Summary: How the Lordship of Christ helps us have courage to take the gospel to the streets
Sermon text: Acts 9:1-19
Title: To the Streets
Today we are continuing in our series on the Book of Acts and this morning we are looking at Acts 9:1-19. This is the conclusion of our "To the Streets" portion of Acts which runs from chapters 5-9.
Let’s begin by reading v1-2
“Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.”
Illustration: Imagine you are watching God TV and there is an interruption to your program to bring you breaking news. The breaking news is that there is a madman breathing out murderous threats against the church and imprisoning any Christians he can find. How do you think that breaking news would make you feel about going to the streets and sharing Christ? I think our fear would be off the scales and we would be inclined to stay off the streets.
So what would compel the early church to go to the streets and share the gospel?
What was it that overcame the fear? I believe it was the Lordship of Christ. As we look at these verses in chapter 9 it is the Lordship of Christ that moves the church to go out into the streets. While fear sees the danger faith sees the Lordship of Christ!
3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
There are many different ways that Jesus shows himself as Lord. For Saul it was a very dramatic way. Perhaps for you and me it was much less dramatic. The reality is that some people really need a more dramatic wake-up call than others. The important thing is that Jesus is Lord and some people have to find this out the hard way. Acts chapter 9 is referred to as the account of Saul’s conversion. It is for Saul a conversion to a new Lord. At the beginning of the chapter Saul is opposed to the Lordship of Christ but by the 19th verse he is preaching Jesus is Lord.
7 The men travelling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone.8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. 10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered.
For three days Saul is blinded. He does not know how long he will be in this state. But Jesus is Lord and He knows how to help a blind Saul. Jesus has a disciple named Ananias who already acknowledges Jesus as Lord. You see before we get a vision from the Lord we need a vision of Jesus as Lord. We are good at seeing Jesus on the cross but we also must see Him on the throne. Jesus sits on a throne in heaven and He also wants to sit on the throne in each of our hearts.
11. The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
It’s incredible that Jesus has already shown Saul what Ananias is about to do before he tells Ananias. How could Jesus be so confident before even asking Ananias? It must have been because Jesus was Lord of Ananias’ life!
Now Ananias did feel he had to give Jesus information he thinks Jesus does not know.
13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”