Faith Over Fear – April 14, 2018
Introduction: Following Jesus -> Paul’s Journey -> From Pharisee to Preacher
Big Idea: The resurrection of Christ changes everything (do not be afraid / fear not)
Scripture: Acts 9:19-31 (CSB)
Acts 9:19-25 (CSB)
Saul was with the disciples in Damascus for some time. Immediately he began proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues: “He is the Son of God.”
All who heard him were astounded and said, “Isn’t this the man in Jerusalem who was causing havoc for those who called on this name and came here for the purpose of taking them as prisoners to the chief priests?”
But Saul grew stronger and kept confounding the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.
After many days had passed, the Jews conspired to kill him, but Saul learned of their plot. So they were watching the gates day and night intending to kill him, but his disciples took him by night and lowered him in a large basket through an opening in the wall.
Point One: From Persecutor to Persecuted (v19-25)
- Paul (Saul) was known as one who tracked down and arrested Christians on behalf of the chief priests (zealous)
- When he arrived in Damascus, he instead preached Jesus as the Son of God (promised Messiah)
- After confusing the Christians and upsetting the Jews, the Syrian king tries to have him killed (2 Corinthians 11)
- Throughout his ministry, Paul would experience the same kind of persecution he used to bring to others (he counted it as joy)
Acts 9:26-30 (CSB)
When he arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, since they did not believe he was a disciple. Barnabas, however, took him and brought him to the apostles and explained to them how Saul had seen the Lord on the road and that the Lord had talked to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus. Saul was coming and going with them in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. He conversed and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him. When the brothers found out, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
Point Two: From Fear to Fellowship (v26-30)
- Paul wanted to get to know and work with the other disciples, but they were understandably afraid
- Barnabas (who would later travel with Paul) made the introduction and spoke on his behalf
- The Gospel often transforms adversaries into advocates (put Jesus first with no ulterior motives)
- The people Paul once tried to kill ended up saving his life (contrast to the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7/8)
Acts 26:31 (CSB)
So the church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
Point Three: Fear of the Lord (v31)
- Fear of the Lord -> awe, reverence, respect, authority (parents, celebrity, coach, teacher, boss, police, etc.)
- The church grew because they feared only God rather than man (church always grows during times of persecution)
- Their peace also came from their common mission of preaching Jesus as the Son of God (not yet divided by denomination or tradition)
- Trust the Holy Spirit and don’t let fear smother your faith in Christ
- Have you witnessed a radical change in someone you know because of their faith in Jesus?
- Describe a tie From when faith and common mission brought different people or churches together.
- How have you over come fear when it comes to sharing your faith?