Third Sunday of Easter
April 18, 2010
Acts 9:1-6

I don’t know about you, but when I look back on my conversion I don’t see an event quite like the one described in our text today. Because I placed my trust in Christ at an early age, my life didn’t take quite as drastic a turn as Saul’s either. What I do have in common with the apostle is that my sins were forgiven—all my sins, big and small—and I have the freedom and opportunity to continue walking in faithful obedience.

I. Permission to Sin, Please
We enter the scene with Saul, who is more well-known by his changed name, Paul, asking the high priest for permission to arrest followers of the Way. “The Way” is what the disciples called their new movement “emphasizing their belief that Jesus would lead His followers to the Kingdom of God.” It was this belief in Jesus that Saul hated with every ounce of his being.

Though we may not have been breathing threats and murder against Christians prior to our conversion, we were in the same state as Saul. God’s Word says that apart from Christ we are enemies of Him (Romans 5:10), dead in our sin (Ephesians 2:1) and children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). We all have fallen short of God’s glory and are in need just as Saul was of a Savior.

II. The Road to Damascus
With the blessing of the high priest, Paul began his journey to Damascus. As he approached the city, he was stopped in his tracks by a blinding light from heaven. Paul fell to the ground and heard the voice of God saying: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
Are you listening to the voice of God’s Word calling out to you, revealing your sin? The journey of life is unpredictable, and even a full live on this earth is but a speck in view of eternity. When the light begins to illumine the dark places in your heart, what will your response be?

III. Saul’s Conversion
Saul calls out to the voice asking it to declare itself. “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting” the voice responded. At this moment, the blinders were removed, and Saul awoke to the reality of who Jesus is: the Way, the Truth and the Life. The God he was attempting to serve really had been the object of his persecution. What could he do but humbly repent and believe?

What can any of us do but believe? That is the essence of the gospel. We were dead in our sin, enemies of God, unable to bridge the great chasm with our own righteousness. What can any of us do but believe? That is exactly what the Lord Jesus is calling us to do. Will you heed His words and respond in faith?

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