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The Conversion Of A Persecutor Acts Nine
Those that stoned Stephen "laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul." Saul "made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison." Not being content with persecuting Christians in Jerusalem Saul pursued Christians to Damascus. ( Act_9:1-3 )
As Saul was approaching Damascus a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" He was told to go into Damascus and there he would be told what he must do. Saul was led blind into the city where he prayed for three days, neither eating nor drinking.
Jesus sent Ananias to restore Saul's sight and to tell him what he must do to be saved. He also told Saul that he was a chosen vessel with a great mission to the Gentiles. Saul's sight was restored and he was baptized to wash away his sins. He began immediately preaching that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. The Greek speaking Jews plotted to kill Saul. The disciples helped him escape from Damascus by letting him down by the wall in a basket.
Saul later went to Jerusalem where Barnabas spoke on his behalf. After that he was accepted by the brethren. But again the Jews sought to kill him. "When the brothers learned this, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus." Acts chapter nine closed with the accounts of two great miracles. First in Lydda, Peter healed Aeneas, a man that had been paralyzed for eight years. The second miracle took place in Joppa. A sister named Dorcas was raised from the dead. This "became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord."
The conversion of Saul Act_9:1-18 : Saul's early training helped him to be a very sincere man. However, as important as sincerity is we must remember that sincerity may be just as real in the heart of a lost man as a saved man. Saul sincerely felt that he was doing right while persecuting Christians. Saul was doing his best to destroy the church. Some build the church and some try to destroy it. Which do you do?
Saul was granted authority by the High Priest to pursue Christians in Damascus. The Lord appeared to Saul as he traveled to Damascus. There was a light from heaven and there was a voice that asked, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" Saul responded, "Who are you, Lord?" Jesus said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do."
God sent Ananias to Saul (1) to tell him about the work God had for him to do, (2) to restore his sight, (3) that he might be filled with the Holy Spirit, and (4) to tell him what to do to be saved. At first Ananias was frightened by Saul, but he loved God enough to obey. Ananias was told to go to house of Judas on the street called Straight for there Saul had been praying and fasting. Saul became a Christian when he believed, repented of sins and was baptized.
Saul's early ministry Act_9:19-31 : After his conversion Saul began to build up what he had tried to destroy. Saul went to the Jewish meeting places and immediately started telling people that Jesus is the Son of God. Saul increased in strength so much so that he was able to confound the Jews that dwelt in Damascus as he showed them that Jesus is the Messiah.
After Saul's conversion he was hated by the Jews and suspect by the brethren. It was not long until the persecutor became the persecuted. Saul's preaching of the risen Christ aroused opposition and persecution. Some of the Jews made plans to kill him. Saul found out about their plans and one night his brethren let him down over the city wall in a large basket. Saul was driven out by the Jews, led by the Lord and assisted by his brethren.
Saul then made a brief visit to the disciples at Jerusalem. The Christians were afraid of him. Barnabas helped Saul by taking him to the apostles. He explained how Saul had seen the Lord on the road and how the Lord had spoken to him. Barnabas also said that Saul had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus. Saul was accepted by the brethren and moved about freely among the Christians in Jerusalem and told everyone about the Lord. He had many discussions with the Jews that spoke the Greek language. (the Hellenists) They also attempt to kill Saul. The brethren took Saul to Caesarea. From there he was sent him to the city of Tarsus. This was followed by a time of peace and growth for the church.
The miracle at Lydda Act_9:32-35 : While Peter was traveling from place to place preaching the gospel he came to Lydda. There he met Aeneas, a man that had been paralyzed and bedridden for eight years. "Peter said to Aeneas, "Jesus Christ has healed you! Get up and make up your bed." This miracle took place during a time of peace and prosperity in the church.
The man that was healed had a disease of long standing, incurable by human means. The man was healed by divine power -- "Jesus Christ heals you." The man was healed instantaneously -- "He arose immediately." The man was healed completely -- "Arise and make your bed." Peter made it clear that Jesus Christ had healed this man. Many people in Lydda and Sharon saw Aeneas and turned to the Lord.
The raising of Dorcas Act_9:36-42 : In Joppa there was a Christian lady named Tabitha. Her Greek name was Dorcas. As a follower of Christ she was helpful and compassionate. Dorcas lived, like all people, subject every moment to death. The Bible said of Dorcas that she got sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upper room.
Two men were sent to Peter in nearby Lydda to tell him what had happened. They asked him to come with them as quickly as he could. Peter went with them right away. When they got to Joppa Peter was brought to the upper room. The weeping widows showed garments that Dorcas had made. Peter sent the people out and "turned to the body of Dorcas and said, “Tabitha, get up!” The woman opened her eyes, and “when she saw Peter, she sat up.” When people heard what had happened with Dorcas many of them put their faith in the Lord. After this Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with Simon, a tanner.
This great miracle teaches us that we should spare no effort to develop a faith greater than earthly life. We also should consider each day a blessing from God and use it in His service.
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Acts 9". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29