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"Marks of True Conversion" - Dr. Gary Cass

March 27, 2022 Preacher: Gary Cass Series: Acts

Topic: Repentance, Redemption, Confession Passage: Acts 9:1–9:20

Marks of True Conversion
Infusion Church    03-27-2020
Acts 9:1-20

The ministry of Jesus was continuing through His thriving church.

Acts 8:4: Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.

THE MAIN POINT: By God’s irresistible grace His people are converted- some come the easy way, other’s the hard way, but in the end, thankfully, they all come

I. SAUL’S MURDEROUS HATRED

Vss.1-2: But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 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.

Acts 7:58: … the witnesses laid their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.

Saul may not have gotten his hands dirty, but He did mind the cloaks of the false witnesses who stoned Stephan.

Acts 6:8-10; Now Stephen, who was full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. 9 But resistance arose from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen… they began to argue with Stephen, 10 but they could not stand up to his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke.

Acts 7:59-60: While they were stoning him, Stephen appealed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Falling on his knees, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

WARNING: Sin never leaves you the same, even and especially when it is done in self-righteous, religious zeal.

Prov 6:27-28: Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? 28 Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched?

II. GOD’S TRIUMPHANT GRACE

Vss.3-6: Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”

Acts 26:12; It is hard for you to kick against the goads.

Goads are things used to prod big, unmanageable beasts, like a bull or an ox.

Don’t grieve the Spirit because He will not always strive with you!

9:5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

No one, absolutely no one, saw that coming- especially not Saul!

Acts 26:16-17; But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, 17 delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you 18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

One way God conquers His enemies is by converting them and making them his friend.

Rather than attacking Christians, Saul will be attacked for Christ, but, according to Jesus, this is a blessed thing!

Mat 5:11-12; “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven…

Acts 9:6-9 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do. 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 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. 9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

Saul was three days in the dark, fasting and praying, purging the darkness, seeking God in repentance and prayer.

If you lost EVERTHING like Saul, your position, your power, your income, is Jesus enough?

III. SAUL’S TRANSFORMATION

Vss. 10-20: 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.” 11 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, 12 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.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15 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. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”

God saves people that we would never imagine will follow Him, people like you and me!

 

SIX MARKS THAT YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN

MARK 1: Do you pray to God by the Spirit?

Vs.11: 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…

Romans 8:26: Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Are you in close, prayerful fellowship with Christ through your day?

MARK 2: Are you walking in the light?

Vss. 17-18: 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…18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight.

Eph 5:8: … for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. 

Eph 5:14; Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.

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

By God’s grace are you walking in obedience to God? 

MARK 3: Do you know God as your Father by the Spirit?

Vs. 17: And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul… be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Rom 8:15-16: …you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

Do you know the Father’s love in your heart?

Mark 4: Have you been baptized?

Vss. 9:18c; Then he rose and was baptized.

MARK 5: Do you love God’s people?

Vs.19;  … and taking food, he was strengthened. For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus.

I John 3:14: We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.

Psalm 133: Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!...  3  For there the LORD has commanded the blessing….

Does the thought of being with your brothers and sisters in Christ make you happy?

MARK 6: Do you love to tell His story?

Vs 20: And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”

Acts 26:19-20: “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus… that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.

 

Are you intentionally trying to be around people who are far from God?