Acts 9 Lesson

Learning From Paul's "Road To Damascus Moment"

THE CONVERSION OF PAUL

Paul’s conversion is as dramatic a conversion as you will find anywhere in the Bible.   Overnight, Paul changed from a feared prosecutor of Christians, into a devout follower of Jesus and the author of almost half of the books in the New Testament (13 of 27).

When we feel like our past is too “bad” for God to be of service to God or anyone else, we need to read the story of Paul and remember that with God’s help, anything is possible.

No matter what we did in the past (with the exception of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit), if we repent of our sins and turn towards God, He will be waiting for us with open arms.

PAUL’S “ROAD TO DAMASCUS MOMENT”

Luke gives a great account of the exchange that took place between Jesus and Paul on the road to Damascus:

  • “Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.” – Acts 9:1-6.

God had a plan for Saul (Paul), just as he does for each of us.  

  • “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord.  Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” - Jeremiah 29:11.

We are blessed that Paul was humble enough and wise enough to follow the plan that Jesus outlined for him. When our “Road to Damascus” moment comes, we need to follow Paul’s example and embrace it!

If Saul did not listen to, and follow the words of Jesus, He never would have become the Apostle Paul.  If he did not put aside what he was doing and decide to follow God's plan for him, he never would have made all the contributions to the writing of the Bible that he did.  Paul’s example is a powerful reminder for us all to seek out God's plan for our own lives, then embrace it, and take action.    

FOLLOWING GOD’S PLAN

There is little doubt that God’s plan took Saul by surprise.  How could it not? Paul’s original motivation for his trip was to capture and imprison Christians. He could not possibly have known the enormous plans that God had for him. He could not possibly have known that he would spend the rest of his time on earth preaching and teaching the good news of Jesus Christ!

In the same way, if we are humble enough and wise enough to accept God’s plan for us, He will put us on a path and an adventure that we never dreamed of.

There are no accidents with God. If new people come into our lives, it is because God wants them there. And as we seek to determine what God’s plan is for us, we need to look at every day as an opportunity to do two things:

  1. Glorify God,
  2. Serve others.

The key is to be receptive to God’s plan, embrace it, and then act on it. It comes down to a simple choice. Do we want to do things God’s way, or our way?  

Jesus said:

  • “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6.

If we want to get to Heaven, we need to follow Jesus wherever that road takes us. This will require both perseverance and endurance. We need to consider the idea that whatever adversity we are going through; it is part of God’s plan for us.

Maybe we need to develop perseverance and endurance.

Maybe God needs to discipline us or teach us something that can only be learned through suffering. If we trust God and humble ourselves to follow His plan, we will come out stronger on the other side of any obstacle we face!

Once again, look at the example of Paul. God brought the right people into his life at exactly the right time! He used Ananias to restore Saul’s eyesight. Ananias had reservations about meeting up with Saul because he knew of his reputation for persecuting Christians. However, Jesus put his mind at ease when He said:

  • “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” – Acts 9:15-16.

CONCLUSION

There is much we can learn from Saul’s conversion.  Consider the following three points:

  1. Saul was willing to completely change course once God revealed his plans for him,
  2. Ananias was ready and willing to do what Jesus asked of him. When Jesus called on him, Ananias replied, “Here I am Lord,” 
  3. Many times it is the people that have the greatest transformation in their lives that have the greatest impact on those around them.

When God reveals His plan for us, will we respond in the same way that Paul did? Will we accept his plan, embrace it, and act on it as Paul did? Or will we follow our own fleshly lusts and the ways of the world instead?

We will end today’s lesson with two important questions for us to think about. The answers to these questions could determine where we will spend eternity.

  1. Are we like Saul? Will we be willing to completely change our plans when God reveals our purpose?
  2. Are we ready to serve like Ananias was? When the Lord calls on us will we also respond, “Here I am Lord?”

Comments

Virtual Bible Study

1) What did today’s Bible study make you think and feel?
2) How can you apply what you have just learned to something specific that is happening in your life?

***PLEASE POST YOUR QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS HERE***

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River

I think Paul's conversion story has always been one of my favorites because of its emphasis on the beautiful and powerful complete conversion Paul experienced. We often excuse our unfaithfulness, claiming, "It's too late to return to God" or "I don't have the time to foster a relationship with Jesus." We are self-deprecating about our faith in order to excuse our lapses. But this is a story of God screaming, "No! It is NEVER too late. Come to me, I am ready for you." God teaches us through Paul that no matter how depraved we might think we are, we haven't missed the chance to experience His love. He's waiting with open arms, no matter the time, no matter the place.

This is a hopeful message for anyone hoping to turn to Christ after a time without Him, and I think it acts as a wonderful reminder of God's unending mercy and love.

Reply
John
River

Amen River. Thank you for your comments. It is our hope that sustains us through the hard times.

Reply
Pat Dermody
John

I look at Paul and the courage he had to move on and align himself with God.I then think if Paul could do it maybe I can too. Who knows my example of turning to God could provide an inspiration to someone else!

Reply
Virtual Bible Study

1) What did today’s Bible study make you think and feel?
2) How can you apply what you have just learned to something specific that is happening in your life?

***PLEASE POST YOUR QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS HERE***

Reply
Joseph

There are some who say that in order for them to trust God he has to speak to them directly and tell them what to do to be saved and there are others who say that God spoke to them and told them how to be saved which means that they doubt the bible because it was written by men. So we must understand what the scripture says about Paul's conversion for Jesus did not tell Paul how to become a Christian, He told him to go into the city and he would be told what to do. This tells us that men have been given the responsibility to tell other men how to become Christians so men have to share in the work of God. God sends His spirit and men are sent to speak the word. What magnificent wisdom God has in how He has given us jobs to do in His work.

Reply
Billy

Jesus may not talk to us as He did in this story, but He absolutely communicates with us. Through His word and through the Holy Spirit. If we are smart, we will listen to Him just as Paul did.

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