Chapter Nine — Part Three: The Book of ActsBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 10/10/2021Foundation Scriptures:
1. Paul Converted.
a. The conversion of Paul is one of the great wonders of the Church.
b. Saul was powerfully confronted, called, and converted on the road to Damascus.
c. Under the direction of the Holy Spirit, Ananias laid his hands upon him, the scales fell off his eyes, and he was baptized in water and the Holy Ghost.
d. In a similar way, when each of us receives Jesus as Lord and Savior, our eyes are opened too.
e. Acts 9:19 KJV — And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.
f. His physical body was weakened after three days of not eating or drinking anything, and now he received nourishment and was strengthened.
g. He spent his first days as a believer in the company of the disciples there.
h. They must have been amazed at God’s grace to choose and use such a one as Saul.
i. It is a testimony to the Christian community that they exhibited the traits of their beloved Master, by unhesitatingly forgiving, receiving, and believing the best of their former enemy—that he was truly converted and a new creation in Christ.
j. He was so radically changed, he even became known by a new name, Paul, mentioned for the first time in Acts 13:9.
2. Paul Preaches.
a. Acts 9:20 KJV — And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
b. He did not waste any time but began straightaway—immediately—to openly preach Jesus in the synagogues.
c. Paul had studied Scripture for years and knew them well.
d. We know, according to his own testimony, that Jesus personally instructed him in the Word and the New Covenant, just as He had instructed the disciples after He rose from the dead.
e. The disciples saw Jesus in the flesh and Paul saw Him in the Spirit.
f. Paul had experiences of heaven and Jesus, that were so real to him, that he was not certain if he was in or out of his body at the time.
g. 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 NKJV — I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago — whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows — such a one was caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I know such a man — whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows — 4 how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
h. Jesus, and God’s salvation plan, were concealed in the Old Testament and revealed in the New.
i. Everyone, to whom Jesus showed Himself in the Scriptures, was convinced by them that He was indeed the Christ, the Messiah.
j. Of course, there was a profound difference between the disciples and Paul, because the former were “unlearned and ignorant” men, and the latter was highly educated in the Law.
k. Either way, both need the anointing of the Holy Spirit and to increase in their knowledge and understanding of the Word.
3. Anointed for Service.
a. Paul was uniquely positioned and able—now with the anointing of the Holy Spirit—to preach and convince men that Jesus was the Messiah.
b. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 NKJV — And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
c. Even though Paul was highly educated, he did not rely on his own ability or understanding.
d. He relied fully on the Word and the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
e. He had a deep revelation of, and great respect for, the power, majesty, and authority of Almighty God.
f. Ephesians 6:10 NKJV — Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
g. 2 Timothy 2:1 NKJV — You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
h. He knew that the key to ministry was in absolute trust and confidence in Jesus and in complete reliance on the leading and ability of the Holy Spirit, working through a yielded vessel.
a. Observing the grace of God on his life, everyone was astounded at his transformation.
b. Acts 9:21 NKJV — 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?”
c. Instead of delivering paperwork to the synagogues ordering the arrest of the Christians, he now brought the life-saving message of the Gospel and the sovereignty of the Lord Jesus Christ.
d. Jesus chooses, calls, and anoints whom He pleases.
e. 1 Timothy 1:12-14 NKJV — And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
a. Acts 9:22 NKJV — But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.
b. Paul increased in strength, boldness, and influence.
c. 2 Timothy 4:17 NKJV — But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear…