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                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                    The Conversion Of Saul (9:1-19)


1. From the conversion of "The Ethiopian", we now turn our attention to
   the most famous conversion in the New Testament...
   a. That of Saul of Tarsus, chief persecutor of the early church - Ac
      8:1,3; 9:1-2
   b. Later known as Paul the apostle (Ac 13:9), who suffered much
      persecution for the cause of Christ - cf. 2Co 11:23-28
   c. Whose conversion stands as a powerful testimony to the resurrection
      of Jesus Christ

2. There are three accounts of his conversion in The Book of Acts...
   a. Ac 9:1-19 - where Luke describes it as it happened
   b. Ac 22:6-16 - where Paul recounts his conversion before a large
   c. Ac 26:12-18 - where Paul defends himself before King Agrippa

3. From "The Conversion of Saul" we find...
   a. Not only a powerful testimony to the resurrection of Jesus Christ
   b. But more evidence concerning the nature of conversions as revealed
      in The Book of Acts

4. For example...
   a. When was Saul saved?
      1) Was it on the road to Damascus, when the Lord appeared to him?
      2) Was it in Damascus, at some point after he arrived there?
   b. How was Saul saved?
      1) Through saying a sinner's prayer?
      2) By being baptized?

[Such questions can be answered by a careful consideration of Biblical
evidence. Let's begin with a review of the evidence provided by all three
accounts of Saul's conversion...]

      1. To persecute more Christians - Ac 9:1-2; 22:4-5; 26:9-11
      2. When a light shone around him from heaven - Ac 9:3; 22:6;
      3. When a voice began to speak to him in Hebrew...
         a. Identifying itself as the voice of Jesus - Ac 9:4-5; 22:7-9;
         b. Jesus then tells Saul...
            1) Why He has appeared to him - Ac 26:16-18
            2) To go on to Damascus, where...
               a) He will be told "what you must do" - Ac 9:6
               b) He will be told "all things which are appointed for
                  you to do" - Ac 22:10
      1. Led by the hand, having been blinded by the light - Ac 9:8;
      2. For three days, he neither eats nor drinks - Ac 9:9
      1. The Lord appears to Ananias in a vision, and tells him to go
         to Saul - Ac 9:10-16
      2. Ananias goes to Saul, and...
         a. Restores his sight - Ac 9:17-18; 22:12-13
         b. Tells him why the Lord appeared to him, how he will be a
            witness of what he has seen - Ac 22:14-15
         c. Tells him to be baptized and wash away his sins, calling
            upon the name of the Lord - Ac 22:16
      3. After which Paul breaks his fast and spends some days with the
         disciples - Ac 9:18-19

["The Conversion Of Saul" is a powerful testimony to the resurrection of
Jesus Christ.  What other reasonable explanation can be given for the
drastic change from chief persecutor to chief proclaimer of the Christian
faith?  But Saul's conversion is also valuable for insights regarding the
process of conversion.  With that in mind, allow me to share...]


      1. Some state that Saul was saved on the road to Damascus
         a. When the Lord appeared to him
         b. That his conversion took place at that moment
      2. Saul was not saved until after he arrived in Damascus
         a. Note that while on the road, the Lord said it would be in
            Damascus where he would be told "what you must do" - Ac 9:6
            b. In Damascus, Ananias told him to "wash away your sins" 
               - Ac 22:16
            1) Up to that point, Saul was still in his sins!
            2) In other words, he was still not saved!
      -- While in one sense he was "converted" on the road (his view of
         Jesus certainly changed), conversion in the sense of salvation
         did not occur until after he arrived in Damascus

      1. From Ananias' statement in Ac 22:16 (to wash away his sins), we
         learn that:
         a. Saul had not been saved by the vision on the road to
         b. Saul had not been saved by prayers and fasting for three
            days - cf. Ac 9:9,11
      2. Saul was saved when his sins were "washed away" - Ac 22:16
         a. Which occurred after spending three days in Damascus
         b. Which occurred when he was baptized to wash away his sins!
      -- This concurs with what Peter said about the purpose of baptism
         in Ac 2:38

      1. After quoting Joel who wrote of calling upon the name of the
         Lord to be saved, Peter told the crowd at Pentecost to be 
         baptized - cf. Ac 2:21,38
      2. Ananias commanded Saul to be baptized, "calling upon the name
         of the Lord" - Ac 22:16
      3. Peter wrote baptism saves us, as an appeal to God for a good
         conscience (ESV) - 1Pe 3:21
      4. In the act of baptism, in faith we are...
         a. "Calling upon the name of the Lord"
         b. Appealing to God by the authority of His Son Jesus to forgive
            our sins
      -- While we can certainly pray as we are being baptized, baptism
         itself is a prayer (an appeal) to God for a good conscience!

1. From the conversion of Saul we learn that one is not saved by...
   a. Visions of the Lord (who could have a vision more impressive than
   b. Saying the sinner's prayer (Saul had been praying and fasting for
      three days!)

2. In keeping with what is taught elsewhere, one is saved when...
   a. They are baptized "for the remission of sins" - Ac 2:38
   b. They are baptized to have sins "washed away" - Ac 22:16
   c. They are baptized "as an appeal to God for a good conscience"
      (ESV) - 1Pe 3:21
3. Paul later wrote in Romans 6 that baptism is efficacious because in
   a. We are baptized (buried) into Christ's death - Ro 6:3-4
   b. We are united with Christ in the likeness of His death - Ro 6:5
   c. We are crucified with Christ, and our body of sin is done away 
      - Ro 6:6
   d. We die to sin, and are therefore freed from sin - Ro 6:7
   -- Such baptism is conditioned upon our faith and God's working - Ac
      8:36-37; Col 2:12

4. In his commentary on Ro 6:3, Martin Luther wrote:

   "Baptism has been instituted that it should lead us to the blessings
   (of this death) and through such death to eternal life. Therefore IT
   IS NECESSARY that we should be baptized into Jesus Christ and His 
                    - Commentary On Romans, Kregel Publications, p. 101

And so we say, as did Ananias, to anyone who has yet to be baptized for
the remission of their sins...

"And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your
sins, calling on the name of the Lord." - Ac 22:16
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