Sermons

Summary: THE CONVERSION OF PAUL IS CERTAINLY ONE OF THE MOST UNIQUE ACCOUNTS RECORDED IN SCRIPTURE. NO TWO CONVERSIONS ARE EVER THE SAME, AND I BELIEVE IT COULD BE ARGUED THAT THE ACCOUNT OF PAUL’S CONVERSION IS THE MOST DRAMATIC, AND THE LONGEST RECORDED IN SCRIPTURE

THE CONVERSION OF PAUL

ACTS 9:1-18

THE CONVERSION OF PAUL IS CERTAINLY ONE OF THE MOST UNIQUE ACCOUNTS RECORDED IN SCRIPTURE. NO TWO CONVERSIONS ARE EVER THE SAME, AND I BELIEVE IT COULD BE ARGUED THAT THE ACCOUNT OF PAUL’S CONVERSION IS THE MOST DRAMATIC, AND THE LONGEST RECORDED IN SCRIPTURE.

I WANT TO SUGGEST TO YOU THAT THE CONVERSION OF PAUL BEGAN WITH THE ARREST OF STEPHEN IN CHAPTER SIX. I BELIEVE THAT THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ACCOUNT OF STEPHEN’S MARTYRDOM WAS NOT THE FACT THAT HE WAS THE FIRST CHRISTIAN MARTYR, FOR THIS FACT IS NOT SUPPORTED BY SCRIPTURE.

I BELIEVE THAT LUKE RECORDED THE MARTYRDOM OF STEPHEN TO INTRODUCE US TO A MAN NAMED SAUL. THIS DOES NOT TAKE AWAY ANY SIGNIFICANCE FROM THE LESSONS THAT CAN BE LEARNED FROM STEPHEN’S DEATH, BUT IT IS SIGNIFICANT TO NOTE THAT IN THE ENTIRETY OF THE ACCOUNT OF STEPHEN’S MARTYRDOM, THE ONLY OTHER NAME EVER MENTIONED IS THAT OF SAUL. IT IS MENTIONED TWICE IN ACTS 7:58 AND 7:60.

SAUL WOULD HAVE HEARD WHAT STEPHEN SAID IN DESCRIBING HIS VISION. HE WOULD HAVE HEARD HOW HE PRAYED FOR FORGIVENESS FOR THE MEN ABOUT TO KILL HIM. HE WOULD HAVE BEEN AMAZED AT THE CALMNESS AND PEACE THAT WAS AROUND STEPHEN AS HE WAS BEING STONED. THESE WOULD ALL LEAVE AN INDULLABLE IMAGE IN HIS MIND.

POINT ONE: ACTS 9:1-3

WE ARE THEN INTRODUCED TO THE PERSECUTION THAT TOOK PLACE IMMEDIATELY AFTER STEPHEN’S DEATH. WE ARE TOLD THAT MANY OF THE HELLENISTIC CHRISTIAN JEWS LEFT JERUSALEM AND WENT INTO HIDING SPREADING THE GOSPEL AS THEY DID. SOME WENT TO DAMASCUS WHERE A GREAT CHRISTIAN PRESENCE ALREADY EXISTED.

DAMASCUS WAS AN IMPORTANT COMMERCIAL CENTER AND A KEY STOP ALONG THE TRADE ROUTE BETWEEN EGYPT AND MESOPOTAMIA. MANY JEWS LIVED IN THE AREA BEFORE THE PERSECUTION AND THERE WERE AN ESTIMATED 30-40 SYNAGOGUES IN THE CITY. THE JEWS FROM JERUSALEM MAY HAVE FELT THAT THEY WOULD GET SOME SANCTUARY FROM THE PERSECUTION THEY WERE RUNNING FROM.

THIS SENT SAUL ON WHAT HE THOUGHT WAS A HOLY PILGRIMAGE TO DESTROY THE CHRISTIANS AND THE BLASPHEMY THEY WERE TEACHING. HE OBTAINED FROM THE SANHEDRIN OPEN LETTERS OF INTRODUCTION THAT HE COULD SHARE WITH THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS OF THE PLACES HE WOULD VISIT. SEETHING WITH RAGE HE AND HIS COMPANIONS BEGAN THE SIX DAY 175 MILE JOURNEY FROM JERUSALEM TO DAMASCUS.

POINT TWO: ACTS 9:3-10:

THERE ARE THREE ACCOUNTS IN THE BOOK OF ACTS THAT DEAL WITH THE CONVERSION OF PAUL. THEY ARE FOUND HERE, AND IN CHAPTER 22 AND 26, WHERE PAUL IS SPEAKING WHILE UNDER ARREST. EACH ACCOUNT SHEDS MORE LIGHT ON THE INCIDENT.

SAUL’S ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS HAPPENS NEAR DAMASCUS, MOST LIKELY PART OF GOD’S PLAN TO KEEP SAUL FROM HAVING TO TRAVEL A GREAT DISTANCE IN A BLIND STATE.

WE ARE TOLD THAT AT MIDDAY AN INTENSE LIGHT, FROM HEAVEN, FLASHED AROUND THEM. WHAT THIS LIGHT WAS WE DO NOT KNOW, BUT PAUL WOULD LATER SAY IT WAS BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN.

ACTS 26:13: ON THE WAY THERE, AT NOON, I SAW A LIGHT FROM HEAVEN. IT WAS BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN AND FLASHED ALL AROUND ME AND THOSE WHO WERE TRAVELING WITH ME.

THE LIGHT BROUGHT SAUL AND HIS COMPANIONS TO THE GROUND, BUT IT DID NOT CAUSE SAUL’S BLINDNESS, FOR THE OTHER COMPANIONS COULD STILL SEE AFTER THIS.

SAUL SAW SOMETHING MORE. THE LIGHT ITSELF WAS NOT A VISION. IT HAD NO DESCRIPTIVE QUALITIES SUCH AS WHAT STEPHEN SAW WHEN HE TALKED ABOUT SEEING HEAVEN AND JESUS STANDING THERE.

BUT PAUL TELLS KING AGRIPPA IN CHAPTER 26:19:

ACTS 26:19: 19 “KING AGRIPPA, AFTER I HAD THIS VISION FROM HEAVEN, I OBEYED IT.

PAUL IS SPEAKING OF THE INCIDENT ON THE DAMASCUS ROAD AND HE STATES HE HAD A VISION. I THINK THAT WHAT HAPPENED IS THAT ALL THE SEM SAW THE FLASH OF LIGHT AND IT BROUGHT THEM TO THE GROUND, BUT PAUL ALSO HAD A VISION OF JESUS, THAT LEFT HIM TEMPORARILY BLIND, BUT NOT THE OTHERS.

SUCH VISIONS OF THE GLORY OF GOD IN EXTREME BRIGHTNESS CAN BE TRACED BACK TO:

MOSES

JESUS ON THE MOUNT OF TRANSFIGURATION

JESUS AS HE APPEARS IN REVELATION CHAPTER ONE.

WE THEN LEARN FROM THE ACCOUNT THAT WHILE ON THE GROUND SAUL HEARS A VOICE:

ACTS 9: 4-6:

3 SO SAUL HEADED TOWARD DAMASCUS. AS HE CAME NEAR THE CITY, A BRIGHT LIGHT FROM HEAVEN SUDDENLY FLASHED AROUND HIM. 4 SAUL FELL TO THE GROUND AND HEARD A VOICE SAYING TO HIM, “SAUL, SAUL! WHY ARE YOU PERSECUTING ME?” 5 SAUL SAID, “WHO ARE YOU, LORD?” THE VOICE ANSWERED, “I AM JESUS, WHOM YOU ARE PERSECUTING.”

THESE STATEMENTS ARE ONLY HEARD BY SAUL. THE MEN HEAR THE SOUND, BUT THEY CAN’T UNDERSTAND. IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THEY DIDN’T UNDERSTAND THE LANGUAGE, BUT I THINK THAT THE MESSWAGE WAS FOR PAUL AND NOT THEM.

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Browse All Media

Related Media


Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion