Acts 9:1-22 NIV

1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 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. 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.” 7 The men traveling 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. 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.” 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.” 17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord–Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here–has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. 20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” 22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.

1. Not wanting anyone to perish

Saul wanted the disciples to perish. He was persecuting the church. In the previous chapter – Acts 8, we are told that Saul gives approval for the killing of Stephen. We are further told that a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria and that the disciples mourned deeply for Stephen.

Acts 8:3 NIV

But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.

And now Acts 9 begins with Saul still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples (equivalent to the panting & snorting of a wild beast). Whether men or women, he was willing to take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.

Acts 9:13, 21 NIV

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. … 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?”

Saul and his mission were well known. In Saul’s own words:

Acts 26:9-11 NIV

9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.

God doesn’t want anyone to perish. How does it work? The Christian is not superior to anybody else! The Christian is a forgiven person, not a perfect person. Rather a Christian’s protection is different – not
by the ‘weapons of the world’!

2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NIV

3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

1 Peter 1:5 NIV

who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

Psalm 34:7 NIV

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.

Isaiah 43:2 NIV

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

Zechariah 2:8 NIV

For this is what the LORD Almighty says: “… –for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye–

Zechariah 2:5 NIV

And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will be its glory within.’

John 10:28-29 NIV

28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

Romans 8:31-39 NIV

31 … If God is for us, who can be against us? … 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV

13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 NIV

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

Matthew 28:20 NIV

… And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

2. Everyone to come to repentance

2 Peter 3:9 NIV

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Saul’s journey (Acts 9)

5  ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked. (acknowledging something bigger?)
6  ‘Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.’ (willing to obey?)
7  …So they led him by the hand (humble disposition?)
9  For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything (sobering assessment; repentance?)
18  Immediately, …he could see again. He got up and was baptised (baptised; submits to God’s plan of salvation!)
20  At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. (making disciples?)

New Testament teaching on Conversion

  • Hearing the message
    Matt 13:15-16; Acts 11:14; Rom 10:17; Rev 2:7
  • Faith – believing on Jesus
    John 3:16; John 8:30-31; Acts 16:31
  • Repenting of sin
    Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; Acts 26:20
  • Confessing Jesus as Lord
    Romans 10:9-10; 1 Timothy 6:12
  • Baptism (being immersed) into Christ
    Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; Galatians 3:26-27

1 Timothy 1:12-17 NIV

12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise

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