By: Holly Green
On Sunday morning, we just started a study on “Paul’s Adventure’s in the Gospel” that will last 13 weeks. Our preacher, Phillip Mullins, is teaching the class and I wanted to pass along some of the things we talked about.
The first class was pretty much background and introductory information on the people of the day and on Paul’s background.
First of all, we addressed the idea of calling these things that happened to him “adventures” but Phillip pointed out that as a Christian, in that point in time was adventurous because of the Pharisees killing many Christians. The rewards that Paul and even all of us will reap will be eternal.
In Acts 26, Paul gives his defense before King Agrippa and begins by describing his background and his conversion.
Pharisee-strictest sect, implemented traditions
Tribe of Benjamin
Educated at the feet of Gamaliel-one of the leading jewish scholars
Paul, then Saul, grew up in Tarsus, a jewish enclave in a metropolitan area. He was an up and coming rising star in the Pharisee sect. He had already risen to the level to where he had the power to vote whether people lived or died after they were arrested. This included Christians because he says “Not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, but also, when they were being put to death, I cast my vote against them.” Acts 26:10
In verse 9, he says that he did, “many things hostile to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” In other words, he was one of the leading opponents to Christianity, having them arrested and punished and ultimately, contributing to their deaths.
Acts 9 describes the conversion of Saul and in verse 10, Ananias is told in a vision to go to Saul and talk to him. Naturally, he responds with fear because he has heard of Saul of Tarsus and all of the Christians he has harmed and knew full well that he could be arrested. Saul was known as “that guy”, “You know, that guy”, “Oh, that guy!”
The Lord tells him to go anyway because he would be an instrument in Christ’s name and tells Ananias, “I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” Acts 9:15-16
Despite his fear of this powerful enemy of the Christians, he talks to Saul.
Ananias, despite fear, talks to him
Miracle-appearance of Jesus
Instrument, obedience and baptism-wash away sins
Ramifications-a switch of friends and enemies happened
Saul came to have a family unlike any other
Acts 11-Barnabas called him to Antioch for his first big sermon
Phillipians 3-Paul explains why he gave up all he had with the Pharisees
Acts 9:20-immediately, he preached
Galatians 1:11-17-he received direct revelation from Christ
I Corinthians 15:8-11-he says the source is grace 3 times
Paul was still in sin until he was baptized. Ananias had laid his hands on Paul and the scales had fallen off of his eyes but he still needed to do one more thing for his conversion to be complete and him to be saved. He immediately begins to preach Jesus in the synagogues and of course, people are amazed. Everyone knew who this guy was and that he was to be feared. Now, he is preaching the gospel and proving that Jesus is the Christ. Imagine the fear, when a newly converted Paul comes very enthusiastically toward the disciples, trying to convince them that he is now a Christian. Imagine the shock when the Pharisees found out about his conversion, the ultimate betrayal. A change like that takes a lot of guts and led this man into many adventures, with the Pharisees wanting to kill him.