QUARTER’S THEME: PAUL – THE DYNAMIC MISSIONARY EVANGELIST
UNIT 2: His Early Christian Life (Lessons 3-5)
LESSON 3 20/12/2015
THE CONVERSION OF PAUL
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 226, 236
Devotional Reading: Acts 9:1-12
Topic For Adults: The Great Encounter
Topic For Youths: A New Dawn
Topic For Intermediates: Paul Met With Jesus
Scripture Lesson: Acts 9:1-11; 20-22; Acts 26:4-11
Memory Verse “Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me” (Acts 9:4) NKJV
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
What Type Of Utensil Are You
2 Tim. 2:19-22
There are a lot of false teachers in the world who disguise as preaching the truth. These are preaching and teaching lies, some distort the truth, some dilute it and some simply delete it by saying God’s truth no longer applies. But no matter how many people follow the lies, the solid foundation of God’s truth never changes. Be the kind of person Christ could use for his noblest purposes. Don’t settle for less than God’s highest and best; allow him to use you as an instrument of his will. You can do this by staying close to him and keeping yourself pure so that sin and its consequences do not get in the way of what God could do in your life.
Point Of Emphasis: You are instruments of honour.
Prayer Point: Lord, keep me focused in you so that I will not lose the value placed on me as your child or worker in your vineyard.
The Book of Acts chapter 9, introduces us to a great event that happened in the life of one influential man in the Roman Empire, at that time, which changed the history and experience of all Jews or “JESUS” worshipers from that time till now. Saul of Tarsus, who joined the mob that stoned Stephen to death and also the chief persecutor behind the first persecution of the Church, met the Lord. Paul began to proclaim the gospel to the Gentile world and was responsible for the starting of congregations in the most important centres of the world during his time.
NOTES ON THE TEXT
PART 1: PAUL’S PRE-CONVERSION (ACTS 9:1-2; 26:6-11)
Paul was present at the stoning of Stephen and was the person who held the coats of the crowd and assented to Stephen’s death (Acts 7:58-60; 8:1). In Acts 8:3; 26:9-11, Paul acted as a ‘ravager’ of the church causing havoc of the church entering every house and dragging off men and women committing them to prison, in fact the word “TERRORIST” fits him.
From Acts 26:4-8, he was a Pharisee, a sect that believes in strict observance of Mosaic Law, this group was a staunch enemy of Jesus while on earth (Matt 3:7-10; 16:1-12). No wonder Paul (Saul before conversion) was seriously against whoever claimed to know anything about Jesus. He was also full of energy and zeal – quality that helped him in the spread of the Gospel.
PART 2: PAUL’S CONVERSION (ACTS 9:3; 26:12)
On his way to Damascus, about noon, a light far brighter than the sun blazed around Saul and his companions and he fell to the ground (v. 4). He heard the voice calling him (Acts 26:14; 9:4) but others with him did not hear because the message was not for them. Paul referred to this experience as the beginning of his new life in Christ (1 Cor. 9:1; 15:8, Gal 1:15).
Acts 9:5, Paul, in response to the voice of Jesus, asked, ‘Who art thou Lord? He asked this questions because he taught that he had never done anything against ‘Yahweh’ God, his thought was that he was maltreating the enemies of God.
The answer given to him by God might have made him know and realise that Jesus is not a blasphemous person (as the Pharisees thought) but the living Lord. The realisation which changed his life completely. In verse 6, Jesus told Saul to arise and go into Damascus where he would receive instruction. Jesus who forgave Saul is still forgiving and will forgive even His persecutor. Nobody is too bad for God to save and use. If God can turn a violent enemy like Saul into a friend, then God’s grace can transform anyone (1 Tim 1:16).
In verses 8-9 – Paul could not use his physical eyes to see and had to be held in the hand before he could walk. He also lost appetite for food. He was humbled and looked to God for the divine strength he needed to carry on with the new job description that he had been given.
We need to submit, humble ourselves and rely on his power to see us through. No one can honestly meet God and remain proud. God wants us to humble ourselves, admit our need and receive His work in our lives. A child of God must be willing to trade his or her own agenda for the will of God.
PART 3: PAUL’S POST CONVERSION (ACTS 9:20-22)
Immediately after receiving his sight and spending some time with the believers in Damascus. Paul went to the synagogue to tell the Jews about Jesus Christ. Paul acknowledged Jesus as Lord, confessed his own sin, surrendered his life to Christ and resolved to obey him. True conversion comes from a personal encounter with Jesus Christ and leads to a new life in relationship with him.
We must note that he stayed with the believers after his conversion, this helped him to learn and know more about Jesus Christ before launching out for the Great commission he was given . All new believers have to be fully discipled before they can be properly equipped for the Great commission.
He started preaching the gospel with his powerful message in verse 22 because he was a brilliant scholar and his changed life was evident enough for all to see. His message was accepted because of his changed life. It is important to know what the Bible teaches how to defend the faith, but your life should back up your words.
The good news is that forgiveness and eternal life are available to all people and are gifts of God’s grace through faith in Christ. God does not waste our time; He will use our past and present so we may serve him with our future.
- Why was Paul referred to as a ravager of the Church?
- Explain Paul’s encounter with Christ on his way to Damascus?
- Why did Paul spend some time with the believers in Damascus?
- Why was the gospel message Paul preached accepted by the people?
- Describe who Saul was?