Part 3 of 4, Game Changers Series
Saul had a radical experience with Jesus. It would appear from the conversation recorded in Acts 9 that Saul had been wrestling with his faith. It gets settled “quick, fast, and in a hurry” right here.
Acts 9:4-6 (NLT) He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?” 5 “Who are you, lord?” Saul asked. And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! 6 Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
God cares about WHO you ARE.
Jesus begins his chat with the statement “I am Jesus” (vs 5) and he concludes it with, “You are ‘Saul, my chosen instrument.’” (vs 15) Jesus makes it clear that Saul’s identity was part of Jesus’ identity. In other words, who Jesus is defined who Saul was.
We should note that the Bible refers to Saul as “Saul” until Acts 13:9. Saul was the Hebrew form of his name. After Acts 13:9 he is referred to as Paul, the Greek form of his name. When Paul released the Hebrew form of his name, he promoted Jesus above his heritage.
Who are we, miners, bankers, assistants, wives, and husbands? Or worse, do we consider ourselves failures, losers, addicts, or broken. Who do we think we are?
Paul would later write that those who have made Jesus their Lord are “holy and blameless without a single fault.” (Colossians 1:22). Peter encouraged us with these words.
1 Peter 2:9 (NLT) But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
Because of Jesus, we are more than we think. When we chose to live powerless, cowardly, or insignificant, we reject the truth about us as defined by Jesus.
God cares about WHAT you DO.
Acts 9:15-16 (NLT) But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. 16 And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.”
Actions are powerful. Often our actions speak so loudly others cannot hear our words. Paul considered his life as a letter written to the world. He saw his actions as both “sword” and “pen”, to borrow from the well-known quote. Our actions matter. The spiritual awakenings of our past were accompanied by an awareness and brokenness over wrong actions. People began to care that their actions and inactions were offensive to God and often hurt others. They then found and gave forgiveness.
Our actions have consequences that cannot be avoided. Those consequences may bless our lives or they may not. Either way, our actions matter.
God cares about THOSE you TOUCH.
Jesus touched a lot of people and many more touched him. Sometimes his touch was kindness and at others, it was healing. The simple truth of the matter was this. When Jesus touched people, God touched people. How did He do that?
Of course, He was God, so it makes sense. But, consider that he spent so much time with God the Father. Why? It had to have been to show us that time in God’s presence enables us to carry His presence.
It is true of those we know. We tend to carry the attitude and ideas of the last person we talked to for a season after we leave them.
What if we lived our lives in such proximity to our Father God, that when we “touched” people God actually touched them. We touch others when we speak to them, pray for them, and encourage them. Those touches could be so much more.
Isn’t that why we are here? Aren’t we on this earth as followers of Christ to enable others the experience of God’s touch?
We are not the answer. Our churches are not the answer. Our outreaches and service to the poor or broken are not even the answer. Jesus is the Answer.
John 20:21 (NLT) “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.”
We are here to do what is right. We do what is right no matter the difficulty. We don’t need others to understand. We don’t need others to approve. When it is enough that God says so, we will have finally become Free!
Let’s Talk about It…
- What are your first thoughts regarding today’s topic? Please share with the group.
- Review Paul’s story in Acts 9. What stands out in this story? Do you identify with Paul’s story? Would you share your “Damascus Road” experience?
- Discuss the connection between who we are and who Jesus is? How does Jesus Identity influence or change our Identity?
- Read James 2:17. Discuss the connection between Faith and Works.
- Review 1 Peter 2:9. Who are we not Like? (1 Peter 2:6-8) Why do we fall short in our actions so often? What does Peter urge us to remember? How would that help?
- Discuss ways that we “touch” people.
- How might we allow God to touch people through us?
- Is there anything in today’s topic that you would be excited to share with a friend?