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The Conversion of Paul

Tony Moore
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Tony Moore has served as a Bible Instructor, church planter, pastor, and evangelism director for It Is Written. He was converted at a Rolling Stones concert in 1972 and has a passion for sharing Jesus. From this rich background he launched the Biblical World in 2004, dedicated to creating seminars designed to reach people living in the western world. His wife, Helen, is integrally involved in their ministry.

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  • August 4, 2018
    9:00 AM

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Good morning how are you this morning it's great to come back home you see I was born in Orlando a long time ago in the last century actually the last millennium right and anyway it's very to come back to this coast and be here in a place that I love very much and this is a privilege to be able to share with you this morning. Our Sabbath school lesson when they sent me the e-mail and said Would you teach the lesson on thing Oh man what's it going to be about they said it's going to be about Paul and I think you do have that in your wheel house a little bit about Paul and I thought well but what about Paul you know there's a lot of different aspects about Paul and so it's kind of kept checking the website you know to see what was going to be the Sabbath school lesson and you know still get a lot of information out months ahead of time and finally in my church I attend in Southern California I saw the lesson in the book of that X. and I looked and and can you believe what it was the conversion of Paul. Thank you Lord I know something about that and there we have this beautiful statue because 18 years ago I had the privilege of actually filming a lot of Paul on location and I know some of you have seen around the world and we went to 6 different countries filming tracing the footsteps of Paul and that image you just saw actually is from a church in Damascus and it was something about that image that caught the ruggedness of Paul you know and I know they can bring it back up on the screen but it's a you can just see the ruggedness of Paul and he's not a soft guy because he's traveling and how far would he travel and I want to see if some of you followed by footsteps of Paul series on 3 of you and how do you how far you travel. Over You didn't do so you didn't do the small group where you see over 13000 lives and it wasn't an United or American right. Mostly by foot sometimes by steamship sometimes by sailing ship and that was even rougher because of multiple ship wrecks but we're getting ahead of our story our way and so we want to go back and look at the story of Paul's conversion and so we have a memory text Let's see if we can have you memorize it let's see if we memorized it go this man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and of the people of Israel and so that's the words are going to hear a little bit as we trace his story from and I guess the disciple and don't ask this but go and you're going to proclaim my name to who was your memory text to Gentiles and not only to Gentiles but to their their canes and when that happened of course it would kill even go before Nero a couple of times and we think about people in Cedars own household being converted but would you notice or something very interesting about the text that didn't in there you know what the next phrase was and to my people Israel we think Paul just of the the apostle to the Gentiles but no no no he had in us a judge for God's people Israel as well and he brings in unfolds a beautiful message of justification what we're getting out of ourself because we're going to talk about that and just a moment so the question is Who was this man God chose him for all the believers to be his chosen as to who was he what prepared him for this position that he would have what prepared him to a banjo lives both Gentiles and Jews and so let's explore that this morning. I were filming the footsteps of Paul had the privilege of going to all these places I've been to most of them before but the year before I had pastors on tour and we were filming in Tarsus and we have this when I get to Tarsus there's 1st century A.D. Main Street will pull out on the screen 1st century A.D. main street can you imagine Saul walked on that street as a little boy to go to picnics with his mom and dad down by the river I don't know but he walked on that street and the text is so interesting I love the way the King James was that I am a man which I am a Jew of Tarsus in Salissa a citizen of no mean city and I always smile and say you know what they had a sign of the edge of town I mean people stop you can't come in you got to check your meanness that be a nice city to live in right no meaning city but. Other translations captured little bit better no ordinary city a Jew of Tarsus in Salissa citizen of no ordinary city what was so unusual about this city no ordinary city saw I would say maybe on trial what was so special Well it's on the map because of its unique geography here we can see a map of the ancient world you see Tarsus you see the little green area that's the low place and it's there because it's what was a province he said I'm a Jew of Tarsus in Silicio And so there's up or so to see the and there's a lower simplicity of the green area where Tarsus is this lower smooth Silicio And then there's opera Salissa up in the mountains and beyond the mountains into the Anatolian plateau and here it was very special because of its unique geography its unique geography the now to NS are snowcapped most of the year there. There's only 1 pass for 200 miles and it's car by this river that we see on the screen the Sindhis or the cold river it was so cold that when Alexander the Great March through he he went swimming and called pneumonia and nearly died. And so I've been swimming in the river and it was pretty cold I have to say but here we can see our own bridge because I this was the only pass for 200 miles so Alexander the Great marches through that pass Mark Anthony marches through that pass everybody who was anybody with an Army had to March to their cause this is only way for 200 miles silly. Those of you in the medical field silly a ring a bell I remember doing a 5 day plans years ago and we had supercilious and then our throat and so on that would catch the tars and so on I would tell people that's why I don't want to smoke it's not very good so it means hammer it's the Roman province of hay or how you got to be from that place on the Roman province of hair in the Anatolian plot. They developed a special breed of goat grown nowhere else in the world and when you used that silly you were that goat here for making your tent it allowed smoke from your camp fire to pass through sunshine the stream through and it repealed rain it was the gore tex fabric of the day and there's 1 outlet for 200 miles and it's at Tarsus So I've often wondered Was Paul actually sowing tents or was he a purveyor of cortex because you have the best connection in the world for the finest material in the world for making goat hair tents and so Saul position. From a cosmopolitan city a city that was a center of stoic philosophy and now he's positioned with an income wherever he would travel a purveyor of cilia or gold here and here we bring up 1 more slide you can see what I was talking about you see Tarsus and you see Anna Talia and I remember and it and Talia is where perjury is I mean what happened in Perth of some very significant John Mark got nervous about what Paul and Barnabas were preaching and he went back to Jerusalem to Peter and to the others you know what they were doing they were baptized Gentiles without making them become Jews and it created a huge controversy in the church because some said you have to be a Jew to accept the Jewish Messiah and Paul environment said no no no this is bigger than Judy isn't and so John Mark for sucked in there then Talia but it's over 200 miles from Tarsus back to and Talia and there's only 1 outlet for that goat hair and Paul had that connection and so as I said Alexander the Great March through Marc Anthony marches through Mark Anthony actually makes it the headquarters of the Eastern Roman Empire and it's here you can see the mountains off in the distance still with some snow in June. And it's here that marking in the 1st meets Cleopatra in that dramatic time when she comes up sailing on her barge dressed as being a so who was this man well we see he's a Jew from Tarsus in soliciting at this cosmopolitan city he's familiar with stoic philosophy it's the center still of philosophy at that time in the whole world. He's trained as a businessman but if you're Jewish why would you name your kid saw right that guy. Because he was from what tried. And who was from Benjamin Saul the 1st king so it's the most illustrious person to come out of Benjamin and so they named their son saw however Saul was also a Roman citizen now later on in the story will find that he was not just a Roman citizen he was what he was born a citizen member the guy the this in theory says and I paid a lot for my citizenship how I was born and since how to Jewish family living so far away from Jerusalem become Roman citizens that the son will be born a citizen the local idea is that probably his family provided tents for the Roman army of Mark Anthony and they bequeath on him citizenship all we know is we don't know for sure but we know he's born a citizen and he has special rights because as a citizen he had a US passport right he could go anywhere he could do anything and then as a citizen you couldn't be beaten without a trial as a citizen you couldn't be crucified quicker form of death would be decapitation and so he had special privileges and so X. 22 Verse 3 says I am a Jew born in Tarsus of solicitor but brought up in this city this city of Jerusalem I studied under undergo male E.O. and was federally trained in the law of our ancestors I was just as zealous for God As many of you are today and so now he's on trial and he says I was brought up I was born into this you know my father sent me here I have to be careful he's he was sent to a special college right where the top scholar of the day the top heresy his name was going to a LEO where he taught and he was educated under his his to the ledge there in Jerusalem. And he says I was trained in the law of our ancestors Gmail you might recall was very hesitant about passing judgment on the Jesus movement but his pupil was not he didn't hesitate he saw the threat that the heresy of the nads or being sacked brought to Judaism and he was determined to root it out and so he says that he was very zealous for God He was active in identifying and ferreting out the Naz arena believers and purifying Judaism what was his problem what was his problem with an admiring sect was very interesting later when Paul or I took him to the church of Corinth he will explain what the problem is he says we preach Christ crucified a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Greek spy foolishness to Greeks Well you see the Greeks believed that if God could be moved with empathy because of the human condition then humans would have power over God therefore they would be greater than God So God can't have any feelings toward humans so it's foolishness in philosophy to believe that but it's not foolishness for poor Jews it's a what what is. Right what they say why is it a stumbling block and so the cross is a stumbling block for Jews and so we go back to Deuteronomy and we see that Deuteronomy has a precept Deuteronomy 2123 Anyone who is hung on a tree is under a curse it's what the law says now let's go back to the story of Jesus and the forty's abroad just before a pilot and what his pilot say. Well before that he says you taken and judge and when I say we have no right to execute a man is that right the Jewish people have no right to execute him and what happened 3 and a half years later what happened was Stephen it took it that they saw engineers the deal take him out they stone him and kill him but the authorities didn't want Jesus to be stoned the Jewish method of capital punishment they wanted him to be hung on a tree because the law said you will be cursed if you're hung on a tree. And so they went to the authorities and had them pass it because that's the Roman that have capital punishment and even to this day the cross is a stumbling block to Jewish people because the law says you're cursed if you're home in a tree and so Saul is zealous for the teachings he's analyst for the scriptures and so he doesn't believe that So in fact because this is testimony and Acts 26 all of this by the way was in your sadness coalesce and so I hope that you've enjoyed the lesson and and here we have it on X. 26 verse 9 I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth on the authority of the chief priest I put many of the Lord's people in prison and when they were put to death I cast my vote against the. Souls personal testimony he was all in for uprooting the Naz or insect he recognized the threat it would bring to Judaism and he was all in it for purifying the sect of those misguided and deleted believe he was zealous. He was a good man but he was misguided and so on a pause and asked this question What are you telling us for this morning. What are you zealous for he was for purifying the church keeping the church pure had let in to eat up the lever's put some in prison and kill others oh but you would never do that would you well we may not do it physically but we can certainly do it but our words actions be careful what you're zealous for and I was at Wildwood in the last century. And the early seventy's older frizzy had a wonderful little saying that I loved Don't major in minor. Tone major you know there's a lot of things that we can be diverted into and little controversies we can be diverted into yesterday in our class yesterday afternoon we talked about witnessing in your neighborhood and when we shared the verse that whatever of the hardest full of them out speak of fill your heart with Jesus right and in your heart and speak about that a lot of interesting diversions to get into DON'T major in minors major in sharing Jesus and so saw says I cast my vote against him what does that mean cast my vote at least some of us to believe that Saul is actually a member of the Sanhedrin and he had a vote and what the outcome would be and he voted to have them executed Scripture doesn't say but it seems reasonable that perhaps he was a member of the Sanhedrin and so he engineers this experience with Stephen that beautiful testimony of Stephen Chapter 7 and remember what happens when it comes down Stephen after they respond negatively to what he's sharing Stephen says something powerful and Acts Chapter 7 verse 36 he says look I see have an open and the Son of Man and. Help me standing in the right and what does Scripture say when you use ascended into heaven what it is he said down at the right hand of the father is that right and so when he ascended to heaven he sits down the right hand the father was doing now. He's standing what's happening the 1st believer in My Name is about to give up his life can you imagine and Stephen looks up but it's not just that what is Stephen quoting Daniel Chapter 7 verse 13 I see the Son of Man in the clouds of heaven and they flip out they say blasphemy they tear their rose because he's blasphemy mean we think about Stephen being stone what up can you imagine the magnitude of that moment 1st believe or later on people going to be. Martyred they look back at that and they have courage from that but let me ask you a question you think of any trumpets blowing in Jerusalem and Stephen got stone do you think Stephen's family let's just suppose he has a wife and kids do you think that that they thought was a great thing when he got stone but we can see the other side of the story can. You know what our job is to trust whatever happens right we're on a journey good things will happen bad things will happen but we need to learn to trust whatever happens and Stephen did learn to trust his family might have understood but he's standing how incredible and then Stephen prays verse 59 while they were stoning him Steven prayed Lord do not hold this against them. Can you imagine resurrection morning. Stephen comes up out of the grave. What are you doing here. And Saul says Hey Steve you'll never guess what happens after you die you know you won't believe it right he died so I was holding the garments he's casting his vote he's being executed you'll never believe. And that's when I say Grandma's you may never know the influence on your grandchildren and guys you may never know the influence on the people you work with you know what our call is to be faithful right our call is to walk along the way our call is to walk with jewelry with Jesus our calls is to be faithful and leave it to God Stephen will be shocked on Resurrection morning what are you doing and can you imagine that conversation. Because there was something about his state he slid up like an angel that he could never shake. He could never shake and I have to say you know I had a lovely spiritual grandmother I was born here Orlando grew up in my teenage years in North Carolina and she was a Bible worker in a little tiny church in Solsbury North Carolina and if you've read that book of John Earnhardt She's the grace that gave Bible studies to the young John or Earnhardt who was about 16 and Chris his wife was much younger and they're about to have a baby in the evidence locker said you should take bible studies and have your life turned around so she was just this glowing witness all the time and what an influence you can have grandmas and grandpas aunts and uncles moms and dads you know don't give up don't give up I tell you ahead of time last in our program I'll tell you my story about what happened as a result of their prayers we will now look at accepting 26 because he's so. He's trying to have his conscience about what happened with Stephen and so he says an X. 26 verse 11 I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down and foreign cities on 1 of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the the authority and condition of the chief priest and so Damascus 150 miles away and we could see the road that he would go we're going to trace that road because he's obsessed he's trying to get out of his mind what happened with Stephen and now he's he's walking he's a fair a sea probably walking by himself from the guards and not riding a horse by the way if he's riding a horse you're going to be unclean right a horse is unclean sorry I know a lot of you have horses but if you're a Ferris you don't want to be running an unclean horse. And so he's walking now the direct route to go right up through the mountains right up through check up in some area can kind of see the mountains there on the on the maps of Marea and then you kind of cut down but got to go through the narrative here. Heresy would not want to eat the food of Samaritans those despised people and so they would walk down to Jericho they'd go $2.00 to $3.00 days out of their way to go north to avoid some area and so he walked down to America and he's obsessed with Holy Spirits convicting him I wonder do you think he had interrogated that short guy down and what was the shore guy's name Zacchaeus you think it interrogated Zacchaeus. And he got across the river and he crosses the river there and that's where John the Baptist was baptizing death and he began the Jordan and series and how in the world could this son of a priest be taken in by this base heresy Can you see and what the Holy Spirit doing convicting convicting he's trying to shake it and they've got to walk up the Jordan River and he comes to the Sea of Galilee and if he goes around the Sea of Galilee he's going to go right through the town of Magaluf we're going to stay 95 goes right through and called the great trunk road to be on Mars he goes right through Maggie and he interviewed her and she still hold on to her crazy belief that the that some guy named Jesus could be killed and come back to life he just shaking his head and in my mind I like to imagine that he then comes around to Capernaum in there in Capernaum he may pause for the Sabbath when he did it to teach in the synagogue. Because you think about all the stories that happened there and that in the incredible story who was the pastor of this place gyrus what happened to him what was the stories rise his daughter. And she was brought back to life and by the way who put who built the place. A Roman centurion who said to don't bother coming Lord just what Speak the word I'm a man of authority and can you imagine the 1st Sabbath in the Gospel story that Jesus is presenting in a synagogue and what happened was right there and what happened something I hope hasn't doesn't happen this morning. Guy came running down the middle aisle Jesus of Nazareth Satan throws a demon possessed man at you speaks the word saw familiar with the stories I just imagine is he he shirks it all off and he leaves a sea of galleys 7 feet below sea level it starts going up the hills sending the hills and your skirts around Mt her moan because he's on a mission to go to Damascus but as you walks he ponders he thinks how could Stephen pray Lord forgive them for what they're doing Law What was it about Jesus so transform Stephen was he aware that Jesus said the same thing about his executioners he approaches the city can you imagine his heart rate increasing 150 mile walk and even a 150 mile walk away with 150 mile walk he gets there he's on the hills of overlooking Damascus now Damascus is the largest away source in the world although it doesn't really rain there how the water that comes from the snows and then from the mountains and so on but doesn't rain very much there are the largest 2 aces in the world he gets there and he's excited because he's now less to root out the Nazareth on this from the of the sect of the Jews. From the Jews and get rid of this cancer that surrounds this spreading and if he gets here he's overlooking the city what happens maybe what happened a light brighter than the noon day sun flushes he says all that was interesting right now what do you do falls to the ground. He falls to the ground. Holy Spirit has been pricking his conscience for 150 mile log and now the Holy Spirit powerfully hits and it all comes together and he falls down and so we read the words there in Acts Chapter 26 verse 12 Saul Saul why do you persecute me it is hard to you to kick against the go it's and so all religious art has him on a horse that I doubt he's on a horse doesn't say he's on a horse but he falls down and and the other men they see the light or they hear the voice for they don't know what it says why do you persecute me is hard for you to take against God Now which we're filming the series on Paul I'm thinking Lord this is a hard text to understand because the team James is even a bit stranger how can this Lord we need we need to have an ox for and so there's a little clip I'm going to ask him to play right now a little bit of audio with this clip if we can pick up that audio and it's about a road. Actually a Roman road that Paul walked on and the 2nd missionary journey maybe won't play but there's a road and this road was very special and they were you. Wrote a very very special actually a Roman rule with all environments was gone really I'd seen this in a book called The Beautiful Game of polio I went up and looked for 25 miles north of Tarsus I founded in the foothills below the living gate and we were filming and then this guy came by and he walked off into the sunset I got back into it without an actor that he had not been the most the guy this is how they're going to cane a signature shot of our series in the footsteps of Paul he doesn't know how famous he is because people see him around the world. I've been praying Lord. We need somebody to illustrate an Oxford for the series when you leave after the guy walks that way and here he goes on the screen talking to me. Nice guy I tried to explain where I was from and what I was doing and he didn't speak any English and in Tarsus you see they wear their pants the you know it's kind of pre hip hop you know the crotch comes down to the knees interesting stories about that but anyway a very nice guy didn't speak any English and he walked off and I was praying for an Oxford or in you believe after he walked into the sunset look what came down the road the other direction. He even told the camera crew about it but fortunately the oxen came in you know they kind of made fun of me getting surrounded by oxen and some of the outtakes but after they passed by look what happened you see our guy what he got in his hand he's got a goad and it's got a sharp point on it called a prick and he's pricking them right he's guiding them. And so the Holy Spirit Saul Saul it's hard to kick against the pricks are hard to kick against the goads mom's hard for our children to kick against the Holy Spirit you know the last you got to fight the strongest power in the universe the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit is trying to do what to lead you to Retentions But you know we're praying for people just like Saul they resist right he's resisting he's finding it don't give up keep Ryan right keep on praying and so our guy comes behind him to go does it also put the little sharp points on oxen carts and put a young oxen in there and that put him into the the harness and he kicked at heart and guess what he would take it the 2nd time because he kicked it up a sharp stick with a point on it right and so the Lord said Sauls all why do you persecute me as hard for you to kick against the goads Holy Spirit is trying to lead him to repentance and he's struggling with that and so Saul cries out and says Who are you Lord. He says I am Jesus whom you are persecuting the Holy Spirit is leading into repentance Well let's read the next verse the men traveling with Saul stood there speechlessly heard the sound but did not see anyone saw got up on the ground but when he opened his eyes he was on can you imagine he gets up he's overwhelmed by the fee often and now he gets up and cannot see can you imagine the fanfare he must have left from Jerusalem he's on a mission from the chief priests going to Damascus a prestigious city and how can you imagine the next verse as a let him by the hand blind into Damascus and for 3 days he did not eat or drink anything that's actually a Roman gate and that Roman gate opens onto the director the straight street and he's led down there and he's put into a and in on straight street in the house a Jew of Judas remember and there he sits in the darkness blah. Well I was going to tell you a story about my 1st time on that street maybe I have a moment I'll tell you that story is an interesting story. I was on a solo journey from Athens to Damascus in 1988 and I got to Damascus and I went to the MOD Mafia my mosque at 1 time with the largest mosque in the world it was a church of Justinian and it was converted into a mosque after the Muslims conquered Damascus and they had a very interesting minaret out there I'll tell you about that in just a moment but inside of this church was the head of John the Baptist and so when you go there today guess what there's a shrine for the John the Baptist said and Muslims come from around the world we can see on the screen they come from around the world and they pray there at the shrine that has the head of John the Baptist in it very interesting well I've heard about them and then I read and we go the next slide the minaret actually is the Southwest minaret and what's interesting is Muslims believe that Jesus will return in the sky and land on that minaret in Damascus when he comes the 2nd time yeah interesting 150 miles from Jerusalem and so they believe he'll come there and land on that minaret and so I was trying to get pictures of that when you go to Moscow to take your shoes off now has a sock in the running shoes and they've been up not only the US They've been up Mount Sinai and up the Mount of Olives in the bin up the mountain over Damascus and I thought you know bronze the shoes you know the shoes have been everywhere I came back and guess what happened shoes had been stolen. So I said at least I have the memories more well now I'm Sheila. So guys giving Are you speaking English is being translated to Russian to a tour group when he was done with his 2 or whenever said can you I said to make sure I've got the right man to read out here the Southwest minaret and and so we became friends and he found out that my shoes had been stolen he said You must come to my house and I'll give you a pair of sandals to fly back to New York in and guess what street he lived on. Straight feet. And so it's all is there in straight street and. He is there any sitting inside in the darkness and so we look at our text here in X. in Damascus there was a disciple named Ana Niaz and the Lord called him to vision and I asked Yes lord he answered The Lord told him Go to the house of Judas on straight street and ask for a man of Tarsus named Saul for his praying was I know that guy and he's come here to ferret out the believers he's come the you know right to get our names I can't go into that he'll kill me to live arrest me take me back to Jerusalem what. And so it goes on and says Lord and I asked answered I've heard many reports about this man and all the harm is done to your people in Jerusalem and he's come here with authority from the chief priest to arrest all who call on your name but the Lord said and I as go this man is my chosen instrument Here's our memory text by chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel and I asked what was and I asked what it is saying the very 1st on the text he said what a disciple and what disciples do they do what their lord asked right and so he goes and can you imagine we have the next verse then I ask went to the house and entered it placing his hands on Saul he said Brother Saul the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here has sent me so that you may see again and he filled with the Holy Spirit can you imagine what do you think and I assume the believers that in praying in Damascus made me as bus ran off the road right. Pirates attack and kill them. Do you think they had the courage to actually pray for what God had in mind. I doubt it. And when he comes in they don't believe it. They were bracing for the enforcer and so he goes and he prays and the next verse says immediately something like scales fell from Saul's eyes and he could see again and he got up and was baptized and after taking some food he regained his strength and by the way it wasn't just physical scales they were spiritual scales spiritual scales of mis understanding Bible verses right at he was misguided there was a zeal that had to fall away because he was very zealous it was just misguided and it's directed now you can see physically and spiritually and he says now what are you waiting for get up and do you baptize my 1st time in Damascus I took that picture in 1908 I had pastors there around 1989 and I told our young tour guide that I want to go on south afternoon by the river and do teaching for my pastors you know to get them read or into doing what we've been seeing in Syria and the young guy said what river I said you know the river that flows down through the middle of town you know it goes right down he had never seen that river because they now use all the water for drinking the city is so big but the next verse is so incredible acts 9 verse 20 at once he began to preach in a synagogues Jesus is the Son of God He begins preaching Can you imagine this is the guy was to to root out the Nazareth and how he's preaching the Jesus is the Son of God. The Enforcer is now teaching this the people are perplexed as it's a trick is it a ruse just try to get our names so they can arrest us later on what's going on and I love the next verse Spurs 22 yes Sol grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the. Now sometimes we say Christ like is to us last name forgive me for saying this we say Jesus Christ like it's you know 1st name last name what does Christ mean. Gee he's proving the Jews is a messiah how. Come the Scriptures but was he using Romans Matthew. It was used in the Hebrew Scriptures because there was no New Testament times fill our minds with the researchers so that we too can share with Jewish people that Jesus was the Messiah well gets hot in Damascus he slips away goes out into Arabia he spends 3 years there pondering pondering and now all the rabbinical training that he has comes into focus as he sees Jesus as the Messiah and so will skip over that verse maybe he went to Petra maybe went to power here and we don't know where he went but now all the rabbinical training from good male ego focuses in on Jesus being the Messiah and then we're going to skip down to after many days had gone by the Jews conspired to kill them but Saul learned of their plan day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him but his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall and it gets so hot when he comes back he's preaching the Jews are the Messiah the Jewish people are so baffled that they go to King arrogance and I say do away with this guy and they lock the city gates and can you believe the very people he came to destroy their hands are now used to deliver saw and he escapes and he goes to Jerusalem Can you imagine the how do your moment when he gets to the general conference in Jerusalem right you say you know they sent me out to do this and I'm coming back can you imagine what he's expecting the welcome I mean is that the most significant event that's happened since the resurrection of Jesus in the church you back this rabbi train by going to he'll. But notice what it says in the Bible when he came to Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples but they were all afraid that we have not believing that he really was a disciple. Can imagine the shot had they heard the good news 1 of the Internet that they were there any phone calls but they shonen they don't believe it's going version as real as that ever happened to you you know folks let's have our eyes open this is God bringing to our communities right don't shun them reach out and love them reach out and love them and so the next verse says the Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles he told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and of the Lord spoken to him and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus most of her to be rejected and shunned like that who comes up what's the guy's name Barnabas what is born of this me. Son encourage him and because he was a A.S.I. member he sold his property and he gave everything to the believers right and they divided it and it was there was stuff to go around and so and they nicknamed him no longer you called violence you going to be this son of Israel he was Joseph right he was a Levi family and ciphers but but no longer will you be called Joseph you'll be called Son and encouraged. Are you a son of encouragement. Are you a daughter of encouragement so many discouraging words are spoken among us. In our churches as a little so many discouraging words how to be a sign of encouragement you can you think back to people who are encourages and you realize you know I have a grandma if I want to eat chocolate for breakfast she said It's great. She would encourage me encourage me prayed for me try to tell me a better way and it made a difference to our next verse says So Saul stayed with them. And moved about freely in Jerusalem speaking boldly in the name of the Lord and after Barnabas valises for Saul Sauls brought into the community he's preaching there and he spent 15 days and it's exciting and then he goes back up to Tarsus where he stays until his old friend Barnabas comes up and gets them and then they go off on their 1st missionary journey or they go down to Antioch and they often go on their 1st missionary journey and the church is revolutionized by what they're doing and so he speaks boldly in the name of the Lord and so Saul would later write to his son in the Gospel Timothy he would write and say Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves all the acceptance of Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners of whom I am the worst for the chief no matter how good Saul was later the matter what he accomplished he still remembered 1 thing his roots I am the chief of sinners he wasn't majoring in minors Lotty that's the issue we're all from the same cloth now I love the story of Saul his dramatic conversion some of you read in the program about my conversion and it's I said earlier I kind of grew up around Adventism I had a grandmother and said if you'll finish his good I'll buy you a Harley pretty good deal right. Unfortunately I got a 1 way ticket to jail busted for marijuana in 1970 and couldn't get back into my little school in North Carolina because they didn't want drug offenders in the school even though I was a young adult and the so I started a whole different direction down a different road and became very very involved in the counterculture and the flow of drugs for our small town and Solsbury which is where there are more millionaires in that county than any county in North Carolina called the Food Lion stock. Interestingly little funny story there and I was going a whole different direction but I had a grandma who was praying for me right. Now grandma was praying for me and while I could reject the Christianity of most Christians I knew and say and that day some of your old like I am the plastic society it's not really genuine it's not real I could reject that I rejected it anyway but I couldn't reject I knew her she was genuine and she was praying for me and I'll never forget it which a lot of rock'n'roll festivals it's amazing what doesn't get out of your mind I did all kinds of things that I'm not proud of but I wouldn't open my eyes and fear and I wouldn't pork shoot drugs but I would do that other. End so I went to see what I thought was a great a show on earth the Rolling Stones toured in 1982 was in Charlotte North Carolina July the 6 I'll never get what happened because Stevie Wonder plane I was taking a lot of Lucy and Jenna drugs Stevie Wonder played and they moved the equipment and I saw I don't know what was there but I saw 2 servants playing on the floor and all know even that Jagger knows there's a devil and then I heard a voice saying yes I'm real and you sold your soul to the you can be the descendants of Lee spirit. Heavy Well we they always clap for an encore and the roadie came and said thank you we're through in the devils that and you're through you have to die tonight for your sins I'm a sinner no doubt about it well my whole group left and I had to say I was driving and so I drove our group back out to the farm and they parted not pondered in the next day I went to my grandma's house she had us all competent they just Series for the pictures I was so spaced out I can all I could do was kind of thumb through the pictures and I ran across a picture of Jesus speaking to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in what he's doing he's stepping on the head a serpent a little bit maybe he's stronger than the serpent. Kind of verbalize something to Graham about what had happened she gave me desire vases and took it down to Atlanta I took a friend home and while I was there I started reading and I remember reading that beautiful quote Jesus was treated as we deserve to be treated that we might be treated as he deserved to be treated he was condemned for our sins which he had no share that we might be justified by his righteousness and by a stripes we are healed I said wow if that's what you're like I want to get to know you so I gave my heart to Jesus there and went back and anyway went back to have 1 last party and my best friend who was 40 years old an African-American guy with a nose ring in North Carolina 972 and he said you can't get away from it can you it's got you doesn't say older please help me last and I did that so I want to say grandma's Grampa's moms dads. Children praying for your parents don't give up. Right God did an incredible thing on the road to Damascus in a life it's all he can do the same in your family did in mine you did my life I know and I can do it in you and your family's life too don't give up keep praying for that let's pray together Father in heaven thank you so much for the incredible miracle it happened on the road to Damascus how you spoke to this Jewish rabbi trained by going to a Leo and how his life was turned around thank you for doing that in my life give these folks courage I pray is a pray for their children and Muslims and family that they too might find that joy and peace in Jesus that we have this night for in Jesus' name in this medium was produced by audio over 40 and I am a name in their midst and in the truth. If you would like to learn more nicely and I leave W W W E N 99. 4 and unite the free online service leaving the W W W on my universe not worked.

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