Summary: In this weeks lesson we will see the conversion of Saul the Pharisee. Who through his actions would not be a likely candidate for the who’s who for the kingdom. Saul after all he was a Pharisee and was committed to the Mosaic law and the religious way of
THE CONVERSION OF A PERSECUTOR
In one of the episodes of the Peanuts comic strip they have Lucy and Charlie Brown practicing football. Lucy of coarse would hold the ball, as Charlie Brown would be the place-kicker. Now everytime Lucy had ever held the ball for Charlie Brown, at the precise moment when Charlie Brown was at the point of kicking the ball, Lucy would pick up the ball and Charlie Brown would fall flat on his back. One particular comic strip opened with Lucy holding the ball, but Charlie Brown was reluctant to kick it. In that strip Lucy is seen begging him to kick the ball. But Charlie Brown reminded her that, "Every time he tried to kick the ball she would remove it and he would fall on his back." And for once you would’ve thought that Charlie Brown had finally got smart. So they went back and forth for the longest time and finally Lucy broke down in tears and admitted, "Charlie Brown I have been so mean to you over the years, picking up the football like I have. I have played so many cruel tricks on you, but I’ve seen the error of my ways! I’ve been wrong, in fact so wrong. Won’t you give a poor repentant girl another chance?" Now Charlie Brown was moved by her display of grief and responded, "Of course, I’ll give you another chance." He stepped back as she held the ball, and he approached the ball, his leg starting into it’ full motion, and at the last moment, Lucy picks up the ball and again Charlie Brown is flat on his back. I believe Lucy’s last words in that strip were as she walked away, "Recognizing your faults and actually changing your ways are two different things, Charlie Brown!"
Sermon Central Illustrations
By Jeeva Sam
Although we laugh at Charlie Brown for being fooled again by Lucy’ antics. We will not see this in Saul. In the last two chapters we saw Saul creating trouble for the church. Acts 8th chapter verse 1, tells us that it was Saul that consented to the death of Stephen the preaching deacon of the Church in Jerusalem and in verse 3 of that same chapter, it was Saul that made havoc of the church by entering into every house, flushing out those that believed, and committing them into prison. If there is anything good to say about what Saul had done at this point, it would be that the havoc that Saul raised caused many of the brethren to flee Jerusalem into Samaria to preach the word of God.
Last week we talked about The Evidence of a Spirit Led Life. There we saw how Philip was called from Samaria, to go where the angel of the Lord had directed him. When he left Samaria he knew that the Spirit was leading him, but as far as knowing what would happen and who the Spirit was leading him to, that was another thing. He was not clear on that until he was on that desert road between Jerusalem and Gaza. There he saw an Ethiopian man sitting on his chariot reading the book of Isaiah. It was at that moment in verse 29 that the Spirit gave him his marching orders. You see although the Ethiopian eunuch was reading the Scriptures of Isaiah, but he still had the problem of understanding what he was reading. Verse 31 declared after Philip asked him about his understanding, “How can I understand, except a man guide me?” That is when the Holy Spirit took control and skillfully directed Philip into winning another soul for the Lord.
In this weeks lesson we will see the conversion of Saul the Pharisee. Who through his actions would not be a likely candidate for the who’s who for the kingdom. Saul after all he was a Pharisee and was committed to the Mosaic law and the religious way of doing things. He was also committed to discrediting and destroying anyone that broke that law. At this point he was a terror to the followers of Christ. He persecuted the church and anyone else that believed in the Savior. He took pride in what he did and what he stood for. In fact, this ninth chapter starts off with him threatening and promising to destroy the followers of the Way. So as the chapter starts, we find him in the presence of the High Priest, desiring of them letters to Damascus that would allow him to go into the synagogues in search for men and women that might be followers of the Way. He promised that he would capture them and bring them back unto Jerusalem to be jailed.
But, something happened on that day that changed him from a murdering enemy of the Cross, to a champion of the faith. Unknowing to him this day would not be like any other saint hunt. This day, he would meet the One in whom he was really persecuting. This day, he will meet the One he heard Stephen talking about. This day he is going to meet The Life Changer of life changers in Jesus Christ Himself.