Summary: The one that had been the enemy of the church has now become the champion of the church.
Surprise, Surprise, Surprise
Text: Acts 9:20-31
1. When I was growing up, my three favorite TV shows were the Beverly Hillbillies, the Andy Griffith Show, and Gomer Pyle USMC. There are certain lines from these shows that always make me think of them. Like the Beverly Hillbillies, “One of these days, I’m gonna have to have a long talk with that boy!” For Andy Griffith it would be, “O wee, that’s some kind of good!” And with Gomer Pyle it’s “Surprise, surprise, surprise!”
2. Now that last one could explain how the believers felt after they heard about Saul’s conversion. The one that had been the enemy of the church has now become the champion of the church.
3. This was all possible because of the power of the Holy Spirit.
4. Read Acts 9:20-31.
Transition: The first thing that we see of the Holy Spirit in Saul’s life is…
I. Transformation (20-21).
A. Isn’t This the Same Man
1. After his conversion, Saul spent some time with the believers in Damascus. But Luke makes it clear that it didn’t take long for him to begin his mission. Look at v. 20, where Luke tells us, “And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is indeed the Son of God!”
a. Saul begins his calling without delay.
b. His encounter was so life-transforming that he was compelled to tell people about it.
c. His personal encounter with Jesus gave him tangible proof that Jesus was not only alive, but that he truly was the Son of God.
2. This complete turnaround for Saul caused people to stand up and take notice. In v. 21 Luke tell us, “All who heard him were amazed. “Isn’t this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem?” they asked. “And didn’t he come here to arrest them and take them in chains to the leading priests?”
a. The dramatic change in Saul left people amazed.
b. They expected him to show up and start putting Christians in jail, but instead he joins them and starts preaching about Jesus.
c. He had so completely changed that he had gone from the destroyer of the church to the champion of the church.
d. Just like an ugly caterpillar that is transformed into a beautiful butterfly, Saul was transformed from an angry, vindictive killer, into an evangelist for the Good News.
e. This is all because of the transformation in his life by the Holy Spirit.
B. New Person
1. The motor home has allowed us to put all the conveniences of home on wheels. A camper no longer needs to contend with sleeping in a sleeping bag, cooking over a fire, or hauling water from a stream. Now he can park a fully equipped home on a cement slab in between a few pine trees and hook up to a water line, a sewer line and electricity. One motor home I saw recently had a satellite dish attached on top. No more bother with dirt, no more smoke from the fire, no more drudgery of walking to the stream. Now it is possible to go camping and never have to go outside. We buy a motor home with the hope of seeing new places, of getting out into the world. Yet we deck it out with the same furnishings as in our living room. Thus, nothing really changes. We may drive to a new place, set ourselves in new surroundings, but the newness goes unnoticed, for we’ve only carried along our old setting. The adventure of new life in Christ begins when the comfortable patterns of the old life are left behind. David Roher.
2. When we give our lives to Christ, the Holy Spirit changes us into new people.
a. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Cor. 5:17).
b. It was because of the transforming work of the Holy Spirit that Saul became a completely new person.
c. Once he was a self-righteous, hateful, and vindictive Pharisee.
d. But now he was going around and preaching that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
e. We call this work of the Holy Spirit regeneration, where he comes in and changes us from the inside out.
f. That’s why people who were once drug addicts and alcoholics can become people living for Jesus.
g. The Holy Spirit changes our values, priorities, and desires.
h. He changes the places we want to go.
i. He changes the things that are important to us.
j. It’s like putting on a new set of clothes. He takes off the torn and muddy clothes, and he puts on clean and pressed clothes. It’s a complete transformation!