Sunday’s cool March 5, 2023
Saul to Paul
Acts 7:54-60 This is the first we hear of Saul. The scripture talks about how they stoned Stephen, and how “they laid their coats at Saul’s feet.” This means Saul approved of the stoning. Who is Saul? First, he is a very smart highly ranked (only high priest above him) teacher in Judaism. Second, he was both an Israelite and a Roman citizen by birth.
Acts 9:1-31 In this passage we see that Saul was in Jerusalem persecuting the followers of Jesus. After a while, he wanted to go to Damascus and received papers, like arrest warrants, for those followers in that area. On his journey, he saw a bright light that forced his eyes closed, - and then heard a voice. Note in verse 5 after hearing the voice for the first time he uses the term “Lord” meaning he knew it was God himself. Then Jesus responds with it is “I Jesus who you persecute,” clarifying he is also God!
In verse 15 Jesus calls Saul “my chosen instrument.” This shows is no matter how bad you were when you are saved through Jesus you can be used for his good. Verse 16 says “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name!” This is a foreshadowing of Paul's ministry! Verse 20 shows Saul starts preaching in Damascus, this just shows that when the Holy Spirit is in you the words of God can be spoken without formal training.
Part of this conversion that reminds me of a battle we as Christians fight is shedding our pasts. Once we are “Born again” we are a new creation, people around us will at times think we are the same sinner but our actions and words will show we are different. Saul had to show the people he once persecuted and sought to kill that he had changed. Verse 30 shows that Saul was sent to Tarsus where he remained for 3 years. During this time he was being discipled and made ready for God to use him.
Acts 13:1-12 Verse 9 first time Saul is referred to as Paul! This was Paul's first mission trip to preach the Gospel! Acts 16:6-10 Paul sees God’s vision for his life, to preach to the non-Jewish parts of the World. From this vision, Paul started many churches and spoke to many. The life of Saul to Paul is important for Christians because it shows the power of God's Grace. Paul went from trying to kill Christianity to writing 13 books of the Bible! So remember no matter how your story starts if you surrender your life to God you can be a Paul!
Written by Eric