Conversion and Commission
Acts 9 1-19
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Introduction: “But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. And falling to the ground he 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 rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank. Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; and taking food, he was strengthened. For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus." (Acts 9:1-19, ESV)
1. Conversion—to be changed-- conversion noun
1 fundamental alteration in one’s system of beliefs synonyms metanoia, rebirth related words about-face, reversal, turning; reclamation, regeneration idioms change of heart
2 change of one thing to another usually by substitution synonyms alteration, changeover, shift, transformation related words change; metamorphosis
2. Commission—to authorize, to accredit, to empower, to enable, license related words appoint, designate, charge, command, enjoin, instruct, order.
1. The Lord has wonderful plans for ALL of us, who upon hearing the Gospel, confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised him from the dead. Scripture clearly states that having done this, we will be saved—converted—changed—born-again. (“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9, ESV). “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13, ESV)
2. At Conversion we are also commissioned—Look at Saul here in Acts 9, look at the synoptic Gospels and you will find that when Jesus called his disciples—the call included commission (sending out of the 70 and the 12) Matthew 10: 5 " These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.” (Matthew 10:5-8, ESV). Our study of Stephen and Phillip also indicate that with conversion came commission.
3. The Desire to want to do something for God is built into us as we are born again (“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10, ESV)
4. We will do the will of the Lord by having a willing heart and being obedient to the voice of the Holy Spirit.