The Emergence of Saul's Ministry.

October 15, 2021 Preacher: Robert Dorsett Series: Acts - The Gospel in Motion

Topic: Christian Living, The Church Scripture: Acts 9:19–31

Immediately after describing the dramatic conversion of Saul of Tarsus (the apostle Paul), Luke goes on to tell of his initial efforts in serving the Lord. Luke wants us to see that Saul’s conversion was genuine. The persecutor very quickly becomes the persecuted because of his bold proclamation of Jesus as the Son of God and the Christ. But Saul was not a special case.

God wants all whom He has saved to serve Him in whatever situations He puts them. In our passage we see four points we can learn from:

1. Saul’s Proclamation (v. 20-22)
2. Saul’s preparation (v. 19b; 23a; 27-29)
3. Saul’s Persecution (v.23b-26, 30)
4. The Church Multiplied (v.31)

Paul did not sit around very long after he got saved before he started to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues of Damascus (9:19-20). He could have thought, “Well, I’m kind of new at this. I had better wait until I get it all together before I open my mouth.” He could have thought, “I’m going to look like a fool. After all, I came here to arrest followers of Christ. People will think that I’m unstable if I let them know that I now follow Him.” Or, he could have thought, “Damascus isn’t my home. I’m just visiting here temporarily. I’ll wait until I get back home to begin my ministry.” But he didn’t make up excuses. He just started proclaiming, “Jesus is the Son of God.” “Jesus is the Christ” (9:20, 22).

What the church needs is people who have a ministry mindset, where a person is so thankful to the Lord Jesus for saving him, that he can no longer live for himself, but rather for Him who died and rose again on his behalf (2 Cor. 5:15). This kind of person is always looking for how God wants to use them in whatever situation the Lord has put them. The apostle Paul’s early experiences in ministry models this kind of life for us.

The United States Navy has over 700 ships that comprise what is called the “Mothball Navy.” These vessels, anchored in various harbors around the country, receive regular maintenance to prevent rust. But they’re just sitting there, doing nothing, even though they require a lot of money and effort to maintain them.

Ask any pastor and he will tell you that one of the frustrations of the ministry is that there are so many mothballed Christians in the church. They sit harbored there, week in and week out. They require maintenance, especially when they have a problem or need. But they’re not doing anything to serve the Lord. Pastors call this the 80-20 rule, that 20 percent of the Christians do 80 percent of the work. But this should not be. If Christ has saved you from your sins, then out of love you should be zealous to serve Him. As Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). If we are growing to be like Jesus, our focus in life should be to serve Him.

Discussion Questions

  1. How can a new believer discover where God wants him to serve?
  2. How does a believer find the right balance between private time with the Lord and ministry time?
  3. How can we keep from growing bitter when we feel rejected by fellow Christians?
  4. Should every Christian be involved in evangelism, or only those with the gift of evangelism?

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