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Acts 22:1-21 The Opportunity Of A Lifetime

Notes & Transcripts

The Opportunity Of A Lifetime Acts 22:1-21

I.Introduction

A.Objective

1.To Understand God's Grace Through Paul Amazing Testimony

God has a story to tell us....

God has a picture to paint for us....

God has a word of encouragement....

God has a memory to make in your heart and minds this morning.

He wants to show us His grace through the life of the Apostle Paul.

Another Picture Of God's Grace From The Old Testiment - Manassah

2nd Chronicles 33: (1-9) The Wickedness Of Manassah Was....

According To The Nations Cast Out

(3) Hign Places, Altars To Baal, Wooden Image, Worshiped Stars (4-5) Altars For False God's In House Of The Lord (6) Child Sacrifices, Witchraft (7) Set Up Idols In The Temple (10-15) The Prophecy Of Judgement From God (16) Shed Much Blood

(2nd Chron 33:9-20) Manassah's Discipline / Repentance

2 Chronicles 33:9–11 So Manasseh seduced Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel. 10 And the LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they would not listen. 11 Therefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze fetters, and carried him off to Babylon.

(11) Carried Away With Nose Hooks (12-13) Humbled, Repented, Freed, Served

Manasseh Restored After Repentance

2 Chronicles 33:12–13 Now when he was in affliction, he implored the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, 13 and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God.

II.(1-5) Paul Reviews His Misguided Religious Zeal

(1) “Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now.” (2) And when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they kept all the more silent. Then he said: (3) “I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today. (4) I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, (5) as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished.

A.(1-2) By Addressing Them With The Hebrew Language

(1) “Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now.” (2) And when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they kept all the more silent. Then he said:

1.Some Say Aramaic But Some Modern Research Points To Adapted Hebrew

B.(3) By Affirming His Lifelong Commitment To Judaism

Then he said: (3) “I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today.

1.I am indeed a Jew

2.Brought up in Jerusalem

3.Taught by Gamaliel

4.According To The Strictness of our fathers' law

5.Zealous towards God as you are today

C.(4) By Confessing His Prior Persecution Of The Church

(4) I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women,

1.To The Death

2.Binding And Delivering Into Prisons

3.Both Men And Women

D.(5a) By Identifying With The Leadership Of The Jews

(5) as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, .....

1.By Naming Them By Their Titles

2.By Referring To The Letters He Received

Acts Chapter 9:? tells us Paul requested these letters to go and persecute the Church in Damascus.

E.(5b) By Remembering What He Was Doing In On A Road To Damascus

(5) .... and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished.

1.Bring Christians Back To Jerusalem In Chains

A Brief Review Of Paul's Misguided Zeal

Acts 7:58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.

Acts 8:1 Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.

Acts 8:3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.

Acts 9:1-2 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest (2) and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

III.(6-11) Paul Relates His Personal Encounter With Jesus

(6) “Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. (7) And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ (8) So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ (9) “And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me. (10) So I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.’ (11) And since I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus.

A.(6) His Encounter Was Totally Supernatural

(6) “Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me.

1."Now it happened"

2.A Great Light From Heaven

Middle of the afternoon and a Great or Bright Light.

Acts 26:13 "at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me."

This light Left Paul Blind.....but not those with him.

I think Paul looked directly into God's light...the others with him did not...

It is interesting that Light is used in Scripture as a metaphor for Life, Illumination, Understanding, and Truth....

John 1:4–5 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

John 3:19–21 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

B.(7) His Encounter Was Directly Confrontational

(7) And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’

1.Saul, Saul

You get the idea that it took a couple of tries to get Paul's attention.

More details of the encounter and what Jesus spoke inActs 26

(Acts 26:14–18) And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. 17 I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, 18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’

2.Paul realized his actions were directly opposing God's will for his life.

C.(8-10) His Encounter Was Personally Transformational

(8) So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ (9) “And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me. (10) So I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.’

1."Who are You, Lord?"

Repentance is not an idea but an action...

2.At a moment in time Paul went from being in opposition to the will of God to being in the center of it.

Titus 3:4–7 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

D.(11) His Encounter Was Completely Humbling

(11) And since I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus.

1.He is now led by the hand of those he led to Damascus

2.One of the lessons God teaches is to depend upon Him.

E.(Personal) Have You Personally Encountered Jesus Christ?

1.Have You Been Confronted By His Will

2.Have You Been Amazed By His Grace

3.Have You Been Transformed By His Love

4.Have You Been Humbled By His Presence

IV.(12-16) Paul Recalls His Perception Crisis In Damascus

(12) “Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there, (13) came to me; and he stood and said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that same hour I looked up at him. (14) Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. (15) For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. (16) And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’

A.(12) Paul Remembers The Godliness Of Ananias

(12) “Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there,

1.This is different than chapter 26 (Gentiles)

B.(13) Paul Remembers His Condition After The Encounter (Blind)

(13) came to me; and he stood and said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that same hour I looked up at him.

1.Paul had a Perception Crisis In Two Ways

Paul was physically Blind

But for the first time realized he had been spiritually blind for years.

C.(14-16) Paul Remembers The Prophecy And Encouragement From Ananias

(14) Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. (15) For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. (16) And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’

1.God Has Chosen You

2.God Has Revealed Himself To You

3.You Will Be His Witness

4.What Are You Waiting For?

V.(17-21) Paul's Remembers His Powerful Vision Of Jesus

(17) “Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance (18) and saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.’ (19) So I said, ‘Lord, they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You. (20) And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’ (21) Then He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles.’ ”

A.(17) While He Is Praying In The Temple

(17) “Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance

1.First Thing We See Paul Doing Is Praying

2.First Person Paul Speaks Of Seeing

Obviously we know Paul did and saw other things after he left Damascus but the most vivid in his memory is the vision at the Jerusalem temple.

B.(18) While He Is In Peril There In Jerusalem

(18) and saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.’

Psalm 91:1–12 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” 3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. 9 Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, 10 No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; 11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. 12 In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.

C.(19-20) While He Sought To Declare The Truth To His Brethren

(19) So I said, ‘Lord, they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You. (20) And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’

1.Paul's motivation was to explain what he had learned and believed Jesus could convince them as well

But remember these are the same Jews who rejected Jesus in the first place....Jesus' way is always better.

D.(21) While He Received His Ministry Call Upon His Life

(19) So I said, ‘Lord, they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You. (20) And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’ (21) Then He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles.’”

1.Paul was to be the Apostle to the Gentiles

God used the most humbled Jew to reach the Gentile world. Paul wanted to go and preach to the Jews but that was not Jesus' will for him at this time....Even now as he gets his chance we see he becomes a long-term prisoner and not many Jews believe him.

VI.Conclusion

What about you? Have you taken advantage of this opportunity of a lifetime?

Have you had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ?

Have realized you need His forgiveness and love?

Are you ready to repent and turn and start following His will and not your own?

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