Jesus’ grace confronts and comforts. Saul was confronted with the seriousness of his sin, but comforted by Jesus’ words of grace. Jesus’ grace also reconciles us to God as our Father and to other Christians as our brothers and sisters. Like Ananias and Saul, it doesn’t matter what your previous life looked like; If you are in Christ you are family. Furthermore, Christians are redeemed from their previous life of using their gifts and talents for their own glory, to using their gifts and talents to the glory of God. Jesus redeemed Saul’s privilege, singleness, devotion, resilience, genius, and productivity, making him the Apostle Paul. Finally, Jesus opens eyes and changes hearts. He doesn’t just confront, comfort, reconcile, and redeem. He also gives us eyes to see the truth of Jesus and hearts that love Jesus and desire to follow Him. Have you been confronted with your sin and yet comforted by Jesus’ cross? Have you been reconciled to God and the church and redeemed to using all of your life to the glory of God? Have your eyes been opened and heart changed?
ACTS 9:1-19 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him.4 And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at 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 instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19 and taking food, he was strengthened. For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus.
1. Was there anything from the sermon, the big idea, or Acts 9:1-19 that stood out to you, challenged you, or confused you?
Jesus’ grace confronts and comforts. Saul was confronted with the seriousness of his sin, but comforted by Jesus’ words of grace.
2. What do we learn about the grace of Jesus from Saul’s conversion story? What hope does Saul’s story give us in telling people the gospel? (check out 1 Timothy 1:15-16)
Like Ananias and Saul, it doesn’t matter what your previous life looked like; If you are in Christ you are family.
3. Do you think about your church like family? Are you committed to your church like family? Why or why not?
Christians are redeemed from their previous life of using their gifts and talents for their own glory, to using their gifts and talents to the glory of God. Jesus redeemed Saul’s privilege, singleness, devotion, resilience, genius, and productivity, making him the Apostle Paul.
4. Which one of the ways that Jesus redeemed Paul is most striking to you and why?
5. In what ways has Jesus redeemed you from your previous life to a new life of serving Him? (Help one another see things that you’re gifted in and talented in, and encourage one another to use those gifts and talents to the glory of Jesus)
No one is comforted by Jesus’ grace until he has first been confronted with his sinfulness. But no one who has truly encountered Jesus is left only confronted. They’re always, in turn, comforted by the fact that in Him our sin is not the final word. In Jesus, the final word in our lives is the word of His cross—“It is finished.”