Summary: The conversion of Paul demonstrates the adjustments, or changes, that God wants to make in our lives.
Major Adjustments (Paul’s Conversion)
If you have your bibles,
turn to Acts chapter 9.
We’re continuing in our series on the top ten bible stories,
which you all selected a few weeks ago,
and today we’re looking at our first story from the new testament,
the story of the Apostle Pauls conversion
on the road to Damascus.
If you’ve read the book of Acts,
you know that Paul’s name was originally Saul,
but God changed his name after his conversion.
And this story in Acts chapter 9
takes place shortly after the story of the first martyr, Stephen.
Paul and a group of others all helped kill Stephen. and we pick up the story in…
Acts 9:1-9 NIV
9:1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" 5 "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. 6 "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." 7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
You may have heard the story about the old farmer who bragged about his mule,
and said that his mule was so well trained,
that all he needed to do was say a few soft words, and she’d respond, she’d doing anything he told her to.
Well his buddy down at the feed store had a hard time believing this,
and he said, this I’ve gotta see. Show me.
So they go back to his farm,
and there the mule is near the barn,
and as the friend watched, first with curiosity but then in dismay,
the old farmer went and pick up a 2x4 about 6 feet long, and swung it with all his might, whacked the mule on one ear.
When the animal stopped braying and bellowing and prancing around, the farmer then said, quietly, “Come here” and the mule came.
“Sit”, and the poor creature sat.
“Back up”, and she backed right up.
The old farmer said, “You see?
She’ll respond to a simple voice command”.
His friend said, “What are you talking about?
You said all you had to do was talk to her, but you hit her with this huge two-by-four.
What do you mean, you just say a few soft words.
That’s not what I saw!”
“Oh, that,” said the farmer.
“Well, first I do have to get her attention!”
God sometimes has to use a two-by-four to get our attention, because without it we won’t listen.
You ever had that happen to you?
God has to do something dramatic, because we just don’t notice that He’s trying to talk to us.
We don’t notice that
He’s calling us to do something.
or to make a change in our lives.
He is calling us out of our mulish stubbornness and is asking us to make an adjustment in our life.
But we don’t even notice it until He whacks us over the head.
Henry Blackaby says in Experiencing God, “you must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing.”
Its not an option. You must.
And the adjustments will be major.
And because of that,
some of us have to be hit hard to see what God is doing and what our response should be.
Because most of us are just plain slow to comprehend and even slower to adjust.
The Apostle Paul needed a 2x4 over the head,
to see that he was missing it,
and needed to change.
Paul had a way different background
from Peter and the other apostles.
Peter and James and John were all fishermen when Jesus found them,
so they were basically blue collar workers,
very little education,
or social status.
Paul was different.
He was a Roman citizen,
which carried a lot of clout back then.
Many people back then who weren’t born Roman citizens
would pay huge amounts of money to become one,
because it carried a lot of status,
Paul was also very educated.
He was taught by a Jewish scholar named Gamaliel,