Summary: Paul's encounter with the Lord brought about a radical transformation in his life. He began a walk of faith with the Lord that offered hope and assurance of eternal life. Of all the walks one takes with the Lord by faith, salvation is by far the best.
Series: Walking by Faith # 6
The Conversion of Paul
Acts 9: 1-9
Over the past several weeks we have considered various accounts of those who walked by faith and received the abundance of the Lord. Our text today also reveals a walk of faith. While this encounter is much different than the previous accounts we’ve considered, it was a walk of pure faith also. In fact, I believe this account of faith deals with the greatest journey one can take by faith.
We have read of man by the name of Saul. You are probably more familiar with the new name he was given – Paul, the great apostle of Christ. The verses we have read deal with the encounter Paul had with Christ, leading to his salvation by faith. As we will discover, Paul was forced to abandon much he held dear in this life in order to receive salvation. His obedience in salvation was the beginning of a long and prosperous ministry for the Lord. His conversion offers hope for all who stand in need of salvation.
As we conclude our series today, I want to examine stages of this walk of faith while considering: The Conversion of Paul.
I. A Time of Delusion (1-2) – These opening verses reveal the state of delusion Paul lived in prior to his conversion in Christ. While particular circumstances vary, all are in a state of delusion apart from salvation in Christ. Notice:
A. The Persecution (1) – And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest. Prior to his salvation, Paul was a man who promoted and encouraged violence against all who professed Christ. He was a devout Pharisee, viewing those who preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ as promoters of heresy against the Word of God. He was committed to doing all he could to hinder and destroy the promotion of the Gospel. He was present when Stephen was stoned, consenting to his horrific death. At this moment, he continues to threaten those who profess Jesus as the Christ, seeking not only their punishment, but their death as well. Paul was opposed to anything connected to Christ and the Gospel.
While the average unbeliever is not as violent as Paul was in opposing the Gospel, prior to salvation, we too rejected Christ and had no desire for any fellowship with the church. We wanted nothing to do with this man named Jesus or those who sought to serve Him. There was little compassion or support for those who professed Christ.
B. The Pursuit (2) – And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. Working in conjunction with the high priest in Jerusalem, Paul sought to prosecute believers wherever he could find them. He was not content with efforts to prevent the spread of Christianity in Jerusalem; he wanted the Gospel message removed from the world. Having permission from the high priest, Paul is making his way to Damascus, hoping to find those who professed Christ there. He intended to arrest them for their faith, and bring them to Jerusalem to stand trial.