Summary: How do we know when and if it is God that is speaking to us?
WHEN WE ARE CLOSE TO GOD
INTRO: Just how aware are we of God speaking to us? Just how obedient are we when we know He is telling us to do a certain thing, or go a certain place? What is the result of our obedience? our disobedience? How do we know when and if it is God that is speaking to us? These are the questions we want to answer as we consider: WHEN WE ARE CLOSE TO GOD.
When we are close to God we will be:
I. OBSERVANT (vv. 10-12).
When you are close to God, you are sensitive to His voice as He speaks to you.
Ananias was a follower of Jesus in Damascus. He had such a close relationship with God, that Jesus appeared to him in a vision.
In that vision, Jesus instructed Ananias to go to the house of Judas where Saul of Tarsus was staying. Jesus told Ananias that Saul was expecting him to come.
ILLUS: Other examples of people walking close to God and being aware of his presence are found throughout the Bible (i. e. Samuel — 1 Samuel 3:1-10 (quickview) Peter — Acts 10 (quickview) : 9-16). In 1 Sam. 3:1 there is no open vision because of SIN! Precious there means Rare! Visions were rare and infrequent because apostacy was rampant.
What could happen in your life if you had that kind of relationship with God? What could happen in our world today if we were as sensitive as these people of old to God’s voice speaking to us?
When we are close to God, we will be:
II. OBEDIENT (vv. 13-16).
Paul’s reputation for persecuting Christians had preceded Him to Damascus. It was about a five day journey from Jerusalem to Damascus, so it is thought that some christians had made the trip to Damascus before Saul arrived to tell the believers there the reason why Saul was coming to Damascus.
Ananias was aware of how Paul had been persecuting the Christians. When God instructed Ananias to go to Judas’ house to help Paul regain his eyesight, Ananias only reminded God of Paul’s reputation. He asked God if He really knew who Saul was. He did not argue with God or refuse to go.
When God tells us that He has something for us to do, do we question Him? Argue with Him? Or, do we accept what He commands us to do and obediently follow his commands?
When you are close to God and walking with Him you are obedient to His commands and do not question what He tells you to do. How many blessings have you missed, or what vital job has been left undone because you questioned God or refused to listen to Him?
ILLUS: Jonah — at first refused to do God’s bidding, then later repented. Look at the final result! A whole city repented.
When we are close to God, there can be a great:
III. OUTCOME (vv. 17-18).
When you are close to God and walking with Him — great things are possible.
Because of Ananias’ obedience to God, regardless of what he had heard about Saul, Saul once again received his eyesight, was saved, and Baptized. From that point on, look at the change in Paul’s life. Look at what God did through Paul!
Ananias put his hands on Saul and called him Brother Saul. The importance of Ananias’ putting his hands on Paul was to now identify Paul with the Christians that he had been persecuting.