What Wilt Thou Have Me to Do

The Power of a Surrendered Will

Acts 9:1-20


Pastor Craig Ledbetter

DATE: 9 Mar, 2008 AM

PLACE: BBC Ballincollig



I.        Introduction (Matthew 7:21)


A.      The human will – one of the most powerful forces in the universe


1.       By a person’s will-power, men have climbed the highest mountains, and walked on the Moon

2.       The will power have forged great nations, and fought great wars

3.       That same will has been the obstacle that has stopped God from being able to fellowship with mankind from the Garden of Eden

4.       Satan came along and convinced mankind that God does not deserve our obedience, and our yieldedness - but instead, we need to do what WE want to do, and we need to worry only about what is important to us

5.       Well, because of stubbornness, mankind has been filling up hell in record numbers since creation


B.      You see, it is not the prayers we pray, or the religion that we follow, it is the authority that Jesus is given over our lives that saves a soul

C.      We all know the power of a stubborn will

D.      I want to show you the power of a surrendered will this morning, and I want us all to ask the Lord Jesus, with all sincerity, Lord, what wilt thou have ME to do now that I am your child?


II.      Message


A.      Saul’s Religion (Acts 1:1)


1.       It was the Jewish religion of the Pharisees – a modified belief in the Old Testament that had forgotten the value of the lamb and instead put all its emphasis on good works and rituals and ceremonies and the priesthood

2.       Saul was the best of the best


a.       Super educated (Acts 22:3)


1)       Of Tarsus - very powerful family in very important city

2)       Educated at the feet of Gamalial - prominent teacher

3)       Able to fluently speak at least 5 languages (Hebrew, Greek, Arabic, Iconium, Latin, etc.).


b.       Super-dedicated - zealous, enthusiastic, fanatical


1)       A Jew - already very religious; very devout

2)       A Pharisee - not just a Jew, but a leader of the Jewish religion - like a Bishop would be in the Catholic Church

3)       Single-focused: all he talked about (“breathing out threatenings”), thought about, worked for, was the extermination of this “cult” and heresy (Acts 24:14)!


3.       Better than any 10 men you will ever meet

4.       But he was lost – all of his relationship with God was based on his own efforts


a.       Super ignorant of Jesus - willful ignorance (1 Tim 1:12,13)

b.       Therefore, he was Super sinful (1 Tim 1:15)


B.      Saul’s Vengeance (Acts 9:1,2)


1.       He hated what had happened to his beloved religion

2.       Tens of thousands had turned from Judaism to Jesus Christ

3.       He was furious, and was willing to go to the ends of the earth to STOP the spread of this new way, this new faith, this new church

4.       So he obtained permission from the high priest, from the very head of the Jewish Religion for permission to go even outside the national boarders and find these “believers” and drag them back to Jerusalem for trial

5.       He had been doing this for years, ever since he had heard Stephen preach in Acts 7:54-58


a.       Intense persecution against the church (Act 8:1,3; 22:3,4; 26:9-11)

b.       But the believers just got more excited (Acts 8:4)


6.       So, we come to chapter 9, and we find Saul of Tarsus, a religious killer bent on the destruction and eradication of faith in Jesus Christ


C.      Saul’s Conversion (Acts 9:3-5)


1.       Jesus Confronts Saul


a.       Isn’t it wonderful how Jesus challenges people


1)       Like the woman at the well

2)       Like Nicodemas

3)       Like the cripple man at the pool of Bethsaida

4)       Like He did Pilate

5)       Like He did you, if you are born again, it is because He knocked loud and clear on your heart and got your attention!!!


b.       Blinding light

c.        One on one confrontation – everyone else will only hear thunder (9:7)

d.       When the Lord finally corners a man, it will be so that HE and that sinner can finally settle some things – not to make you feel better, but to get you to “tremble and be astonished” AMEN! To get you afraid of God!

e.        You see, the only person who could stop and save Saul of Tarsus, was Jesus

f.        You had better believe that Jesus can box anyone in – that’s why it is so important to pray for people to get humbled, and broken, and lost before they leave this world for a Christ-less eternity!


2.       Jesus Questions Saul


a.       Why are you persecuting ME?

b.       Every believer you ever tortured and hurt, you were really trying to hurt Me!

c.        Isn’t that the case with so much of our lives? When we get mad at people, many times, we really are angry at God

d.       When you do things to the least of Christ’s brethren, you do it unto Him (Mt 25:40)

e.        Here was a revelation from God (Gal 1:11,12,16)


1)       That you are fighting God - not another religion, with all your good works, and ignorant zealousness for God

2)       That you are lost

3)       That Jesus is who He claimed to be - God in the flesh!

4)       Everyone you meet needs that revelation!


3.       Jesus Conquers Saul


a.       Saul asks a question now, “Is that you… Lord?”

b.       What a word, LORD. Missing in so many of the modern translations

c.        That is the key to saving a soul – making Jesus Lord of your life now, not later, not when you are old and can’t have any more fun

d.       Jesus conquers Saul’s heart, his sins, and his will

e.        Saul became a prisoner of Jesus Christ – he had been the slave of sin, but was now the servant of the most powerful being in the universe!


D.      Saul’s Commitment (Acts 9:6)


1.       Saul here finally surrenders to the God that he thought he had been serving all along


a.       All he had been doing was serving himself and the other religious leaders

b.       They had their own righteousness and their own religion

c.        They did not have Christ!

d.       He must have chuckled – how he had missed Jesus, and if it weren’t for Jesus coming after him, and drawing him, he never would have had a chance of figuring all this out on his own!


2.       Saul was committed to:


a.       To Christ’s Lordship – to His place in Saul’s life – as the One in charge now


1)       Before it had been himself, or his religion

2)       Now, and from now on, it was Jesus who would determine what Saul would be

3)       What are you willing for God to determine in your life?


a)       Your career – could it for Him?

b)       Your money – could it be used for supporting missionaries?

c)       Your life – could it be sacrificed for souls here or in a far away land?


b.       To Care about the world now instead of just trying to control it and make money off of it


1)       Religion basically means power and money

2)       Jesus saw this world as it really is – lost (Mt 9:36)

3)       See people as more than flesh and bones – they are souls (Acts 2:41; 27:37), not customers and clients and crowds

4)       Care about people being lied to and deceived (Rom 10:1-3)


c.        To make a difference now for God - How could he do any less?


1)       As he had poured all his energies before into rituals and traditions and the praise of men

2)       He now would pour all his energies into preaching, and church starting, and soul-winning, and the praise of God

3)       This man, travelled over 30,000 miles by foot, boat and on horseback throughout the middle east and Europe, just so that he could tell people the good news that Jesus saves!

4)       Hey! If you used to spend hundreds of pounds and euros on drink and drugs before you got saved, then don’t you owe it to Jesus to spend all that money on missions giving?

5)       Hey! If you used to spend hours on end at the pub, or in front of filthy TV programs, shouldn’t you spend that same amount of time out soul-winning?

6)       Hey! If you used to use your mouth for evil, doesn’t Jesus deserve you using it for good now that he owns it?


E.       Saul’s Humiliation (Acts 9:8-18)


1.       Blinded now, having to be led about

2.       Just sitting waiting on God – God hadn’t told him anything more than to just go to Damascus and wait there

3.       Then, in comes a man named Ananias, a nobody, who doesn’t want to work with Saul

4.       So this big name Pharisee is being taught some things by this nobody named Ananias – very humbling, AMEN!

5.       But they were family – “brother Saul” (9:17)


F.       Saul’s Effect (9:19-20)


1.       Started talking, preaching, that Jesus was indeed the Son of God!


a.       I bet he didn’t have great sermon outlines

b.       I bet he didn’t always make perfect sense

c.        But I bet no one had heard such passion before!


2.       Turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6)

3.       Affected palaces and prisons

4.       Enabled believers to witness to every nation (Col 1:23)

5.       14 of the 27 books of the New Testament were written by Saul who became known as the Apostle Paul


III.   Conclusion


A.      I wonder, could it all happen again? I believe it could, and I believe it must

B.      First by making sure you have had your own encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ

C.      Then by yielding to His authority over your life – making Him your Lord, not just Saviour


1.       It’s time to ask the Lord Jesus, with all sincerity, Lord, what wilt thou have ME to do now that I am your child?


D.      Then by patiently allowing God to mould and make you like Jesus – through your trials and through Christian training and discipleship

E.       Then by opening our mouths – oh that we Christians started putting more effort into the souls of men than the praise of men


1.       How many people know the Jesus of the Bible? How many know that YOU know the Jesus of the Bible?


F.       You see, There is another world – another dimension – eternity (Mk 10:30)


1.       This world is only temporary (Matthew 24:35)

2.       This world is a mess (1John 5:19)

3.       This world has a wicked spiritual ruler (John 14:30; 16:11; 12:31; 2Cor 4:4; Eph 2:2)

4.       It is so easy to love this present world (2Tim 4:10) and ignore the importance of the world to come

5.       It’s Heaven, or Hell – no purgatory, limbo, nirvana, blackness (Luke 16:23)

6.       This life is only temporary – does not last forever (1Tim 6:7)

7.       Jesus is from another world altogether – not another planet, but from a world none-the-less – just as real as this world (John 8:23; 14:1-3; 18:36)

8.       Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners (1Tim 1:15)

9.       Fear God who has the power to cast you into hell (Luke 12:5)