Conversion – What is conversion – And why should we worry about it
Webster defines conversion as something that’s converted from one use to another
• Wwe take something that’s being used for one purpose
• and we change it so that it can be used for a whole new purpose
Now 1st of all there has to be a need for something to be converted
• There must be something wrong with it in the first place
• There must be a need for the change
• Remember the old saying if it aint broke don’t fix it
• Numbers – Measurements – Currency
• Vans = conversions
• Furnaces= Gas to propane
• School bus
• The idea is that we are taking something from the way it was to a sense of what it will be
This is what we see in today’s text
• Paul who is still Saul at this point is going through a conversion
• There was a need for Saul to be converted – changed
Read Acts 9:1-9
9 Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. So he went to the high priest. 2 He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains.
3 As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”
5 “Who are you, lord?” Saul asked.
And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! 6 Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
7 The men with Saul stood speechless, for they heard the sound of someone’s voice but saw no one! 8 Saul picked himself up off the ground, but when he opened his eyes he was blind. So his companions led him by the hand to Damascus. 9 He remained there blind for three days and did not eat or drink.
Now the first thing we see
• Is that there is a huge difference between the Saul we see in verse 1
• And the Saul we see in verse 8
• One moment he’s storming up the road, determined to capture and imprison Christians.
• The next minute he is being led like a child by the hand into Damascus.
• God’s grace is often displayed through both powerful acts
• And what appears to be catastrophes.
We see from the text that there are two needs for conversion at work here
• First we see Saul’s need for conversion
• He was Persecuting Christians
2 He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains.
• The Way” (9:2) was an expression used in the first century
• To refer to the Christian faith, Meaning, “the way of salvation”
And while Saul is traveling down the road Jesus calls him out
• Jesus asks Saul the question, Why do you persecute Me?
• The reason that this statement is so important
• Is that it shows the union between Jesus Christ and His church.
Jesus did not ask, “Why are you persecuting My church?”
• Jesus said Why do you persecute Me?
• The reference to “Me” gave Saul his first glimpse
• His first insight into the great doctrine of Christians being in Christ.
It is also important for us to understand that this conversion was personal
• That this encounter was all about Jesus and Saul – Nobody Else
• We know this because in vs 7 it says
• 7 That the men with Saul stood speechless, for they heard the sound of someone’s voice but saw no one!
• But Saul had heard the voice of Jesus and
• And Saul had seen Him
• Now even though there isn’t any explicit statement of Saul’s seeing Christ,
• It’s implied through the reference to a light from heaven.
This is fundamental to Saul’s apostleship that he saw the resurrected Lord
• In Acts 1:21-26, we see the qualification for Matthias,
• He was chosen as an apostle after Judas’s death,
• An apostle is someone who is sent out by someone (Jesus)
• And the Qualification is that they be an eyewitness:
• Matthias was present with Jesus from the time of John the Baptist through His death and resurrection of Jesus.
Saul in 1 Cor. 9:1 says
Am I not as free as anyone else? Am I not an apostle? Haven’t I seen Jesus our Lord with my own eyes? ( 1 Cor. 9:1).
Then after Saul Sees Jesus and Hears Jesus
• He suddenly found himself on the ground! (Acts 9:4)
• This wasn’t a heat stroke
• This wasn’t an attack of epilepsy that put him there,
• It was a personal meeting with Jesus Christ.
Now the men with him also fell to the earth (Acts 26:14)
• And they also heard the sound,
• But they could not understand the words that were being spoken.
• So they stood up in bewilderment (Acts 9:7),
• And they heard Saul talking to someone,
• But they didn’t have a clue as to what was happening.
And the second need for conversion
• Was that it fit in with God’s plan
• God wanted Saul - God needed Saul
• We see this through the The Key verse in this encounter.
• In this story Actually comes in verse 9:15:
• Where Jesus is talking to Ananias and He tells him (Explain Situation)
“Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel.
• And what makes this verse so important
• Is we see that God often chooses the unlikely
This confrontation betwen Jesus and Saul
• Brought about a radical change to Saul’s life.
• Saul had discovered that the man Jesus from Nazareth
• Was in fact the promised and exalted Lord.
• We wouldn’t think in our own minds that Saul was that great a pick
• He was A man who went around grabbing God’s chosen people
• Putting them in chains and dragging them back to Jerusalem
• He was A man who was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers.
• This doesn’t sound like the best choice for a PR man
• But it fit God’s plan- It fit the need – so there was a need for conversion
• Saul’s conversion continues the theme of how God overcame all hindrances to the gospel message.
• That under God’s power, even the worst persecutor of the church
• Was changed into its most influential evangelist.
• The person least likely to convert often makes the most committed Christian.
• People that you know -Unlikely candidates for God’s work (examples)
We have to understand that each one of us has our own needs of conversion
• We may not be as bad as Saul was before his conversion
• But each and everyone one of us needs to be converted
• Each one us needs improvement- to continue with the conversion process
• Areas of our lives that need work
• And we all need to have that personal relationship with God
God has a need for each one of us
• To do His work – To be disciples
• To do what He needs us to do - To spread the message
• Saul’s job was to take the message to the Gentiles
• Ours is the same
• We are to take his message to all (the Gentiles)
• Everyone Who hasn’t heard about Jesus Christ