Summary: Saul is visited by Ananias, and brought into the fold of the church at Damascus.
Saul and Ananias
Acts 9:10 – 9:22
Jeff Hughes – June 21, 2003
Calvary Chapel Aggieland
a. Last week, we saw Saul as he had an encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus. Saul was stopped in his tracks while he was on a mission to go round up a bunch of Christians there.
b. As we covered last week, Damascus was about 140 miles from Jerusalem, about a six or seven day journey. Damascus by the way, is the oldest continuously inhabited city on the face of the earth.
c. It is the current capital of the nation of Syria, and it was a major trading city in the ancient world. Josephus records that the city was founded by Uz, the grandson of Shem, and the great-grandson of Noah. Job was from “the land of Uz”.
d. We see the city tangling with the Jewish nation many times in the Old Testament, as they used their trading power to hurt the nation.
e. Our study this morning will focus on two main themes. First, the faithfulness and obedience of a man named Ananias, and how he risked his life to obey God.
f. Second, we will look at God’s grace and forgiveness really walked out, as Saul is miraculously healed of his blindness and get baptized as an outward symbol of his inward change.
g. But first, let’s pray, and ask the Lord to bless our study this morning.
a. Alexander the Great and a small company of soldiers approached a strongly fortified walled city. Alexander, standing outside the walls, raised his voice and demanded to see the king.
b. When the king arrived, Alexander insisted that the king surrender the city and its inhabitants to Alexander and his small band of fighting men. The king laughed, “Why should I surrender to you? You can’t do us any harm!”
c. Alexander offered to give the king a demonstration. He ordered his men to line up single file and start marching. He marched them straight toward a sheer cliff. The townspeople gathered on the wall and watched in shocked silence as, one by one, Alexander’s soldiers marched without hesitation right off the cliff to their deaths!
d. After ten soldiers died, Alexander ordered the rest of the men to return to his side. The townspeople and the king immediately surrendered to Alexander the Great. They realized that if a few men were actually willing to commit suicide at the command of this dynamic leader, then nothing could stop his eventual victory.
e. Are you willing to be as obedient to the ruler of the universe, Jesus Christ, as those soldiers were to Alexander? Are you as dedicated and committed? Think how much power Christ could have in our area with just a portion of such commitment.
f. Ananias was a man that was that obedient to God. Ananias’s faith and obedience was used bring Saul into the fold of the church, and as we will see in the coming weeks and months, this is a turning point for the church.
g. God’s will was to use Saul to reach the gentiles like no one else in the church could. Growing up in Tarsus, a Roman citizen, a fluent speaker of Greek, and a Jew was perfectly equipped by God to be all things to all men so that people would come to Christ.
h. God forgave Saul for his sin. That is amazing to me. A man who hunted Christians down and had them killed had his slate wiped clean. Guys, that is grace. God’s grace is so abundant, when I see something like what happened to Saul, I get a glimpse into just how abundant it is.
i. We will look at these two themes – grace and obedience as we continue along in our journey through the book of Acts. Acts is just past John, and right before the book of Romans in the New Testament. We will pick up our study starting in chapter 9, verse 10 today, and so follow along as we read.
i. 10 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord." 11 So the Lord said to him, "Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. 12 And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight." 13 Then Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name." 15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake." 17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." 18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized. 19 So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus. 20 Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. 21 Then all who heard were amazed, and said, "Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?" 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.