Saul Became Paul – April 7, 2018
Introduction: Following Jesus -> Paul’s Journey -> Before Agrippa II & Fetus
Big Idea: The Gospel of Christ should change our hearts (the resurrection sets us free).
Scripture: Acts 26:12-29 (NLT)
Acts 26:12-18 (NLT)
“One day I was on such a mission to Damascus, armed with the authority and commission of the leading priests. About noon, Your Majesty, as I was on the road, a light from heaven brighter than the sun shone down on me and my companions. We all fell down, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic,‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is useless for you to fight against my will.’
“‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked.
“And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. Tell people that you have seen me, and tell them what I will show you in the future. And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’
Point One: Darkness to Light
- As Paul was on his way to Damascus in order to arrest Christians, Jesus appears to him and tells him he is to become a witness to the Gentiles
- Paul was highly educated, both as a Pharisee and as a Roman citizen (he also passionately acted upon what he believed)
- Open their eyes -> the Gentiles (non-Jews) didn’t know the prophecies about Jesus or even their need for a Savior
- Faith in Jesus brings the light of hope into our dark lives (it gives us purpose and direction)
Acts 26:19-23 (NLT)
“And so, King Agrippa, I obeyed that vision from heaven. I preached first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that all must repent of their sins and turn to God—and prove they have changed by the good things they do. Some Jews arrested me in the Temple for preaching this, and they tried to kill me. But God has protected me right up to this present time so I can testify to everyone, from the least to the greatest. I teach nothing except what the prophets and Moses said would happen— that the Messiah would suffer and be the first to rise from the dead, and in this way announce God’s light to Jews and Gentiles alike.”
Point Two: Death to Life (v19-23)
- Instead of persecuting Christians in Damascus and Jerusalem, Paul preached the Gospel to both Jew and Gentile
- Paul’s message was the same as the prophets and preachers before him -> repentance
- The Jews accused Paul of desecrating the temple because of his association with Gentiles (Jesus, friend of sinners)
- For Paul, the resurrection changed everything (not just for the Jews but for all who believe)
Acts 26:24-29 (NLT)
Suddenly, Festus shouted, “Paul, you are insane. Too much study has made you crazy!”
But Paul replied, “I am not insane, Most Excellent Festus. What I am saying is the sober truth. And King Agrippa knows about these things. I speak boldly, for I am sure these events are all familiar to him, for they were not done in a corner! King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do—”
Agrippa interrupted him. “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?”
Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that both you and everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am, except for these chains.”
Point Three: Lost to Found (v24-29)
- Festus (Roman governor) thinks Paul has gone crazy, but Agrippa (Jewish king) knows the scriptures and the prophecies made about the promised Messiah
- King Agrippa asks if Paul is trying to convert him, and Paul boldly answers yes
- We should be just as bold and just as ready to explain our faith while inviting others to follow Jesus with us
- Jesus is the promised Messiah who rose from the dead to set us free from sin, death and dead religion
- Discuss why you do or do not believe in Jesus.
- How has your faith influenced your life? Have you noticed and dramatic changes?
- Are you prepared to explain your faith if/when given the opportunity?