Book Of Acts – Advance Study (Part 7)

Acts 9

1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2 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.

The Doctrine of Persecution: It seems that Saul was the main leader in these Christian persecutions. He was full of hatred for the Christians. The Catholics had done this widespread for over 1000 years (and still do it today).

Today we could have government officials with ‘arrest warrants’ (letters) come to our church buildings and arrest us. It probably will start with the more extreme types (militant, right wing, fundamentalists). There are plenty of ‘threatenings’ going on out there against Christians: hate speech crimes, no mention of God in public, etc.. Look for more and more laws being passed that are essentially against fundamentalist Christians and their beliefs.

3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 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. 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. 7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. 8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.

The Doctrine of the Glory of God: The light was probably from Jesus Christ’s glory; it was so bright that it literally blinded Paul’s eyes for three days (which is physiologically possible).

The Doctrine of Salvation: God was working on Saul’s heart to get him ready for conversion (salvation). Saul was fighting against the Lord’s correction and reproof (ox goads are ‘pricks’). As one is convicted by the Holy Ghost, they may very well start kicking against it. Jesus had been ‘after’ Saul for some time now (most recently with the stoning of Stephen). God prepares the heart to be saved. <TOPIC:

This fearless Christian persecuter is suddenly a scared repentant gentleman. Lost people need to have this type of heart: trembling and what wilt thou have me to do?! If they don’t, then I would wonder whether their heart is ready to be saved. Most are fairly casual and ‘a matter-of-fact’ about it all.

You never know how suddenly a wicked soul can be changed to be a devout follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Doctrine of Soulwinning: Did Saul get saved on the road to Damascus? I don’t believe so (see Acts 22:16). God told him to go to the city and then I believe He had a ‘soulwinner’(Ananias) tell him all that he needed to know about Jesus Christ and salvation. God wants to use His churches to do His work. God may have wanted to see if Paul would obey Him. Well, He left him blind, so Paul was in no position to go against what He had told him. Nothing is said here of Paul’s conversion.

The Doctrine of Persecution: When you are persecuted dear Christian, Jesus Christ feels it; for it is an attack directly upon Him. The anti-Christians real attack is on Jesus Christ, not you. Why do people persecute Christians? Ultimately it is an hatred for Jesus Christ. I wonder how these other soldiers were reacting to their leaders changed heart. They were all for arresting and killing Christians; now they are taking Saul to get help from them…

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 inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 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. 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: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

The Doctrine of Soulwinning: Ananias was most likely a member of the church there in Damascus; and some say that he was a pastor there. He was told to go on ‘visitation’; you never know who you might be sent to on ‘visitation’ night. Saul was busy praying a whole bunch for he wanted his sight back and wanted to obey the Lord. Saul wanted to know the truth, so God sent him to someone that would tell him. This rationale would be the same for people in ‘deepest, darkest, Africa’. If one prays and desires to know the truth about God, then God will send him to (or vice versa) one who knows the truth. Saul was praying for God to tell him what he needed to know. Are you personally willing to witness to anyone, no matter how dangerous and nasty they might be? How about a Satanist? How about a known drug king pin? How about a sexual deviant?

Paul was a chosen vessel for the Lord, but God wasn’t going to supravent the standard methodology He had set in place; namely, to have a soulwinner witness and lead Saul to the Lord.

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. 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. 19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened…

The Doctrine of Salvation: ‘Brother’ – some say that this proves that Saul was already saved, as via on the road to Damascus; some would say this just shows a brotherly greeting to a fellow Israelite. Also, we don’t know what transpired between his entering the house and his putting his hands on him…there could have been lots of communication going on (it would be very reasonable considering all that was going on with them). Though, this section seems to better support a Damascus Road conversion. However, reviewing Acts 22:12-16 appears to show Ananias arriving at the house where Saul was and first healing Saul, preached to him some about Jesus and how Saul would serve Him, invited Saul to be saved, and then invited him to be baptized.

The Doctrine of Baptism: Saul received scriptural baptism here – was a believer, had repented, and had one with proper authority from a church perform it. Thus, the apostle Paul’s initial church membership was that with the church of Damascus.

20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. 21 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? 22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.

The Doctrine of Evangelism: It is not necessary to go through formal evangelism training before you go out preaching the gospel. Saul knew what happened to him and what he believed and that is what he straightway told his fellow countrymen. If one is truly saved, then all they really need to (initially) know is how they got saved and then tell that to the lost. In soulwinning we need to focus on ‘preaching Christ’; and preach what it is about Jesus Christ that they might not understand or agree with (here it was to the Jews, and that He is the Son of God). A soulwinner should increase the more in strength: more Bible knowledge; more discernment in how to confound and prove to the scoffers that Jesus is the Christ. Are you prepared to prove to the JW’s, the Mormans, the Jews, the Atheists, that this is very Christ?…

The Doctrine of Christian Testimony: When one gets saved, there should be a dramatic change in their life… immediately. And, such that it causes people that knew you before to be amazed. Most that say that they got saved have little change in their life…I wonder about that…..

23 And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: 24 But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him. 25 Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket. 26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. 28 And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. 29 And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. 30 Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus. 31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

The Doctrine of Persecution: It may very well be that when one gets saved, that there is such a change in their life that it causes those that were once their friends to become their enemies…even to the point of wanting them hurt, or dead. Is it wrong to hide from those that are trying to hurt you because of your being a Christian? Shouldn’t you stand strong for the Lord?….

The Doctrine of Fellowship: It is wise for a church to be cautious in giving the right hand of fellowship to someone who has been known to be against them, an heretic, a blasphemer, etc.. If they have truly changed then having a ‘Barnabas’ as a mediator is expedient. Barnabas vouched for Saul’s true Christianity and devotion to Christ. I guess a church can be too cautious though… what happens if Barnabas was not there?…. Saul was allowed to fellowship with that church; I don’t believe that he transferred membership; this shows that it is ok for a church to allow a member from another church to work with them (at least for a time).

The Doctrine of Persecution: It may be that Saul was the only one who was significantly involved in persecuting then. For, after Saul was converted the churches had rest. At this time, there were many churches in Israel, and they had all been under persecution to some degree. It is paramount for churches to be edified, strengthened, exhorted to grow in commitment, while there is ‘rest’ from persecution; for the day will come, and may come suddenly, and you will need to be very strong. Out of this persecution, the churches eventually grew and multiplied.

32 And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda. 33 And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. 34 And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately. 35 And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord.

The Doctrine of Healing: God chose to heal certain ones that were long time in that condition so that it would all the more be irrefutable when they were healed. Apparently everyone in those two cities got saved as a result of this miracle! If there is still the gift of healing (which I firmly believe there is not), then there should be such amazing healings going on that thousands turn to the Lord as a result. But, usually, it is just those attending the ‘healing crusade’… and are they getting saved, or just wanting to be healed themselves? Why isn’t CNN covering these amazing healings?….

36 Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. 37 And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. 38 And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. 39 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. 40 But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41 And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive. 42 And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord. 43 And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.

The Doctrine of Woman’s Ministry: Tabitha (Dorcas) was involved with the ministry of good works and almsdeeds. She was known for making clothing for people.

The Doctrine of Miracles: Peter had been with Jesus Christ earlier when He did something very similar. Peter wanted all the comotion around to stop so he could concentrate on the Lord. <TOPIC:Spend some intense time in prayer before expecting God to do a great work. Where was her spirit when she was ‘dead’? Why aren’t there miracles involving the raising of the dead anymore (I am speaking to ‘non-cessationists’)?