The Road to Damascus

The Road to DamascusText: Acts 9:1-9

In this lesson, we’re going to find one who was traveling the road to Damascus. As we travel down the road to Damascus, we will learn about converting the enemy.

Many Enemies of Christ Are Religious Zealots

  • Saul was on his way to Damascus in order to arrest Christians (v. 1-2) – he was extending his campaign of persecution against the church (Acts 8:1-3); he was sincere, but misguided, and thought he was serving the Lord (Acts 23:1; Philippians 3:6)
  • There are many religious people who are enemies of Christ – followers of Islam who consider it blasphemy to say Jesus was the Son of God (cf. John 10:30-33); denominationalists who “shut off the kingdom” (Matthew 23:13) by not teaching the plan of salvation (Acts 2:38); even brethren who fight more for their way than for the truth (Galatians 2:4-5; 3 John 9-10; Jude 3-4)
  • Their zeal is good – but zeal must be in accordance with knowledge (Romans 10:2-3); what they need is to become convinced of the truth; this is why we battle with arguments (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Those Who Follow Christ Are Identifiable

  • Saul was on his way to Damascus in order to FIND Christians (v. 2) – when persecution started in Jerusalem, he captured them in their own homes (Acts 8:3); he had some way of identifying WHO was a Christian, and not by acquiring a “church directory”
  • How could they have been identified? – they met for worship on the first day of the week (Acts 2:42; 20:7); they remained together as a unit (Acts 2:44-46); they were open about their faith in Christ (Acts 8:4)
  • We are to let our lights shine (Matthew 5:16) – would the world identify us as Christians? (cf. Galatians 2:20)

Conversion Requires Recognizing Jesus as Lord

  • Saul was not saved on the road to Damascus [more on this in the next point], but his life took a completely different course – this was based upon him recognizing Jesus as LORD (v. 5)
  • Lord means one with authority; the right to rule – this is essential for conversion; recognize that Jesus has all authority (Matthew 28:18) so we must obey Him (Matthew 28:20; 7:22-23); He has the RIGHT to rule (Matthew 28:18) so we must listen to Him above all others (Acts 5:29)
  • If we do not believe Jesus for who He is, we cannot be saved (John 8:24)
  • This understanding is necessary for someone like Saul to stop fighting Christ and start serving Him – He is greater than every ruler or so-called “god” (Ephesians 1:20-21; Acts 17:23-25); He will be victorious over all (Revelation 17:14) and recognizing this will make one want to be on His side

Conversion Is Accomplished by Obeying the Gospel

  • Saul was not saved on the road TO Damascus, but was saved IN Damascus (v. 18) – he already acknowledged Jesus as Lord and was penitent (v. 5, 9, 11); but he was still in sin (Acts 22:16)
  • Conversion is not just about a change in MIND (belief) or DIRECTION (repentance), it is also about a change in STATE – baptized INTO Christ (Galatians 3:27; Romans 6:3; cf. Acts 2:41, 47); this is why Saul was told to be baptized (Acts 22:16), so God would remove his sin (Colossians 2:12)
  • It is good and necessary to believe in the Lord and reform our lives – but we must be baptized to be saved (Mark 16:16); in baptism we appeal to Him to cleanse our conscience (1 Peter 3:21); He saves those who OBEY Him (Hebrews 5:9)

Conclusion

  • The Lord is willing to save anyone – even one like Saul who was an enemy of Christ and His people
  • He will save us if we recognize Him as Lord, obey Him, and be identified as one of His people

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