Memorial Day 2015

Memorial Day 2015

May 25, 2015
Memorial Day 2105

Temporal Life, Eternal Life

60 people at the Memorial service around a memorial. 
Of men and women who died in wars to fight and protect our country and our freedom. 
Folks visiting grave sites. 

Annual Paw Paw Alumni Banquet.  Evening Schedule:  Tribute to Deceased Members: 1905-2015. 
110 Years!

Time Verses.
[Jas 4:13 ESV] Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"--
[Jas 4:14 ESV] yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
[Jas 4:15 ESV] Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that."
[Jas 4:16 ESV] As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
[Jas 4:17 ESV] So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Time Verses.
[Eph 5:15 ESV] Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,
[Eph 5:16 ESV] making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
[Eph 5:17 ESV] Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

We are commanded to Know for sure we are going to Heaven. 
[1Jo 5:13 ESV] I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.

Step One;  Level the playing field. 
Who is a sinner?  I am and You are. 
12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.[c]
[Mat 5:21 ESV] "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.'
[Mat 5:22 ESV] But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
[Mat 5:28 ESV] But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
15 “You shall not steal. (Regardless of value)
16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.  (Lie)
17 “You shall not covet  

If we broke even one of these laws once we are guilty of breaking it all. 
[Jas 2:10 ESV] For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.

[Psa 130:3 ESV] If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?

[Rom 3:23 ESV] for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

A Good God MUST punish sin. A Good God is a Just God. 
Romans 6:23 Esv
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
John 3:36 ESV / 10 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
God’s Judgement is Terrifying!
[2Th 1:8 ESV] in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
[2Th 1:9 ESV] They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,
So now all humanity has a problem. 
God is good and holy, We are evil in God’s site and He must punish us. 

The Throne
[Rom 14:12 ESV] So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
So here you are before the complete righteous throne of God. 
God asks you.   “Why should I let you into my Heaven”?
What will you say? . . . . .
Will you try to justify yourself?
I did good, I went to church, I walked the isle, I prayed the sinners prayer, I was part of the Lions club, Kiwanis, I gave to the red cross, I believed in social justice
Will you come up with an excuses?
I didn’t know you were there, How was I supposed to know the Bible was the right religion? 
Will you blame God for your life? 
You God placed my with my abusive, alcoholic, broke parents, You let my loved ones die in that accident,  your local church did me wrong, You made me have those sexual desires, You made me that way.  
Let’s look at the One and Only Right Answer!
God so Loves the World.   
Here is HOW God So Loved the World.  
He sent someone to take His Wrath in Your Place. 
[Jhn 3:16 ESV] "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
[Jhn 3:17 ESV] For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Propitiation.  God’s Righteous Judgement; Wrath is satisfied. 
[1Jo 2:2 ESV] He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
[1Jo 4:10 ESV] In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
How did God make Jesus the propitiation for our Sins?
 [2Co 5:21 ESV] For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Jesus is our substitute Sinner, even though He Never Sinned.
God made Jesus the object of His Wrath to Satisfy His Justice.  
God Mercy & Grace saved us from God’s Justice. 
 [Rom 8:1 ESV] There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
[Rom 8:2 ESV] For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
[Rom 8:3 ESV] For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
[Rom 8:4 ESV] in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Legal Transaction. Need volunteers.
What do you do with this information?
Admit: You are evil and deserve God’s Justice. 
Trust: Jesus Christ substituted Himself in your place. Took God’s punishment on your behalf. 
God can legally declare you justified before Himself and allow you a relationship with Him. 
Ask God to let the sacrifice of Jesus Christ be applied to you. 
Yield yourself to God as His servant and tell Him you will learn His Will and Obey. 

Let’s visit the Throne of God Again. 

Here is the one and only right Answer. 
[Job 42:1 ESV] Then Job answered the LORD and said:
 [Job 42:5 ESV] I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you;
[Job 42:6 ESV] therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes."
I know I am an evil sinner deserving your Wrath.
I stand here forgiven because You had Jesus take my punishment for me. 
Jesus Christ my Savior and Lord is the only reason I can come into your Heaven. 
I bring you nothing else. 

God Commands everyone to repent
Acts 17:30 ESV / 5  
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,

You need to trust in the deepest part of your heart, that it is only the sacrifice of Jesus Christ instead of you to satisfy the Justice of God that you deserve. 

When Jesus returns it will be too late for anyone else. 
[2Th 1:7 ESV] and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels
[2Th 1:8 ESV] in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
[2Th 1:9 ESV] They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,
[2Th 1:10 ESV] when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.

Acts 11; Gospel For All

Acts 11; Gospel For All

May 17, 2015
[Act 11:1 ESV] Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.

[Act 11:2 ESV] So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying,
[Act 11:3 ESV] "You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them."

God made me do it.
[Act 11:4 ESV] But Peter began and explained it to them in order:
[Act 11:5 ESV] "I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me.
[Act 11:6 ESV] Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air.
[Act 11:7 ESV] And I heard a voice saying to me, 'Rise, Peter; kill and eat.'
[Act 11:8 ESV] But I said, 'By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.'
[Act 11:9 ESV] But the voice answered a second time from heaven, 'What God has made clean, do not call common.'
[Act 11:10 ESV] This happened three times, and all was drawn up again into heaven.

[Act 11:11 ESV] And behold, at that very moment three men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Caesarea.

Peter understood exactly what God meant. 
[Act 11:12 ESV] And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man's house.
[Act 11:13 ESV] And he told us how he had seen the angel stand in his house and say, 'Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter;
[Act 11:14 ESV] he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.'

Peter wasn’t even finished talking yet. 
[Act 11:15 ESV] As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning.

[Act 11:16 ESV] And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'
[Act 11:17 ESV] If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?"

Oh, OK
[Act 11:18 ESV] When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, "Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life."

Let’s look again at what Peter told non-Jewish people.
[Act 10:38 ESV] how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
[Act 10:39 ESV] And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree,
[Act 10:40 ESV] but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear,
[Act 10:41 ESV] not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
[Act 10:42 ESV] And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.
[Act 10:43 ESV] To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."
[Act 10:44 ESV] While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.

A little test
What information can save someone from hell?
“Come visit our church”
“You’ll like our pastor”
“May we pray for you”
“Have a tract”
“Have a Bible”
These are two are great for a 1-2 Punch.   
1. Gospel, 
2. A Leave Behind.

So how little can you share?  Trick question.
How much can you share?
I used to say give them your story. 
Now I encourage,  Gospel First,  Your story second, Leave behind third. 

When you share the Gospel, Do your best to explain 
1. All people are bad.
2. A Good God is obligated to punish you “and me”. 
3. But,  God sent Jesus and punished Him in your place.
4. God satisfied His Justice and can declare you forgiven and justified. 
5. Ask God to grant you repentance. 
6. God does the rest. 

If God grants that person repentance, they will respond. 

More Gentiles 
[Act 11:19 ESV] Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews.

[Act 11:20 ESV] But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus.
 [Act 11:21 ESV] And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.

Send Barnabas.  
Barnabas = "son of rest"
A. the surname of Joses or Joseph, a Levite, a native of Cyprus He was a distinguished Christian teacher and companion and colleague of Paul.

Son of Rest
Son of Encouragment
Paraklēsis To come along side.
The Root:   parakaleō

This Root word, Jesus uses to describe The Holy Spirit. 
KJV says Comforter, NIV: Advocate, ESV: Helper

This is what Jesus does for His own. 
[Jhn 14:16 ESV] And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,
[Jhn 14:17 ESV] even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

Back in Acts. . . 
[Act 11:22 ESV] The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.
[Act 11:23 ESV] When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose,
[Act 11:24 ESV] for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.

 [Act 11:25 ESV] So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul,
[Act 11:26 ESV] and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.

Trials on the Way!   Famine & Government Persecution. 
[Act 11:27 ESV] Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch.
[Act 11:28 ESV] And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius).
[Act 11:29 ESV] So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea.
[Act 11:30 ESV] And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.

Let’s look back at Jesus again. 
[Jhn 14:26 ESV] But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
[Jhn 14:27 ESV] Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Acts 10: God Saves Whom He Wants

Acts 10: God Saves Whom He Wants

May 9, 2015
Acts 10:  God makes it clear, Gentiles Can be Saved

A Roman Solider praying to God? 
[Act 10:1 ESV] At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort,
[Act 10:2 ESV] a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God.

What is a Roman Centurion doing praying to the One True God?

[Rom 1:18 ESV] For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
[Rom 1:19 ESV] For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.

[Rom 2:13 ESV] For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.
[Rom 2:14 ESV] For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.
[Rom 2:15 ESV] They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them
[Rom 2:16 ESV] on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

Back in Acts: 
[Act 10:3 ESV] About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, "Cornelius."
[Act 10:4 ESV] And he stared at him in terror and said, "What is it, Lord?" And he said to him, "Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God.
[Act 10:5 ESV] And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter.
[Act 10:6 ESV] He is lodging with one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea."
[Act 10:7 ESV] When the angel who spoke to him had departed, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those who attended him,
[Act 10:8 ESV] and having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.

Peter has a Vision
[Act 10:9 ESV] The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray.
[Act 10:10 ESV] And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance
[Act 10:11 ESV] and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth.
[Act 10:12 ESV] In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air.
[Act 10:13 ESV] And there came a voice to him: "Rise, Peter; kill and eat."
[Act 10:14 ESV] But Peter said, "By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean."

Why Did Peter respond that way?
Clean and Unclean animals:
[Lev 11:3 ESV] Whatever parts the hoof and is cloven-footed and chews the cud, among the animals, you may eat.
[Lev 11:4 ESV] Nevertheless, among those that chew the cud or part the hoof, you shall not eat these: The camel, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you.
[Lev 11:9 ESV] "These you may eat, of all that are in the waters. Everything in the waters that has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers, you may eat.
[Lev 11:10 ESV] But anything in the seas or the rivers that does not have fins and scales, of the swarming creatures in the waters and of the living creatures that are in the waters, is detestable to you.
Grasshoppers oh yeah!   
[Lev 11:22 ESV] Of them you may eat: the locust of any kind, the bald locust of any kind, the cricket of any kind, and the grasshopper of any kind.
[Lev 11:23 ESV] But all other winged insects that have four feet are detestable to you.

Back to His Vision
[Act 10:15 ESV] And the voice came to him again a second time, "What God has made clean, do not call common."
[Act 10:16 ESV] This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.
[Act 10:17 ESV] Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon's house, stood at the gate
[Act 10:18 ESV] and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there.
[Act 10:19 ESV] And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Behold, three men are looking for you.
[Act 10:20 ESV] Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them."
[Act 10:21 ESV] And Peter went down to the men and said, "I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?"
[Act 10:22 ESV] And they said, "Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say."

[Act 10:23 ESV] So he invited them in to be his guests. The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him.
[Act 10:24 ESV] And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 
(How is that for a sharing the Gospel with your neighbor?)

[Act 10:25 ESV] When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him.
[Act 10:26 ESV] But Peter lifted him up, saying, "Stand up; I too am a man."

[Act 10:27 ESV] And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered.
[Act 10:28 ESV] And he said to them, "You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.

Peter Got the Point. However we all struggle with lessons already learned. 
Paul calling out Peter.
[Gal 2:11 ESV] But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.
[Gal 2:12 ESV] For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.
[Gal 2:13 ESV] And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.
[Gal 2:14 ESV] But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, "If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?"
[Gal 2:15 ESV] We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners;
[Gal 2:16 ESV] yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

Back to Peter & Cornelius
[Act 10:29 ESV] So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me."
[Act 10:30 ESV] And Cornelius said, "Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing
[Act 10:31 ESV] and said, 'Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God.
[Act 10:32 ESV] Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.'
[Act 10:33 ESV] So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord."
An Eager Audience

[Act 10:34 ESV] So Peter opened his mouth and said: "Truly I understand that God shows no partiality,
[Act 10:35 ESV] but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.
[Act 10:36 ESV] As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all),

Did Peter say, “Come to Synagogue, become Jewish”  
No, He started talking about Jesus Christ. 
The Jewish Messiah, he is sharing with Gentiles, who should have no interests in Jewish things. 

[Act 10:37 ESV] you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed:
[Act 10:38 ESV] how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
[Act 10:39 ESV] And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree,
[Act 10:40 ESV] but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear,
[Act 10:41 ESV] not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.

Who did the resurrected Jesus appear to?
Mary Magdalene and a few other ladies.
 [1Co 15:4 ESV] that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
[1Co 15:5 ESV] and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
[1Co 15:6 ESV] Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.
[1Co 15:7 ESV] Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
[1Co 15:8 ESV] Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. (Paul)

[Act 10:42 ESV] And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that He is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.
[Act 10:43 ESV] To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."

All the prophets is the Old Testament.
Jesus Appears to two disciples on the Road to Emmaus. 
[Luk 24:25 ESV] And he said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
[Luk 24:26 ESV] Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?"
[Luk 24:27 ESV] And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Back To Peter, Saved / Born Again, before they were baptized with water. 
[Act 10:44 ESV] While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.
[Act 10:45 ESV] And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles.
[Act 10:46 ESV] For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared,
[Act 10:47 ESV] "Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?"
[Act 10:48 ESV] And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.

Acts 9:  Reaction to Truth

Acts 9: Reaction to Truth

May 2, 2015
Acts 9; Chosen to Do Something

Saul on a mission to persecute the Christians.
[Act 9:1 ESV] But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest
[Act 9:2 ESV] and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

Who chose who?  Did God “call” Paul?
[Act 9:3 ESV] Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him.
[Act 9:4 ESV] And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
[Act 9:5 ESV] And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
[Act 9:6 ESV] But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do."
[Act 9:7 ESV] The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.
[Act 9:8 ESV] Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.

Ruminating, repenting, praying and fasting. 
(imagine what is going through Paul’s mind)
[Act 9:9 ESV] And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

God sends Ananias.
[Act 9:10 ESV] Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord."
[Act 9:11 ESV] And the Lord said to him, "Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying,
[Act 9:12 ESV] and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight."
[Act 9:13 ESV] But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem.
[Act 9:14 ESV] And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name."

God chose Saul/Paul to share and to suffer.
[Act 9:15 ESV] But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.
[Act 9:16 ESV] For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name."

Ananias Obeys. 
[Act 9:17 ESV] So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
[Act 9:18 ESV] And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized;
[Act 9:19 ESV] and taking food, he was strengthened. For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus.

Saul gets to work immediately. 
[Act 9:20 ESV] And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God."
[Act 9:21 ESV] And all who heard him were amazed and said, "Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?"
[Act 9:22 ESV] But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.

"Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still." - Dale Carnegie quotes from

Paul writing about his experience preaching to his own people. 

[Rom 11:1 ESV] I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin.
[Rom 11:2 ESV] God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel?
[Rom 11:3 ESV] "Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life."

[Rom 11:4 ESV] But what is God's reply to him? "I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal."
[Rom 11:5 ESV] So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.
[Rom 11:6 ESV] But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
[Rom 11:7 ESV] What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened,
[Rom 11:8 ESV] as it is written, "God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day."
[Rom 11:9 ESV] And David says, "Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them;
[Rom 11:10 ESV] let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever."
[Rom 11:11 ESV] So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.

He was doing so good at obeying, Saul made the hit list. 
[Act 9:23 ESV] When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him,
[Act 9:24 ESV] but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him,
[Act 9:25 ESV] but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.

The Disciples in no hurry to meet him. 
[Act 9:26 ESV] And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple.
[Act 9:27 ESV] But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus.
[Act 9:28 ESV] So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord.

Saul made the hit-list again in Jerusalem. 
[Act 9:29 ESV] And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists. But they were seeking to kill him.
[Act 9:30 ESV] And when the brothers learned this, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

Church continues to grow. 
[Act 9:31 ESV] So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.

Fear & Comfort.  The Gospel brings both to those who are repenting. 
But what is causing the growth? 
Is it people living such amazing lives, that their neighbors want it?
It is because they are speaking their faith. 

[Act 9:32 ESV] Now as Peter went here and there among them all, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda.
[Act 9:33 ESV] There he found a man named Aeneas, bedridden for eight years, who was paralyzed.
[Act 9:34 ESV] And Peter said to him, "Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed." And immediately he rose. 
[Act 9:35 ESV] And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.
Who Healed Aeneas?  

Peter is used to resurrect a woman

[Act 9:36 ESV] Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity.
[Act 9:37 ESV] In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room.
[Act 9:38 ESV] Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, "Please come to us without delay."
[Act 9:39 ESV] So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them.
[Act 9:40 ESV] But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, "Tabitha, arise." And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up.
[Act 9:41 ESV] And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive.
[Act 9:42 ESV] And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.
[Act 9:43 ESV] And he stayed in Joppa for many days with one Simon, a tanner.

Many people say they are Christians, but are we living for Jesus? Obeying?
Obeying Jesus creates waves.  Bad and Good. 
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