THREE TRAVELERS-THREE ROADS
Searching for Jesus
1. Today I am going to talk about the Damascus Road (Acts 9:1-9), the Gaza Road (Acts 8:26-39), and the Emmaus Road (Luke 24:13-35)--three different kinds of people searching for Jesus Christ and three different types of evangelists who help them find Jesus.
2. Christianity is a road.
a. Jesus saith unto him, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
b. Jesus said salvation was following Him. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
A road is a picture of the way to heaven. “Enter ye into the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13,14).
Paul didn’t know what to call Christians, so he was going to Damascus to look for, “Any of this way” (Acts 9:2).
Some of you have heard the plan of salvation which is called the Roman’s Road of salvation. It presents the Plan of Salvation from the Book of Romans.
B. THE DAMASCUS ROAD (ACTS 9:1-9).
Paul was traveling to Damascus to arrest Christians and bring them bound to Jerusalem. When he met Jesus Christ, he was transformed. How could you describe his conversion?
3. Without warning.
4. Immediate information.
Paul met Jesus Christ. Jesus said to him, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do (Acts 9:4-6).
God chose Ananias to pray for Paul, instruct Paul, and baptize him. This is the human instrument in putting Paul on the right track. We cannot say he was the “soul-winner” but sometimes people come to Jesus Christ, and then a “soul-winner” re-affirms a sinner’s decision, and sets them on the right track of following Christ.
C. WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT ANANIAS?
1. Skeptical. Didn’t believe Paul was converted.
2. Reluctant. Didn’t want to go to Paul.
3. Scared. Felt he may lose his life.
4. Influenced by gossip. He knew what people were saying about Paul.
“I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem” (Acts 9:13).
Many can be used of God, even when they are not powerful soul-winners. God used Ananias. This story reminds us where the real power of transformation lies, it lies between Jesus and the sinner, not between the soul-winner and the sinner.
It also reminds us how powerfully God works in someone else’s life. We simply support what God is doing as the soul-winner.
Finally, it reminds us that what God has begun to do, we as humans can only assist what God is doing. We can never replace the work of God.
Some listening to my voice have had dramatic conversions where your life turned around in an instant. But others, your conversion story is different. Your conversion happened like the Ethiopian eunuch.
D. THE GAZA ROAD (ACTS 8:26-39).
The soul-winner in this event was a deacon, who is also called Philip, the evangelist. What do we know about Philip?
3. Filled with the spirit. He made things happen.
4. He was sensitive.
E. THE ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH WAS DIFFERENT FROM SAUL.
What do we know about the Ethiopian eunuch?
1. From black African descent, i.e. Ethiopia.
2. A man of learning and influence.
3. The Minister of Finance to a wealthy court.
4. Seeking salvation.
Perhaps he had spent a long time seeking and drawing near to the God of Israel. We know he was a eunuch, which meant he was barred from full membership within Judaism (Deut. 23:1). But he was so determined to find God, that he had gone to Jerusalem (was not given entrance to the temple), and on his way home was reading the Book of Isaiah.
The Ethiopian eunuch was a seeker who had been seeking a long time. Are you a seeker?
Philip ran to join the chariot and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” The Ethiopian eunuch responded, “How can I unless someone guides me?”
The role of the soul-winner in bringing the seeker to salvation:
a. Initiate the conversation.
b. Ask questions to make people think.
c. Quote the scriptures.
d. Provide Christian interpretation to the Bible.
e. Press for a decision. “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest (Acts 8:37).
f. Allow people to give a response. The Ethiopian eunuch said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:37).
g. What the story lacks in drama, it makes up in familiarity. This is the way most people find Jesus Christ; a Christian friend explains to them how to be a Christian.
F. THE EMMAUS ROAD (LUKE 24:13-35).
Two people were returning home after the Passover (the first Easter). Notice the characteristics of these people:
1. They were discouraged.
2. They were disoriented about their beliefs and purpose.
3. Blinded to Jesus.
4. Leaving the place of blessing (Jerusalem), going home.
They had placed all their hopes in Jesus and those hopes were dashed.
They are like people who have followed Jesus for years. They could even explain the facts of the Bible, yet they are burdened by personal disappointment, doubt, and fear so that they have given up.
They represent saved or unsaved people who are on the Emmaus Road.
G. THE ROLE OF JESUS ON THE EMMAUS
1. He chose to accompany them, to walk with them in their moment of defeat, and to listen to their problems.
Sometimes soul-winners have to be like Jesus and walk with people in the hospital, at the juvenile home, or go by and see them when they get fired. We have to listen to their problems and understand them.
2. Jesus opened the scriptures to them. “Slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning with Moses and all of his prophets, he expounded unto them and all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:25-27).
Sometimes when we find disillusioned people, we have to interpret the Word of God to them so that they can be re-assured of God’s faithfulness.
3. Notice Jesus was going to walk on down the Emmaus Road and leave them. They had to invite Jesus into their home. Then He went in with them, and He sat down and ate with them. The soul-winner has to visit in people’s home, go to them in their hour of need, and spend time with them.
“It came to pass as he (Jesus) sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it and break and gave to them. And their eyes were opened and they knew him and he vanished out of their sight” (Luke 24:30-31).
H. CONCLUSION AND INVITATION
1. There is only one road to Jesus, but people are walking it in different ways and different speeds, carrying different burdens in their heart. Some are seeking Jesus while others are running from Him.
2. Some on the road have been looking a long time. Others come to Jesus by a crisis or extraordinary experience, like Paul.
3. The soul-winner must pray for wisdom to discern what God is already doing in the lives of those people he meets.
4. The soul-winner should not try to push his experience as to how he got saved onto people. The soul-winner should make sure they meet Jesus Christ, because meeting Christ is the one constant in all of these experiences.
5. Note the different abilities and spiritual conditions of the soul-winners in the three passages. God used all three.
6. There was one thing in common with all the soul-winners—it is their ability to help other people find Jesus Christ.
If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:
Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, God heard you and saved you. I personally want to welcome you to the family of God. Contact us and ask for a copy of The How To Book or use The How To Book Online (Falwell.com). It is a booklet that will answer many of the questions you are sure to have about living the Christian life. And when you contact us, tell us about your salvation experience so that we can rejoice with you.