Summary: This sermon speaks of the transformation of Saul to Paul and his journey of growth in the desert.
• Paul was one of those guys who break the mold.
• He was wild, crazy, zealous, lost, brilliant, passionate and super focused.
• If he was alive today he would be considered a terrorist for killing people for his cause.
• Last week we talked about his childhood and how he persecuted Christians.
Galatians 1:13 Paul said of himself, For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it…”
• And then became one of them. That ought to give us all hope.
• The road outside of Damascus, Syria
• Acts 9
I. TOUCHED AND TRANSFORMED
• Any time God uses someone greatly they have to be touched repeatedly and deeply.
• This was Paul.
Acts 26:15-18, “‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. “And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. You are to tell the world what you have seen and what I will show you in the future. And I will rescue you from both your own people and the gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’”
• This is called destiny. He certainly had a Damascus road experience, a dramatic encounter.
• But please listen to me. Jesus is still doing this today - transforming lives.
Galatians 1:15-16, “...it pleased God to reveal His Son in me...” - It still does!
• Acts 9:10 - Others are always part of our journey. Ananias immediately used by God in Paul’s journey.
• Here God gives the keys of the kingdom to a man he could trust.
• To unlock Saul’s way.
• Vss. 10-16 - Reality of obeying, always a risk.
• Vs. 17 - Ananias greets Paul as a brother. The guy had faith. He laid hands on him as we are called to do today and pray for the release of life and blessings.
• Vs. 12 - Paul was praying and saw a vision of Ananias coming.
• Three visions here. Paul on road, in his room and Ananias.
• He obeyed and was baptized.
• Paul later wrote of baptism. Romans 6 - “We are buried with Him” and so he was and rose as a new man.
II. SCHOOL BEGINS FOR PAUL
• Paul was a smart guy, brilliant, but he had never been to a school like the one God was about to enroll him in.
• Joseph went to this school and graduated, so did Moses, Abraham and David and us!
• Acts 9:16 - God told Ananias about Paul’s school. “For I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.”
Acts 9:20-31, “And immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’ All those hearing him continued to be amazed, and were saying, ‘Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?’ But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ. When many days had elapsed, the Jews plotted together to do away with him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were also watching the gates day and night so that they might put him to death; but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket. When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus. And he was with them, moving about freely in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. And he was talking and arguing with the Hellenistic Jews; but they were attempting to put him to death. But when the brethren learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus. So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.”