Synopsis of sermon 11/15/15
Delivered by Bishop Walker III
Acts 9:1-6 (NKJV)
The Damascus Road: Saul Converted
9 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” 5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.[a] It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” 6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
The scripture says, then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” We were all born into sin. We all have gone through seasons where things weren’t so great. In these seasons, our lives had been a series of events that would have led to damnation if not for heaven’s intervention.
Jer 29:11 says 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. – One of the most powerful experiences that could ever happen to us is conversion. This is totally different than simply joining. When you join, you simply become a member of the church, but when you are converted, it goes a little deeper: When you are truly converted, no one has to tell you to show up! You don’t have to tell a converted person to treat people right; You don’t need to prime a converted person up with the praise team or ques from an organ either! All a converted person has to do is think about the goodness of God and the praise will begin!
This sermon is not to get you to shout. This sermon is for understanding the transformative power of God. God takes something and converts it for his own glory.
Saul was a terrorist to the Christians of the early church. He was even present at the stoning of Stephen. On the road going to Damascus, God met Saul. God interrupted Saul’s agenda from terrorist to evangelist. This same power is available to us today.
There is a level of evidence seen when a person is converted.
- Past Conduct
Saul was an amazing individual. He was diligent, intelligent, passionate, and the list goes on.
There are things we can learn from Paul’s conduct:
- We’ve all had a Saul season. Saul’s name is changed to Paul to represent his right now season (not his past), but you can’t appreciate this right now Season (also referred to as the Paul season), without understanding his Saul season. All of us have had a Saul season. Prov 14:12 says 12 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.- Saul’s season represents the season where you thought you would do it your own way. If you think about it, much of what we look at in the world is beyond our ability to change it. One thing we can change however is ourselves.
- No matter what you did, know that God can still use you. No matter what you did, know that God can still use you. God can take the raw materials of our past, and use it. This is not a time for us to make excuses about why God can’t use us. Everybody reading this has had some type of Saul season.
- We come to tell you today that God can still use you! He used Abraham who lied about his wife being his sister, Jacob who was a trickster, Moses who killed a man and hid his body, David who was an adulterer, and Jeremiah who tried to walk around his one assignment. All of these examples should be evidence that God can use you!
- God takes one thing and converts it for his glory.
- POWER OF CONVERSION
God met you and changed you. You wasn’t an easy case.
- When God gets ready for you, he knows where to find you. Psa 139:9 says 9 If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea – In other words, there is no limit on Gods ability to find you. When God gets ready to find you, he will find you like he found Saul.
- God will meet you where you are about to do what you are about to do. God is aware of your every move. Some of you know that God has been calling you and pulling you away from things. Know that this is God literally speaking to you an guiding you.
- True conversion will send you instantly into another direction. 2 Cor 5:17 says 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.- When conversion happens in your life, the things of the past have to let you go. Because of your new life, Christ has no room for the baggage of your past.
- When the light shined upon him, Saul was blinded. Sometimes God has to blind us of our own issues. God had to blind Saul and open up his eyes, so that he could see (clearly). – Just like this, God opened your eyes so you could see differently. One encounter with God can change your whole life.
- How was Paul able to argue that he was an Apostle? Apostles are those that walked with Jesus or had seen him in person. This consisted of eleven disciples plus the one that replaced Judas. The question often arises, how then was Paul (formally known as Saul) able to call himself an Apostle? Well the answer is, on Damascus road, Saul had an encounter with God and he saw God. This illustrates to us that whenever you meet God for yourself, you will change instantly.
Whenever you are truly converted, you have:
III. Paradigm of Commitment
When converted, your commitment is greater than the average person. When you are converted, this thing is real for you. In Saul’s former life, he persecuted the church. In his later life, Paul was persecuted by church. In his Saul life, he ran with the devil and his Paul life, he ran against evil.
Why would the devil start messing with you when you get saved? It is because he wants to block your commitment.
- Your purpose will always have to be greater than your pain. James Baldwin wrote “I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.” – When you are playing church, pain will uproot you. When you are converted, you understand that no matter what happens, you can stay and finish your assignment. Paul said, “If God be for me, he is more than the whole world against me. Paul said, “… and we know all things work together for the good of them that love the Lord and are called according to his purpose…” – God did what he did in your life just to show somebody that he is real in your life.
- The same energy you had for the world you now have for the kingdom. – God will bring us to a place of humility sometimes. God is not after religion; he is after relationship. God salvaged Saul. In his encounter, God asked Saul why he was persecuting him. He could have instantly killed Saul, but he didn’t. Why did he salvage him? It was because Saul was a good man, full of energy, passion, and dedication. He was articulate too. God knew he could take all of these qualities and convert it for the kingdom.
- It is amazing how when we were in the world, we had all that energy, and now when it comes for the things of God, we are always tired. When we were out in the world, we used to go to happy hour and stay longer than an hour. Now we can’t even spend an hour in Bible Study. We used to spend all kind of money at the club and having so called fun, but now we get upset if the preacher asks for 5 dollars to sow in a ministry.
- One thing is for sure, the church is the only place that you can tell the weather on the inside. If the weather is bad, there will barely be anyone inside the church.
Again, there is a different between joining and being converted. Be honest and ask yourself, did I simply join or have I been converted?