Read Acts 9:1-31; Ch. 13; Phillipians 3:4-8
Memorize Romans 8:28
1. Pride before God
The name Saul: “Asked for” or “Prayed for”
The name Paul: “Small” or “Humble”
Saul, persecutor of Christians, had a name that meant he was “the one asked” or “prayed for,” and after his conversion, his name becomes “humble.” The popular view would say that God would take a man from a lowly position to higher. God humbles those he loves and calls.
“I(God) will show him(Saul) how much he must suffer for my name’s sake”
2. Religion to God
How could Saul be persecuting the church, and yet be considered a “Hebrew of Hebrews”?
Think of this! In his own mind, he believed that by persecuting Christians, he was honoring God!
How could this happen? Can you imagine the fear that he felt, when God spoke to him and said “Why are you persecuting me??”
Imagine living your life, convinced you were serving God, while all along, you were persecuting his church!
Don’t forget that Saul was more versed in the scriptures than many of us today. After all, he was a jew of jews! He had spent his entire childhood devoted to memorizing and studying the Old Testament scriptures. The hatred he had for the christian church was fueled by his passion for the Mosaic Law. To Saul, he was doing the right thing. Keeping people from proclaiming Jesus as Christ and the Savior of the World was honoring to God, in his mind. In all that he did, he believed it was working toward his righteousness, not from it.
It makes me want to know the Word of God more! What if I’m leading people in a way that I’m convinced is toward God, but actually from Him? Let’s pray, even now, that God would be the focus, not our religion as we sing and as we lead!
“Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
For 3 days Saul prays and fasts, and God sends Aninias to Saul.
Acts 9:15 “Go for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
3. Hoping in God.
We see many doubters of Saul, and we couldn’t blame them for it! How many of us have seen people, especially famous celebrities, politicians that come forward to apologize. And it’s so easy for us to doubt. Saul was clearly known to many, and feared by many. Praise God for the ones that trusted God, and trusted that the Holy Spirit was at work in the life of Saul!
Imagine the dedication God was asking of Saul, to turn from the persecutor to the instructor. To look, face to face, at the one’s that feared him, and bring them the gospel of Christ. We could infer that Saul didn’t have many friends early on, yet we know that through him, the entire world would be changed. May we never doubt what God can do in a person’s life. Praise God for the strength of those that went against all doubt in hope of God!
For Next Week:
Paul, the former Saul, is now writing to the church in Rome. Over the next week, be reading Romans 1:1 and think about how this verse would have been written by Paul. Think of the emotions attached to every phrase.