Today is the final day of Andy’s notes for a while. I’m sure like me you would like to thank Andy for all of the work he has put in to them. Our prayer as a church is that whoever reads the Bible notes will be encouraged to regularly read the scriptures and that each one will have a personal encounter with Jesus – rather like Saul in today’s passage which of course can be read here.
What a dramatic change occurred in the life of Saul. God spoke to him and he was never the same again. He was incredibly committed in following what he believed to be right. He saw it as his duty to rid the land of these followers of Jesus – people who belonged to the ‘Way’. Obtaining letters of permission from the high priest he persecuted with venom both men and women, throwing them in prison. He saw a flash of light. God spoke directly to Saul – ‘Why do you persecute me’. Saul struck with blindness, did as God told him. He went into Damascus and fasted for three days.
Saul was changed from the fiercest enemy of the church to its greatest spokesman and theologian. (Robert Maddox). From verse 1 we see that Saul was breathing murderous threats against the Lords disciples, he wanted them dead not just in prison. In Acts 8 we read Saul’s desire was to destroy the church. After Saul’s conversion we can see how God used him – the rest of the book of Acts and the remainder of most of the New Testament tells us.
“Saul did not decide for Christ, but Christ decided for Saul and intervened in his life. Like Saul we too must have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ surrender to him in penitence and faith and receive his summons for service.” (Stott)
This event that happened to Saul is sometimes called a Damascus experience. Have we had a Damascus experience? Do we need a new experience of God today?
God knows exactly what we are doing and the motives behind our actions, he even knows our names! As he called out Saul’s name so he will call out our names, maybe in not in such a dramatic way but he longs to speak to us today.
Will we listen? Will we obey? Do we have a hard heart like Saul that God needs to soften?
Will we allow God to change us, to be the person that he intends us to be?
Are we like Saul, keen, committed, but wholeheartedly following what is not right? Ask God for wisdom to follow him in the way that he wants you to go and to do the tasks that he wants you to do today.