Sunday Worship Service’s Sermon (7-23-2023)
are My Chosen Instrument to Proclaim My Name
go!”, “You go into your local community, and make everyone a disciple of Jesus”
command of Jesus is still the word that our Savior Jesus gives to the church He
established and to His disciples. The word our Lord still tells us is, “Go and
make disciples of all nations.” There is one reason for empty churches,
declining churches, and dying churches. It is the result of disobeying the
command of the Lord who said, “You go into the world and make disciples of all
Sunday, we saw that the Holy Spirit led Philip to Samaria. And we saw the Holy
Spirit again telling him to 'go' from there to the Ethiopian eunuch in the
wilderness of Gaza. We also saw that the Holy Spirit told him to go to many
people in Azotus. In today's text we see that Jesus called Ananias, who lived
in Damascus, to go and He also commanded Saul to go.
we see the Holy Spirit who continues to send the Lord's Church into the world,
and the disciples of the Lord who are led by the Holy Spirit to go and share
the gospel with the world. This is the overall pattern of Acts.
look at verses 10-12) In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord
called to him in a vision, "Ananias!" "Yes, Lord," he
answered. The Lord told him, "Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street
and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying.
a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to
restore his sight." And the Lord told him where Saul was, and said, 'Go'
to the repentant Saul.
person who has met Jesus and repented needs a good spiritual leader (= a good
church). Jesus, who transformed Saul, entrusted the work to Ananias.
fact, this Saul was a person that all Christians at the time were very fearful
of and really disapproved of. This man was a person that had done much harm to
the Lord’s church members in Jerusalem. He was a sympathizer in Stephen's
martyrdom. He is the one who went to the disciples of Jesus, bound them,
brought them to Jerusalem, and imprisoned them in order to destroy the church. On
the day that Saul met Jesus on the way to Damascus, he was breathing out
murderous threats to arrest the Lord's disciples in Damascus.
aware of Saul's notoriety, was reluctant to obey the Lord's command to 'go' to
Saul. (Let’s look at verses 13-14) “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many
reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in
Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest
all who call on your name.”
other words, he was saying: ‘I don't want to go to this person. I am afraid to
go to this person.’ But Jesus commanded Ananias once more clearly to ‘go.’
Then, Jesus told Ananias about His thoughts and plans for Saul.
look at verses 15-16) “But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen
instrument to proclaim my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before
the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
God who created us and sent us into the world has a wonderful plan for each of
us. What could it be? ‘It is that this person (=You are) is the Lord’s
instrument chosen by God to spread the name of Jesus Christ.’
Sisters and Brothers, when we hear God's plans and thoughts for us, don't we
experience the thrill in our hearts? Was this just God's plan only for Saul?
No. This is God's plan and thought for all the people He created and sent into
the world. Jesus wanted to save Saul, who once persecuted the Lord's church and
disciples, and make him a disciple of Jesus who would preach the gospel to the
ends of the earth. The Lord wanted to show him how much he must suffer for the
Lord’s name. Even when we evangelize to people, God can turn people who reject
Jesus into people like Saul. God's thoughts are higher and greater than man's
thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). Even if they were people who acted like enemies to
the Lord's church and disciples in the past, God can change them in order to
accomplish amazing world mission work. I believe that God will use you and me
do you and I want to live when we hear these amazing plans and thoughts of God
for us? If you and I were Ananias, what would we have done that day? When
Ananias heard these words of the Lord, he put down all his thoughts, feelings,
and prejudices about Saul, and went to Saul, following Jesus' command to go to
him. This is the life of the Lord's church. This is the life of the disciples
of the Lord.
look at verse 17) “Then Ananias went to the house and entered it.”
act of obeying the Lord's command to 'go' here seems like a very small thing,
but it was a great change in action. It seems like a very small thing, but it was
a tremendous act of courage and faith and it shows a big life change. This
means that he began to live as a disciple of the Lord's church.
was the day our Lord was most pleased with each of us in our lives? To be sure,
this is the day when we finally went out boldly into the world sharing the
gospel. When was the day our Lord was most happy in Ananias' life? It must have
been the day when Ananias boldly went to Saul with the word given by the Lord.
Ananias probably prayed a lot about this meeting - even on the way to Judah's
house where Saul was staying.
verse 17, Ananias finally met Saul. And when Ananias met Saul for the first
time, he called him 'Brother Saul'. Ananias
accepted Saul, whom he had previously regarded as his enemy, as a 'brother in
Christ’ and as a spiritual member of God's family. And he placed his hands on
Saul with the heart of a brother in the Lord and prayed: “The Lord--Jesus, who
appeared to you on the road as you were coming here--has sent me so that you
may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like
scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. And Saul was baptized.
And Ananias taught Saul God's plan for him. In other words, Ananias taught Saul
to live as an evangelist from the first day he believed in Jesus as the Savior.
a result, Saul, who had previously worked to destroy the church, who had persecuted
and imprisoned the Lord’s disciples while breathing out murderous threats, at
once began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. (See verse
20) From the first day he received Jesus as his Savior, he began visiting Jews
and preaching that Jesus is the Christ. He began to live with this faith and
this confession of faith, 'You are the Christ, the living God.' He became a
Holy Spirit-filled evangelist just as Ananias prayed for him. Likewise, a saved
person does not remain in what he had previously believed about Jesus, but he now
goes to preach the gospel to others for their salvation. The church established
by the Lord, a group of people who confess that “You are the Christ and the
living God”, boldly testify that Jesus is the Christ.
look at verses 20-21) “At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus
is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, isn’t he
the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And
hasn't he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?”
anyone knows that Jesus is the Christ, even the person who previously tried to
destroy those who called this name, immediately becomes someone who proclaims
that Jesus is the Christ. The biggest change in my life after believing in Jesus
as my Savior (=the biggest change that surprised me and other friends when they
saw me) was that I became a person who preached that Jesus is God. This is
believing in Jesus. Didn't Jesus say, “Come, follow me, and I will send you out
to fish for people?” (Matthew 4:19)
pray that such an amazing change will happen to all of us while living a life
of faith in our church. Indeed, those who believe that 'Jesus is the Christ and
the living God', those who persecute and hate those who believe in Jesus, like
Saul, repent and immediately go to the world and begin to tell people that
Jesus is the Savior. This is the power of the gospel.
look at verse 22) “Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews
living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.”
preached more powerfully as time passed. In the early Jerusalem church, all
church members participated in sharing the gospel from the first day. This is
the thing we should learn. This is the power of the gospel. Knowing that Jesus
saved us is the happiest thing to us. Believing in Jesus as our Savior is the
happiest thing to us. Those who are saved cannot endure without telling people
about Jesus who saved them. It is because we know very well how precious the
grace and love for which we were saved is.
on to God's thoughts and plans for us this morning.
man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name in the world (Acts 9:15).”
Saul, I hope that we will live as instruments chosen by the Lord to tell people
about the Lord who saved us. Also, I
hope that we will become people like Ananias whom our Lord can entrust to those
who repent and return to the Lord. In other words, I hope that we will grow up
as disciples of the Lord like Ananias, who pray for the persons God has
entrusted to us to be filled with the Holy Spirit, baptizing them, teaching
them to obey everything the Lord has commanded us, helping them join their
church family, and helping them grow as disciples of the Lord who participate
in the gospel from the first day, they receive Jesus to the day they stand
before the Lord. Amen!!