Over the years we keep returning to special accounts in Scripture that speak so clearly of the principles that God used in the Early Church and still wants to use today. One of those accounts is the apostle Paul. His conversion in Acts 9 yields insights that continually teach us of the ways God uses to expand the gospel. Shortly after Saul’s conversion, he remained “some days…with the disciples at Damascus. And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogue, saying, “He is the Son of God.” And all who heard him were amazed” (9:19b-20).
Saul had no formal training after his encounter with Jesus. There were not Bible Colleges or Seminaries to send him off to. “But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ” (9:22). Where did this power come from? How did he have such ability to speak with convincing evidence about Jesus when days before he was set on wiping out the name and those who followed it?
There is one more element that is part of the answer. Ananias was very much opposed to Saul’s conversion because of his track record. But the Lord assured Ananias that this man was destined to be a powerful witness in unusual places. As Ananias receives this instruction from the Lord, he “departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road…has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit” (9:17).
Saul would not be an effective and powerful preacher without the Holy Spirit filling him. Neither will you. We must renew our passion for Him in our lives, churches and ministry if we are going to expect God to do a fresh work through us in spreading the gospel.
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