Many years ago there was a popular scientific belief called ‘spontaneous generation’. Here is a definition of this theory: – “The previously popular notion that living organisms arise or develop from nonliving matter. The theory of spontaneous generation held that complex, living organisms may be produced from nonliving matter. It was a popular belief that mice occur spontaneously from stored grain, or maggots spontaneously appear in meat.”
Off course we do not believe in this theory any more.
Or do we?
- The question of where we come from, and where things come from, is an important one- even today many just accept the various freedoms that we have, without a thought of how they got here.
- For some it is as if there is a money tree, and all their needs are going to be met, the government owes me a living- it is my right and so on.
- The scriptures are explicit, Paul said, no work, no eat!
This sort of thinking was OK when we were small children. It was our parent’s responsibility to meet all of our needs, but when we grew up things changed.
For each of us there is a process or a period of ignorance, it is part of the life journey that we are on, this period of ignorance comes to a stop when we are mature enough to understand that money, and the essentials that we need do not grow on trees.
- It is the same with any faith journey, people don’t just get saved!
- For many, if not all; it is a process that for some takes years. A process that each one of us is daily going through- for God is not finished with us yet! I remember years ago when studying theology, we would speak, the idea; I was saved, I am being saved and I will be saved. This is the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
- Paul’s conversion was neither the beginning nor the end of the story it was part of the story. Acts chapter 9 is just part of the story.
Much is written about the Apostle Paul.
Tozer has described the apostle as “The world’s most successful Christian, and his career the most astonishing in world history, everything he did he did superbly, and did it until they cut of his head in a Roman prison.”
The Damascus Experience
It was on the road to Damascus, with evil intent that Saul was arrested by God. Was he a bad man?
- This is the second time that he is mentioned; “ here is Luke’s description of the man who would become one of his best friends:“Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples”
- Why would he be so dead set against the followers of the Lord Jesus? The answer is found in his background?
- His parents were of the tribe of Benjamin, they named their son after the famous King Saul and because his father was a Roman citizen, the name Paulus was added.
- Paul’s father was a Pharisee who would faithfully fulfill the ceremonial requirements of the law. The Gospel meant that his whole belief structure would be turned upside down.
- Why not live and let live? For Paul the Law was the most important thing in his life- he was faithfully waiting the coming of the Messiah, he also strongly believed in the resurrection.
- As far as he was concerned the Lord Jesus was a blasphemer, if He didn’t say that He was God, He said that He was equal to God, He claimed to be able to forgive sins, He claimed to have existed at the time of Abraham, He said that He was the only way to God. He went as far as to say that God was his Father.
- Levitical law was clear that a blasphemer of this type must be executed and so too his followers.
I understand his theological position- but to seek to torture, interrogate and even kill to protect what you believe, isn’t that a bit far-fetched?
- The devil has not changed his methodology- this goes on today, every day in many countries!
- Sincere as well as evil people carry out his bidding.
- How much is a human life worth?
Obviously for Paul his zeal and love for the things of God meant that there was nothing that he would not do- This sort of zealousness (fanaticism) can get us into some very hot water! It is at this point in our experience of life that we lose sight of our love for God and replace it with our love for our own ideas and self-worth. Our pride is hurt and we become indignant- even belligerent! We can be so right that we become so wrong in our attitudes and actions! This is where Paul’s pride took him.
- I thank God that He does not judge like we do.
- I thank God that He sees what is in the heart of a person.
- I thank God that he sees the potential of every life.
- I thank God that He has a unique plan for each human being.
- I thank God that Paul was no exception to this.
It was there on the road to Damascus that this rebellious, self-willed, self-centered individual met his match.
- What was going on in his mind as he headed off to Damascus?
- One commentator says that being a Pharisee he went on ahead, he was not going to associate with the temple guard.
- Was he thinking about what Stephen said, prior to his death?
- It is obvious that he had heard the Gospel.
- It is obvious that he had seen the miracles.
They all contradicted what logic had told him was true, his eyes were blinded to the truth.
- He needed to know the TRUTH,
- He needed to know that the TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE
- He needed to know the WAY the TRUTH AND THE LIFE.
Yes I thank God that he knows what is in the heart of a man or women. He knew Paul’s heart and He had a wonderful plan for his life, so much so that it has an impact on each one of us today!
Imagine if you heard the words: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.”
This was the way out of his torment, this was his rest, and this was an encounter with the living Lord Jesus!
Stopped dead in his tracks, encouraged to repent and believe.
It is an awesome thing when God taps you on the shoulder!
I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Come unto me and rest;
lay down, thou weary one, lay down
thy head upon my breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was,
so weary, worn, and sad;
I found in him a resting place,
and he has made me glad.