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Paul: Total Commitment     Acts 9:15-22, 26-30     June 29, 2008


Introduction
Paul receives the title "best example of a Christian in the New Testament" from many Christians. Why does he get this title? He lived a life of total commitment.


1. Total Commitment As A Response To God's . . Call. 9:15-16

A. Paul's Total Commitment To God's Call As A Vessel He Had . . Chosen. 9:15 -16
15 But the Lord said to him, "Go! For this man is My chosen instrument to carry My name before Gentiles, kings, and the sons of Israel. 16 I will certainly show him how much he must suffer for My name!"

B. Paul's Total Commitment To God's Call As A Vessel He Would . . Changed. 9:15 -16
17 So Ananias left and entered the house. Then he placed his hands on him and said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road you were traveling, has sent me so you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." 18 At once something
like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized.

        Paul received a unique call from God. I believe God gives each person the call he/she needs to respond to Him. Paul needed a Damascus Road experience. My wife and I received all we needed from godly mothers. Paul's experience is different and so is the service God had in mind for him. Paul, the persecutor of Christians, became the very persuasive persuader of many to become Christians. How can this be? He not only received a call from God, but God caused a change in him that amazed early Christians like Ananias. Even today people stand amazed at the change God made in him. Paul received a filling of the Spirit when Anainas placed his hands upon him. His baptism of the Spirit occurred at salvation. This is true according to 1 Cor. 12:13. I have recently been rereading Billy Graham's book on the Holy Spirit; get it if you can! Remember tongues is a sign gift to the lost, God gave Paul all the signs he needed for salvation. In the text he received a fresh infilling of the Spirit.


2. Total Commitment A Response To God's . . Commission. 9:15-16

A. Paul's Total Commitment To God's Commissioned To . . Proclaim Jesus. 9:19-20
19 And after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul was with the disciples in Damascus for some days. 20 Immediately he began proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues: "He is the Son of God."

B. Paul's Total Commitment To God's Commission To . . Prove Jesus. 9:21-22
21 But all who heard him were astounded and said, "Isn't this the man who, in Jerusalem, was destroying those who called on this name, and then came here for the purpose of taking them as prisoners to the chief priests?" 22 But Saul grew more capable,
and kept confounding the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that this One is the Messiah.

        I find it very interesting that Paul immediately proclaimed Jesus. We need to be supportive of new Christians, and probably should get them out witnessing very soon after their conversion. Our trouble in doing this is members willing and able to encourage new Christians in this ministry. The Bible says he confounded the Jews by proving that Jesus is the Messiah. Truth does puzzle people who receive it for the first time. These Jews knew the prophecies about the Messiah, and Paul proved Jesus demonstrated the qualities describing the Messiah in the Old Testament.



3. Total Commitment A Response To God's . . Care. 9:26-30

A. Paul's Total Commitment To God's Care In . . Protecting Him. 9:26
26 When he arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to associate with the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, since they did not believe he was a disciple.

B. Paul's Total Commitment To God's Care In . . Providing For Him. 9:27
27 Barnabas, however, took him and brought him to the apostles and explained to them how, on the road, Saul had seen the Lord, and that He had talked to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus.

C. Paul's Total Commitment To God's Care In . . Projecting Him. 9:28-30
28 Saul was coming and going with them in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He conversed and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they attempted to kill him. 30 When the brothers found out, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to
Tarsus.

        The church people were afraid of Paul. His reputation preceded him but his consistency proved his discipleship. He provided a Barnabas to break the ice and allow him into the fellowship of the church. The name "Barnabas" means "encourager," or encouragement. Do you have in your church some people with an encouraging ministry. Recently I told a prominent pastor (John Marshall) two of my long time friends were members of the church he pastors, and he said, Jim and Mary Pruitt are encouragers. Paul's encourager helped him in projecting himself into other areas of ministry. Did you ever hear about the guy who stopped witnessing because someone slammed a door in his face? He died and in heaven can you believe he looked for sympathy from Paul? God protected Paul, through His people, and Paul demonstrated a Christlike example. When we study about Paul we certainly witness a Christian with total commitment. Amen? Amen!