1 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.” As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" 5 And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" Then the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads." 6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" Then the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." 7 And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. 8 Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. 10 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord." 11 So the Lord said to him, "Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. 12 And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight." 13 Then Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name." 15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake." 17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." 18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized. 19 So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.
Intro: The Theme this year for VBS is “Colossal Coaster World” - Facing fears, and trusting God.
Are you the type who races to the front of the line to get on the wildest roller coaster in the park? Or are you the one who has to be coaxed and begged to even think about getting on the kiddie coaster? Either way, that ride is over in minutes. However, the roller coaster of life is a very different story. The life of Paul had more twists and turns, ups and downs, and loop-the-loop than any roller coaster. Yet, regardless of his circumstances, Paul’s primary focus was pointing others to Christ. I must admit these last couple of weeks the ride I am on is not a kiddie ride. Probably most of you here have been on a tough ride at one time or another. In this ride of a lifetime Paul’s first experience came with speed:
1. Full Speed Into a 180 Degree Turn:
Have you ever felt there was no way you could be wrong about something, nor could anyone convince you otherwise? Paul (also Known as Saul) bore down on Damascus fully convinced that those who followed this Jesus were a threat to all he knew to be right. This is an account of Paul’s past before Christ, before he made a 180 degree turn: Acts 9:1-2 “Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.”
A sudden stop and blinding light turned Paul in an entirely different direction, one that changed Paul into one of the most vocal advocates of the gospel: Acts 9:3-19
Paul saw the light, Paul turned from sin and self toward the light of Christ full speed.
Paul’s experience with Christ put him in a ride of a lifetime:
2. The Ride of a Lifetime:
Paul recounted the things he faced as a preacher of the gospel. Paul basically was telling his audience I am one of you, I am a Christian I have been in the trenches. “I have worked hard; I have been put into prison again and again. I have been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. Besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my feeling that weakness? Who is led astray, and I do not burn with anger? If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am. God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, who is worthy of eternal praise, knows I am not lying. I had to be lowered in a basket through a window in the city wall to escape from King Aretas.” 2 Corinthians 11:22-33 NLT
Paul knew the source of his strength: 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
It is easy to find sometimes in life that the toughest ride you will ever ride is life.
In this ride of a lifetime Paul’s finally prayed for fellow passengers:
3. Fellow Passengers:
Paul’s desire was to set the kind of example that, if anyone followed him, they would ultimately be following Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:1 “Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly--and indeed you do bear with me.”
Paul recognized that he was a sinner saved by Grace: 1 Timothy 1:12-17 “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. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Are you on Board?
Paul wrote to the Romans words that still speak to hearts that need Christ today: Romans Road - Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 10:9-10, 13 “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 13 For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."
If you have trusted Jesus as your Savior, are you trusting in the promises He has made to help you live for Him? “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
If you were giving an account of your life today, the way Paul did would you be able to tell others what Jesus has meant to you? This week we have a great opportunity to share what we know about Jesus with kids and their families. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one! Are you still looking for something, is there an ever small voice speaking to you but you continue to stand speechless when the voice speaks to you. HAVE YOU SEEN THE LIGHT?
It might be a ride of a life time for you; maybe some of you need to make a 180 degree turn. Maybe some of you have been that man or woman, or still are?
In : Sermon
Tags: vbs ride
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