- Converted to Christ with a Lingering Bad Reputation.
- Conspiracy to Kill Conversions to Christ.
- Wolf in Sheep Clothing or Sinner Clothed in Holy Spirit?
- Spreading the Gospel in a “Right Wing,” “Left Wing” Culture.
Converted to Christ with a Lingering Bad Reputation.
When a person receives the power of the Holy Spirit, the fiery tongue is waiting for the opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. That’s exactly what happened with Saul, “At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.” “At once” refers to after his eyes were opened and he received the holy Spirit. At the same time, many people have a reputation of being a real terror to decent human beings trying to live for Jesus Christ. It’s hard to shake the history of negative actions done when deliberately attacking anything to do with the Bible. Especially when those who govern by the mark of the beast forms thoughts, memories, feelings, and emotions against the new convert. People are caused to think suspiciously and to feel fear which impedes the reception of the Good News, “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?”
Many of us know how hard it is for people to warm up to us as followers of Jesus Christ. But we can’t let the thoughts and feelings of others hinder us from growing more powerful through the Holy Spirit. That power enables us to prove that Jesus is the Messiah. That is how it happened with Saul, “Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.” Today, many people are cautious of being receptive to influencers of the Gospel because of the harsh consequences. Those who govern by the mark of the beast intend to put down Christianity and to make the Bible a relic of the past. But there will always be a faithful few, filled with the power of Holy Spirit, who exist to the end of the earth.
“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?”
Yet Saul grew more and more powerful
and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.”
Conspiracy to Kill Conversions to Christ.
Saul was a person who definitely knew the “ins and outs” of how to purge the influence of Jesus Christ from the Jewish and Roman culture. He jailed many Christians and made them suffer. Now, he uses that experience to preach about God’s grace, to declare innocence through Jesus Christ, to tell others that Jesus would come to take them home, and to declare freedom from captivity to sin. Saul made it clear that it was Christ’s death and suffering that has set them free to inherit eternal life. Saul brought the message of setting the captives free by the grace of God through Jesus Christ. For that, the authorities conspired to murder Saul, but on this day his followers helped him to escape.
Today, many of us know the “ins and outs” of the society that lives by the mark of the beast. We know their thoughts are not their own, their feelings are not their own, and they all feel and think the same way from person to person, city to city, and nation to nation. They are hostile to human sentimentality, discard the need for Jesus Christ, make it a point to grieve the Holy Spirit, and they always mock and blaspheme God. As followers of Christ, we use our experiences, as filthy as what our past might be, and we glorify the name of Jesus. We acknowledge the need for Jesus Christ for the atonement of sin, we welcome the presence of the Holy Spirit, and we believe God. Those who govern by the mark of the beast want the influencers of Jesus Christ to disappear. They are progressing to establish a one global constitution that excludes God’s people, they are conspiring to kill the Gospel. There is strength in knowing that there will always be the faithful and few of Christ’s people. We might be scattered and few, but in Christ we are strong.
“After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him,
but Saul learned of their plan.
Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him.
But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket
through an opening in the wall.”
Wolf in Sheep Clothing or Sinner Clothed in Holy Spirit?
Conniving people will try various tactics to overcome God’s people. I’ve seen people who changed their appearance and behavior, but I questioned what they were up to. Before, they always brought friction when the Bible, Jesus Christ, or anything about God was brought up. Then one day they changed, they presented themselves with a softer external appearance and softer words. The question within myself was, “Is this person a wolf in sheep clothing or a sinner clothed in the Holy Spirit?” If a person is truly filled with the Holy Spirit, they have that fiery tongue that is compelled to glorify Jesus and to spread the testimony of Christ.
Saul was definitely not a wolf in sheep clothing, he was a sinner clothed in the Holy Spirit. If I had to guess what his “thorn in the side was” I would say it was his reputation of terrorizing the way of Christ. Satan was persecuting him constantly because of his history of persecuting Christ. With the thorn in his side, he tried to fit in with other Believers, “He tried to join the Disciples, but they were all afraid of him.” (The “Disciples” are followers of Jesus Christ, not the Apostles.) But Barnabas was a witness to the Holy Spirit fire within Saul, “He had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.” Instead of staying with the other Disciples, Saul stayed with the Apostles, “Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.” Let our testimony for Jesus Christ be seen in the burning desire we have to glorify the name of Jesus Christ and to spread the Gospel.
“When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the Disciples,
but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a Disciple.
But Barnabas took him and brought him to the Apostles.
He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him,
and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.
So, Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem,
speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.”
Spreading the Gospel in a “Right Wing,” “Left Wing” Culture.
This is an interesting part of Saul’s life. He is debating with the Hellenistic Jews who happen to be the same ones that were creating problems for the Apostles. Stephen was appointed as one to handle those problems as stated in Acts Chapter 6. Stepehen is the one who was murdered with Saul’s approval! Now, the Hellenistic Jews try to kill Saul for preaching the exact same message as Stephen. The confrontation was so intense that other Believers had to carry Saul away and take him to another city! What a conversion! Saul was truly filled with the fiery tongue of the Holy Spirit with a burning desire to make the Gospel known.
The Hellenistic Jews were those who broke off from tradition with the Hebrew Jews. They adopted the Greek culture and language. Eventually, the New Testament was written in Greek, but the Old Testament was written in Hebrew. I can see that the debate stemmed from Saul using the Hebrew Scripture to try to convince the Greek Jews that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah.
With the conversion of Saul to the way of Christ, there was no more persecution of the Church at that immediate time. The Church enjoyed a time of peace, were encouraged by the Holy Spirit, and increased in numbers.
Today, cities, states, and nations are divided culturally. There are those who can be categorized as “progressives,” or “left wing,” and those categorized as the “right wing” or those holding to the Godly heritage in Jesus Christ. It’s the same as the “left wing” Hellenistic Jews and the “right wing” Hebrew Jews. Today, the Hebrew Scripture (Old Testament) and the Greek Scripture (New Testament) are one Book, the Bible. However, the cultural division of today consists of those who choose to be governed by the mark of the beast and those who don’t. The division is irreconcilable to the testimony of Jesus Christ. Those who live by the mark of the beast are very hostile, violent, and downright intolerant of the Good News. To debate the Scriptures with them, especially about the book of Daniel and Revelation 13, provokes a hostile response. The best thing in the world would be for our Christian friends to carry us away to spread the Gospel in another area.
Today, there is a time of relative peace for Christians who stay at home and do not unleash the fiery tongue of the Gospel on the society of those who live for the mark of the beast. We can read the Scriptures at home, blog from home, and be encouraged by the Holy Spirit from home. I pray that some might turn to Jesus Christ from the comfort of their homes. I pray that they will be added to the number of the faithful few who hold to the testimony of Jesus Christ. Like the Believers of that time, maybe this is a period where we say we have, “enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened.“
“He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him.
When the Believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus. Then the Church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria
enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened.
Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.”
“….to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets,“
‘I will not impose any other burden on you, except to hold on to what you have until I come.’”
“I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.”
Revelation 2:24-25, 3:11