Summary: We have the tendency to avoid trouble and difficulty. We want to play it safe. If we would move into the realm of the supernatural, we must defeat our desire to stay in the Safe Zone and move into the Faith Zone.
SAFE ZONE OR FAITH ZONE?
1. Wife:" There's trouble with the car. I think it has water in the carburetor."
2. Husband: "Water in a carburetor? That's ridiculous."
3. Wife: "I tell you the car has water in the carburetor."
4. Husband: "Honey, You don't even know what a carburetor is. I'll check it out. Where’d you park the car?"
5. Wife: "It’s in the swimming pool." [pic]
9 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. 10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. 11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” 13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.” Acts 9:1-3, 10-19.
1. Q: How might the medical profession today explain what happened to Saul on the road to Damascus?
a. He was struck by lightning
b. He had a physical breakdown
c. He had a mental breakdown
d. He had a partial stroke that rendered him temporarily blind
e. He had a psychological crisis due to an overly-religious personality
f. He suffered from repressed guilt for his role in persecuting people.
g. But we know he got a vision of the Risen Jesus!
2. Like Ananias, we have the tendency to avoid trouble and difficulty. We want to play it safe. We don’t want to take risks and make ourselves vulnerable to danger. That’s normal.
3. But where God guides, God provides. Most of the great feats of faith in the Bible occurred when people overcame their fears and stepped into dangerous situations.
4. Moses took on Pharaoh & Egypt; Esther took on Haman & allies; Gideon took on the Amalekites, David took on Goliath.
5. We must take on risks if we would move into the realm of the supernatural. We must defeat our desire to stay in the Safe Zone. To accomplish something for God we must move into the Faith Zone.
6. Tonight we’re going to look at a man named Ananias and see how he moved from the Safe Zone to the Faith Zone!
I. ANANIAS: ORDINARY DISCIPLE
WHAT KIND OF PERSON DOES GOD USE?
A. ANANIAS WAS ORDINARY
1. This Ananias was an ordinary Christian. He’s not described as a pastor, or an evangelist, or even as a deacon or elder of a Church—yet he was the channel for communicating the Holy Spirit to the great Apostle of the Gentiles! For a few brief minutes, he became the most important person in history!
2. The Lord did NOT send an APOSTLE, such as Peter or James, so that no one could say that Paul had received his commission second-hand, from anyone but God.
3. The Lord did NOT send him any A GREAT TEACHER so Paul could always declare that the Gospel he had received, “I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the Revelation of Jesus Christ.”
4. So we see, the very obscurity Ananias had – and we have –can quality us for the job God has. So don’t think your obscurity limits you in the service of God!
B. ANANIAS WAS A DISCIPLE
1. Ananias is said to be a disciple. A disciple is one who is a learner and an imitator. We don't fulfill our Christian obligation by showing up on Sunday morning.