THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

PROGRAM AIR DATE: 6-17-18



LESSON TITLE: “PAUL!”



WELCOME

TODAY WE ARE BLESSED WITH A WONDERFUL GIFT FROM GOD, THE BIBLE. THIS BOOK IS GOD'S LIVING WORD. IN ITS PAGES, WE ARE TOLD “FOR THE WORD OF GOD IS LIVING AND POWERFUL AND SHARPER THAN ANY TWO-EDGED SWORD.” IT IS IN THIS BOOK OF BOOKS THAT WE FIND THE ANSWERS TO ALL OF MAN'S QUESTIONS AND NEEDS. THIS MORNING YOUR AREA CHURCHES OF CHRIST WELCOME YOU TO A PROGRAM COMMITTED TO THAT PERFECT LAW OF LIBERTY AS WE PRESENT THE LIVING WORD. NOW HERE IS YOUR HOST, RAY SULLINS.

WHAT A PRIVILEGE WE HAVE THIS MORNING TO JOIN TOGETHER IN THE STUDY OF GOD’S LIVING WORD. WE WELCOME YOU TO OUR PROGRAM AND WE THANK GOD THAT YOU HAVE CHOSEN TO BE WITH US TODAY. WE ARE EXCITED ABOUT THIS OPPORTUNITY WE HAVE TOGETHER THIS MORNING TO GLORIFY OUR CREATOR. MAY WE EACH DO OUR PART TO MAKE THIS TIME ACCEPTABLE IN HIS SIGHT AND ACCORDING TO HIS WILL. NOW, LET’S APPROACH OUR FATHER’S THRONE IN PRAYER.

PRAYER: OUR GOD AND FATHER IN HEAVEN, WE THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS DAY AND EVERY DAY OF LIFE AND EVERY GIFT. FOR FATHER WE KNOW THAT ALL GOOD THINGS COME FROM YOU, ALL SPIRITUAL THINGS AND ALL PHYSICAL THINGS. AND THEREFORE, FATHER HELP US TO ALWAYS LIVE IN SUCH A WAY THAT WILL LIFT YOU UP AND GLORIFY YOU KNOWING THAT BY OUR OBEDIENCE WE REALLY TRULY SHOW THE LOVE THAT WE HAVE FOR YOU. AND FATHER, HELP US THIS DAY AS WE WORSHIP AND PRAISE YOU THAT WE MIGHT ALWAYS DO IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH WHAT YOU COMMAND KNOWING THAT THOSE WHO ARE FOUND FAITHFUL IN THE END ARE GOING TO BE RECIPIENTS OF YOUR WONDROUS, LOVE, GRACE AND MERCY. AND FATHER, WE KNOW THAT THESE THINGS ARE ONLY POSSIBLE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD AND THE GREAT SACRIFICE AND GIFT THAT HE GAVE ON THE CROSS AS WELL AS HIS RESURRECTION. IN THE NAME OF JESUS WE PRAY, AMEN.

THIS MORNING WE WANT TO START OUR SONGS OF PRAISE WITH A HYMN THAT REMINDS US THAT WE SERVE A GOD WHO IS ALIVE AND ACTIVE. WONT YOU JOIN IN WITH THE CONGREGATION AT THIS TIME AS WE TOGETHER SING, “I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES!”

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

WHEN IS THE LAST TIME YOU THOUGHT ABOUT HOW GREAT IT WOULD BE IF YOU WERE RICH? WE OFTEN THINK THAT IF WE WERE JUST RICH THEN EVERYTHING WOULD BE BETTER! MONEY WOULD ALLOW US TO BUY WHATEVER WE WANTED OF THIS WORLD’S GOODS. MONEY WOULD ALSO ALLOW US TO GO WHERE EVER WE WANTED, AT ANY TIME! “OH, TO BE WEALTHY,” WE OFTEN THINK!

BECAUSE OF THIS GREAT DESIRE TO HAVE MONEY TO BUY MORE, WE OFTEN DO OR TRY MANY “GET RICH QUICK” SCHEMES. THINK ABOUT IT FOR A MOMENT, HOW MANY OF US HAVE FILLED OUT THOSE SWEEPSTAKES FORMS AND MAILED THEM IN? OR, HOW MANY OF US HAVE STOPPED TO FILL OUT THAT FORM TO WIN THAT FREE CAR OR TRIP? THE FACT IS WE ALL WOULD LOVE TO GET SOMETHING FOR NOTHING, BUT REALLY THE ODDS ARE WAY AGAINST US. EVEN WHEN A CONTEST IS LEGITIMATE, WE ARE ONLY ONE IN MILLIONS TRYING TO BEAT THE ODDS. THE CHANCE OF US WINNING IS USUALLY SO SLIM THAT IT REALLY DOESN’T EVEN EXIST. WE WOULD ACTUALLY HAVE A BETTER CHANCE OF BEING STRUCK BY LIGHTNING, ON A CLEAR DAY, WHEN THERE IS NOT A CLOUD IN THE SKY THAN IN WINNING MOST OF THESE CONTESTS.

I MENTION THESE THINGS THIS MORNING TO BRING US BACK INTO REALITY. HAPPINESS IS NOT REALLY FOUND IN MONEY OR IN THE THINGS OF THIS WORLD. PAUL TOLD TIMOTHY, “FOR THE LOVE OF MONEY IS A ROOT OF ALL KINDS OF EVIL, FOR WHICH SOME HAVE STRAYED FROM THE FAITH IN THEIR GREEDINESS, AND PIERCED THEMSELVES THROUGH WITH MANY SORROWS” (1 TIM. 6:10). HERE WE SEE THAT A LOVE FOR MONEY IS THE FOUNDATION TO BE INVOLVED IN EVIL, THUS CAUSING ONE TO STRAY FROM THEIR FAITH IN GOD. DOES THIS SOUND LIKE MONEY CAN BUY HAPPINESS?

ARE WE, AS FOLLOWERS OF GOD, SUPPOSED TO BE CAUGHT UP IN THE THINGS OF THIS WORLD? NOTICE WHAT JOHN SAID IN 1 JOHN 2:15, “DO NOT LOVE THE WORLD OR THE THINGS IN THE WORLD. IF ANYONE LOVES THE WORLD, THE LOVE OF THE FATHER IS NOT IN HIM.” HERE WE SEE THAT IF WE LOVE OF THE WORLD OR THE THINGS OF IT, MORE THAN GOD WE DO NOT LOVE HIM.

THE FACT IS, MONEY AND THE THINGS OF THIS LIFE WILL NOT BRING US TRUE HAPPINESS OR CONTENTMENT. TRUE HAPPINESS CAN ONLY BE FOUND IN JESUS CHRIST. WHEN WILL WE LEARN THAT WE WILL NOT REALLY GAIN ANYTHING FROM THIS WORLD OR THE THINGS OF IT, EXCEPT MAYBE PHYSICAL ENJOYMENT OR SELF GRATIFICATION? HAVE WE FORGOTTEN THAT WE WILL DIE SOME DAY AND THAT WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO TAKE ANY OF THESE THINGS WITH US?

WHY NOT FOCUS ON THE TRULY IMPORTANT THINGS IN LIFE? SUCH AS LIVING SOBERLY, RIGHTEOUSLY, AND GODLY IN THE PRESENT AGE, TITUS 2:12. I BELIEVE THIS IS ALSO WHAT SOLOMON WAS TRYING TO SAY IN PROVERBS 22:1, HIS WORDS WERE, “A GOOD NAME IS TO BE CHOSEN RATHER THAN GREAT RICHES, LOVING FAVOR RATHER THAN SILVER AND GOLD.”

TRULY, THE IMPORTANT THINGS IN LIFE ARE THOSE THINGS WHICH PERTAIN TO GOD AND HIS KINGDOM. LET’S CONTINUE TO ENJOY THE THINGS OF THIS WORLD BUT NOT AT GOD’S EXPENSE. WE MUST ALWAYS PUT HIM FIRST AND RECOGNIZE THAT EVERY GOOD GIFT IS FROM HIM.

TODAY WE WILL AGAIN STUDY GOD’S WORD BY FOCUSING ON THE QUESTION, “WHAT SHALL WE DO!” THIS MORNING OUR SPECIFIC TOPIC OF STUDY WILL BE “PAUL!” SO STAY WITH US AFTER OUR NEXT SONG AND IN A FEW MINUTES I WILL RETURN WITH THIS LESSON FROM GOD’S WORD. IT’S NOW TIME TO JOIN IN OUR SECOND HYMN OF THE MORNING, THE NAME OF THE SONG, “HE IS ABLE TO DELIVER THEE.”



LESSON

RAY SULLINS

WE'RE AGAIN GETTING VERY THANKFUL THAT YOU'VE CONTINUED WITH US THIS DAY NOW AS WE GO TO GOD'S WORD AND WE LOOK AT ANOTHER GREAT EXAMPLE OF CONVERSION IN THE BOOK OF ACTS, THE BOOK THAT CERTAINLY INTRODUCES TO US, NOT ONLY THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CHURCH, BUT THE TENS AND EVEN THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE IT SEEMS THAT BECAME CHRISTIANS WITHIN THE FIRST MONTHS AND YEARS AS THE GOSPEL WAS BEING PROCLAIMED AND PREACHED. AND THE QUESTION THAT THEY ASK, ‘WHAT MUST WE DO?’ THEY WANTED TO KNOW, ‘HOW DO WE OVERCOME SIN HOW DO WE FOLLOW JESUS? HOW DO WE BECOME A PART OF THIS KINGDOM THAT IS BEING PREACHED ABOUT AND NOW THAT IT HAS BEEN PROCLAIMED? HOW ARE WE TO BE TRANSLATED INTO THAT KINGDOM? AND HOW DO WE BECOME A PART OF THAT FAMILY OF GOD?’

AND SO, WHAT A BEAUTIFUL QUESTION THAT NOT ONLY WAS ASKED THEN BUT, AS WE ARE NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIANS OURSELVES THIS DAY, THAT WE SHOULD ASK TODAY! WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED? AND THE GREATEST ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION IS NOT FOUND IN MAN. IT IS NOT FOUND IN DENOMINATIONS. IT IS NOT FOUND IN YOUR CHURCH PASTOR. BUT IT IS FOUND IN THE BOOK, THE BIBLE. BECAUSE IT IS GOD WHO SAVES! GOD ALONE WHO HAS THE POWER TO SAVE, AND GOD ALONE WHO ANSWERS THE QUESTION MANY TIMES IN THE BOOK OF ACTS AS THOSE WHO ASKED THE QUESTION WERE GIVEN THAT PERFECT BIBLICAL ANSWER.

AND SO WE HAVE LOOKED AGAIN AT THE DAY OF PENTECOST, WE HAVE LOOKED NOW AT SIMON THE SORCERER IN ACTS CHAPTER 8, AND WE'VE ALSO LOOKED AT THE ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH IN ACTS CHAPTER 8, AND TODAY WE CONTINUE IN CHAPTER 9. AND THE CHARACTER THAT WE CONSIDER THIS DAY IS NOT A STRANGER TO ANY OF US BUT PERHAPS A FAVORITE TO MANY OF US, THE APOSTLE PAUL. BUT AT THIS TIME HIS NAME WAS SAUL AND HE WAS WELL KNOWN BECAUSE HE WAS A JEW OF JEWS. HE WAS INVOLVED IN JUDAISM AND WELL RENOWNED IN IT. IN FACT, HE PERHAPS WOULD'VE BEEN ONE OF THE GREAT JEWS OF HIS DAY HAD HE REMAINED A PROMINENT AND FAITHFUL JEW TO THE JEWISH LAW. HOWEVER, WE KNOW THAT GOD HAD A DIFFERENT PLAN FOR HIM.

I ALWAYS THINK OF PAUL EARLIER ON, MUCH EARLIER ON THERE IN CHAPTER 7 OF ACTS, BECAUSE IT IS THERE THAT WE READ OF THE STORY OF STEPHEN THE MARTYR. BUT AS WE SEE THAT STEPHEN WAS MARTYRED AND WE SEE THAT HE WAS STONED, WE LEARN OF SOMEONE WHO WAS THERE, SOMEONE WHO WAS THERE TAKING PART IN THESE THINGS AND HOLDING THE CLOAKS OF THOSE WHO STONED HIM. AND THERE IN VERSE 58 IT SAYS, “AND THEY CAST HIM OUT OF THE CITY AND STONED HIM,” THAT IS STEPHEN, “AND THE WITNESSES LAID DOWN THEIR CLOTHES AT THE FEET OF A YOUNG MAN NAMED SAUL.” THE VERY YOUNG MAN THAT THERE IN CHAPTER 9 WE LEARN HAS BEEN GIVEN COMMISSION BY THE JEWISH LEADERS TO GO TO DAMASCUS, TO GO TO THE SYNAGOGUES, AND OTHER PLACES THROUGHOUT THE REALM, AND TO BE ABLE TO CONFRONT THOSE WHO WERE OF THE WAY OR THOSE WHO WERE AGAINST JUDAISM. AND EVEN TO PERSECUTE CHRISTIANS TO IMPRISON THEM, TO BEAT THEM, OR TO BE INVOLVED IN SUCH AND EVEN PERHAPS TO SEE THE DEATH OF MANY OF THOSE WHO THEY CONSIDERED TO BE AGAINST GOD BECAUSE THEY WERE FOLLOWING JESUS WHOM MANY OF THE PROMINENT AND THE LEADING JEWS HAD REJECTED.

IT WAS THERE AS THEY JOURNEYED THAT WE SEE THAT THE GREAT LIGHT IN VERSE THREE OF ACTS NINE IS MENTIONED A GREAT LIGHT SHINES AROUND THEM AND SUDDENLY AS THAT LIGHT CAME FROM HEAVEN IT SAYS, “THEN HE FELL TO THE GROUND.” YOU'LL NOTICE ITH ME THAT THE IMMEDIATE REACTION OF PAUL TO A VOICE FROM HEAVEN IS HUMILITY, SUBMISSION, PROSTRATING HIMSELF, BOWING BEFORE THIS VOICE. HE UNDERSTOOD THIS WAS FROM ABOVE. HE UNDERSTOOD MOST LIKELY THIS WAS GOD AND THAT'S EVEN INDICATED IN HIS RESPONSE BECAUSE HE SAYS, “‘WHO ARE YOU LORD?’” HE IDENTIFIES HIM. YOU ARE MY MASTER! YOU ARE THE LORD TO BE THIS LIGHT SPEAKING FROM THE HEAVENS! AND THIS IS THE RESPONSE THAT HE GAVE WHEN IT WAS THAT JESUS OR SPECIFICALLY THE VOICE OF GOD HERE SAID, “‘SAUL, SAUL, WHY ARE YOU PERSECUTING ME?’” YOU SEE THE IDEA? HE SAYS, ‘YOU'RE PERSECUTING ME. YOU'RE IMPRISONING MY PEOPLE. YOU ARE KILLING OR HOLDING THE COATS OF THOSE THAT STONE MY PEOPLE. YOU'RE DOING MANY HORRENDOUS THINGS AGAINST ME, ALTHOUGH I AM THAT MESSIAH. THE PROPHESIED ONE. THE FULFILLMENT OF JEWISH LAW AND PROPHECY. AND YET YOU, AS THE OTHER LEADERS, HAVE REJECTED ME!’

AND SO PAUL, THIS TIME STILL BEING SAUL, IMMEDIATELY IS CHALLENGED TO THINK ABOUT WHAT HE HAS DONE, WHO HE HAS DONE IT TO, AND NO DOUBT IS REMINDED THAT GOD IS IN CONTROL. HE ALSO IDENTIFIES HIMSELF, THAT IS JESUS AS CHRIST, YOU'LL NOTICE HERE WITH ME IN VERSE FIVE AFTER HE SAYS, “‘WHO ARE YOU LORD?’” HE SAYS, “‘I AM JESUS, WHOM YOU ARE PERSECUTING.’” HE'S SAYING WHY ARE YOU KICKING AGAINST THE GOADS? WHY ARE YOU GOING AGAINST WHAT IT IS THAT REALLY GOD HAS TRULY DESIRED OF THE FAITHFUL? OVER IN THE ACCOUNT THAT IS GIVEN IN ACTS 22 THE RESPONSE IS ALSO, NOT ONLY THAT “‘I AM JESUS,’” BUT, “‘JESUS OF NAZARETH, WHOM YOU ARE PERSECUTING.’” YOU SEE, GOD, JESUS, THERE WANTED TO MAKE SURE THAT HE UNDERSTOOD THAT ‘I'M THAT VERY JESUS, THAT MAN WHO WAS FROM NAZARETH, THE NAZARENE,’ OF WHICH THE JEWISH LEADER SAID, ‘HOW COULD A GOOD THING COME OUT OF NAZARETH? HOW CAN THE LEADER OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE COME FROM SUCH A PLACE LIKE THAT?’ YOU SEE, NOW PAUL REALIZES, THIS TIME STILL BEING SAUL, THAT ‘I'VE MADE A MISTAKE. I'VE MADE A VERY GRIEVIOUS MISTAKE AGAINST GOD I'VE DONE THOSE THINGS THAT ARE CONTRARY TO HIS WILL.

AND SO WHAT IS IT THEN THAT HE IS TOLD? WELL, HE IS TOLD SOME IMPORTANT THINGS. BUT BEFORE WE GET TO THOSE IMPORTANT THINGS I WANT YOU TO NOTICE WITH ME THAT IT IS PAUL WHO SEES THE LIGHT. IT IS ALL OF THOSE WHO ARE WITH PAUL WHO HEAR A VOICE BUT YET SEE NO ONE, VERSE SEVEN. BUT THEN AGAIN IF YOU GO TO CHAPTER 22, IT IS ONLY PAUL WHO ACTUALLY UNDERSTANDS WHAT THE VOICE SAYS. SO THEY ALL SEE AND HEAR SOMETHING BUT IT IS PAUL WHO REALLY IS ENGAGED WITH JESUS HERE, WHO IS CHOSEN BY JESUS, WHO IS LEARNING FROM JESUS. AND THEY ARE ALL SPEECHLESS! THEY ARE ALL AMAZED! AND THEY'RE NOT SURE WHAT TO DO. AND SO WHAT IS IT THEN THAT THE VOICE TELLS THEM TO DO? WELL, IT TOLD THEM TO JOURNEY THEN INTO THE CITY. HOW DID HE HAVE TO JOURNEY INTO THE CITY? I LIKE THERE WHAT VERSE EIGHT SAYS THOSE WITH PAUL, SAUL AT THIS TIME, HAD TO LEAD HIM INTO THE CITY. WHY? BECAUSE HE HAD BEEN BLINDED BY THE LIGHT. ALSO IT SAYS THAT FOR THREE DAYS THAT PAUL, SAUL AT THIS TIME, DID NOT EAT OR DRINK ANYTHING BECAUSE OF THE EXPERIENCE WHERE HE HAD SEEN THE LORD.

AND THEREFORE, THIS IS THE PLAN THAT HE FOLLOWED. HE DID EXACTLY WHAT GOD SAID BECAUSE HE GOES THEN INTO THE CITY OF DAMASCUS AND HE MEETS A MAN CALLED ANANIAS. AND WHEN HE GOES THERE TO MEET ANANIAS THAT IS A BEAUTIFUL PART OF THE STORY. BUT GOD HAS ALREADY WARNED ANANIAS, AND IF YOU HAVE TIME LATER YOU MIGHT GO AND READ NOT ONLY CHAPTER 8 OF ACTS OR RATHER CHAPTER 9 OF ACTS AND ALSO CHAPTER 22. AND BY THE WAY CHAPTER 26 AS AN ADDITIONAL PART OF THE ACCOUNT. BUT IF YOU'LL READ THOSE TWO ACCOUNTS WHAT YOU FIND OUT IS ANANIAS IS VERY HESITANT. I MEAN, HE'S HEARD ABOUT SAUL HE'S HEARD ABOUT WHAT SOME OF THE JEWISH LEADERS ARE DOING TO CHRISTIANS SO HE'S VERY MUCH FEARFUL AND REALLY HE ALMOST IS JUST CURIOUS AND WONDERING WHAT IS IT? WHAT IS IT THAT I'M GOING TO DO BECAUSE WHAT IF THIS MAN COMES AND WHAT IF THIS MAN DESIRES IN SOME WAY TO HARM ME? BUT DESPITE THAT WHAT DOES ANANIAS DO? EXACTLY AS WAS COMMITTED BY GOD BEING A DEVOUT MAN, CHAPTER 22 VERSE 12 TELLS US, ONE COMMITTED TO THE LAW. IT SAYS THAT HE WENT TO SAUL AND HE STOOD THERE AND NOTICE WHAT HE SAYS, CHAPTER 22 VERSE 13, “‘‘BROTHER SAUL, RECEIVE YOUR SIGHT.’ AND AT THE SAME HOUR I LOOKED AT HIM.’” YOU SEE, SAUL NOW SEES A MIRACLE! HE KNOWS NOT ONLY WAS THIS THE LORD BUT NOW THIS MAN IS FROM GOD BECAUSE HE HAS JUST RESTORED MY SIGHT.

BUT THEN I WANT YOU TO NOTICE WHAT IT IS THAT THIS MAN TELLS PAUL TO DO. CONTINUE WITH ME IN VERSE 14 AGAIN OF ACTS 22, THEN HE SAID, “‘‘THE GOD OF OUR FATHERS,’’” OUR FATHERS, NOTICED THEY WERE BOTH JEWS, “‘‘HAS CHOSEN YOU THAT YOU SHOULD KNOW HIS WILL, AND SEE THE JUST ONE,’’” THAT IS JESUS, “‘‘AND HEAR THE VOICE OF HIS MOUTH. FOR YOU WILL BE HIS WITNESS TO ALL MEN OF WHAT YOU HAVE SEEN AND HEARD. AND NOW WHY ARE YOU WAITING? ARISE AND BE BAPTIZED, AND WASH AWAY YOUR SINS CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD.’’” AND SO WHAT IS IT THAT WE SEE THAT SAUL WAS INSTRUCTED TO DO? TO BE BAPTIZED. WHY WAS HE TOLD ME BAPTIZED? BECAUSE HE ALREADY HAS PROFESSED HIS BELIEF IN THE LORD. HE ALREADY HAS PROFESSED IN THESE ACCOUNTS THAT HE WAS A BELIEVER AND THAT HE WAS A FOLLOWER AND NOW THAT HE WAS PENITENT BECAUSE HE HAD MADE SUCH BAD CHOICES. HE IS ALREADY BELIEVED BECAUSE HE IS SEEING THE POWER OF GOD. THAT HIS SIGHT HAD BEEN DIM BUT NOW ANANIAS HAS RESTORED HIS SIGHT. WHEN HE COMES TO ANANIAS HE IS A BELIEVER AND NO DOUBT THEREFORE CONFESSES HIS BELIEF THAT EVIDENTLY, ‘YES JESUS YOU ARE THE CHRIST!’ AND NO DOUBT HE UNDERSTANDS HIS SIN. HE UNDERSTANDS HIS SIN BECAUSE JESUS BRINGS IT TO HIS ATTENTION. ‘WHY HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING AGAINST ME? WHY HAVE YOU BEEN HARMING MY PEOPLE? WHY HAVE YOU BEEN IMPRISONING THEM? WHY HAVE YOU BEEN KILLING THEM?’ IT ALMOST MAKES ME WONDER WAS PAUL NOT ABLE TO SEE THE VERY EYES OF STEPHEN AT THAT MOMENT REALIZING WHAT HE HAD DONE? AS HIS OWN EYES WERE DIMMED BUT NOW AS HIS EYES WERE OPENED TO JESUS CHRIST, THE VERY SAVIOR, THE CONFESSION WOULD HAD BEEN MADE, HAD TO HAVE BEEN MADE THAT HE WOULD BE SAVED AND HE HAD TO REPENT. BUT OF ALL THE THINGS ANANIAS COULD'VE TOLD HIM TO DO AS HE BELIEVED, NOW THAT YOU BELIEVE, OF ALL THE THINGS ANANIAS COULD'VE SAID WHAT IS IT THAT HE TELLS HIM? TO BE BAPTIZED.

I WANT YOU TO NOTICE WITH ME THEN WHAT IT IS THAT ANANIAS CONNECTS TO BAPTISM. SOMETHING WE'VE BEEN TRYING TO HELP YOU TO SEE AND UNDERSTAND NOW FOR SEVERAL WEEKS WITHIN ALL OF THESE EXAMPLES OF CONVERSIONS IN ACTS. BUT I WANT YOU TO NOTICE WITH ME THERE IN ACTS 22 AND VERSE 16 AGAIN WHAT IS SAID. IN CHAPTER 22 VERSE 16, ANANIAS SAYS, “‘‘AGAIN ARISE AND BE BAPTIZED,’’” AND NOTICE THE LAST PART, “‘‘AND WASH AWAY YOUR SINS.’’” WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF BAPTISM? THE SAME PURPOSE IDENTIFIED BY PETER IN ACTS 2:38? “‘REPENT, AND LET EVERYONE OF YOU BE BAPTIZED IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS.’” YOU SEE, BAPTISM IS DIRECTLY CONNECTED TO A WASHING AWAY OF SINS. AND THAT'S WHY ANANIAS SAID ARISE AND BE BAPTIZED AND WASH OR SPIRITUALLY WASH AWAY YOUR SINS IN THE LITERAL ACT OF BURIAL AND RESURRECTION IN JESUS CHRIST. AGAIN, LET ME ENCOURAGE YOU TO READ THERE FROM ROMANS CHAPTER 6. THOSE VERSES WILL HELP YOU TO UNDERSTAND THAT IN MORE DETAIL.

BUT THEN FINALLY NOTICE WHY GOD CHOSE PAUL. CERTAINLY THERE IS SOME OF IT WHICH IS OBVIOUS BUT IT'S OBVIOUS BECAUSE PAUL WAS VERY COMMITTED AS A JEW. BUT NOTICE WHAT IT SAYS HERE THAT HE DID. AFTER HE TELLS HIM WHAT TO DO HE IS TELLING HIM WHAT HE WILL SEND HIM TO DO. HE TELLS HIM IN VERSE 17, ‘I'M GONNA SEND YOU TO THE JEWISH PEOPLE AND DELIVER YOU BUT PRIMARILY YOUR WORK IS GOING TO BE WHAT? TO THE GENTILE.’ THERE THE BIBLE SAYS, “‘I WILL DELIVER YOU FROM THE JEWISH PEOPLE, AS WELL AS FROM THE GENTILES, TO WHOM I NOW SEND YOU, TO OPEN THEIR EYES, IN ORDER TO TURN THEM FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT, AND FROM THE POWER OF SATAN TO GOD, THAT THEY MAY RECEIVE FORGIVENESS OF SINS AND AN INHERITANCE AMONG THOSE WHO ARE SANCTIFIED BY FAITH IN ME.’” HE SAYS I'M GOING TO SEND YOU...I'M GOING TO PROTECT YOU....I'M GOING TO GUIDE YOU BUT I'M GONNA SEND YOU TO THE VERY PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT GOING TO LIKE YOU SOMETIMES. WHO ARE GOING TO REMEMBER WHAT YOU DID. WHO ARE GOING TO BE AGAINST YOU BUT I'M GOING TO SEND YOU TO THE GENTILES AND WHY? TO OPEN THEIR EYES. ISN'T THAT A BEAUTIFUL PLAY ON CONCEPTS AND WHAT HAD HAPPENED PAUL? PAUL SAW THE LIGHT AND HE WAS BLINDED AND HE GOES TO ANANIAS AND A MIRACLE WAS PERFORMED AND ANANIAS GIVES HIM HIS SIGHT BACK. HE NOW IS ABLE TO SEE. HE WAS IN DARKNESS BUT NOW HE HAS SEEN THE LIGHT. AND WHAT IS GOD GOING TO SEND PAUL TO DO? TO SHOW THE LIGHT TO THE WORLD! THE LIGHT OF WHAT IT TAKES TO BE SAVED.

WHAT SHALL WE DO? WHAT DO I DO TO BE SAVED? HOW DO I OVERCOME SIN? HOW DO I BECOME A PART OF THE KINGDOM OF THE CHURCH? HOW DO I BECOME WHAT GOD WANTS ME TO BE AS AN OBEDIENT CHILD AND SERVANT? AND NOW FOR THE FOURTH TIME WE SEE THE ANSWER IS THE SAME. IF YOU BELIEVE IN JESUS, CONFESSES HIS NAME. I BELIEVE THAT JESUS CHRIST IS THE SON OF GOD. REPENT OF YOUR SINS BECAUSE SIN HAS NO PART WITH GOD. DARKNESS IS WHERE SIN LIES BUT WHEN YOU OPEN YOUR EYES TO JESUS THROUGH HIS BLOOD YOU MIGHT BE CLEANSED! AND WHEN ARE YOU CLEANSED? AS ANANIAS TOLD PAUL, “‘‘RISE AND BE BAPTIZED AND WASH AWAY YOUR SINS.’’” DO THAT TODAY! DO ALL OF THOSE THINGS TODAY! AND IF YOU OBEY GOD, YOU WILL BE SAVED! AND NOT ONLY BLESSED NOW BUT BLESSED ETERNALLY.



CLOSING COMMENTS

LET ME THANK YOU AGAIN FOR CHOOSING TO BE WITH US TODAY FOR THE LIVING WORD PROGRAM. I HOPE AND TRUST, THAT TOGETHER WE HAVE ALL BENEFITED FROM THIS SERVICE TO OUR LORD. LET ME ALSO INVITE YOU TO JOIN US EVERY LORD’S DAY MORNING AT 7:30 AS WE GIVE THIS TIME TO OUR CREATOR.

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WHAT A WONDERFUL EXAMPLE PAUL IS OF SOMEONE WHO WAS WILLING TO MAKE BIG CHANGES AND GIVE UP A LOT TO SERVE HIS GOD? THE QUESTION IS, ARE WE WILLING TO DO THE SAME? MAY WE ALL DETERMINE TO PUT GOD FIRST IN ALL THINGS, JUST AS COMMANDED.