Summary: Paul’s encounter with the risen Christ transformed him from fervent persecutor to passionate missionary.


TEXT: ACTS 21:37-22:21


INTRODUCTION: A. You might remember a news story from several years ago where 18 men and 12

women committed mass suicide in a wealthy neighborhood outside of San Diego

1. They were led in that decision by a man who called himself “Do”

--His real name was Marshall Appelwhite – a former musician and choir director

who had a long history of mental problems.

2. They were all part of a cult called “Heaven’s Gate” that followed Appelwhite’s


a. Part of his teaching was that there was a space ship trailing the Hale-Bopp comet

b. This space ship was coming to pick up all of the faithful followers of this cult and

take them through “Heaven’s Gate”

c. In order to pass through into the next realm, Appelwhite taught that they must get

rid of their physical bodies so that their spirits would be ready for the journey

--To accomplish that feat, they all ate apple sauce laced with Phenobarbital and

drank large amounts of vodka – a very deadly combination

3. Sadly, each of the 18 men and 12 women were very intelligent and had much to

offer as people

--Yet they saw themselves as worthless outside of their bizarre religious rituals

B. False gods have always existed and will continue to exist until the end of the age

1. It seems a shame that people would throw away their lives for something that is


2. A bigger shame is that they refuse to accept something that is true

C. Christianity is the most historically and factually provable belief in the world

1. The evidence is extremely strong to support the most crucial points of Christianity:

the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.

2. A Christian and a Muslim were discussing the concepts concerning their

individual beliefs. The Christian said, “We believe that God has given three

revelations of Himself to human beings.” The Muslim agreed: “We believe that,


The Christian continued, “We believe that God revealed Himself in creation.”

The Muslim agreed again, “We believe that, too.” The Christian went on, “We

believe that God revealed Himself in a book called the Bible.” The Muslim

countered, “We believe He revealed Himself in a book called the Koran.”

The Christian said, “We believe that God has revealed Himself in a person and

that person is Jesus Christ.” The Muslim replied, “We believe that God has

revealed Himself in a person and that person is Muhammad.”

The Christian pushed forward, “We believe that Jesus died to save His

followers.” The Muslim returned, “We believe that Muhammad died for his

people.” The Christian stated, “We believe that Jesus can give evidence of His

claims because He rose from the dead.” The Muslim hesitated for a moment, his

eyes fell to the ground and in a low voice he said, “We have no information

concerning our prophet after his death.”

3. Scholars have torn apart the evidence for the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus

a. They’ve scrutinized it under their scholastic microscopes

--When the evidence is examined in an honest way, they can come to only one

conclusion: the evidence is real

b. It passes all the guidelines for historical accuracy

c. It also passes all the criteria required to be entered into testimony in a court of

law as legal and best evidence

D. The best evidence of the reality of the resurrection is in the lives of Jesus’ followers

1. The people most closely associated with Jesus in the 1st century were all

persecuted, many tortured – all suffered, many put to death because of their

proclamation of a risen Jesus

2. They were eyewitnesses to everything that happened

--Why would they go through such things – suffer so terribly – just to die for a lie?

3. It was an encounter with this risen Jesus that took Saul of Tarsus and turned him

from being a persecutor of Christians into the apostle Paul – missionary for Jesus


4. Paul never got tired of relating his experience with the risen Christ

--Not only the experience on the road to Damascus but his experience with Jesus

every day since.

E. Last week, we left Paul after he’d been beaten half to death by an angry Jewish mob in

the Temple area

1. He had been falsely accused of blasphemy against God and against the Temple

--Several of the Jews had said that he taught against God’s law and that he brought

a Gentile into the inner courts of the Temple

2. Paul had to be rescued by a contingent of Roman soldiers who had a barracks

connected to the Temple

3. As we pick up the event tonight, we see them taking Paul into the barracks area but

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