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Few Saints in Acts
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  Paul : An Answer To Gods Call

Today we are going to see the life of Paul who was first called Saul. We are going to see the most famous conversion story in history. Its more of a sudden surrender than a sudden conversion. Something about Stephen ( whom we studied about last week ) lingered in Paul's mind- "How could a bad man die like that? He couldn't be bad!". Paul had heard that certain Christians had escaped to Damascus. So he was on his way on foot to Damascus. The distance from Jerusalem to Damascus was 140 miles which might have taken about 1 week. He didn't have anybody to talk to and as he walked he must have thought.

1. Surrender to Christ

Acts 9:1-6
1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest
2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.
3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.
4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"
5 "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied.
6 "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."

We see here that on his journey as he thought about the death of Stephen, Jesus decides to surprise him with his appearance. As Paul falls on the ground he hears his voice which tells him "why do you persecute me.?" And Paul finds out its Jesus whom he was persecuting when he persecuted his disciples. Brothers / Sisters, the way we treat each other is the way we treat Jesus.

Watch your tongue
- Do we give time and not show up for appointments?
- Are we harsh in the way we talk?
- Do we lie?

James 3:6
The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. We as disciples should be careful in our speech. Are we surrendering to one another as we do to Christ? Ephesians 5:21 says submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

After Jesus introduces himself he tells him to go into the city and stay there till he is told what to do. We see Paul's attitude changing and he is surrendering to Christ, he's ready to do anything, go anywhere for Jesus. Are we like that? How do you feel when you are asked to go to a ministry which is little further from your house? Would you be fired-up? How do you feel if your discipler changes? Would you still listen and support the new one as you did to the earlier one? The meaning of surrendering yourself is that you are willing to give up anything, anytime, anywhere. That's why Paul became one of the most powerful apostles because he had the surrendering attitude. Lets decide to be like Paul today.

2. Baptized into Christ

Acts 9:10-18
10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, "Ananias!" "Yes, Lord," he answered.
11 The Lord told him, "Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying.
12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight."
13 "Lord," Ananias answered, "I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem.
14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name."
15 But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.
16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."
17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord--Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here--has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized,

When the message came to Ananias from God, he was directed to the street called "straight". This was a big street which ran from the east to the west of Damascus. We see Ananias willing to go and look for Saul even though he does not know his proper address. We also see Ananias showing brotherly, kindness to Saul, even though he is aware of Saul's violent past. Ananias calls him "brother Saul". Paul has been chosen to carry the name before Gentiles and Jews.

Q: Do we believe we are chosen instruments by the Lord himself? [Let some share and share yourself about how you got invited to the church] Then Ananias places his hands on Saul and scales fell from his eyes. Before this incident Saul was blinded. Q: In what ways do we get blinded by sin? ( Old sins come back, pride, lukewarm commitment, laziness)

But then Saul gets ready to be baptized when he has repented. Then Ananias asks him; Do you believe Jesus dies for your sins, and he was buried and he rose up on the third day..
Saul : Yes, I do.
Ananias : What is your good confession.
Saul : Jesus, is my Lord.
Ananias : Because of your good confession I want to baptize you in the name of the father, and of the son and of the holy spirit, so that all your sin will be forgiven and you will receive the gift of the Holyspirit. Then Saul gets baptized and comes out rejoicing.

Q: Do we remember the day of our baptism? Do we remember makings Jesus our Lord? Today is Jesus is our Lord or is it money, Job, studies, parents. The good confession we made was for real, for the rest of our life. Are we forgetting already. Lets not forget we got baptized into Christ.