Today’s sermon

Intro:

Begin sermon with clip from the Bible movie that I once used

There is current pastor, writer and speaker, who in 1998 was a student at Virginia Tech. he writes:

On Halloween night, 1998, I threw a party in my apartment at Virginia Tech. I was 20 years old and was in the wildest season of my life. I had three girl roommates, a live in girlfriend, and I spent most of my spare time smoking weed, doing lines of cocaine and drinking.

On that Halloween night, I was geared up for what I expected to be a good time.

Because the party was going be so “unforgettable,” I invited an old friend from high school down for the weekend. Dave and I had played hoops and partied together over the years, so I was excited to see him.

When Dave arrived, I greeted him and escorted him back to my room where I proudly unveiled the welcome gifts I’d prepared for him. On my desk was a fat bag of weed, a 6’er of his favorite beer and I told him I had a girl he could get to know for the weekend.

But Dave didn’t respond like I expected he would.

Instead, he gently closed the door and sat on the bed. He looked me in the eyes and told me he didn’t do those things anymore. He said he’d become a Christian and that he loved Jesus now and the reason he came to the party was to tell me that Jesus loved me too.

Within a few months this now pastor, Garrett Kell, call his friend and accepted Christ. I’ll come back to him later. My point is that Jesus changes us. Changes transforms us. In the passage we are looking at we see how Jesus transforms Paul the apostle. I saw Garrett Kell speak last fall at a conference and look forward to see him again. The Gospel always changes us.

Let’s read Acts 9:10-19:

applications:

  1.        Be a person of prayer
  2.        Be submissive to the Lord
  3.        The Lord is Sovereign
  4.                     As we look at this passage notice prayer.
  5.        In verse 10, the text says the Lord visits Ananias in a vision. Now, I have to tell you that the Lord is about to do something dramatic. He is about to change someone who had been breathing murderous threats against the church. About 7 weeks ago we looked at the passage where Paul encountered Christ and now this is the second half of his transformation.
  6.       The Lord changes us by prayer. The Lord encounters Ananias in a vision. The Lord talks to him and the Lord says that Saul is praying. That is what he says in verse 11. Notice that. Notice that Saul is praying. Saul has seen the risen Lord (1 Cor. 9:1), now he is praying.
  7.        It is important that we are praying. I am going to come back to Garrett’s story later, but it has been said that no one comes to know the Savior without prayer. Saul is praying and he saw a vision of Ananias and at the same time Ananias sees a vision about Saul. When the Lord transforms people it includes prayer. Garrett’s friend, who had become a Christian, who had witnessed to him, he was praying for him. 
  8.                   As we look at this passage notice obedience.
  9.        Just notice that the Lord said to Ananias and he immediately said, “Here I am!” There was no stutter, or hesitancy.
  10.       Then later on, Ananias immediately followed through and went to Saul. Later on, Ananias called Saul, “’brother’ Saul.” He followed through with what the Lord called him to do. Certainly, Ananias made a few remarks and excuses and I could understand that for sure. Paul had been killing Christians!
  11.        I can understand this. When I was in school, there was a kid named Denny Smith, and he was the bully and if God told me to lay hands on him I would have been fearful. I dreaded going to school because of him.
  12.       But Ananias was obedient.  
  13.                 As we look at this passage notice God’s sovereignty.
  14.        Just notice verse 15: The Lord says that Saul (remember that Saul is Paul) is a “chosen” instrument of mine. God has a will. God is in charge.
  15.       know that there is no way that God cannot be in control and so He had a will and He has a will.
  16.                 As we look at this passage notice the importance of the Gospel.
  17.        God’s plan was that Saul would take the Gospel to gentiles.
  18.       God’s plan was that Saul would take the Gospel to kings.
  19.        God’s plan was that Saul would take the Gospel to the Jews.
  20.       This all happens by the end of Acts. 

God made us to worship him. Remember the testimony that I began with? Garrett Kell. He writes:

A few weeks later [after the party], I was at home on Christmas break and I was doing a drug called Ecstasy. Sometime after midnight, I became strangely sober and felt an overwhelming burden to call Dave.

So at 2:00 a.m., Dave came up to my house, carrying his Bible, with tears rolling down his cheek.

We sat down and I told him I needed to know more about God. He asked me if I knew what he was doing when I called him.

He went on to tell me that when I called him, he was doing the same thing he’d been doing every night since he left Virginia Tech—he was on his knees praying for me.

Over the next few days and weeks, I continued to read the Bible and have conversations with Dave.

He told me that God made me to love and worship Him.

He explained that the guilt I was feeling was God showing me that I was in rebellion against Him and was on my way to hell.

He explained that Jesus died for sinners like me and then rose from the dead to extend mercy to me if I would turn from my sins and believe in Jesus.

He told me that Jesus would forgive all of my sins, change my life and make me His forever.

I’m not sure if it was that night or in the weeks that followed, but God saved my soul.

I began reading the Bible and it was no longer a book of old stories, but now it was like a spotlight that searched my soul and showed me the depths of my sin and the even greater depths of God’s love for me in Jesus.

Dave made a stand for Christ that night at Virginia Tech. God used him to get a message to me that eternally altered my life. Now, every Halloween night, I call Dave and thank him for the stand. God used Dave’s stand to save my soul and my life from utter destruction.

God changed Garrett, God changed Saul, and hopefully God changed us.

Review:

  1.        Be an evangelist
  2.        Be a person of prayer
  3.        Be submissive to the Lord
  4.        The Lord is Sovereign

 

Let’s pray:

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