Summary: Paul was a model preacher, missionary, leader theologian. But he began as a baby Christian like all of us. He was also a model baby Christian. This sermon teaches us how we can grow in Christ and maximize our usefulness for the kingdom of God.
Paul, the Model Convert
August 2, 2015
TEXT: Acts 9:10-31 – “And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. 17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. 19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. 20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. 21 But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? 22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.
23 And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: 24 But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him. 25 Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket. 26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. 28 And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. 29 And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. 30 Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus. 31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.”
The apostle Paul is one of the most interesting characters in the Bible. From the moment of his conversion, which we saw last week in verses 1-9, you see a whirlwind of activity, for which each of us should be grateful—for the fact that we in the West have the Gospel is largely due to Paul’s unceasing efforts to evangelize the world.
Paul became one of the greatest Christians in history. He preached Christ boldly; he established churches all over the Roman Empire; he formulated, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, most of the basic doctrine of the New Testament; he endured courageously unrelenting persecution and opposition; and he wrote more than half of the books in the New Testament.
Now don’t get the idea that Paul was perfect, because he wasn’t! He was a sinner just like you and me and time and time again in his writings he admits how far short of the standard he felt he was. Yet Paul was without a doubt a model Christian in just about every way you can think of. Beginning in Acts 13 you observe Paul as the model preacher and missionary. Later, in his inspired letters you see Paul the model leader of men and theologian.
But not only was Paul a model for us in these areas in his life. He was also a model in his growth as a new Christian.