A."And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven."
B. Paul in his letter to the Philippians speaks of his being apprehended by Jesus Christ.
1. He was certainly apprehended in a very dramatic way.
2. As he was coming to Damascus around noon time he and his company were suddenly surrounded by a light that was greater than that of the noon day sun.
C. Out of the light came a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?"
1. It is interesting to me how closely Jesus identifies with His church.
a. Receiving one that He has sent is equivalent to receiving Him.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me.
b. In the same token rejecting or persecuting a servant of God is equivalent to rejecting God.
He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.
For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you.
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.
2. The verse of the song, "Oh How I Love Jesus." "It tells me of His loving heart, who feels my deepest woe, Who in each sorrow bear a part, that none can bear below."
3. You never suffer alone, the abuse that is poured on you for the sake of Jesus is abuse poured upon Him, and you because you represent Him.
4. We have a tendency to feel rejected because our testimony of Jesus is rejected. It is not you they are rejecting, but Jesus.
5. Some of those who hold to the practice of what they refer to as being slain in the Spirit, seek to use this verse as a proof verse of their experience. "And Saul fell to the ground." That is quite a stretch, I do not see that there is any suggestion of some outside force that caused him to swoon. It was common to fall on your face in the obvious manifestation of the supernatural.
II. Act 9:4
. AND HE HEARD A VOICE SAYING TO HIM, SAUL, SAUL, WHY PERSECUTEST THOU ME?
A. Out of the bright light came a voice saying to him, "Saul Saul."
1. It is interesting that God spoke to Moses out of the burning bush.
2. Now Jesus is speaking to Saul out of a bright light.
B. This manifestation of light and power was so awesome that he immediately surrendered to it. "Who are you Lord?"
C. And the Lord said, "I am Jesus who you are persecuting."
1. Later as Paul is seeking to establish his credentials as an apostle, and it seems that one of the prerequisites for apostleship was seeing the risen Lord.
2. When choosing someone to take the place of Judas Iscariot, Peter said that they needed someone who could bear witness of the resurrection.
3. Paul said to the Corinthians, that last of all he had seen Jesus as one born out of due time.
4. He also wrote:
Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?
5. Jesus went on to say: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
a. The word translated pricks would better be translated goads.
b. When an ox would be yoked, they often would kick, so the farmers would attach goads so when the ox would kick the goad would stick the back of his leg.
c. The ox would soon learn not to kick.
D. The Holy Spirit had been goading Paul. He was fighting against what down deep he knew was true.
1. He was well-schooled in the scriptures and no doubt wondered deep down if Jesus could possibly be the Messiah.
2. Though Paul never mentions it, it is possible that he could have been at the trial of Jesus, being a voting member of the Sanhedrin, and this was troubling his conscience.
3. Stephen no doubt made a deep impression upon him.
4. Down deep in his heart, the Spirit was goading him towards the truth in Jesus.
E. I love his immediate response, "What do you want me to do, Lord?"
1. In the next chapter we will find Peter responding, "Not so, Lord."
2. Further down in this chapter we find Ananias arguing with the Lord, when Jesus calls him to go and lay hands on Saul.
3. Paul's response is the only consistent response. How can you say, "Not so, Lord."?
F. The Lord told him to arise and go into the city and he would be told what to do.
1. Conversion is an instant experience.
2. The moment you confess in truth that He is Lord, you are saved.
3. All of the past is counted wrong.
4. I have chosen to take the right path and follow Jesus.
5. Tonight that is all you have to do, choose to follow Jesus.
III. Act 9:7
: AND THE MEN WHICH JOURNEYED WITH HIM STOOD SPEECHLESS, HEARING A VOICE, BUT SEEING NO MAN.
A. Here is where some have thought that they have found a contradiction in the scriptures. For here Paul asserts that the men that were with him heard the voice, but saw no man. In Acts 22
, as Paul is rehearsing this same story to the crowd he declares that the men that were with him saw the light but heard not the voice that spoke to him. In his telling King Agrippa of the same event, they said that the Lord said to him in Hebrew language.
1. The men that were with him heard the noise of the voice, but did not know Hebrew, for only the scholars spoke Hebrew. Thus did not understand the words. They heard the voice but did not know what the words meant.
B. When Paul arose he was blind, and had to be led to Damascus.
1. As he left Jerusalem he was breathing out slaughter against the Christians. By the time he arrived in Damascus, he was a Christian.
2. What a dramatic change can take place in a person's life the moment they surrender to Jesus as Lord.
3. He was coming to Damascus with the power and authority of the high priest behind him. He arrives in Damascus with the authority and power of Jesus Christ behind him.
4. He left Jerusalem proud and arrogant; he arrived in Damascus a broken man.
5. I think of the song, "What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought, since Jesus came into my heart."
C. He was three days without sight neither eating or drinking. What do you suppose was going through his mind in those three days?