There is only one God and we don’t believe in Him!"
Well, some things are hard to believe.
And when we entered into our study of Acts last week, the passage that was just read, we saw that…
1. Saul had a difficult time believing in Jesus.
It had been his mission to utterly destroy those that believed in Jesus.
They had been calling themselves “The Way.”
And Saul was determined to eliminate these heretics.
2. Saul changed his mind when confronted with the impossible.
He met Jesus.
He met the One he did not believe in.
It was impossible, or so he thought, until he was thrown to the ground.
Jesus had finally succeeded in getting Saul’s attention.
A little bright light, a little blinding of the eyes, and a voice from the sky – this was enough to finally get Saul’s consideration.
As a result of this incident, Saul was converted.
Instead of being a persecutor of the followers of Jesus, he became a follower of Jesus.
3. Saul was welcomed into the community.
Ananias gets the privilege of providing the first connection to the faith, with his stunning address, “Brother Saul.”
So Saul is baptized.
He makes that public demonstration of the faith, showing the change that has come to him, establishing him as a new creation in Christ.
Now the fun begins, for…
4. Our study today will focus on the new adventure that Saul begins as a new believer in Jesus.
I. CHANGE (19b-22)
For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.
5. Saul’s change is unexpected.
Saul’s mission to Damascus had hardly been a secret.
For the Jews, his arrival was expected, and perhaps even welcomed.
But shortly after he arrived, instead of arresting Christians, he was defending them.
He was making the new claim that what the people of “The Way” had been saying about Jesus was actually true.
And the Greek text tells us that the reaction is of such astonishment that the whole situation seemed insane.
They could not comprehend the drastic change of Saul publicly proclaiming a new allegiance to Jesus.
6. Saul’s transition to Jesus as Messiah is quick and intense.
Saul has had the finest education.
He knows the Hebrew Scriptures forward and backwards.
So, now that he had begun to follow Jesus, he understood fully the implications of Jesus as the Son of God.
Jesus was God’s anointed king and promised Messiah.
And as the Son of God, He had a unique relationship with the Father as one who reveals the Father.
We know from other texts that Saul stayed in the area for another three years, that he was in a desert area near Damascus.
It was during this time that his new studies would begin.
He was going to reread those Hebrew Scriptures and find that Jesus was everywhere in them.
He was going to discover that the Prophets, the Psalms, Moses, and the Law – all point to Jesus.
The sacrifices, the offerings, and even the Tabernacle – all point to Jesus.
But now comes the…
II. CONFLICT (23-25)
When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him, but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.