Saul in Damascus and Jerusalem
Saul stayed with the believers[d] in Damascus for a few days. 20 And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is indeed the Son of God!”
21 All who heard him were amazed. “Isn’t this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem?” they asked. “And didn’t he come here to arrest them and take them in chains to the leading priests?”
22 Saul’s preaching became more and more powerful, and the Jews in Damascus couldn’t refute his proofs that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. 23 After a while some of the Jews plotted together to kill him. 24 They were watching for him day and night at the city gate so they could murder him, but Saul was told about their plot. 25 So during the night, some of the other believers[e] lowered him in a large basket through an opening in the city wall.
26 When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him. They did not believe he had truly become a believer! 27 Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus.
28 So Saul stayed with the apostles and went all around Jerusalem with them, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He debated with some Greek-speaking Jews, but they tried to murder him. 30 When the believers[f] heard about this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus, his hometown.
31 The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers.
Last week in Life Changing Events, LD Gillespie discussed Saul's Conversion on the road to Damascus. We learned that Saul who had been a persecutor of the followers of Jesus, became an eye witness or an Apostle of Jesus.
Acts 9: 26 When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him. They did not believe he had truly become a believer! 27 Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus.
Barnabas was an encourager. Barnabas looked around and saw where God was working and joined Him. What would the New Testament look like without Barnabas? Barnabas continued to be an encourager. He continued to be there encouraging them and picking them up when they were down.
In life we are often presented with opportunities to do one of two things. We have the decision to encourage someone or criticize someone. We look at this and wonder who's more important - the one out front or the one in the back doing the encouraging? Neither is more important. They are both equally important, and they are both necessary to carry the Good News of Jesus Christ around the world.
The most telling verse about Barnabas is in Acts 11.
22 When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord.24 Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord.
Today, we have the opportunity to share The Gospel to the ends of the earth. It becomes more and more clear of why we are called to be disciples and not just converts. Someone who is a disciple has a witness and a testimony to share with someone else.
Matthew 28:19 - Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations...
For each of us, we have to answer this question
What kind of example for Christ have I been? At home? At work? In the community?
If your answers are good, then thank God for that and ask God to give you the strength to continue and grow stronger to Him daily. The good news is that if you haven't been a good example, there's forgiveness. The Grace of God is wonderful because even if we haven't been doing a good job, we can start again today.
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life... Deuteronomy 30:19-20.
Where do you stand with God today?
Please listen to the podcast to hear the message in it's entirety.
(Bible Scripture copied from NLT version -BibleGateway.com)