MESSAGE FOR 01-15-2022


THE CONVERSION OF SAUL – “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?”

The book of Acts was written by Luke, who was inspired by The HOLY SPIRIT, the author of every word in The LORD’S Holy Word. Luke was not one of the original twelve apostles; however, he was a disciple of JESUS CHRIST. This book appears to be a follow up of the letter to Theophilus from the book of Luke chapter one.
We continue this week’s message as the Body of Christ, the True Church, is continuing to grow. Remember, this does not refer to a man-made denomination, such as Lutheran, Baptist, Catholic, AME, Protestant, Evangelical, Presbyterian, Methodist, Anglican, etcetera. It refers to those who believe on JESUS CHRIST, repent and realize we are all sinners, turn from their old way of life, and commit their lives to serve JESUS CHRIST (Romans 3:23-24   Romans 10:9   Mark 16:16). 
This chapter begins with Saul continuing to persecute the Body of Christ through threatening and slaughter against them. Saul was spiritually blinded by his hardened heart and believed in his version of the Old Testament ways instead of JESUS CHRIST, the fulfillment of the law. He was so moved by his hatred of followers of JESUS CHRIST that he desired to eliminate them everywhere and met with the high priest in Jerusalem regarding this matter. In those days, the true Church was called “the way” by their enemies, as we read in verse two: And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. Saul was on a mission and truly believed he was doing ALMIGHTY GOD a service, as every one who is spiritually blinded believes. JESUS CHRIST warned his apostles in John 16:2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. This atrocity continues throughout the world today folks as we read about Christians being martyred for their faith in JESUS CHRIST in many countries. Persecution has begun in the United States as well and will multiply as the world falls deeper and deeper into spiritual darkness.
Saul had received his letters from the high priest and was on his way to Damascus with the intent to persecute any Christian that he encountered, whether man or woman. As Saul and the men who journeyed with him were on their route of travel, suddenly a light from heaven shone about him and he fell to the earth. As if this were not enough to get Saul’s attention, then he hears a voice speaking directly to him as we read in verse four: “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” Indeed, Saul was persecuting the Body of Christ, therefore persecuting JESUS CHRIST directly. In the book of Matthew 25:40 JESUS CHRIST STATES: And the king shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 
When Saul heard the voice from heaven speaking to him, he responded in verse five: And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. Indeed, JESUS CHRIST addresses Saul and we know that JESUS CHRIST and His FATHER are one (John 10:30). LORD JESUS clarifies to Saul that he is “kicking against the pricks” (oxgoads), meaning that in persecuting the Body of Christ he is attempting to fight against ALMIGHTY GOD. Now the LORD has Saul’s complete attention as the Bible states he was trembling and astonished. Saul was formerly in his comfortable state of hard-heartedness and truly believing that he was doing God a favour; however, JESUS CHRIST makes it clear to Saul that he is an enemy of the true Church. The LORD GOD has gotten the attention of Saul and he asks The LORD what he desires for him to do. LORD JESUS responds in verse six: “Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do”. AMEN! Not what he “should” do but what he “must” do. The men who were traveling with Saul heard the voice of The LORD as well but saw no man, so they were speechless. When Saul arose from the ground and opened his eyes, he was not able to see and those who journeyed with him led him by the hand to Damascus.
The plans of Saul were dramatically altered by ALMIGHTY GOD. Saul intended to continue to persecute the Body of Christ but after his powerful encounter with JESUS CHRIST he saw the true light, was awakened, and was humbled before ALMIGHTY GOD. He was physically blinded, and it was necessary for him to be assisted by his fellow travelers on their way to Damascus. We in our flesh may believe the way we choose is good; however, The LORD GOD will certainly get our attention and show us the right way.The question to ask ourselves is: Will we humble ourselves and follow the path of JESUS CHRIST instead of continuing on our own way? Our response could very well make the difference between eternal life or eternal damnation in the fires of hell! When Saul entered into Damascus, he remained blind for three days, and he also had nothing to eat or drink during this time. Think about that; Saul experienced a Divine encounter with JESUS CHRIST, was physically blinded, and completely fasted for three days. This condition placed Saul into a physically and emotionally weakened state as his spiritual state was strengthened through the power of The HOLY SPIRIT. We read in verse eleven that Saul was praying during this time. The LORD GOD had chosen Saul and was equipping him during this time for a powerful ministry to not only witness to the Jews, but the Gentiles as well!
We read in verse ten: And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. This man obviously had a very close relationship with The LORD as we do not read that he was surprised that The LORD spoke directly to him. Also, this disciple answered The LORD promptly, “Behold, I am here, Lord”. The LORD instructed Ananias to go into a certain house and inquire of Saul of Tarsus to lay hands on him so he could receive his sight. Ananias had heard about Saul’s reputation as a persecutor of the Body of Christ and questioned The LORD on this matter in verses thirteen and fourteen: Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. The LORD makes it very clear to Ananias that Saul is His chosen vessel and in obedience, Ananias goes on his way to encounter Saul. We read in verse  seventeen: “Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost”. AMEN! After Ananias had laid hands on Saul, he received his sight, arose, and was baptized. This is a powerful illustration of how ALMIGHTY GOD equips and uses His servants to strengthen and multiply His Church, the Body of Christ.
Saul not only had his physical sight restored but was also no longer spiritually blinded. After he was baptized and received meat he was strengthened and remained with the disciples at Damascus several days. This man was now filled with The HOLY GHOST and preached JESUS CHRIST in the synagogues where as before, he would have put a stop to any one who attempted to preach about JESUS CHRIST being The SON Of GOD! The people who knew of Saul’s reputation were amazed at his preaching and questioned among themselves. We read in the book of Galatians 1:13 as Paul (Saul) shares his testimony with the Galatians: For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: The LORD equipped Saul to increase in strength and confound the “religious elite” that dwelt at Damascus as he preached that JESUS CHRIST is The SON Of GOD. Now, the very ones with whom Saul was a part of were now taking council to slay him. Saul became a converted servant of JESUS CHRIST, and this shows that any one is capable of being converted, even those with hardened hearts, if they freely choose to accept the call of ALMIGHTY GOD upon them. Saul’s former colleagues were now planning to kill him, and Saul was aware of their scheme to watch him day and night for the right opportunity because he had become their enemy by preaching JESUS CHRIST.
The LORD GOD always makes a way to equip His servants according to His Divine Plan, and the disciples took Saul by night and let him down by the wall in a basket so he could escape the wrath of the “religious elite”. Saul then journeyed to Jerusalem and attempted to join himself to the disciples; however, they doubted and were afraid of him because they were not convinced that he was truly converted. This shows us just how volatile an enemy the former Saul was against the Body of Christ. However, a Levite named Barnabus (or Joses as we read in Acts 4:36), took Saul and brought him to the apostles as he declared the witness of Saul’s encounter with JESUS CHRIST and his conversion. Barnabus also testified to the apostles how Saul had preached JESUS CHRIST boldly in Damascus. After Saul was accepted by the apostles, he continued to preach boldly in the Name of JESUS CHRIST and disputed with the Grecians while coming in and going out at Jerusalem. The preaching of Saul offended the Grecians and they desired to slay him. When his brethren were aware of this matter, they brought Saul down to Caesarea and sent him forth to Tarsus (South Central Turkey) which is where he was from. The Body of Christ continued to grow, as we read in verse thirty-one: Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.  AMEN! Now the Body of Christ continued to grow as The LORD GOD equipped His saints, who are true servants of JESUS CHRIST. 
The apostle Peter then journeyed to Lydda, a city Northwest of Jerusalem, and encountered a man who was sick of the palsy for eight years, named Aeneas. This man was confined to his bed for eight long years, unable to walk, until he encountered the power of The HOLY SPIRIT through Peter, one of The LORD’S apostles. We read in verse thirty-four as GOD’S WORD STATES: And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately. All the people in Lydda and Saron (Sharon) witnessed this miracle and turned to The LORD GOD. Another city close to Lydda and Saron was Joppa, where a disciple named Tabitha (Dorcas) dwelt. The Bible states this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds. The LORD GOD calls us to perform good works by showing compassion to others and helping those in need, but we cannot be saved by our works. In the book of Ephesians 2:8-9 GOD’S WORD STATES: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. 
During this time Tabitha became sick and died and was washed and laid in an upper chamber, which was customary during that time. The disciples who dwelt in Joppa had faith that Tabitha could be raised from the dead through the power of The HOLY SPIRIT and realized Peter was in Lydda during that time which was close to them. They sent two men to Peter and asked him to accompany them to Joppa and he returned with them. Peter was brought to the upper chamber where Tabitha was laid, and the room was filled with the widows who stood by weeping and showing Peter the garments Tabitha had made while she was yet alive. Peter put them all out – WHY? So the power of The HOLY SPIRIT could flow freely without any spiritual hindrance. Peter knelt down and prayed as he turned toward the body and said, “Tabitha, arise”. Tabitha opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up as she took his hand and lifted her up. Peter then called the saints and widows back into the upper chamber while presenting Tabitha alive. HALLELUJAH, PRAISE YOU LORD JESUS CHRIST!
LORD JESUS equipped His apostles as we read in Matthew 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. These gifts are still in effect today folks and despite what many apostates are teaching you, they did not cease with the original apostles! One must have complete faith in JESUS CHRIST instead of men and be humbled before The LORD GOD. This powerful miracle became known throughout Joppa and as a result many people believed in JESUS CHRIST. Peter then tarried many days in Joppa while he abode in the house of Simon the tanner. 
I pray this message has blessed you and inspires you to call on the Name of The LORD today, if you have not done so already. If you need a bible, click on the “Bibles” tab, request one, and it would be my privilege to send you one. MAY THE LORD GOD CONTINUE TO RICHLY BLESS YOU! 
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