Saul — From Persecutor to Preacher

Acts 9:1-20
Lesson 10 -- fourth quarter 2012
November 4, 2012
Christian Light Publications

Preparing My Heart

A certainty of being in the right seemed to undergird Saul’s zeal for God. Likewise, I am confident what I believe is true. Oh sure, my practice doesn’t always make my profession believable, but my beliefs are right nonetheless.

Saul discovered some huge flaws in his beliefs. In his zeal for God, he yielded to the real truth, the truth which he had missed in his earlier quest. Even while standing firmly on what I believe, I want a zeal for God that also yields to new-to-me truth from God.

Making the Bible Personal

Might Jesus take personally my conflict with a fellow believer?

Is my heart yielded — and set to yield further — to God and His ways?

Am I too set in my own ways and fears?

What new fact do I think I can tell God so He changes His commands to me?

From whom would I withhold deliverance?

Do I resent newcomers who “vault over” me in the church?

Reviewing Basic Truths

Saul persecuted the church “ignorantly in unbelief” (1 Timothy 1:13).

Saul and Ananias each accepted what Jesus said, and changed accordingly.

The Lord chooses and uses whom He will however He wills.

God does not refuse to engage the honest, sincere fears of His people.

Applying God’s Word to Me

Section omitted from free version; purchase entire quarter as PDF or for Kindle.

Why should Jesus change His plan in order to suit me?

Saul had no doubt (apparently) that his efforts to purge Israel and Judaism of Christianity was God-ordained. He knew Moses and the prophets well. He knew how God had set up the Law for the good of His chosen people. Therefore, this new way didn’t suit Saul at all. He fully intended to expend his considerable zeal in a passionate drive to stamp out Christianity. But Saul was wrong, and Jesus wasn’t about to change His own plan. Jesus didn’t need to suit Saul. That would have been backwards!

Ananias had plenty of doubts (obviously) about Jesus’ ideas concerning his going to Saul and being used to restore Saul’s sight. He knew from plenty of reliable sources about Saul’s evil track record. He also knew what Saul’s intentions were for him and the other saints in Damascus. Serving as an “accomplice” to any of that didn’t suit Ananias at all. And he likely didn’t see the sense in being the first Christian within the persecutor’s range when he could see again. It seems Ananias fully intended to use his God-given wisdom to avoid compromising the security of the church in Damascus. But Ananias was wrong (if that’s how he thought), and Jesus wasn’t about to change His own plan. Jesus didn’t need to suit Ananias. That would have been backwards!

I. Know. That.

And yet…. Well, sometimes it almost seems like I must expect Jesus to change His plan in order to suit me. For instance, this one:

“Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do” (Romans 14:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:11).

If that plan doesn’t suit me, I am wrong, and Jesus isn’t about to change His own plan. Jesus doesn’t need to suit me. That would be backwards!

This concludes my comments based on the alternate lesson developed by Christian Light Publications. To read my comments on the passage for the International Bible Lesson, click here: Courageous Witness and Radical Gospel.

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Make sure these things are so: Examine the Scriptures (Acts 17:11). And above all, love God!