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A Changed Man Who Will Change the World 

Never underestimate how much your life will affect others

Acts 9

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • March 19, In the year of our Lord, 2017

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Larry Amberg – No suggestions


  1. It is inescapable, Saul of Tarsus has touched your life. 
    1. Even if you do not know who he was,
    2. he has touched your life, and
      1. changed the world for all time.
      2. He lived 1900 years ago, but
        1. he still influences your life, and
        2. the world is not the same since he converted to Christ.
  2. You may not even like him, 
    1. as some people have told me, but
    2. you cannot deny it,
      1. he influenced, and still influences, the people around you,
      2. so that if he had not lived,
        1. the world would not be the same as it is now.
        2. The more we get away from his teachings,
          1. the more our world goes down hill.
          2. However, he did not start out as you might imagine.


  1. Acts 9.1–2 | Breathing Threats and Murder

    1 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.

    1. Saul’s heart overflowed with persecution against the church.
      1. Therefore, Saul threatened the disciples of the Lord and
        1. carried out his threats,
        2. taking the lives of those who made the same life decision as you.
    2. He went to the high priest to get the authority that he needed
      1. to enter the synagogues of Damascus,
      2. allowing him to search for more people who were of the Way, and
        1. he did not care whether he found men or women,
        2. his rage against them pushed him to have no mercy.
    3. He would arrest them,
      1. take them to Jerusalem,
      2. put them on trial, and
        1. condemn them to death.
        2. Later, the Book of Acts, and some of his writings,
          1. show just how much he persecuted the church.
          2. For now, Luke will jump ahead to Saul’s conversion.
  2. Acts 9.3–9 | Why Do You Persecute the Lord?

    3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” 5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” 6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7 And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. 8 Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

    1. He traveled to Damascus, but
      1. as he got close to the city,
      2. something happened
        1. that would forever change his life, and
        2. that would forever change the world.
    2. With this sudden, heavenly light shinning around him,
      1. he fell to the ground, and then
      2. heard someone speaking to him.
        1. Someone addressed his name twice,
        2. asking, “Why are you persecuting me?”
          1. Saul did not think that he was persecuting anyone from Heaven.
          2. Therefore, he asked, “Who are you, Lord?”
    3. His question shows that he was not confessing Jesus as Lord.
      1. He merely used, “Lord,” as a title of respect.
      2. Then Saul heard words that must have stunned him.
        1. The voice identified himself Jesus,
        2. whom Saul believed was a fraud, but
          1. then he learned that Jesus was real, and
          2. that Saul had been persecuting the people of Jesus.
        3. Jesus also informed Saul that it is hard to kick against the goads,
          1. as Saul persecuted the people of Christ,
          2. Saul persecuted Christ, and only hurt himself.
    4. We can imagine Saul’s trembling and astonishment.
      1. If you had given consent for the death of Stephen,
      2. if you had breathed threats and murder against the disciples of Jesus,
        1. if you dragged people from their homes and taken them to prison,
        2. would you not tremble to find out that they were all innocent?
    5. Then he asked, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
      1. Now, “Lord,” meant the Lord revealed in the Hebrew Scriptures.
      2. He submitted himself to the Lord Jesus to do whatever the Lord said to do.
    6. The Lord told him to keep going into the city of Damascus, but
      1. his purpose there had changed dramatically.
      2. He went to persecute the Lord’s people, then he became one of them.
    7. The appearance of Jesus to Saul happened only for his benefit, because
      1. the men who traveled with him,
      2. heard a voice or a sound, but
        1. they did not see anyone, and
        2. that left them speechless!
    8. He got up, but
      1. he could not see because of the brightness of the light, and
      2. this caused a problem for him the rest of his life.
        1. His comrades held his hand and walked him to Damascus.
        2. Once he arrived,
          1. he stayed in one location for three days,
          2. fasting, not eating or drinking, for three days straight.
  3. Acts 9.10–16 | The Lord Prepares a Man to Help Saul

    10 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. 12 And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.” 13 Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

    1. The Lord appeared to a disciple named Ananias, and
      1. when he heard the Lord call him,
      2. he responded as Isaiah did, “Here I am, Lord.”
    2. This ready disciple discovered that the Lord had a job for him
      1. that he found difficult to accept.
      2. Go touch the man who persecutes your people, Lord?
        1. Yes, the Lord told Ananias again to go, because
        2. the Lord had chosen Saul to bear the Lord’s name before:
          1. Gentiles,
          2. kings, and
          3. the children of Israel.
            1. Instead of making the disciples of Christ suffer,
            2. Saul would suffer along with them for the name of Christ.
  4. Acts 9.17–18 | Ananias Went and Did as Told

    17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.

    1. The Lord said go and Ananias went.
      1. He found the house where Saul was staying.
      2. He went to Saul, laid hands on him, and healed him, and
        1. Saul became filled with the Holy Spirit.
        2. He could see with the eyes of his flesh, then with the eyes of his spirit.
    2. He arose and submitted to baptism.
      1. Saul did not argue over whether baptism was necessary.
      2. The Lord wanted it done, Saul did it.
  5. Acts 9.19–22 | Stronger in the Flesh, Stronger in the Spirit

    19 So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus. 20 Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. 21 Then all who heard were amazed, and said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.

    1. Saul’s three-day fasting from food and drink left him weak.
      1. However, he focused on the Spirit,
      2. praying and praying, and then
        1. something wonderful happened.
          1. He received his sight.
          2. He received food.
    2. Amazingly, he did not hesitate to declare what he once sought to silence.
      1. The people of Damascus expressed their amazement
      2. that he had come to destroy the followers of Christ and had become one.
    3. Saul’s spirit grew as he saw the Scriptures from a new vantage.
      1. He put together the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus,
      2. comparing it all to the prophecies,
        1. enabling Saul to confound the Jews there
        2. by proving that the Jesus we know is in fact the Christ.
  6. Acts 9.23–25 | The Persecutor Becomes the Persecuted

    23 Now after many days were past, the Jews plotted to kill him. 24 But their plot became known to Saul. And they watched the gates day and night, to kill him. 25 Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket.

    1. The Jews wanted to do to him as he had sought to do to the disciples.
    2. Saul found out about their plot against him.
      1. They guarded the gates of the city around the clock,
      2. hoping to capture him that they might kill him.
        1. However, the disciples who once feared him
        2. found a way to let him out of the city.
  7. Acts 9.26–30 | Barnabas Introduces Saul to the Church

    26 And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. 28 So he was with them at Jerusalem, coming in and going out. 29 And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him. 30 When the brethren found out, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him out to Tarsus.

    1. Some Christians will not become part of a local congregation, whereas
      1. Saul tried to join the local congregation in Jerusalem,
      2. although the members there did not trust him.
    2. Then Barnabas came along,
      1. a man whom everyone trusted, and
      2. he explained Saul’s visitation with the Lord, and
      3. his bold preaching in the name of Jesus.
    3. What happened to Saul at Damascus happened at Jerusalem.
      1. Saul spoke boldly in the name of Jesus.
      2. He disputed with those who disagreed.
      3. They attempted to kill him.
      4. The brethren again saved him, sending him to his hometown.
  8. Acts 9.31 | The Church Triumphant

    31 Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.

    1. The church’s greatest enemy had become one of them.
    2. The church has conflict and
      1. as long as the church walks with the Lord,
      2. they have a moment of victory.
    3. They walked
      1. in the fear of the Lord and
      2. in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, and
        1. that gave them not only peace and edification, but
        2. numerical growth.
  9. Acts 9.32–35 | Miracles Turned People to the Lord

    32 Now it came to pass, as Peter went through all parts of the country, that he also came down to the saints who dwelt in Lydda. 33 There he found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years and was paralyzed. 34 And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you. Arise and make your bed.” Then he arose immediately. 35 So all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

    1. A paralyzed man who had spent eight years in bed,
      1. suddenly finds that he can get up out of his bed, because
      2. Peter announced that Jesus the Christ healed the man.
    2. Seeing such a turn in this man’s life,
      1. the cities of Lydda and Sharon turned to the Lord.
      2. How could anyone not turn to Him in those days?
  10. Acts 9.36–42 | Help Her Also

    36 At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. 37 But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. 38 And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them. 39 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them. 40 But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. 41 Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive. 42 And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord.

    1. If Peter could help Aeneas, he could help Tabitha.
    2. However, this woman had died.
      1. That goes further than a man paralyzed for eight years.
      2. Yet, what is paralysis or death to the Creator of the body and of life?
  11. Acts 9.43 | Peter Settles Down for a While

    43 So it was that he stayed many days in Joppa with Simon, a tanner.

    1. Peter found a good place to reside where the people accepted him.
    2. He had healed bodies and brought salvation to lost souls.
    3. However, Peter needed a little work himself.