Him? What? Why? Me? A sermon on Acts 9:1-22
Him? What? Why? Me!
† I.H.S. †
May the grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ astound you, as you minister and love those whom the world has given up on
- The other conversion
In today’s reading from the book of Acts there are two conversions. One is the one everyone knows about, the incredible conversion of a man who used the law to kill and torture those he didn’t like. He seemed out of his mind, and unwilling to consider any other position but his.
The bigger miracle, in my opinion, is the conversion of the other guy.
Looking at that one will have more impact on us anyways, because to be honest, I don’t think many of us are like Saul, who kept uttering threats to kill elders and pastors and other leaders of the church.
We need to see how Ananias was converted, how God changed his mind, and then see the incredible joy he was able to witness, because he was willing to head God’s heart, and consider a vision bigger than his own
- Look at it my way….
I want you, for a moment, to put yourselves in Ananias’s shoes. There are all sorts of rumors going around, way before he has a vision. Everyone knows about Paul leading the group that killed the first deacon…and they know he’s on the warpath.
Paul gets the high priest to effectively declare war on Christians. No holes barred, for the high priest’s letter to the synagogues have the weight of all of their office behind them.
Ananias knows this… and then the vIsion… I am going to paraphrase it a little…
Good morning Ananias!
I’ve got something for you to do… Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. 12 I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again
And Ananias response is a three letter word that is the worst thing you can say to God….
Never, ever, ever say that to God… even when we think we have a reason, it is usually means that we somehow don’t trust Him or think we know better.
Ananias thinks he knows the whole story – this guy was as evil as they come…he enjoyed killing Christians. God don’t you realize how much trouble this guy is? Don’t you realize how black and evil his heart is?
God treats Ananias a lot nicer than I would have….
I would have said, “Ananias, you remember – I am God? Don’t you remember that besides loving me you have to love your neighbor Saul? Don’t you remember what I taught about forgive him even as I forgive you?
Come Ananias, you know that even though the church gave up on Saul I haven’t!
Ananias needed his mind changed just as much as the Paul!
And so do we.
Too many times we doubt that God is able to do things in a person’s life. We believe someone is too evil, or too broken. And so we treat them like someone beyond God’s reach….
Or maybe they are mean murderous types… maybe they are just cold and don’t come across well, or they are a pain in the neck, or they are poor and homes, or maybe we thing they are so rich, they wouldn’t even think we exist.
Not one of them is beyond God’s reach – not one of them….
But will we believe it? Will we trust God when He tells us that God has chosen them? That God has a plan for their lives?
God’s words were simple…. “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
- Learning to Treasure God’s masterpiece
So Ananias mind is transformed by God. He remember that God is in charge,, and listens, and sees a miracle that is beyond anything he ever expected….
His heart changed… and he ministered to and love this wayward, power abusing murderer.
Hear again what Ananias saw God do.. through him.
He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. 19 Afterward he ate some food and regained his strength.
Saul stayed with the believers in Damascus for a few days. 20 And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is indeed the Son of God!”
Imagine Ananias’ reaction…. Paul is now preaching about Jesus… proclaiming that He is the Messiah, the Son of God!
I can almost hear Ananias, in awe going… “I knew God was going to do something special with that boy! I just knew it!”…
Seriously, God can change anyone… and he can change our hearts toward anyone.
We just have to hear how much God loves them, and forgave their sin by dying on the cross. They might refuse . but that doesn’t change what God has promised them…The more we see that change others, the more we are able to see God at work, in us.
That is how God changes His people; Some he has to change as He did Paul, some He has to change as He did with Ananias.
And most of the time – we aren’t aware of it, for we are in awe – and sharing that Jesus is the Son of God…and He will never give up working on us, in and through us. For as God changes and converts us, we find ourselves dwelling in His peace… a peace that can affect all around us, for we learn to love, because we are loved. AMEN