Summary: To establish that Saul of Tarsus’ conversion followed the New Testament’s “pattern of conversions” as depicted in the Book of Acts. This lesson dispels the false notion that Saul was saved on the road to Damascus; rather than in the city, 3 days later.
1. Saul’s Clash with Christ
2. Saul’s Call by Christ
3. Saul’s Conversion to Christ
1. In our lesson today we are going to be discussing the theme: “Saul of Tarsus’ Conversion.” What will be evident in this lesson is that Saul’s conversion followed the same “pattern of conversions” as depicted in the Book of Acts. Saul’s salvation would be consistent with the other converts we have already discussed in previous lessons. Saul’s act of faith and obedience is similar to those on Pentecost, the Samaritans and the Ethiopian treasurer. There are no differences between Saul’s conversion experiences to Christ, than with any others mentioned in the Book of Acts. We make no apology for our firm stand on this truth! We encourage you to follow along with us in the lesson.
2. First, we will note Saul’s clash with Christ. By clash I mean: “a short fierce encounter, verbal or physical, with another person or group.” In this case it was with Jesus Christ, the Son of God and all the believers, “in the way.” We will look closely at all the events on the Damascus highway. We will review his actions from the appearance of the Lord to him; his journey into the city; and the instruction received in order to be saved. Remember Saul said: “I thought I should do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” We thank God he was “obedient unto the heavenly vision.”
3. Second, we will consider the reason for the Lord’s calling of Saul into the faith. We will notice the work that Saul was being called to do for Jesus Christ. Ananias said: “The Lord that appeared to thee in the way sent me to restore thy sight and that ye should be filled with the Holy Ghost.” Further, that “he is a chosen vessel, to bear the name of the Lord before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel. And how great things he must suffer for his name’s sake.”
4. Finally, we will describe with great details Saul’s conversion to Christ. It will be our purpose to vividly explain that he was saved in the city of Damascus; and not on the highway as many religious leaders contend today. The Lord told him to arise and go into the city and it will be there he would be instructed what to do. Three days later, the answer came. Therefore, Saul was not saved or converted before the visit of the man of God. Ananias speaking by the Holy Spirit told Saul what to do. His instructions were, “to arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” All the time between him going into the city; until the man of God’s visited with him was time Saul spent in prayer and fasting. This kind of prayer and fasting was normal for a repentant Jew during this time. However, it was not a sign that he was save or the way to receive the “forgiveness of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost.” He too had to follow the same “pattern of conversion," as others have done up until this time in the Book of Acts. With this introduction, let’s notice Saul’s clash with Christ.
BODY OF LESSON
I SAUL’S CLASH WITH CHRIST
A. Saul’s clash with Christ. Luke writes: “And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,” Acts 9:1. Luke picks up the persecution and slaughter of the saints by Saul of Tarsus. Remember, Stephen’s stoning and burial has just taken place; and the saint were “scattered abroad, going everywhere preaching the word,” Acts 8:4. Notice:
1. Saul was consenting to the death of Stephens and other disciples, Acts 8:1-2.
2. He was making havoc of the church. “Haling men and women, committed them to prison,” Acts 8:3.
3. He had “great zeal, in persecuting the church,” Philippians 3:6.
4. He said: “How beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it, and profited in the Jews’ religion above many of my own nation, being exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers,” Galatians 1:13.
5. He said also: “I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth,” Acts 26:9.
6. He was zealous toward God. He says: “I am verily a man who am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women,” Acts 22:1-2.