Last week, in Acts 9:1-20, we saw how now one is too bad for God to save. Today, we see the difference God’s salvation makes: it’s a complete transformation, a change of life, a coming to life. That’s why coming to faith is called “conversion”: it’s a change from one thing into another. It’s new life; it’s being born again.
Last week, we saw how, when God saves us, He makes us new people with a new purpose. But there is a wrong way of thinking we need to avoid here: We often confuse our identity with our purpose.
When you meet someone, about the first question we usually ask is ‘What do you do?’ How we spend our time (at work or study or home) can be so important that we define who we are by it: “I am a farmer”, “I am a mother”, “I am a student”. And then, when we can’t do what we used to or want to do, we wonder who we are.
But there’s a bigger issue here: if we think who we are is determined by what we do, we can think we can change who we are by changing what we do, that I can become a new person by changing my purpose in life. That’s putting it the wrong way around: God makes us new people by changing who we are; our new purpose comes with that. But we think that we can just do something different, and we’ll be different.
Why does that matter? Real change doesn’t begin with what I do or you do. There is something fundamentally wrong with us, all of us; it’s called sin. That’s why we don’t get along with others; it’s why we feel guilty, because we are.
To become a new person, the change cannot come from us. The change must come from God. Here in Acts 9:20-43, we see three accounts of change, real change. In each case, the person who are changed were powerless to change themselves. Everyone realizes that when the see the change: they’re amazed and mystified! And in each case, the only explanation for the change is that Jesus is the Christ who has risen from the dead. No amount of social pressure or inner determination could bring about this change. Only the Risen Christ could. If Jesus is only a good teacher or a good example, none of this change is possible.
So, what do we see Christ do here? And what does it mean for us?
- Christ Proclaimed Himself Through Saul (v20-31)
- Christ Healed Aeneas to Wholeness (v32-35)
- Christ Raised Dorcas to Life (v36-43)
- Christ is Transforming People, So We Must Be Faithful (v20, 31, 35, 42)
Sunday 2nd December 2018
- Can change come from inside us? Yes/No
- Why/why not?
- What changed Saul (v4, 1 Cor 15:8)?
- How did Barnabas know Saul was really different (v27-29)?
- What did Saul have in common with his opponents in Jerusalem (v29)?
- What might following Jesus cost us (Mtt 10:21-22)?
- How does Jesus’ resurrection power change us (v34, Phil 3:10)?
- What does God do for the Church (v31)?
- What should we do (v20, 31)?
- A question I have:
- A truth to share:
- Something to pray about:
- How I should live: