Speaking the Truth in Love

Speaking the Truth in Love

Conversion of Saul of Tarsus

   A. Besides the Lord Jesus Christ, very few people are as prominent
      in the N.T. as the apostle Paul.
      1. Most heroes are soon forgotten, but none continue to live on
         as does Paul.
      2. Outside of Christ, Paul is the favorite Bible character of

   A. Paul was well educated and trained in the Jewish religion.     
      Acts 22:3
      1. He was always very zealous in what he believed.  Gal. 1:14
      2. At first, he persecuted the church of the Lord.  Gal. 1:13
         a. He imprisoned disciples, compelled them to blaspheme,
            and persecuted them even to foreign cities.  Acts 8:3;
            22:4-5; 26:10-12
   B. Paul was conscientious, but wrong.  Acts 23:1; 24:16; 26:9
      1. Because of his mistreatment of God's children, called
         himself, "the chief of sinners."  1 Tim. 1:13-15

    Verses In Paul's Conversion").
   A. On the road to Damascus, Paul saw a bright light from heaven. 
      Acts 9:1-5
      1. Thus, the Lord considered Paul's persecution against
         Christians as persecution against Him.
      2. The converse is true as well.  When one aids a Christian,   
         the Lord considers it as aiding Him.  Matt. 25:34-40
   B. Paul asked, "Lord, what do You want me to do?"  Acts 9:6
      1. There are things to do in one's conversion.  Acts 3:19
      2. No one should expect, or wait for, the same kind of vision
         Paul had.
         a. If one is waiting for a vision before being converted, he
            will never be converted.
         b. The holy writings are the means of conversion today. 
            John 20:27-29, 30-31.
   C. "...You will be told what you must do." Acts 9:6
      1. Consider the word "must." Paul had to "obey" just as
         everyone else does.
         a. He remained in agony for three days in the city of
            Damascus.  Acts 9:7-12
   D. "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine..." Acts 9:15-16
      1. Thus, the vision on the road was not to save him, but to
         qualify him as a witness.  Acts 22:14-15; 26:16-18
   E. "...And he arose and was baptized."
      1. Ananias told him what he needed to do.  Acts 9:17-19; 22:16
         a. Thus, his sins were not washed away through his
            prayers or by means of the vision.
            (1) The purpose of baptism is to obtain the
                forgiveness of sins.  Acts 2:38; Col. 2:12
         b. After his baptism, his agony passed away.

   A. It is good to see people thoroughly converted.
      1. Some quickly grow after their conversion, and within a very
         short time become strong, knowledgeable Christians.
      2. Others are only half-converted.  They continue in
         denominational and worldly ways, and after many years,
         grow very little.
   B. "...Immediately he preached the Christ..."  Acts 9:20-21
      1. Preaching Christ became his whole life.  1 Cor. 2:1-5
      2. If only we had his zeal!  Rom. 1:15
   C. "And Saul increased all the more in strength..."
      1. Let us, too, be strengthened with all might according to
         God's glorious power.  Col. 1:9-11
      2. Let us be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 
         Eph. 6:10-17
   D. "The Jews plotted to kill him."  Acts 9:23-15
      1. The persecutor became the persecuted.
      2. Jesus had said, "I will show him how much he must suffer for
         My name's sake." Acts 9:16
      3. I know of no other who suffered as much for the Lord.  2
         Cor. 11:23-27
      4. He said, "...I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus."
         (Gal. 6:17).
   E. "When Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the         
      disciples."  Acts 9:26-28
      1. The local church, the collective unit ordained by God, is   
         the center of spiritual activity in any given community.
      2. Following the example of Paul, we must become an active
         part of a local church.
         a. We should add to the zeal, work, worship, and
            organization of the local church.
   F. Later, in Paul's account of his conversion before Agrippa, he  
      said, "I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision..."  Acts  
      1. He surrendered his life to the Lord who had called him.     
         Gal. 2:20
      2. He relied on the Lord to help him.  Phil. 4:13; 2 Tim. 4:16-
      3. He had singleness of purpose.  Phil. 3:13-14
         a. We, too, need to have our hearts centered on serving
            the Lord.  (See Chart #2: "Set Your Mind On," from the
            words of Paul).

   A. We need to follow the example of Paul.  1 Cor. 11:1; Phil.     
      1. He was truly converted; he was not disobedient to his
         heavenly call.  
      2. He disciplined his body and brought it into subjection.  1
         Cor. 9:27
      3. He remained faithful to the end.  2 Tim. 4:7-8

Chart #1 - Key Verses In Paul's Conversion

"Why are you persecuting Me?"
"Lord, what do You want me to do?"
"...You will be told what you must do."
"Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine..."
"...And he arose and was baptized."
"Immediately he preached the Christ..."
"But Saul increased all the more in strength..."
"...The Jews plotted to kill him."
"When Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples..."
"I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision..."

Chart #2 - Set Your Mind On (Col. 3:2)

Things Above - - - Not On Things On The Earth
Deity (Eph. 3:20-21) - - - Self (2 Tim. 3:2; Phil. 2:21)
Heaven (2 Cor. 5:1-2) - - - Earthly Things (Phil. 3:19)
Delight - God's Law (Rom. 7:22) - - - Lovers of Pleasure (2 Tim. 3:4)
Spiritually Minded (Rom. 12:1-2) - - - Carnally Minded (Rom. 8:5-7)
A Spiritual Life (Gal. 5:16; Rom. 8:1-2) - - - A Fleshly Life (Rom.