Summary: Any person that has just come to Christ has many needs. We are going to use Acts 9 verses 10-18 to see what the Bible says about these needs and how we, as Christians can help to supply those needs.
Last time we saw Saul’s conversion experience. On his way to Damascus to persecute Christians, a bright light from heaven knocked Saul to the ground. He heard the voice of Jesus Christ speak to him asking why He was persecuting Him. We saw the beginning of Saul’s conversion experience. Saul was blinded so they led him to the city of Damascus. He was blinded for three days—three days to think things through, three days to wonder why Christ chose him, and three days to listen for God’s will.
Was it during those three days that Saul was converted? Whenever it was, as a new convert, he had certain needs. Any person that has just come to Christ has many needs. We are going to use Acts 9 verses 10-18 to see what the Bible says about these needs and how we, as Christians can help to supply those needs.
READ verses 10-15. This new convert, Saul, needed help from a very special believer. This special believer doesn’t appear to be an apostle, or a deacon, or an ordained minister. The believer was a simple unknown disciple named Ananias. The traits that Ananias possessed were exactly what were needed by the new convert, Saul.
1. First, Ananias was sensitive to God’s call. When God spoke to Ananias, he listened. He was sensitive and aware of the familiar voice of God. He was a man of much prayer. So, when God called him, he knew the voice of God and he answered. That’s one of the things that a new convert needs—the ministry of a disciple who knows the voice of God. He needs to learn how to be sensitive to the call and direction of God.
2. Second, Ananias was willing to face difficult assignments. Reaching out to help a new convert is never an easy thing to do. It’s a big responsibility. The more depraved the convert has been, the more difficult the task becomes. This was true with Saul. It’s true with most new converts.
In dealing with a new convert, there is always some apprehension. The new convert is somewhat unknown and to some degree a stranger and a novice in the faith. For instance, there is difficulty for the seasoned believer:
• Of learning where the new convert is in spiritual and Biblical understanding.
• Of learning where that person is emotionally.
• Of knowing what to teach, where to begin, and what pace to teach.
• Of determining how much time is necessary to disciple him.
• Of being on guard against becoming a stumbling block because the new convert is always watching and observing the teacher’s life.
The new convert watches the seasoned believers for an example of how to act. They look to the believer as an example of how to love and not be critical and judgmental. There is also the difficulty of the believer of protecting the new convert from returning to the world, of returning to his former life of sin.
3. Third, Ananias was willing to be the answer to prayer. Note how God assured Ananias. God told Ananias that Saul was praying: he was truly a new convert, seeking God’s face. He was broken and trembling and apprehensive. Wouldn’t you be? How would you feel:
• Right after this sudden appearance of Jesus.
• If Jesus reminded you of how you have rebelled and opposed the Lord.
• If Jesus told you to wait for God’s Word instructing you what to do.
• After begin stricken with blindness in an instant.
God told Ananias that Paul had been given a vision—very clear assurance—that a believer (specifically named Ananias) would come and help him.
And the point is this: The new convert who is genuine, prays for help. He prays for God to send mature believers into his life who will help him to grow and to know the Lord’s Will for his life. It’s the mature believer himself who becomes the answer to the new convert’s prayers.
God still needs believers today who reach out to help those who are new in the faith. He needs believers who will stand in the gap and become the answer to the prayer of new converts. You say, “Yeah this might sound good in theory, but the new believers don’t really want to be bothered and pressured by seasoned believers.”
All converts who are genuine want to grow in the knowledge of the Lord. They long for believers to befriend and help them. It’s up to us to become the person, the believer, the answer to their prayers. There is no one else except us.
The very thing Saul (and all other converts) needed was the help of a disciple who knew what it was to feel inadequate and apprehensive. All new converts (just like Saul) have to face difficult tasks all through life, tasks that demand God’s grace. A believer who senses this inadequate feeling in new believers can teach the new convert to trust and depend upon God.