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INTRODUCTION.        

The young man who was required to mind the clothes of those who had stoned Stephen to death and who had completely agreed with the execution now moves to centre stage front and his presence and passion dominate the rest of the book of Acts. – the rest of the New Testament, for that matter.

Last time we identified Stephen as a man of passion, Philip as a man of miracles and a man of God’s word. This time we meet Saul, a man of religion

[1]  SAUL – A MAN OF RELIGION

It would seem that the execution of Stephen (which Saul witnessed) ignited something in that fanatical Pharisee turning him into a crazy man.  Read 7/57-8/3 as well as 9/1,2  .Saul’s behaviour was passionate to say the least. The imagery in Luke’s choice of words is that of a wild boar crashing through a fence into an orchard and tearing it to pieces. It’s a very graphic description when compared with what Paul was planning to do to those who had become followers of the Way. The driving force for this outbreak of persecution was this young man who was a disciple of Gamaliel (Acts 22/3).

If you read Philippians 3/1-6, you will realise that his upbringing bordered on the fanatical. it seems strange that Saul would ignore the counsel of his mentor (5/38,39) and throw caution to the wind in his pursuit and destruction of the Followers of the Way.

What, then, is the difference between being religious and being a Christian?

[2] AMBUSHED ON THE DAMASCUS ROAD  (9/3-9)

a. From the information given to us in these verses, construct a picture with you as one of the team travelling with Saul. Describe Saul’s attitude. How are you feeling as you get closer to Damascus? What happened next? How did Saul seem after the ambush? Are there any lessons for us in this scenario”?

[3]   A RELUCTANT MESSENGER (VS.10-19)

a. The Lord is very active in these encounters. He directed Philip so far as the Ethiopian Treasurer was concerned. He confronts Saul on the Damascus Road. Now he commissions Ananias for a special task. Even as he does that, He is interacting with Saul (vs.11,12).

b. Do you ever ask yourself, “Why doesn’t God work so obviously today with us as He did then?” Have you come up with any answers that might help us?

c. So far as Ananias is concerned, this is a suicide mission and he lets his concern be known (vs.13,14). God doesn’t enter into an argument with Ananias. He simply repeats the directive.

d. Imagine you are Saul. You are blind. You are in enemy territory. The disciples in Damascus know why you have come and what you are intending to do (v.14). What do you do in the darkness? What does God do? (v.11,12)

e. What does Ananias do? Think about his greeting to Saul “Brother Saul……” Unexpected but beautiful!!. We hear nothing more of Ananias. Yet he played such a strategic part in Saul’s conversion.

[4]  THE HUNTER BECOMES THE HUNTED  (vs.19-31)

Read these verses as historical narrative but pause long enough to consider these observations  

iVerse 31 is the summary statement as Saul departs the scene. Luke’s summary notes a couple of reasons for the growth of the Church. What are they?

Saul leaves the stage now and won’t be seen again until the beginning g of the 3rd Phase at chapter 13.

His place is taken by Peter

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