Summary: Saul is stopped on the Road to Damascus.
Acts 9:1 – 9:9
Jeff Hughes – June 14, 2003
Calvary Chapel Aggieland
a. As we begin our study today, not only are we starting a new chapter of Acts, but we are seeing a transition period in the early church. In Acts chapter 1 verse 8, we see Jesus telling the apostles that they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
b. In the first seven chapters, we see the church reaching out in Jerusalem. In chapter 8, we see the church scattered through persecution, and the gospel being spread into the surrounding countryside, and to the Samaritans.
c. Starting in chapter 9 though, we see God begin to move the church into other areas throughout the Roman Empire. The apostles were the instrument, the tool that God used to reach the city of Jerusalem. Philip was the tool to reach the Samaritans, and one Ethiopian eunuch, we saw that last week.
d. The tool that God chooses to carry His gospel throughout the Roman Empire was a very unlikely one. He is a man we are already acquainted with. We saw him back in Acts chapter 7, at the stoning of Stephen. Verse 58 tells us that the mob that was stoning Stephen laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. We read further in chapter 8 verse 1 that Saul was there consenting to his death.
e. Saul becomes God’s tool by giving his life to Christ. He was radically changed, as we all are when we come to Christ. His life was so changed that he got a new name, Paul. I may slip a few times and call him that today, because when I think about this man, I think about the man that he became through the grace of God rather than the man he was.
f. He tells us later on, in Acts chapter 26 that when he was hunting down Christians and killing them, that he cast his vote against them, to condemn the Christians to death, which tells us that he was a member of the Sanhedrin.
g. To be a member of the Sanhedrin, you had to be married, so Saul was married. Church tradition tells us that Saul’s wife left him after his conversion. So here he was, an educated Jew, a prominent member of the Sanhedrin, walking away from it all to follow Jesus.
h. What events would have to take place for a man to give up everything he has ever known to follow Christ? It must have been big. It was. Saul came face to face with the resurrected Jesus Christ and along with radically altering Saul’s life, it radically altered the church. And even the entire world. We will begin to look at this even today, in a two part message entitled Saul’s Transformation.
i. But first, let’s pray, and ask the Lord to bless our study this morning.
a. It is hard to believe now, but the potato was once a highly unpopular food. When first introduced into England by Sir Walter Raleigh, newspapers printed editorials against it, ministers preached sermons against it, and the general public wouldn’t touch it. It was supposed to sterilize the soil in which it had been planted and cause all manner of strange illnesses—even death.