Summary: Paul was a successful failure
(All Scripture quoted in this lesson is from The Bible by Jesus unless otherwise noted)
A. INTRODUCTION: SAUL PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS
1. Saul was a successful failure. He was going to top of the religious ladder. “Paul was better qualified than all the legalists . . . the best of all . . . born a Jew into the tribe of Benjamin, and circumcised on the eight day. He spoke Hebrew, kept the law, a Pharisee, and persecuted believers. Everyone considered Paul blameless” (Phil. 3:4-6, BBJ).
2. Saul held the coats at Stephen’s martyrdom. “They dropped their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul and stoned Stephen” (Acts 7:58).
3. Saul, the church persecutor, surrenders to Christ.
B. SEVEN STEPS TO A TRANSFORMATIONAL ENCOUNTER WITH CHRIST
1. Even those who deny and fight against Christ are transformed when they encounter/touch Jesus.
a. It’s not logic, emotions, or personal gain that changes people, it is meeting Jesus. “Who are you Lord” (Acts 9:5).
b. A personal relationship will change you. “Saul said, ‘Lord what wilt thou have me do?’” (Acts 9:6, KJV).
c. Jesus personally calls followers, Peter, John, Philip, Matthew, etc.
2. An encounter/touched by Christ will change your life’s direction. “Immediately Saul went to the Synagogue to preach . . . that I was indeed the Son of God” (Acts 9:20). “Paul’s preaching becomes more and more powerful and the Jews . . . couldn’t refute his proof” (Acts 9:22, NLT).
3. People around you will not understand what is happening when you touch/encounter Jesus. “The people with me saw the light, but didn’t understand the voice” (Acts 22:9).
a. Your encounter/touching Jesus is private.
b. You shouldn’t be concerned what they think or how they respond.
4. An encounter/touching Christ will take away your pride, motivating you to humble yourself. “Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes, he could see nothing” (Acts 9:8).
a. A new perspective of Christ. “Not I but, Christ” (Gal. 2:20).
b. A new perspective of self. “Christ Jesus come into the world to save sinners, and I am the worst of all” (1 Tim. 1:15, NLT).
c. From rising religious politician, to persecuted follower of Jesus (2 Cor. 4:8-12, 6:5-10).
5. An encounter/touching Jesus will call you to a yielded life of dedication, sacrifice, and suffering. God told Ananias to go baptize Saul. “Saul is My chosen instrument to take My message to the Gentiles, and to kings . . . and I will show him how much he must suffer for My name sake” (Acts 9:15, NLT).
a. Sent to those he separated himself from, Gentiles.
b. Not a protected position, but would be attacked, persecuted and eventually killed.
6. When you have an encounter with/or touch Jesus, your fellow workers and friends will turn against you.
a. They tried to kill him in Damascus. “The Jews plotted to kill Saul . . . the assassins waited at the gate night and day, but the believers helped Saul escape over the wall in a basket” (Acts 9:23-25).
b. In Jerusalem they tried again to kill Saul. “The Jews to whom Saul preached plotted to murder him” (Acts 9:29).
c. The Jews tried to kill Paul throughout the empire.
7. God will have someone to help you after you encounter/touch Him. “In Damascus . . . a follower name Ananias . . . go to the street called Straight . . . ask for Saul from Tarsus. He is praying.”
a. Some will step into your life for a shining moment to help, and you will be forever stronger.
b. They may never cross your path again.
c. You will forever remember them. “Over 25 years later Paul said, ‘A man named Ananias . . . came to pray beside me’” (Acts 22:12-13).
C. SEVEN LESSONS
1. The most defining experience of your life will be touching/encountering Jesus.
2. Your encounter/touching Jesus will demand you yield your pride, and self-service to say with Paul, “Not I, but Christ” (Gal. 2:20).
3. You will have new a direction and new ministry when you encounter/touch Jesus.
4. Encountering or touching Jesus is a personal experience and those around you will not participate or understand.
5. Your fellow workers and friends will not understand your encounter/touch from Jesus and may turn against you.
6. An encounter/touching Jesus will call you to a new way of living and a new ministry.
7. God will give you someone to help after you encounter/touch Jesus.
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.