The Apostle Paul – His Preparation to Serve - 2

God’s Careful Preparation of the Greatest Missionary of all Time

Acts 9


DATE: 3 Aug, 2003  PM          PLACE: BBC Blarney

I.         Introduction ()


A.      Continuing our study of the Twelve of Apostles of Jesus Christ

B.       The greatest soul-winner – the greatest missionary – the greatest Christian of all time, was a short, stammering Jewish man, from modern day Turkey!

C.       Does anyone here realize just how God moulds and shapes a person’s life?


1.        Anybody here who is born again, knows how the Lord works on us to get us finally to surrender to Jesus Christ as Saviour once and for all!

2.        But we don’t easily perceive the Lord’s fashioning of our lives into something more than it already is – which is not much!


D.      By looking at the great Apostle Paul, we can see in just a few portions of Scripture how God takes ANYONE, and I repeat, ANYONE and prepares them to do great things for His name’s sake!


II.       Background – Let me Honour the privilege of Living a life Serving the Lord


A.      Start with the Lord’s Jesus’ half-brother James (Jam 1:1) – he does not boast about his “connection” with Jesus, but about his calling to SERVE Jesus!

B.       Paul honours the life of service in Colossians 3:23,24

C.       Once again, God commands us to serve, not half-heartedly, or grudgingly, but FERVENTLY (Rom 1:1)

D.      King David felt everyone should serve the Lord with gladness (Ps 100:2)

E.       Most of all, Jesus praised servanthood (Jn 12:26)

F.       The greatest praise any human can receive is “WELL DONE thou good and faithful SERVANT” (Mt 25:21)

G.       Any other life, lived not for the Lord Jesus, is a wasted life! REPEAT!


III.     Message – How God Prepares a Person for Service


A.      Starting Over (Acts 9:1,6) – Getting BORN again

B.       Steps of Faith (Acts 9:6-9) – Getting active, following the Lord

C.       Filling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17) – getting enabled, empowered


1.        This is SO important to the fashioning of the Christian’s inner strength

2.        How does a person get filled with the Holy Spirit of God?


a.       You received the Spirit the moment you got saved

b.       You were sealed with the Spirit at that same moment as well

c.       But the filling of the Holy Spirit, is the control you yield to the Holy Spirit on an inch by inch basis through your life, attitudes, and actions

d.       To enable you to yield you must:


1)       Accept instruction – be good soil – not proud, hard-headed soil

2)       Attempt to sing godly songs – not just listen to classical music

3)       Crucify your rebellious spirit – become submitted to God

4)       THAT is the kind of life the Holy Spirit thrives in!

5)       And THAT is the kind of life that the Lord found in Saul!


D.      Straight-Away Witnessing (9:20-22; 2:11)


1.        There is something about getting right into the “saddle” so-to-speak

2.        Speaking verbally what happened to you when you got saved (Rom 10:9,10) – your own personal testimony


a.       Go right for the crowd you new best

b.       For Saul it was the Jewish, religious crowd

c.       For some of you, it would be the sweet, devout, Roman Catholic crowd on Sunday morning

d.       For some of you, it would be the pushers, and the discos, and the back alleys – AMEN!

e.       Go right back into all that mess, and give them the simple, straight up, tell-it-like-it-is GOSPEL!


3.        The longer you wait to tell people about Jesus, the harder it gets to get motivated – you “cool-off!”

4.        Being instant, as a soul-winner, opening your mouth in unashamed praise, and testimony at the drop of a hat is vital to becoming a strong Christian – there is no other way folks! God saved us to testify of His goodness as bright lights in a very dark world!

5.        When you cool-off, and stop using your mouth for declaring the wonderful works of God, you have shut down the hand of the Lord in your life – PERIOD!

6.        The best cure for a cold, hard heart is a straight-up humiliating sharing of your testimony to your boss at work, or your mate, or your doctor!

7.        Don’t ever stop telling this world, that there still is a Saviour!


E.       Struggles (9:23-26)


1.        There is no debate – struggles, troubles, obstacles, are all GOOD for the Christian – why?


a.       Because they show God is greater

b.       Because they make you dependant on a power greater than yourself

c.       Because they make you try harder as a Christian, instead of just living like a spoiled brat who always gets his way!


2.        Paul had troubles from four different directions:

a.       Persecutions by the religious powers


1)       They were against Nicodemas – forced him to approach Jesus by night, when no one was watching

2)       They were against Lazarus (Jn 12:10)

3)       They were against Jesus – hounded Him, trying to find fault with Him. Jesus had to put up with constant attack for over 2 years!

4)       They were against Paul here


a)       Waited for Saul to try to leave the city

b)       40 men vowed not to eat until they had killed Paul (23:12-13)


5)       And WE think we have it rough!


b.       Misunderstandings by Christians (9:10-15a, 20,21, 26)


1)       This is the hardest to put up with

2)       People who are supposed to know better, usually don’t!

3)       Christians should know and believe what God is able to do (like they were supposed to believe that God was going to answer their prayer for peter to be freed from prison – but they didn’t, Acts 12)


c.       Constantly feeling rejected, yet trying so hard (Cf Philp 1:12-18)


1)       The question is: Who are you doing anything for

2)       Paul was constantly being rejected as being saved, much less being an apostle

3)       But to him, it went with the territory – not bothered by a little rejection – Jesus had been REALLY rejected!


3.        All of this could have had a bad effect on this new baby Christian

4.        But instead, it worked just the opposite – it made him more resolved, and more resilient in his labour for His living Lord! He counted it a privilege to be, not a prisoner of Rome, but a prisoner of the Lord (Eph 3:1; 4:1)


F.       Good Companions (9:27-28)


1.        Saul made sure he hung around with more spiritual people than himself – that is a good goal for anybody! Make sure your best friends are more spiritual than you are!

2.        Ananias befriended Saul – I call him, “the ice breaker”


a.       Obeyed God

b.       Called Saul “brother” – what a thing to call your worst enemy!

c.       Saul had a great friend in Ananias


3.        Barnabas – the risk taker


a.       Did you know that all of God’s servants are RISK takers?! Live by faith, and trust the Lord to fix any mistake we get into as we are following the Lord!

b.       Barnabas’ very name means The Son Of Consolation – he was a great comfort to be around – Paul found a great friend in Barnabas

c.       Barnabas took the risk that Saul really was saved, and was in need of some Christian fellowship!

d.       Barnabas was worried about Saul’s growth as a baby Christian, instead of his own reputation – what a great friend to have!


4.        The Apostles themselves – these were the authorities on what Jesus said and did


a.       Saul quickly linked up with the men who knew Jesus – who had spent the last 3 ½ years with Him

b.       Saul wanted to hear everything that Jesus said and did

c.       Spent time with them – learned from them


5.        About once a year you need to take a spiritual inventory, and see just how many people God used to invest greatness in you, and take the time to thank them, and get with them!

6.        Treasure and cultivate good Christian companions! It starts right here on Sunday mornings, and continues throughout the week – through the Bible studies and Discipleships – don’t miss ANY of them!


G.       Time Alone (Acts 9:29-31; Gal 1:13-18)


1.        Vital to a Christian’s preparation – the ability to be alone with only God

2.        Paul needed time alone, out in Arabia for 40 days for the following reasons:


a.       To be just with the Lord Jesus at Mt Sinai

b.       To go back through the entire Old Testament and see what he missed by his religious brain-washing

c.       To be humbled, and fashioned as a servant of Jesus Christ – like Moses had been – took Moses 40 years to be broken


3.        How long will it take you to accomplish these three things?

4.        When God puts you by yourself - do you use it to become stronger, and more sensitive to God’s “still, small voice?” Or do you fear the time alone?

a.       Moses needed those 40 days alone up on Mt Sinai

b.       Elijah needed that time of 40 days alone

c.       Jesus took that time, alone as well

d.       John the Baptist was alone for several years after the death of his parents, until the right time for him to begin his ministry

e.       Being alone is not all that bad – when it is lived fully for the Lord, and allowed to be a part of God’s preparation of you for His will!


IV.    Application, Conclusion and Invitation


A.      Did you know, none of these things were only for Paul, but for all of us!

B.       So, let me ask you:


1.        Have you Started Over yet? Been defeated, and ready to start again, but this time, only with Jesus Christ, and “live by the Book!?”

2.        Have you started to take ANY Steps of Faith?

3.        Are you striving to be Filled with the Holy Spirit or just striving to survive?

4.        Are you a Gospel witness? Or are you embarrassed and ashamed of your Saviour, and the truth of the Gospel?

5.        How do you view your Struggles?

6.        Do you have ANY Good Companions? Get some!

7.        Don’t be afraid of Time Alone – make it count for eternity!

Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church
Blarney, Co. Cork
Mallow, Co. Cork

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