Acts 9:1-19

Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”

Sermon Transcript:

Oh my goodness. That’s last song. Just Jesus paid it all. Jesus paid it all. I just wanna lift him up this morning. Jesus. It’s all about you. Every person, every story here, Lord. It’s all. About you. Thank you for the worship this morning, Lord reminding us that Jesus sought me while a stranger, while an enemy, you died for me pursuing me Lord with tireless feet until I would look into your face Lord and see the love that you bear for me.

We pray this in your name. Amen. Amen. It’s such a joy to gather together in worship. Isn’t it to be together in fellowship together. My name’s pastor Joe. Um, and this morning we’re gonna continue our journey through the book of acts. And up until this point, we’ve been following the church, its birth and its growth.

But today we hear of one of the most triumphant days in all of church history. When Saul of Tarsus meets Jesus on the road to Damascus. One of the most triumphant days when a man who is persecuting, the church becomes God’s chief instrument of furthering a church all in a moment on that road to Damascus when God transformed the San Hirons chief instrument of persecution against the church and to God’s chief instrument of furthering the church.

The passage that we’re gonna be focusing on this morning is found in acts chapter nine versus one through 19. If you’re using a few Bible it’s page 8 63. Now, would you guys all turn there as we continue our collective worship this morning acts nine versus one through 19 buckle up. It’s a bit of a long one.

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked for him 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. As he near Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed all around him and he fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?

Who are you? Lord Saul, ask. I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. He replied now get up and go into the city and you’ll be told what you must do. The men traveling with Saul stood there, speechless, and they heard the sound, but did not see anyone and Saul got up from the ground. But when he opened his eyes, he could see nothing.

and so they let him buy the hand into Damascus. And for three days he was blind and did not eat or drink anything in Damascus. There was a man named Anais, the Lord called to him in a vision Anais. Yes, Lord. He answered the Lord, told him, go to the house of Judas on straight street and ask for a man from Tarus named Saul for he is praying and in a vision, he has seen a man by the name of Anias, come and place his hands on him and restore his sight.

Lord, an Anais answered. I have heard many reports of this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with the authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call upon your name. But the Lord said to Anais, go. This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and to their Kings and to the people of Israel.

And I will, and I will show him how much he must suffer for my name. Then Anne and I went to the house and entered it and 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 and immediately something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes and he could see again, and he got up and was baptized.

And after taking some food, he regained his strength. This is God’s word.

The last time I preached, I preached on a passage, uh, that I joked was a lamp. I talked about how, even though I, I love basketball, I’m not very good at it. And that I, I routinely miss the wide open shot that I should make. Uh, and some of you guys found that entertaining because you probably know me and, and have seen me miss a lot of layups, but this passage, if that one was a layup short, sweet, straightforward to the point about five or six verses pretty simple, this passage is a bit of a half quart shot.

And if you think I miss a lot of layups, I definitely miss half quar shots. It’s long, it’s somewhat daunting, but it is incredible. And the story leaves an imprint. The story itself is the conversion of Saul of Tarsis. This is the man who accounted for 13 of the 27 new Testament books. A man whose influence has shaped my own thinking and my own impressions of the grace of God.

My understanding of the heart of Jesus. and how to walk as he walked. And I’m sure that is the case for many of you and for many throughout all of church history, it’s something that I think Luke himself saw the significance of because this story that we’re gonna be covering today is actually given three times in the book of acts.

This is the first time in acts chapter nine. It happens again in acts chapter 22. And then again, after that in acts chapter 26, given three separate times, and I was encouraged when I saw that, because I read the first 19 verses that I was gonna be preaching from. And I felt like, man, I could preach three to four sermons on this.

Don’t worry. I’m not going to, I promise , but there’s so much here at church. There’s so much here for us this morning. So much deep abiding truth. The great weight of glory in this passage is hard for one man to hold and thank the Lord that I don’t have to. So I pray that the spirit would lead me this morning.

As we attempt to consolidate these 19 verses into one sermon. This story is so significant that, um, many years ago, a man by the name of Frank B. Morrison, he was a young, aspiring lawyer and atheist attempted, uh, he set out to disprove Christianity and it was his opinion that if he could disprove two biblical events, he could discredit the entire Christian movement.

The first was understandably the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And the second was the conversion of Saul of Tarsis. And so he set out to disprove full of passion, eager to show why these stories had no historical, um, verification had no ability to approve these and felt that the case against them would be great.

As a lawyer, he built his. I need not say to you all that he failed miserably in that attempt and finding that actually the case for the conversion of soul of Tarsis and the resurrection of Jesus was overwhelmingly in favor of them. And in the process, he gave his life to Jesus, having his own Damascus road moment.

This story carries weight. And as we set out this morning to read it to attempt through the Spirit’s revelation, to understand it, I pray that we wouldn’t rush through this passage this morning. I think the best way to find our footing in a passage like this that has so much to it is to orient ourselves.

Once again, back in the overall story of acts, reminding ourselves of where we are. Remember acts mark said this quite a few times in his sermons. Yes. It’s a collection of historical verifiable event. But it’s a hand selected. Remember that it’s not just all the stories that ever came about the early church, Luke took them and compiled them hand selecting them by the inspiration of the spirit to tell a deliberate spirit led story for a purpose, an intention that God had for these stories.

And if you look at what that story’s purpose is in Luke chapter one, Luke gives us sort of his own reasoning behind it. And the reasoning that God had laid on his heart, he said that the off was to, I wanna write this, these accounts, Luke, and acts to you as an orderly account, so that you might have confidence in the things of which you have been taught.

That being Jesus and his gospel. So church, as we read this, remember. This is here so that we might have confidence in the risen Jesus and his gospel. And there is no testimony like it that I have ever read. So the story, the overall story that we’ve been following as a church, and forgive me if this is a recap for some of you has been to follow the birth and growth of the early church from the one 20 that lived in the upper room in prayer, waiting upon the spirit of the Lord to come to 3000, that came to the Lord soul saved in a single day at Pentecost.

When the spirit came in power to thousands more day by day, moment by moment, spreading throughout all of Jerusalem, the spreading was like what CS Lewis called the good infection. The gospel of Jesus Christ hearts being changed and Jerusalem was lit up like a fire. We don’t know, we’ve never seen anything like this before church, heart, after heart soul, after soul captured by the risen Jesus and his gospel through the obedience of his disciples and through the working of mighty works.

And so we see that this church was growing at an explosive rate, but up until this point, it has been contained within Jerusalem. And we saw initially, and actually the last message I preached on in acts chapter two, verse 42, that the initial success of a church within Jerusalem was met with great favor of the people.

But that favor would not last. And if you remember, if several weeks ago, when we heard of the, the message preached by Steven, the first act of persecution began in acts chapter seven, when they cast the stones and murdered Steven after his. Through the moving of the spirit. And there was a man there who’s first introduced for the first time we see him present.

We hear him introduced as the first stone is cast at the forehead of Stephen coats are flung down at the feet of a young man named Saul and Luke remember compiled for a purpose hand selected stories. We hear of this character Saul at the moment that persecution first begins. So to does our introduction to this young man named Saul, I had a, a really good teacher in literature.

Lisa Meyer. She’s actually probably here somewhere. Maybe she’s doing equipped. Uh, I was homeschooled, but I from a very young age, had a passion for literature and English. I’ve always loved stories. I love Lord of the rings. I love Narnia. I’m just a, my wife calls me a nerd all the time, but I love stories and what my teacher would always tell me is, you know, Joe, every good story has a protagonist and a yeah.

See, you guys had good teachers too. a protagonist and an antagonist. Now follow me if you will, for a moment, I believe that Luke, up until this point is setting us up to see this man saw in an antagonistic light. We’ve seen up until this point, the great heroes of the church beginning, this incredible explosive movement all throughout Jerusalem.

And now we see this mysterious figure enter stage, right villain standing in appreciation over the death of the young hero receiving the honor of the men who have have the blood on their. Luke is doing this for a purpose. He’s setting us up, but who is this man? Who is this Saul? Because there’s not anything up until this point known about him.

Once again, put ourselves in the, in the shoes of theos, reading this account for the first time. Now I’m sure by the time this account got to him, he would’ve heard of him, but let’s pretend for a moment that he hasn’t, we’ve heard nothing up until this point, who is Saul of Tarsis? Well, luckily we don’t have to have just the perspective of a, um, ancient reader.

We can also have a 21st century perspective. So first, second, continuing in our, our sort of theme of, uh, literature and English. Let’s build a character chart for this Saul character, this antagonist to the church. We know that Saul was at the time of Steven stoning, a young man that said there in, uh, acts chapter seven, verse 58, but how young most scholars believe that he was no older than 32 and as young as 28 here, truly a young man around my age.

And yet we see he has tremendous power and influence. If you remember the other time we read about people, casting their coats at the feet of someone who was it, Jesus himself, as he wrote in a donkey. Now, shortly later, their fickle love would fall away and they would shout for him to be crucified. But these same men, it seems now casting their lot with this man Saul.

He had tremendous power and influence. We know that Saul was of a city named Tarsus because it’s mentioned many times over and over again. Saul of Tarsus, Saul of all of Tarsis saw of tar. Now Tarsis was actually, I was surprised to find, as I studied for this a very significant city, it was the capital of the province of Salia within the empire of Rome.

It was a great hub for Greco Roman culture. And it was one of the three most influential academic cities in all of the Roman empire, Athens, Alexandria, and Tarsus. It was right up there. It was like Harvard or Yale, the university of Tarsus. And so we see that this young man growing up in a culture that was very much in the forefront of secular culture, very much in the forefront of academic life.

But we know that this man did not grow up secular in a secular light, but rather as a Pharisee. Philippians chapter three, verse five, Saul goes into detail about who he was. He said a Hebrew of Hebrews of a tribe of Benjamin, a very well respected tribe.

And so we know, and he also says after the manner of the law of Pharisee a Pharisee. So we know that not only was he a Hebrew of Hebrews of the tribe of Benjamin, but he also was one of those pesky Pharisees, but actually those Pharisees were very, very well respected within the religious community of the Jews.

And so we see this well respected influential young man. We also know that this man had a great level of education beyond probably being educated in the, in that, in that culture. That was very, um, academic. He was also educated from a young, young age in the Jewish traditions. And showed great intelligence and aptitude for it so much so that he was selected to study under the great scribe Gaal Gaal was a rabbi who was so well respected.

He was known by his peers by the name, the beauty of the law. He was the guy. It would be like if one of us got selected to go study with John Piper or Tim Keller, maybe even beyond that, one of the great thinkers and teachers of the word, and they, most scholars believe that he left at the age of 13 from Tarsis to go into Jerusalem and study.

This young man was powerful, influential, ambitious. He was also a Roman citizen, as well as a Pharisee and a Jewish person. There was not a single door that was closed to saw. Young man of great privilege. And if a door was closed to him, I wager he’d probably kick it down. We see from the beginning, this young man was a man of great power influence and privilege a village, but there’s one last characteristic that I’ve yet to mention.

And it’s probably his most defining characteristic. Saul hated Christians with a burning furious anger to Saul. The church was the great enemy of the Jewish faith and Jesus at its head. The greatest of enemies, the very lifeblood of Saul’s existence was to see the church crushed into rubble and every last person belonging to the way cast into prison.

and destroyed. Sounds like a nice guy. Doesn’t he?

This is the man whom this story is about. Don’t get it twisted. He was a piece of work. So now finally, some of you might be saying, we get to the passage itself, acts chapters one through 19, but now with the needed context behind us to kind of give us our footing as we go. Now, I’ve seen it broken down this passage, many different ways.

I’ve seen it broken down into four parts. I’ve seen it broken down into more than that, but for the sake of clarity, I’ve decided to break it down into three parts versus one through two solves plans for Saul versus three through nine. What I’m calling the divine arrest and versus 10 through 19 God’s plan for.

So let’s dive into it now. So we remember, and again, we’ve come up to this point in acts, and we’ve seen that now that Saul has been introduced. Now, he’s been revealed as the chief orchestrator of the persecution against the church. He was there at the stoning of Stephen, right afterwards in acts chapter eight.

We see he’s ravaging the church he’s wreaking havoc, amidst the believers so much. So and so sudden was the onslaught of Saul that the people fled scattering to every corner of Judea and Samaria. Remember the church up until that point had been fully contained within Jerusalem or nearly fully contained within Jerusalem.

And we heard just the beginnings of the spread of the gospel when Philip right before this gives the gospel to the Ethiopian Munich, but. what’s beautiful about this is I read this is I realized, man, the very thing that Saul was trying to stop the spread of the gospel. He caused in his attempt to crush the church.

He spread them out. They probably would never have left the comfort of Jerusalem, their home. They had put down roots there. They had great community at the time before Saul Saul’s coming, they had great favor. Why would they leave

people who immigrate to new places? They, they rarely, very rarely do it. If the grass is greener where they are, and yet God using Saul, even then scattered the church. But this enraged Saul, uh, I wanna get this quote down, right? Because I loved it so much. Uh, John MacArthur said in his sermon about Saul, he was like a war horse who had the scent of battle and was breathing it out in fury in anticipation of new conquer.

I love the way he put that. And if you don’t believe me, look at verse one. Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out. Murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. That word breathing out is the Greek word EMP nail, which actually means to breathe in. It’s like giving us the picture that every inhale of his body, what animated him, what filled him up?

What gave him life was murder and threats towards God’s people. Saul is furious that word. Meanwhile, what happened right before this was the gospel going to the Ethiopian Munich. It’s almost like Luke is showing us that. Listen, while God’s working here. Look at this guy. I, I picture Saul’s ears like the cartoons or the steams coming out of the ears.

My guy is mad, not happy, but we see that he is fuming, but don’t worry. Saul always has a plan and he’s got a plan now. So he has words somewhat how through his spy network, that there has now been a new growth of the church in a city called Damascus Damascus was a beautiful city. So maybe it attracted people.

It was known as the jewel of the desert. It was a white city set, amid green palms. It was a city must. That must have drawn the believers who were displaced from their home. And a man was leading the church there named Ananias who we’ll see later. But now Saul’s fiery. Gaze is set upon AAS at upon Damascus, look out Damascus, but don’t worry.

The, the miles stretch long between Jerusalem and Damascus is about 160 miles north, but Saul had a plan he would obtain from the high priest authority to go as far as Damascus. And make arrests in the name of that high priest to go and make arrests in the name of a high priest and to throw them into prison.

And now that takes us to verses three through nine, and we see that there was another arrest planned, but not one that Saul was planning. I want you to picture this for a moment. The great Saul has his finally after miles and miles of travel days and days of travel upon horseback or Camelback, I don’t know what he was writing.

He finally has his eyes set up on the jewel of the desert Damascus, the white city, and he’s imagining all the people he’s going to meet all the admirers that are gonna come and help him in his attempt to squash this dangerous movement, all the synagogues he’s gonna go and speak in. All the Christians he’s gonna throw into prison.

And just as he’s nearing the gate, just as he’s nearing the end of his journey, a bright light shining brighter than the midday, sun knocks him to the ground. Or

we’re told that that, that the hour and the moment that Jesus knocked Saul from his horse onto the ground was shortly before he arrived Damascus. And I always pictured for some reason that it was nighttime because, you know, then you could really see the glory of Jesus, you know, really the contrast be way more cinematic that way.

But we see in acts chapter 26, when Paul is retelling this story to king of GRPA, that the glory that’s shown shown at midday. I don’t know if you guys, I mean, even out here in Mount Laurel midday, sun can be pretty bright, but on the road to Damas. And yet the glory of the risen, Jesus has shown brighter, brighter than the midday son.

As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?

These words are the words that jumped out to me more than any other phrase in all of this passage, Saul knocked from his horse blinding light. He doesn’t know where it’s from and out of that glory comes a voice speaking his name. And not only is it speaking his name, but it’s speaking in his native Hebrew language, Saul SA why do you persecute the church?

The believers me. When I read those words, I realized what Jesus was saying. He was saying as skip SIG, the pastor says every touch, every lash, every Stripe on the backs of the believers on earth is felt in heaven.

Every suffering, every bruise, every hungry stomach in prison is felt by Jesus. And now he’s speaking from the glory down to this full saw,

and we see the tides of power turn. Not slowly, not, you know, in 10, 15 minutes, but right away. The great Saul, who moments before on the road considered Jesus to be the great enemy of the Jewish faith now saying, who are you? Lord? I can hear the fear in Saul’s voice. Who, who, who are you Lord? And I guarantee the one thing he did not want to hear from that glory was the, what the response was.

I am Jesus. Uhoh

whom you are persecuting.

The fear that must have filled him at that moment. It’s a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God. He was now in the hand of the risen Jesus at the full and complete power and glory. He was in the hand of Jesus. Now. there’s one phrase that I wanna point out. And I know I gotta keep moving pretty quickly here.

One phrase, I wanna point out here that isn’t given here in, in, uh, chapter nine, but it’s given later in acts chapter 26, and I find it really important when Jesus says Saul saw, why are you persecuting me shortly after that? He also adds it is hard for you to kick against the goats. Some of you were like, what’s a goat sounds kind of gross.

A goat I found out is a poking stick for cattle and people. If they had their cattle pulling their plows, they would poke them in the butt. Try to get them to move, to go in the direction that they were supposed to, but sometimes a dumb cow would kick out against that goat and that goat would stick in their foot.

Ow. but here is the beauty of this. Jesus says it’s hard for you to kick against the goats. This is not the first time Jesus has been knocking on the door of Saul’s heart. It’s been a long time coming and Saul has been kicking out against God’s poker over and over again. Get off me, get off me watching Steven look into the right hand at the right hand.

I see the, I see Jesus at the right hand of the father. Lord, forgive them for, they know not what they do that had to have left a mark on Saul. And Jesus is poking at his heart and poking at his heart and poking at his heart and Saul’s resisting and he’s resisting.

And now we see that Jesus is yeah, enough. I’m knocking you to the ground. Now reminds me, uh, being a dad. I have a two and a half year old and the two month old, the two month. Old’s great. And I love the two year old, but she is in a tough stage right now. And I’ve poked out, you know, it’s time for bed, Elena, you know, get ready in five minutes.

We’re gonna go up to bed. No, I don’t wanna go to bed, Elena. You know, we’re gonna go up soon. No, finally, I just gotta pick her up and throw over my shoulder and walk her up because she’s kicking out against the goats and the pokes. So finally, because I love her and I know what’s best for her. I gotta pick her up and carry her to her bed.

It feels like that here. Jesus has finally said enough. Let’s continue. The men traveling with Saul. Actually, no, I’m skipping here. He replied and now get up and go into the city and you will be told what to do. We’ve see. Now that the mighty Saul has been brought to heal in a moment. and now is obeying the words of the one whom he tried to destroy moments before.

It’s amazing how fast that shifted the men traveling with Saul stood there, speechless. They heard the sound, but did not see anyone Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes, he could see nothing and said they laid him, let him by the hand in Damascus. And for three days he was blind and did not eat or drink the great soul who had left Jerusalem strong and confident, powerful, and influential armed with authority of the high priest and his mind filled with the great plan for the destruction of the church.

Now entered into Damascus, weak, fearful, blind, and led by the hands of his servants, walking in obedience to the one true high priest, whom he had moments before called his great enemy. That takes us to the last piece in part of his passage. God’s plan for Saul no longer is it Saul’s plan for Saul that’s out the window.

It’s God’s plan for soul in Damascus. There was a disciple by the name of Anais and the Lord called to him in a vision Anais. Yes, Lord. He answered. And the Lord told him to go to the house of Judas on straight street.

We see that Jesus works on behalf of Saul here. What I love most about this part of the passage is that Jesus doesn’t tell Saul to turn tale and return to Jerusalem. He doesn’t say all right, you’ve been, you’ve been really bad. It’s time for you to turn around, go back to Jerusalem, admit that you’re wrong.

Throw yourself into prison. He could have done that. He had full power. He was fully in Jesus’ power now, but what Jesus says is no. Go on as the way that you thought you had planned for yourself, but really I had planned for you all along. You thought you were going to Damascus to arrest my people, but really you were going to Damascus to meet and receive from my people.

I have an appointment for you in Damascus. Go, we see that he always intended this in his plan and that he had appointment for Saul all the while in Damascus. I love the way that Jesus speaks here to an Anais. Speaking of a man named Saul from Tarsus as if an Anais doesn’t know everything about this man and what he has done, and we could hear the incredulous sound of his voice here.

Lord, an Anais answered. I’ve heard many reports about this, man. I know all about him and all the harmony has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. He has come here with the authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name, but Jesus doesn’t even enter into that fear. But the Lord said to Anais go, this man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their Kings and to the people of Israel.

And I will show him how much he must suffer from my name. That was it. And Anais was he’d heard enough. Then Annia went to the house of the, of house of Judas and entered it and placing his hands on Saul. He said, these powerful words, 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 spirit immediately.

Something like scales fell from the eyes of Saul and he could see again, and he was baptized. And after taking some food, he regained his strength.

You can’t make this stuff up. This is one of the things I’m sure that Frank Morrison the lawyer. When he set out to disprove this account, couldn’t get passed. Who would make this up? This isn’t good storytelling. No, no, no, no, no. Saul’s supposed to get the, his comeuppance. He’s supposed to get knocked to the ground by Jesus and destroyed.

And then the church rises up and his victorious. That’s a good story.

Saul of Tarsis murderous threats against God’s people, influential, powerful, strong leader of men in one moment, brought low. weak feeble led by the hand of his servants. What is this? What manner of king do we serve? That he would have a plan for this man? And we’d be lying if we didn’t join with an Anais in our, in credulity over these, this plan that Jesus had had since the beginning

I wanna wrap up. And I know that there’s a lot in here, and I know that I threw a lot at you this morning. A lot of moving parts, a lot of cities and facts, figures.

There’s so many applications in this text. I mean, I, I wasn’t kidding. When I said I could preach three to four sermons on this.

There’s so many I could list off. We could list off that we as our believers, if we’re walking on our Damascus road and we feel God calling us to new things, calling us out for maybe what we’re living in, we need to be reminded that what, what the call is, is to walk in obedience, maybe not to return and backtrack on everything, but to continue to walk in obedience on that Damascus road and let God lead us, or maybe it’s that we wanna be like an Anais.

We wanna be people who no matter the person Jesus calls us to give the gospel to, we would go. And we would say, brother, and we would not say to Jesus who he and who he cannot rescue with his redeeming grace.

Or maybe it’s a message for those of us who feel too far for those of us who feel that we’ve done too much, we’ve broken faith too many times that we must be seen as an enemy of Jesus friends. There is no more enemies, but the one enemy and that he does not see you in that light and Jesus, his grace is deeper than your sin.

His mercy goes longer and further than any, anyone has ever traveled. His glory shines brighter than the midday son. And he’s calling you by name don’t kick against the goats. Don’t tell him who he’s allowed to have mercy on. you’re you are solely free to admit that the grace, that, that Jesus gives is free for everyone else, but for you, it doesn’t work for you.

It’s just, you’ve done too much. Well, have you persecuted the church? Have you thrown countless Christians into prison? Maybe you have, I don’t know your story, but if you have, you’re no different than Saul who became his chief, uh, the chief instrument of Christ and furthering his church, but there’s, to me, one final application that rises above the rest, even above the ones that I’ve just given.

We’re told that this story, the main character is Saul. And I would agree with that, but even so I would say this story is all about Jesus, the whole story of acts while it covers Peter, while it covers Stephen. it’s all about Jesus, Jesus, the mighty conquering this man who thought he was great showing mercy and love Jesus who proved to Frank Morrison to us and to all the people who have read acts that he is alive and that the grave did not conquer him.

What other proof do you need that a man like Saul in a moment, turning into a man like Paul,

we know that Jesus is deeply connected to his church. He’s connected to you. Are you suffering right now? Are you hurting? Every Stripe on earth is felt in heaven. Jesus, the righteous. Is worthy of our confidence. Remember this book was written so that we might have confidence in the things of which we have been taught.

You’ve been taught that Jesus is worthy of it, all, that he died for your sins, but sometimes we lose confidence in that truth. Well, this message is here to remind us, have confidence in the rise in Jesus. He’s worthy of all your praise of all your trust of all your fears to put in. Trust him with those, with all your doubts he’s worthy of all your praise, all your love, all your trust.

Amen. I’ll leave you with, um, the words of Saul himself in Philippians, Philippians four 11. And if anyone else thinks he has reasoned for confidence in the flesh, I have more. I was circumcised in the eighth day of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews as to the law of Pari as to zeal a persecutor of the church as to the righteous under the law blameless, but whatever gain I had, I counted it as lost for the sake of Christ.

Indeed. I count everything as lost because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord, for this sake, I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish in order that I may gain in Christ and be found in him not having the righteous of my own, that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteous from God.

That depends on faith.


we thank you for this T. Reminding us of the power, the love, the tender care, the glory of the risen. Jesus. I pray Lord, as you send us off this morning that we would go in full confidence of the one who is greater. Fill us up with that confidence. Lord, I pray that your spirit would work in the hearts of those who have yet to receive your grace.

Who’ve yet to believe it for themselves, Lord, knock them down, overwhelm them with their glory and show them that they are yours. We pray this and the name of our king. Jesus. Amen. Now go in the comfort of the holy spirit.