Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Acts 9:3-6, 10-12, 17-18, 22 Now as he [Saul] 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?" 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." ... Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he 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 and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight." ... 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. The he rose and was baptized. ... But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who live in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.
The Confrontation of Saul:
Saul, who was trying to destroy the new Christian Church, called "The Way" at that time, had permission from the Sanhedrin to persecute and arrest the disciples in Damascus. On his way there, Saul was "knocked to his knees" by the presence of Jesus. In that confrontation, Saul was blinded.
Why did Jesus do this? It's simple. Jesus needed Saul "see" a different path to God and life with God. So blind and helpless, Saul heads to Damascus being helped by his traveling companions.
Have you had a "Confrontation Experience" with God? Has God knocked you to your knees? Has God interrupted your path in order to show you a new one? I hope so. We all need it. We need God to knock some sense into our thick heads tainted by sin. We need to know that we are helpless and in need of our Savior Jesus Christ.
The Conversion of Saul:
Saul had time to sit and ponder his life. Saul had time to reflect on the actions of God in his life while waiting for an Ananias to arrive.
Then Ananias arrived and removed the blindness that Saul had. And it wasn't just the blindness of his eyes. It the was blindness of his life. First the physical sight returned then the spiritual sight began. Saul was baptized and washed clean. He received the Holy Spirit and a new person began. This new person, eventually to be renamed Paul, received the grace and mercy of Jesus. Saul's life turned 180 degrees away from where he was headed. Saul was headed now to life with God.
Have you, after being confronted by God, taken the time to ponder and meditate on your life? I hope so. Because this meditation leads to repentance. Through Confession of your sins, God, who is faithful and just, will forgive your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteous.
God the Holy Spirit, comes to you and removes the barriers and the sin that keep you from seeing God. Through Holy Baptism, God washes you. Through confession, God absolves you of your sins and declares you righteous, forgiven, and free. Have you been baptized? If you haven't contact me.
Saul's New Life in Action:
Saul was a changed man. No longer did he work against God. Saul began to work for God. Empowered by the Spirit, Saul lived out his new life in Christ through preaching and teaching.
He baffled people. He caused confrontation. He addressed sin and death in people's lives. And through the words and actions, God converted people to "The Way" of Jesus Christ. People's lives were transformed. God turned their lives around. Instead of running from God, people were running to God.
Your New Life in Action:
God the Holy Spirit has changed your life. He has turned you 180 degrees in the opposite direction. You have a new life when you believe and are baptized.
And the new life has a purpose and focus. You, along with hundreds and thousands of believers work in concert in order to confront and convert people.
Do You Want to Know More?
Send me a note. We can talk.
Pastor Robert Hemsath joined Faith Lutheran Church and School as the Senior Pastor in January 2017. Pastor Hemsath comes to FLC from Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waxahachie, TX. He has also served congregations in Aberdeen, ID and Pocatello, ID. He has been a Lutheran pastor for the past 20 years.