How many times have you heard he or she will never change, and in the end, they did change and you say to yourself it had to be God. Saul (later his name was change to Paul) was a prime example of what change looks like. He turned from persecuting those who believed in Jesus to becoming a devoted follower of Christ. When you turn away from something you have to turns towards something else, well nothing is better than turning to Christ.
Let’s look at Acts 9:1-21 so much happened concerning Saul’s conversion that it’s worth breaking down:
Saul with the permission from the high priest was on his way to Damascus to find and imprison followers of Christ, this was Saul’s plan. Acts 9:1-2
He encounters Jesus and asked Jesus what will he have him to do? Acts 9: 6 Now, right there he put aside his own plan and was obedient to God’s plan. This is amazing because the norm for us is to reason with God, think about it, talk it over with friends, try it our way first and get back to God when it doesn’t work out or procrastinate and never get around to doing what God said do. Saul did it…period.
Saul has no sight or food for three days, so therefore I would have to believe he was totally depended on God. Acts 9:9
Saul prays seen a vision of Ananias laying hands on him. Acts 9:11 Saul through prayer is drawing closer to God.
Ananias has a conversation with God about Saul’s past actions and what Saul was planning to do. Acts 9:13-14. This is interesting because is Ananias questioning God or is Ananias just giving his thoughts on the matter? WOW what a relationship Ananias has with God.
God didn’t owe Ananias an explanation but he did answer him, Saul is a chosen vessel unto me…. Acts 9:15
Ananias put hands on Saul received his sight, arose and baptized and he received meat Acts 9:17-19
Began preaching about Christ. Acts 9: 20
Even though he was transformed all people didn’t believe it or received it. However, there was one man by the name of Barnabas who did believe and spoke up on his behalf Acts 9:27. Have you ever needed a Barnabas at some point in your life to speak up for you and your character?
Saul (Paul) made three missionary journeys to teach and preach the Good News and he didn’t go it alone he had the support of other believers such as Mark John and Silas. In Matthew 18:20 it says Where two or more are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
The book of Acts links the gospel of Christ’s life and the letters written to the Romans. The gospel went to the Jews first and many rejected it and because of that the gospel spread to the Gentiles. God used Paul’s ministry to bring the gospel to the Gentiles. Paul loved the people of Rome and was concerned about their salvation so much that it was put in writing known as the Epistle to the Romans or Romans.
Paul discusses in Romans:
Ch. 1-8 Doctrinal – Faith and that salvation is available to all
Ch. 9-11 Dispensational – Hope, the past, present and future of Israel whom a message was given
Ch. 12-16 Duty – Love and Service in the body and the world. Serve and love others.
A system of order, a divine period of time. God used a different means of working with people; Israel and the church.
In the Old Testament, Israel was God’s chosen people. Exodus 3:7 The Law of Moses was given to the Jews. Through out our study of the OT Israel had shown disobedience and time and time again God offered to restore the nation of Israel (Hosea Ch. 11-14) God was not through with Israel and a remnant would return back to him and worship God and God alone.
In Acts, the church is being formed (Day of Pentecost indwelled with the Holy Spirit) at a time when God is dealing with Israel. Some Jews rejected the Good News, so the message was taken to the Gentiles. Acts 28:28
Two peoples of God – Israel and the church and how both fit into God’s plan, justified by grace through faith.
Paul went from being a persecutor of the followers of Christ to being persecuted for his belief and faith in Jesus Christ. God can use you if you are willing to let go of what you think is right. Paul shared the Good News boldly through trials and tribulations that salvation is available to all and is a gift of God ‘s grace through our faith in Christ. What has God called you to do? Are you willing to be a vessel used by God to complete God’s plan? Are you ready to fulfill the calling on your life? Paul’s story is amazing and if God did it for Paul he can do it for you. Trust God, believe in His word and have faith.