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Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, an ordained minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.
However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.
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August 20, 2017
SCRIPTURE: Acts 9:10-22
KEY VERSE: And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. (Acts 9:17)
BACKGROUND: The conversion of Saul of Tarsus.
· (Acts 9:1-2) And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
When the persecution broke out in Jerusalem, the church went underground. The apostles remained in Jerusalem, but many of the others were scattered -- we found Philip up in Samaria and along the Mediterranean coast. The thing that triggered it was the stoning of Stephen, followed by persecution.
The other religious leaders in Jerusalem were satisfied after they had run the Christians out of Jerusalem. They were willing to let it stay at that point. But not Saul of Tarsus! He was the one who was breathing out threatenings and slaughter. He hated Jesus Christ. I do not think that the Lord Jesus Christ ever has had an enemy greater than this man Saul of Tarsus. He went to the high priest and said, “Look, I’ve heard that a group of them have run off up there to Damascus, and I’m going after them.” The fact of the matter is that he intended to ferret them out, anywhere they went. His goal was to exterminate the Christians.
· (Acts 9:3-4) And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
Paul will recount this incident twice more in the Book of Acts. In fact, Paul never tired of telling about his conversion. We find him going over it again in his Epistle to the Philippians where he gets right down to the heart of the matter and tells what really happened to him. Here we are simply given the facts. He will go over them again when he gives his testimony before King Agrippa -- that is a masterpiece.
· (Acts 9:5) And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Will you notice, here, the ignorance of Saul? He was possibly the most brilliant man of his day. He was probably a graduate of the University of Tarsus, the greatest Greek university of that day. He was a student in the school of Gamaliel, the Hebrew scholar. He was trained in the details of the Jewish religion. But he did not know the Lord Jesus Christ. “Who art thou, Lord?” Folks, to know Him is life. Saul of Tarsus didn’t know Him!
· (Acts 9:6) And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
(1) Saul is now blind and (2) right down in the dust on that road to Damascus. This is an incredible conversion. He immediately reveals his conversion. This man who hated the Lord Jesus, who did everything he could against Him, now calls Him “Lord.” And he asks what the Lord would have him do. He is ready to do the bidding of the Lord. He has been completely changed. “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20). We can surely tell what has happened to Saul of Tarsus.
I. AN UNBELIEVER REACHED. (Acts 9:10-14)
A. Ananias’ Vision. (Acts 9:10-11)
(Acts 9:10-11) 10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
The Lord appeared in a vision to Ananias, one of Christ’s disciples in Damascus, and told him to go to Saul, help him regain his sight, and send Saul on his mission to the Gentiles. Ananias trusted God enough to overcome his fear of this unrelenting persecutor of Christians. Ananias also was probably knowledgeable about the fundamentals of the Christian faith so that he could instruct Saul on the Gospel.
B. Ananias’ Testimony. (Acts 9:12-14)
(Acts 22:12-14) 12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
1. Ananias Was A Hebrew Christian.
Ananias was a devout Jew (Acts 22:12) who was a believer in Jesus Christ. He knew what kind of reputation Saul of Tarsus had and that he was coming to Damascus to arrest believers. It was up to a week’s journey from Jerusalem to Damascus, but some of the Jerusalem Christians had gotten to the city first in order to warn the saints.
INSIGHT: It’s interesting to note in Acts 9 the different names used for God’s people: (1) “disciples,” (2) “those of the way,” (3) “saints,” (4) “all that call on God’s name,” and (5) “brethren.” Today, we use the word “Christian” most frequently, and yet that name did not appear on the scene until later (Acts 11:26). “Disciples” is the name that is used most in the Book of Acts, but you do not find it used in the epistles. There the name “saints” is the most frequently used title for God’s people.
2. Ananias Was Available To God.
Ananias was available, but he certainly was not anxious to obey! The fact that Saul was “praying” instead of “plundering” should have encouraged Ananias. “Prayer is the autograph of the Holy Ghost upon the renewed heart,” said Charles Spurgeon (Romans 8:9, 14-16). Instead of trusting himself, Saul was now trusting God and waiting for Him to show him what to do. In fact, Saul had already seen a vision of a man named Ananias (Greek form of “Hananiah,” i.e., “the Lord is gracious”) coming to minister to him; so, how could Ananias refuse to obey God?
II. GOD’S GRACE REVEALED. (Acts 9:15-18)
A. The Mission. (Acts9:15-16)
1. All Christians should be carriers of Christianity. (Acts 9:15)
(Acts 9:15) But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.
Notice that he is not called a witness as the disciples were. Although Paul may have seen Jesus at His crucifixion, he had not walked with Him in the days of His flesh. He really knew nothing about Jesus the Christ until that day on the road to Damascus. Now he is to bear that name. That is the same name we are to bear today, the name of Jesus.
He is to bear that name before three different groups: Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. Gentiles are first on the list. Paul will be the great Apostle to the Gentiles. Then to kings -- he will appear before kings, probably including Nero himself, and then to the nation Israel. When Paul goes into a city, he always will begin in the Jewish synagogue. The synagogue will be his springboard to put him into the community, into the life of the city. From there he will reach the Gentiles. But he will go to the Jews first.
2. All Christians should realize that suffering is a part life. (Acts 9:16)
(Acts 9:16) For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
Saul was chosen to suffer for Jesus Christ. In my judgment, there has never been anyone else who has suffered for the Lord as Paul the apostle suffered. None of us should say, “I’m suffering more than anyone else. Why does God let this happen to me?” We may be suffering or we may think we are suffering more than we are. At any rate, none of us suffer as Paul the apostle suffered for the Lord.
C. The Obedience. (Acts 9:17-18)
1. Ananias was obedient to the Lord.
(Acts 9:17) And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
He is still Saul of Tarsus, but now he is Brother Saul. He is not the enemy. He is a brother. Any person who loves the Lord Jesus Christ is a brother to any other believer. Unfortunately, I must add that brothers don’t always act like brothers.
INSIGHT: Saul is to receive his physical sight. Also, he is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. He is to be filled with the Holy Spirit for service. This is the experience which reveals itself in the life of the believer.
Saul was baptized with the Holy Spirit on the Damascus road. (In other words, he was saved on the Damascus road.) But it wasn’t until this man Ananias came to him that he was filled with the Holy Spirit. He is going to become a witness for the Lord Jesus. He will receive his physical sight and his spiritual sight.
2. Saul was obedient to believer’s baptism.
(Acts 9:18) And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
Now he is baptized with water as a sign and seal of his conversion. The water had nothing to do with his salvation. (1) He had been baptized by the Holy Spirit -- that is, he had been saved on the Damascus road. (2) When Ananias had laid his hands on him, he had been filled with the Holy Spirit for service. (3) And now he is baptized with water.
III. A HEART CHANGED. (Acts 9:19-22)
A. Saul Had A Story To Tell About His Salvation. (Acts 9:19-20)
(Acts 9:19-20) And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
Saul of Tarsus begins to witness immediately. Why? Because he is filled with the Holy Spirit. He began to preach “Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.”
INSIGHT: You must know who Christ is before you can believe what He has done. He died to pay the penalty for your sins. It is because He is the Son of God that He could die for your sins. I couldn’t die for your sins; you couldn’t die for mine. No human being can die a redemptive death for another human being. Only Christ could do this, because He is the sinless, Son of God. So Saul began to preach that Christ is the Son of God. That is the first thing you must know.
B. Saul Had A Story To Tell About Jesus Christ. (Acts 9:21–22)
(Acts 9:21–22) But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.
The “very Christ” means the very Messiah. Saul confounded the Jews by preaching this. Saul of Tarsus is number one in several departments. (1) He is number one in suffering; (2) he is number one as a missionary. (3) I think he is also number one in his I.Q -- Saul was a brilliant man. He was able to confound those who attempted to tackle him intellectually.
By Dennis Fisher
But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. -- Galatians 1:23
[Dennis Fisher said this:] Bill was a friend of mine in seminary who had come to Christ out of a blatantly sinful lifestyle. He described it this way: “I was driving down the street drinking a bottle of brandy with another man’s wife at my side. When I saw some Christians on the sidewalk witnessing to passersby about Christ, I drove by and shouted, ‘Fools!’ But only a few weeks later I found myself kneeling in a church and asking Christ to become my Savior and Lord.” Bill’s conversion resulted in his giving up his old ways and experiencing a new life in Christ. It was a life-changing turnaround.
True repentance, which is initiated by the Holy Spirit, includes a real turnaround. Often we see that the greater the opposition to the gospel prior to conversion, the more stunning the change of direction afterward. When Saul of Tarsus encountered Christ on the road to Damascus, he was changed from a persecutor to a preacher of the gospel. Of this many observed: “He which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed” (Galatians 1:23).
Authentic conversion includes repentance, which is a change of mind and direction. For the follower of Christ, repentance means to keep turning away from sin and turning toward Christ in obedience.
of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee. -- William True Sleeper
Adapted from Dennis Fisher, Our Daily Bread, August 31, 2012
CONCLUSION: Saul the persecutor became Paul the preacher (1) through faith in Jesus Christ and (2) obedience to His commands. When confronted by Christ, Saul of Tarsus became a follower of Christ. Later Saul’s name was changed to “Paul” -- the Apostle Paul!
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “Repentance is being so sorry for sin that you are willing to give it up.”
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REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the King James Bible (KJV), The Moody Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: ( http://www.intouch.org/ ), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/ ), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook ( www.sermonnotebook.org ), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.
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