Good afternoon y’all. Today we are studying Acts 22.
During my study, I found an article online that blessed me richly. I would be sharing some excerpts from the article today. The full article can be found here.
The article highlights 5 lessons from Paul’s testimony to the Jews in chapter 22. I pray you are blessed by it 🙂
Gods Mighty Power to Save (Acts 22: 1-23) – Stephen J Cole
1. Paul’s testimony teaches us that being zealously religious does not reconcile us to God.
From his youth, Paul had been zealous for God (22:3). He had a Jewish pedigree that few could rival. As a Pharisee, Paul was trained according to the strictest law of the Jewish fathers. His zeal to preserve the ancient traditions led him to persecute to the death this new sect, known as the Way, going so far as to imprison not only men, but also women. He was heartless, even if it meant taking mothers away from their children. He did not restrict his zeal to those in Jerusalem, but was on his way to Damascus to round up the Christians there, when God struck him down with a blinding light from heaven. You can be zealous for God and actually be fighting against Him! All of the religious zeal in the world will not reconcile a soul to God. Usually, as in the case of Paul and these Jews, our religious zeal is just a cover-up for our pride and prejudice, which are sin. No amount of religious zeal can atone for sin
2. Paul’s testimony teaches us that salvation is by God’s grace and power, not by our merit or will power.
Everything about Paul’s conversion came from God. Nothing about his conversion stemmed from Paul. God didn’t look down and see some merit in Paul that qualified him to come to salvation. Quite to the contrary, he confesses that he was “a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a violent aggressor” (1 Tim. 1:13). Twice Jesus emphasizes that by persecuting the church, Paul was persecuting Jesus Himself (Acts 22:7, 8). For this, he deserved God’s judgment, but he was shown God’s mercy. In several places, Paul attributes the first cause of our salvation to God’s choice of us, not to our choice of Him. In Galatians 1:15, he says that God set him apart from his mother’s womb and called him through His grace. In Ephesians 1:4-6, he says, “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world …. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” In 2 Timothy 1:9, he says that God “has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.”
If God’s grace and power are mighty to save a sinner such as Paul, then He is able to save any sinner, and to do it instantly and totally. His light can blind and knock down the most insolent, proud, powerful persecutor of the church. You may have some terrible sins in your past. You may even be militantly opposed to Christianity, convinced by all of your arguments that it is just a myth. But the risen Lord Jesus is mighty to save even you. He can open your eyes to get a glimpse of His glory and grace, and you will never be the same.
3. Paul’s testimony teaches us that God often must humble us before He extends His mercy toward us.
Moments before this happened, Paul was picturing himself striding confidently into Damascus, his henchmen around him, waving to his admirers, while Christians fled in terror. Instead, he is blindly led into Damascus by the hand, completely submissive to God’s command. As a Pharisee, Paul was proud of his spiritual sight. God had to blind him so that he could begin to see rightly (see John 9:39-41). Before the Damascus Road, Paul would have said, “I see! I know the truth!” But now, blind and led by the hand, he had to admit that what he thought he saw before he no longer saw. And what he had never seen before, the glory of the risen Lord Jesus, now he saw.
God does not always humble us to the degree that He humbled Paul before we are converted. But if at some time we have not been humbled before God’s majesty, it shows that we barely know Him.
Such humble submission to God is a mark of true conversion. Paul’s two questions that he asks God here are good ones to ask every time you approach Him through His Word: “Who are You, Lord?” and, “What shall I do, Lord?” To say, as some do, “I believe in Jesus as my Savior, but I haven’t yielded to Him as Lord,” is nonsense! If He gives you even a brief glimpse of His power and glory, you will be laying prostrate with Paul, asking, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
4. Paul’s testimony teaches us that baptism is an important confession of our faith in Christ.
No sooner did Paul receive his sight through Ananias’ ministry than he exhorted him, “And now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name” (22:16). 1 Peter 3:21 states that baptism saves you, but then Peter clarifies what he means: “not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Quite often Scripture does what Peter does there: it closely associates the act of baptism with what that act symbolizes. Baptism in water pictures what God has already done in a person’s heart through faith, that He has washed away our sins. In Acts 22:16, Paul had already called upon the name of the Lord, at which point God washed away his sins. The act of baptism, in obedience to the Lord’s command, would be a graphic picture and source of assurance to Paul of the cleansing that had come to him the moment he trusted in Christ.
5. Paul’s testimony teaches us that God saves us for His purpose, not for our agendas.
This lesson is repeated twice so that we won’t miss it. First, the Lord tells Paul that in Damascus he would be told “all that has been appointed for you to do” (22:10). Then, Ananias tells Paul, “The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will, and to see the Righteous One [a Messianic term], and to hear an utterance from His mouth. For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard” (22:14-15). The first word translated “appointed” is a military word meaning, “to give orders or a command.” The second word that Ananias uses means “to take into one’s hand,” and thus to determine or choose. Neither word leaves a lot of “free will” to Paul concerning his future! God had determined how Paul would serve Him. He had an agenda for Paul, and that agenda did not coincide with what Paul initially wanted to do!
Paul wanted to stay in Jerusalem and be a witness to his fellow Jews. But when he returned to Jerusalem after his three years in Arabia, he was in the temple praying when he saw a vision of Jesus telling him to get out of Jerusalem quickly, because the Jews would not accept his testimony about Christ. Paul protested that his background would make him an excellent witness to the Jews, but the Lord overruled and sent him to the Gentiles.
God’s will for us does not always coincide with our will for ourselves. He wants the message of His salvation to go to all the nations on earth. While we aren’t all called to be missionaries, as Paul was, neither are we called to live selfishly for ourselves while the nations perish in darkness. If, like the Jews of Paul’s day, we begin to grow comfortable about being God’s chosen people and ignore His purpose of reaching the lost, then we’re missing God’s purpose for our lives. Every Christian should ask himself, “How does God want me to fit into His purpose of being glorified among the nations?”
Thanks for joining today. Pls feel free to share your thoughts on the chapter.
I’m blogging through the book of Acts a chapter a day with Good Morning Girls. Check us out at www.goodmorninggirls.org
Have a blessed day basking in God’s glory and goodness 🙂
***With God all things are possible***