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Matthew 28
posted August 9, 2012

Revelation 13
posted August 16, 2012

Journey Of Paul - February 4, 2007


Sermon of the Week 200705 – February 4, 2007

Saul of Tarsus was on a journey. A journey to Damascus to find any that were of the Way, that he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Five times in the book of Acts, the Church of the Lord is called the Way.  Perhaps it is called the Way because of the prophecy of Isaiah, “Prepare ye the Way of the Lord, make His paths straight.” The Way will always lead you somewhere; it will lead you to Heaven. The best Way to find the Way is turn Right and go straight. The Way is not a Way, but the Way. The Way is the same as saying the only Way. There is no other Way. This statement needs a little more definition. The Way referred to, is the only way to live in this world. The Way is the only Way to find forgiveness of sins. The Way is the only answer to the social ills of the world. The Way is the only Way to give us peace when we remember our mortality. The Way is the only Way to the Heaven that everybody thinks they are going to, and without which they have no promise of going. The Way is the only Way to escape the Hell that everybody says they don’t believe in. The Hell, without which the Bible does not make any sense seeing as how the Lord came to save us from going there.

So, Saul of Tarsus was on his journey to Damascus to find any that were of the Way, whether men or women, that he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. So here it is, the life journey of the Apostle Paul. First we note the SUMMONS.


Jesus appeared suddenly at about noon as a light out of Heaven above the brightness of the midday sun. This appearance of Jesus to Saul was the last thing he could have been thinking about. This reminds us of the appearance of Jesus at the Second Coming. Jesus said, “In an hour when they think not, the Son of man cometh.”

Saul fell to the earth and heard a voice that said, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” Saul had no answer as to why he persecuted Jesus. No explanation he could give would make any sense in the presence of the risen Lord. When the Lord asks the unforgiven sinner on the Judgment Day, “WHY?” there will be no answer. No answer that could be given will make any sense.

 Then notice Jesus called his name twice, “Saul, Saul.”  Before the crucifixion Jesus warned Peter that Satan was after him. He addressed him as he did Saul, “Simon, Simon, Satan hath asked for thee that he may sift you as wheat.” That double name seems to be a warning to both men that they were on a collision course to Hell. Saul, Saul, Simon, Simon!

When the Lord identified Himself, Saul said, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” He did not ask, “What will the chief priests have me to do? What will the Pharisees have me to do? What will my family have me to do? What will my preacher or my church have me do? Lord, what do YOU want me to do?” For us, the question is, “Lord, tell me what your inspired Word, the Bible, would have me do?”

The Lord told him to arise and enter into the city. That is what Saul had planned to do. He was being sent by the chief priests to go into that city and bring as many Christians as possible back to Jerusalem in chains, to be punished. And now he is commissioned by the Lord to go into the city where it would be said, “Straightway in the synagogue he would proclaim Jesus that He is the Son of God.” Go into the city, Paul, but go with a different purpose. Go into the city to preach Christ; go to Damascus and it would be told him what to do. He was told the Lord would appoint him a minister and a witness to turn people from darkness to the light, from the power of Satan unto God that they might receive remission of sins and an inheritance among them that are sanctified.

So Saul of Tarsus is summoned by Jesus on his journey to Damascus. Saul sees things differently now. Before, he saw things in the sunlight, SUNLIGHT, now he sees things in the Sonlight, SONLIGHT. From now on, his purpose would not be to destroy those that were of the Way, but to help others to find the Way. Paul had the same drive and power in his life that many have today in various other matters. Some people dedicate their lives to save the spotted owl. The spotted owl is an endangered species. We must save the spotted owl. Some go to the expense and effort to save the whales. The whales are swimming up on the beaches and dying. Some put an equal amount of time, effort, and expense in the program to save the lobsters.

Paul believed that human beings are the most endangered species of all. If something is not done to save them, thousands of our friends and associates will die and go to Hell. I am not speaking merely of the drug pushers and perverts and wife beaters; I refer to multiplied millions who have not obeyed the gospel. So Saul of Tarsus is summoned by the Lord. He arises from the earth and finds he cannot see, and must be led by the hand into Damascus to await further orders. While he was waiting, he had to sweat it out. The Lord let him cool his heels for three days, three days in which he neither ate nor drank. His principle activity in those three days was spent in prayer. This was the summons Saul of Tarsus received on his journey to Damascus. Now we are ready to notice his SALVATION.


The Lord had told Saul to go to Damascus and it would be told him what he must do. There was something that he must do. What was it? After he had gone without food and drink for three days, praying all the while, a man was sent from the Lord named Ananias.

The Lord told Ananias, “Arise and go to the street that is called Straight and inquire at the house of Judas for one named Saul, a man of Tarsus, for behold he prayeth.” The Lord knew the street where Saul would be found. He also knew the name of the man who owned the house. The Lord also knows where we live. He knows the city, the street, and the number of the house, the zip code, your social security number, and your phone number. And He also knows who is at your house and He knows what they are doing? In this case, He knew that Saul would be praying.

Ananias told him that he had been sent that he might receive his sight. And straightway he laid his hands on him and there fell from his eyes as it were scales and he received his sight. He was then told, “Why tariest thou, arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins calling on the name of the Lord.” This is the point where Saul was saved. When the scales of preconceived ideas are removed from your eyes, you will do what Saul of Tarsus did. If he was saved when he saw Jesus and believed on Him he was saved before he was forgiven. True, he believed and had repented and was so sorry for his sins, he could not eat or drink, but it was not until he was told to arise and be baptized that it says his sins were washed away.

Later on, Paul explained in First Timothy why God was so gracious to him and was willing to forgive him of such sins as slaughtering so many Christians when he said, “Faithful is the saying and worthy of all acceptation that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief: howbeit for this cause I received mercy, that in me as chief might Jesus Christ show forth all His longsuffering, for an example of them that should thereafter believe on Him unto eternal life.” In other words, if Saul of Tarsus could be saved, anybody can.

Are you aware that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and arose from the dead? Do you believe it? Are you repentant? Then why tarriest thou, what are you waiting for? Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins calling on the name of the Lord. Now that Saul of Tarsus has been Summoned and Saved, we note also that he was SANCTIFIED.


The process of sanctification is mentioned in Ephesians. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” And then again in Corinthians, “But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

The process of sanctification begins when we become Christians, and continues as we learn more about the Lord and the life style He wants us to live. Jesus prayed for the disciples that they might be sanctified in truth. Thy word is truth. So after you become a Christian, sanctification can continue as you read God’s Word. The more Bible you read, the more sanctified or holy you should become.

Remember, Saul was told to go into Damascus and there it would be told him what to do. After he was told to obey the Lord regarding salvation, he was then told that he would be sent with the gospel message to people in many places. So Saul was Summoned, Saved, Sanctified, and then SENT.


Saul of Tarsus wasted no time. Straightway he proclaimed at Damascus that Jesus was the Son of God. What a shock this must have been. The people, who had awaited his coming to help rid Damascus of these Christian vermin, now heard him preach the faith he had come to destroy. So they decided to kill him. The disciples helped him escape by lowering him over the wall in a basket. Every Church needs a ropes and basket squad. Their names are not given, but God will remember who they were. Their names were not listed in the bulletin, but they are recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life. In that basket that night, the ropes and basket squad held the plantings of hundreds of churches, plus one hundred chapters of the New Testament. They had no idea of the far-reaching effects of their ministry that night. What a tragedy if one of the members of the ropes and basket squad had stayed home to watch the Monday night football game. The world would never have heard of the Apostle Paul.

When he escaped, he went to Jerusalem and tried to join the local Church, and they were afraid of him until Barnabas explained what had happened. Many folk leave their community and go someplace else and never look up the local congregation. When you become a Christian, it is natural that you will want to find where other Christians meet, and associate with them.

Paul wanted to stay at Jerusalem, perhaps to be the senior minister of the First Christian Church, but God had other plans for him. The Lord told him, “Depart and I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.”

Later on when he was at Antioch, the Holy Spirit said, “Separate Me Saul and Barnabas for the work whereunto I have sent them.” The Church needs to send out preachers today to preach the terms of pardon that were preached the day the Church began. If the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ do not send out faithful preachers, the Lord will have to raise up others to do it. He has done it before and He will do it again. The reason I am preaching to you today is because the Church of Christ where I was a member fifty years ago sent me out to preach. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am still preaching the same message they sent me out to preach fifty years ago and I have no intentions of changing it. The Lord has not changed, the Bible has not changed, the Devil has not changed, sin has not changed, Hell has not changed, and Heaven has not changed. Saul of Tarsus was Summoned, Saved, Sanctified, and Sent and now we note that he was SUSTAINED.


In the third chapter of Second Timothy we note an example of how he was sustained, “But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.”

Perhaps some would think that the Lord had a strange way of delivering him. Think of all the afflictions he suffered; he said that he had been shipwrecked three times, beaten with rods three times, beaten with thirty-nine stripes five times. This would have been enough for most of us preachers today to suffer what we call burnout. Paul was sustained and kept going.

Sometimes, we preachers complain today of what a hard time we have. My guess is, we would gladly endure the bickering and backbiting of our people today rather than endure even one of Paul’s beatings.

There is one area of the sustaining power of the Lord in Paul’s life that he did not mention. It happened at Lystra. He was stoned there. But there was something that happened at Lystra that was a greater trial than the stoning. That was when the people of Lystra said of Paul and Barnabas, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men.” To say that preachers are gods in the likeness of men is the most seductive temptation of men. I saw a tabloid headline where one wife of a preacher said, “Women look upon my husband as a god.” There was only One who was God come to earth in the likeness of men and it was not your preacher! Jesus is the only God who came to earth in the likeness of men so that we might become men in the likeness of God. Paul was Summoned, Saved, Sanctified, Sent, Sustained, and now we note that he was SACRIFICED.


Last of all, Paul was sacrificed. He said, “The time of my departure is at hand and I am already being offered. I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.” You would think that after all that work and suffering that the Lord would retire Paul to some warm climate to live out the rest of his days. That is not exactly the way it was. The Lord rewarded him with a martyr’s death. He would die with his boots on.

He said, “I have fought a good fight.” When the Lord Summons, Saves, Sanctifies, Sends, Sustains, and Sacrifices us, it is because He has not sent us into a frolic; He sends us into a fight. Quite a different program than the advertisement of a Church program I saw recently where those who attended were promised balloons, candy, games, musical entertainment, clowns, door prizes, face painting, and much more. I would be afraid to inquire what the much more was. Paul says he fought a good fight. Some Churches today are not fighting the good fight of the faith but playing the good game of the faith. The Lord does not send us out to a frolic, He sends us into a fight. He does not send us out to a parade, He sends us out on pilgrimage. He does not send us out to a circus, He sends us out to a crusade.

Paul said, “I have kept the faith.” We use to have a motto in the Christian Church and Churches of Christ that stated, “Where the Bible speaks we speak, where the Bible is silent we are silent.” That motto is out of date now. A better one would be “ANYTHING GOES”. You can hardly recognize the Church anymore. Hear me, if you believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, never be satisfied with anything less than the old Jerusalem gospel. Keep the faith! If you believe the gospel plan of salvation revealed the day the Church began, never be satisfied with anything less. Keep the faith! If you believe in observing the Lord’s Supper on the Lord’s Day, and not on Saturday night, never be satisfied with anything less. Keep the faith!

The late sportscaster Grantland Rice said it for us:

“The way is rough and long and hard with soft spots far apart.

And only they can make the grade who have the uphill heart.

And when they stop you with a thud or jolt you with a crack,

Let courage call the signals as you keep coming back.

Keep coming back and though the world may romp across your spine,

Let each game’s end find you upon the scrimmage line.

For when the One great scorer comes to mark against your name,

He'll mark not how you won or lost but how you played the game.”