OceanSide church of Christ
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THE CONVERSION OF SAUL OF
Victor M. Eskew
A. The conversion of Saul of Tarsus is one of the most radical of all the conversion accounts in the book of Acts.
1. As a fierce opponent of Jesus Christ, Saul was stopped in his tracks.
2. Not only was he stopped, but he became an apostle of the Christ.
3. Even Paul marveled about this at times (I Cor. 15:9-10a).
For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am…
B. Last week, we began a discussion of Saul’s conversion.
1. We noted that Saul can be viewed in five (5) different states in this process.
2. We examined two (2) of them last week.
a. The Persecutor.
b. The Persuaded.
3. In this lesson, we will examine the last three states.
I. THE PENITENT
A. Repentance is a vital part of the conversion process.
1. Several verses stress its importance.
a. Luke 13:3
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
b. Acts 2:38
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you…
c. Acts 17:30
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.
2. Repentance is a voluntary act of the human will.
a. It involves change.
It involves the death of the old man of sin (
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that hence forth we should not serve sin.
c. It involves the production of fruits, or works, that are worthy of repentance (Matt. 3:8; Acts 26:20).
Bring forth fruits meet for repentance.
B. Question: Is it possible for us to know if Saul repented? The answer is, “Yes.”
1. Godly sorrow is what leads to repentance.
a. II Corinthians 7;10.
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
b. In the conversion accounts, we see some evidence that Saul possessed a godly sorrow.
While in a blind condition
And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
2) The text also says that he was praying during this time (Acts 9:11).
And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth.
2. Saul’s penitent heart can also be seen in the fruits he afterward brought forth.
Remember, he went to
b. Let’s read of his actions following his conversion (Acts 9:19-20).
And when he had
received meat, he was strengthened.
Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at
1) He had fellowship with the people he longed to destroy.
2) He proclaimed in the synagogue that Jesus is the Son of God.
II. THE PUPIL
A. Saul had been told to go into the city, and it would be told him what he must do (Acts 9:6).
B. A Christian Jew named Ananias was commissioned by the Lord to go to him and teach him what he needed to do (Acts 9:10-16).
C. Saul must now become a pupil.
1. There were two major things Paul needed to be taught.
a. He needed to learn what he needed to do to become a Christian.
b. He needed to know what would be expected of his as an apostle.
2. Acts 22:14-16
And he said, The God of our Father hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
D. As a pupil, one is ultimately brought to a crossroads. Paul now reached this point. What would he do? As a wise pupil, he obeyed the truth.
1. In Acts 26:19 Paul told Agrippa: I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.
2. In Acts 9:18 we learn that Paul arose, and was baptized.
E. Christianity is a taught religion. At some point, the Christian was a pupil (John 6:45).
It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
F. The wise pupil will hear and obey; the foolish will hear and refuse to obey (Matt. 7:24-27).
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the wind blew, beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
III. THE PROSELYTE
A. The final position Paul occupied was that of a proselyte.
1. Most of the time the word refers to one converted to the Jewish religion.
2. However, the simple definition is a new convert.
3. Saul was a proselyte of the Christian religion.
B. Paul had entered into a new way of life, and there was no turning back (Phil 3:7-11).
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
1. The opponent became the apostle.
2. The rabbi became a preacher.
3. The persecutor became the persecuted.
C. Saul lived faithfully to his calling all the days of his life. As his life came to it end, he eagerly awaited his victory crown (II Tim. 4:6-8).
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge shall give me at that day…
D. Saul lived his life as a Christian ought: faithful, dedicated, committed, courageous, and zealous. He sets an example for each of us (I Cor. 11:1).
Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
A. Paul saw his whole conversion experience as a marvelous example for all, and example that involved the longsuffering and mercy of God toward sinful man (I Tim. 1:16).
Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
B. If God was willing to save Saul, He is willing to save all men, regardless of how vile and sinful their lives.
C. Follow Paul. Live as Paul. And, die with the same hope that Paul had.