Summary: A message about Paul’s calling away from men to shape his soul.
THE GREAT VALUE OF LONELINESS
Acts 9:1-9 -- And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 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. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
Galatians 1:15-18 -- But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
l. INTRODUCTION -- THE CONVERSION
-He had nearly completed his journey. Having crossed the burning flatlands and now moving into the hills north of Galilee, he began to walk the lush valley watered by the Abana and Pharpar rivers. It is about high noon, when all is quiet, that the event that changes his entire life comes about.
-A blinding light from heaven, slammed him to the ground, the stupefied friends of the Pharisee heard a roaring, they could not understand. Saul heard what they did not hear; he saw what they did not see.
-Paul would later reflect in his letter to the Philippians that Christ had seized him, had taken him, had arrested him.
Philippians 3:12 -- . . . if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
-There has to be something to seize every one of us in this quest for the Kingdom of God. Righteous things, holy things must seize us. Pray and fasting has to seize me. A heart for the lost has to seize me. A love for the Word has to seize me. It is critical that this happen in my life.
-The burning light of the vision blinded him and he entered Damascus. There for three days he fasted, prayed--passed seventy hours in darkness, in silence, alone, alone with God.
ll. THE GREAT VALUE OF LONELINESS
-It is in the hours of loneliness that God does some of His greatest works.
It was in the lonely dejection of Elijah that God spoke best to him.
It was in the wearying lonely path of faith that God came again to Abraham.
It was in the lonely hours following failure that Peter found God.
It was in the lonely midnight hours that Jacob had his wrestling match with God.
It was in the loneliness of the mountain that Moses would get the Law from God.
It was in the loneliness of her barrenness that Hannah prevailed.
It was in the loneliness of her burden that forced Esther to approach Ahaserus.
It was in loneliness that Daniel received his great vision from God.
It was in the loneliness of the pit that Jeremiah found a renewed burden for the people.
It was in the loneliness of the pit and prison that Joseph felt God continuing to forecast his dreams.
It was in the loneliness of prayer at Gethsemane that the Lord labored, just a stone=s cast away from the disciples but it may as well have been a million miles that separated them.
Loneliness marked Mary in Bethlehem’s stable. Loneliness marked her again as she stood at Golgotha.
-God uses schoolhouses of loneliness to teach His servants.
David’s pasture in Bethlehem was lonely.
Hosea’s house was lonely without Gomer.
Abraham’s sacrifice became a lonely vigil.
Rizpah on her rock was a lonely place.
Bethlehem’s stable. . . . .a lonely place.
John’s Isle of Patmos. . . . . a lonely place.