A New Purpose!
November 3, 2015 - His Way!
“Immediately [Paul] preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. All who heard were amazed, and said, ‘Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?’ But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ” (Acts 9:20-22).
1. Saul was breathing out murderous threats against the Christians and he thought he was doing God a favor.
“They will put you out of the synagogues; the time is coming that whoeverkills you will think he offers God service”(John 16:2).
2. What Saul was doing was not even friendly fire. He was actually on purpose, persecuting Jesus Christ!
(Friendly fire is an attack by a military force while attempting to attack the enemy, either bymisidentifying the target as
hostile or due to errors or inaccuracy.)
3. King Jesus takes very personally the persecution of His sons and daughters.
Written in myjournal this morning: “Saul was persecuting individuals -harming women just like me! But Jesus took it very personally and stated that the harm was against Him. King Jesus said, ‘Why are you persecuting ME?’ The Lord takes the persecution that I experience very seriously and personally - just as if the very details of what is being said and done against me is being done against Him. “Saul was breathing out threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord...then he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ And Saul said, ‘Who are You?’ The Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting’” (Acts 9:1-5).
4. Apparently Saul needed humbling: “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do”
(Acts 9:6); “They led him by the hand” (verse 8); “He was three days without sight” (verse 9).
“To kick against the goads was a common expression found in both Greek and Latin literature—a rural image, which rose from the practice of farmers goading their oxen in the fields. Though unfamiliar to us, everyone in that day understood its meaning.Goads were typically made from slender pieces of timber, blunt on one end and pointed on the other. Farmers used the pointed end to urge a stubborn ox into motion. Occasionally, the beast would kick at the goad. The more the ox kicked, the more likely the goad would stab into the flesh of its leg, causing greater pain.Saul’s conversion could appear to us as having been a sudden encounter with Christ. But based on the Lord's expression regarding his kicking back, I believe He’d been working on him for years.”Chuck Swindoll
5. God gives grace to the humble. Acts is all about humility, one-accord unity and great miracles! These ___ go together!
“God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble” (Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5).
A true story of these principles working together. Project Pearl, The One Million Bibles that Changed China, by Brother David.
“After [the one-million] Bibles had been successfully loaded onto our barge, we received confirmation from the Kwangs that the delivery was on. We would be departing for south China on 18 April . With a mixture of apprehension and excitement, the crew gathered for a thanksgiving service on board the tugboat. We worshipped God, prayed and took the Lord's Supper together. It was a somber and holy time, as we consecrated ourselves anew to Jesus, and dedicated ourselves for the task ahead. On the afternoon of 16 April, I was busy trying to tie up some of the many loose ends that had to be completed before the departure 48 hours later. Telephone rang. I picked it up and heard the familiar voice of Brother Andrew, calling from Holland. I thought he wanted to assure us of his prayers and to ask how all our preparations were coming together for the delivery. After a few seconds, however, I sensed something was different in Brother Andrew’s voice. The normal joy and encouragement was missing. ‘David’, he said, ‘I want you to stop the mission.’A numb feeling engulfed my body as I began to explain that everything had been organized and was ready to go. ‘Andrew, thousands of Chinese believers are waiting for the Bibles. Some are already traveling thousands of miles to the beach to receive them. We can't stop the mission now!’ Andrew was adamant. He wanted Project Pearl called off... [Later] I called Brother Andrew back and asked him what was the reason for cancelling the mission. He replied, ‘David, I have 20 things against you. We need to sort these out.’ After the call I was devastated...down on the floor weeping...while I poured out my grief to the Lord, I was reminded of what Jesus said, “If you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24). God was telling me that if I didn't reconcile with my brother, we would not be worthy to present our gifts upon the altar: we had a large altar- a barge loaded with one million Bibles. The boat, barge, Bibles and other equipment had cost nearly 3 million dollars.” Postscript: After humility, reconciliation, and unity, on June 18, 1981, the one million Bibles were successfully delivered to Chinese Christians on a beach in south China!