On returning to where we are staying we stopped at a placed called Snoekies where we purchased Snoek and Chips for Jenny and Angela and Hake and Chips for myself. Right next door is a Checkers Supermarket. As we were waiting for our takeaway order, we heard screaming, then a man running as fast as he could out of Checkers with female staff chasing him. Soon the security followed. I really don’t know whether he was caught of not … but he raced away at high speed, running away. He had stolen something and likely got away.
Some people are like this, spiritually speaking. They nibble on the graces of the Gospel and then they run away at high speed. You can chase them and although you might see them, they want nothing to do with you or the Gospel. They take what they want and then run. Saul was totally different! Granted he had a serious handicap … he could not see. He was blinded by those flashing lights from glory … but for years and years before he did not nibble on the Old Testament’s teaching … he studied it. He ate it. He digested it and when the Lord Jesus spoke to him, all he could ask was
Ac 9:5 “Who are you, Lord?”
And once you read about his ministry you realize that he never ran from Jesus. He remained faithful to the end.
1) Jesus explains to Ananias what Saul would do for the Kingdom of God in the future.
Ac 9:15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
(a) The instruction is to “GO”. Jesus gives us a similar instruction or command
Mat 28:19 Therefore GO and make disciples of all nations
As we shall see, Ananias was obedient … he asked no questions … he did what he was told to do. Jesus expects the same level of obedience from us … go and make.
(b) Saul is Jesus’ chosen instrument. In the “counsel” of eternity, God elects or choses souls for salvation and at the same moment He chooses tasks (ministries) for them as well!
Eph 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
The meaning of “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus and prepared in advance” implies the good works were something God decided on in eternity past! God did this for Saul and He did this for you and me. Our task is to find, through Bible reading and prayer what these are.
(c) Saul is to “carry Jesus’ name to three groups of people. Firstly to the Gentiles. This group of people included all nations other than the nation of Israel. Secondly to the kings of the Gentiles. This included the kings or the equivalent of prime minister and political leaders. Thirdly there were the people of Israel, the Jews, the Hebrew people, his people. When Jesus gives us the command to go and make disciples … the designation is all nations … and this includes all Gentiles, their leaders and the Jews. Would you pray about why they Church in general is so slow, even lethargic to evangelize?
(d) Saul would suffer as he serves. Before he starts ministry as a missionary pastor and apostle for Jesus he is informed that he will suffer as he serves the Gospel! This is a missing ingredient when people receive their marching orders from a Church to serve! We need to inform people that Christian Ministry, be it pastoral, missions, children, youth, street work, etc. is dangerous and one will suffer in many ways, politically, spiritually, emotionally, physically, relationally, etc. The hurt and pain might even come from people you are close to … well-meaning people. Why? Because you are serving God who is the God of All Truth. He is Holy and Righteous and requires you be a man or woman of Truth, Righteousness, Holiness and Blamelessness. This in itself will generate conflict because most people, sadly even Christian people follow the morals of this world! Then, the Gospel preached or shared correctly will also divide people into two categories! The one is the lost and the other the found.
Only one type of person is in the “found category” and that is the one saved by grace through the Blood Sacrifice of Jesus. The “lost category” has many types of people in it, from the totally lost to the Christianised. All of these are unsaved and all will cause suffering, especially those who are Christianised. These think because they grew up in a Church, were baptized as babies, confirmed as teenagers, made members as young adults, served in various capacities, taught Sunday School, etc. etc. they will be going to heaven. Not that there is anything wrong with these things, but our Lord said that unless a person is Born Again, they will not enter the Kingdom of God! The one thing we must get is that Christian Ministry revolves around the Gospel … around carrying the Name of Jesus to people near and far who have not heard it or who don’t understand it or are taking their time to either accept or reject it. This ministry is not about socializing, although we do; this ministry is not about friendships, although we do; this ministry is not about being paid, although some do; this ministry is not about image or being placed on a pedestal, although sadly this might happen. Ministry is about Jesus … about His Gospel … about heaven and hell. That is how serious it is. That is how urgent it is. This is the ministry Saul was called to. He served the Lord faithfully
2 Cor 11:23 been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
O Lord help us to be faithful servants of the Lord Jesus. May danger of any sort not stop us carrying the Gospel for Jesus. Amen.