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Acts Chapter Nine


Acts 9

A work and a workman of another character begin now to dawn upon the scene.

We have seen the inveterate opposition of the heads of Israel to the testimony of the Holy Ghost their obstinacy in repelling the patient grace of God. Israel rejected all the work of the God of grace in their behalf. Saul makes himself the apostle of their hatred to the disciples of Jesus to the servants of God. Not content with searching them out at Jerusalem he asks for letters from the high priest that he may go and lay hands on them in foreign cities. When Israel is in full opposition to God he is the ardent missionary of their malice-in ignorance no doubt but the willing slave of his Jewish prejudices.

Thus occupied he approaches Damascus. There in the full career of an unbroken will the Lord Jesus stops him. A light from heaven shines round about him and envelopes him in its dazzling brightness. He falls to the earth and hears a voice saying unto him "Saul Saul why persecutest thou me?" The glory which had thrown him to the ground left no doubt-accompanied as it was by that voice-that the authority of God was revealed in it. His will broken his pride overthrown his mind subdued he asks "Who art thou Lord?" The authority of the One who spoke was unquestionable; Saul's heart was subject to that authority: and it was Jesus. The career of his self-will was ended for ever. But moreover the Lord of glory was not only Jesus; He also acknowledged the poor disciples whom Saul desired to carry prisoners to Jerusalem as being Himself.

How many things were revealed in those few words! The Lord of glory declared Himself to be Jesus whom Saul persecuted. The disciples were one with Himself. The Jews were at open war with the Lord Himself. The whole system which they maintained all their law all their official authority all the ordinances of God had not prevented their being at open war with the Lord. Saul himself armed with their authority found himself occupied in destroying the name of the Lord and His people from off the earth: a terrible discovery completely overwhelming his soul all-powerful in its effects not leaving one moral element of his soul standing before its strength. Extenuation of the evil was fruitless; zeal for Judaism was zeal against the Lord. His own conscience had only animated that zeal. The authorities constituted of God surrounded with the halo of centuries of honour enhanced by the present calamities of Israel which had now nothing but her religion-these authorities had but sanctioned and favoured his efforts against the Lord. The Jesus whom they rejected was the Lord. The testimony which they endeavoured to suppress was His testimony. What a change for Saul! What a new position even for the minds of the apostles themselves who remained at Jerusalem when all were dispersed-faithful indeed in spite of the opposition of the rulers of Israel but themselves in connection with the nation.

But the work went deeper yet. Misguided no doubt but his conscience in itself-for he thought he ought to do many things against the name of Jesus of Nazareth-left him the enemy of the Lord. Blameless righteousness according to law as man could measure it more than left him hardened in open opposition to the Lord. His superiors and the authorities of the ancient religion-all his soul was based on morally as well as religiously-all was smashed within him for ever. He was broken up in the whole man before God. Nothing remained in him but discovered enmity against God save as his own will was also broken in the process he who an hour before was the conscientious blameless religious man! Compare though the revelation of Christ carried him much farther Galatians 2:20; Philippians 3; 2 Corinthians 1:9; 4:10; and a multitude of passages.

Other important points are brought out here. Saul had not known Jesus on earth. He had not a testimony because he had known Him from the beginning declaring that He was made Lord and Christ. It is not a Jesus who goes up into heaven where He is out of sight; but the Lord who appears to him for the first time in heaven and who announces to him that He is Jesus. A glorious Lord is the only one whom he knows. His gospel (as he expresses it himself) is the gospel of the glory. If he had known Christ after the flesh he knows Him thus no more. But there is yet another important principle found here. The Lord of glory has His members on earth. "I am Jesus whom thou persecutest." It was Himself: those poor disciples were bone of His bones and flesh of His flesh. He looked upon them and cherished them as His own flesh. The glory and the oneness of the saints with Jesus their Head in heaven are the truths connected with the conversion of Saul with the revelation of Jesus to him with the creation of faith in his heart and that in a way which overthrew Judaism in all its bearings in his soul; and that in a soul in which this Judaism formed an integral part of its existence and gave it its whole character.

Another point borrowed from his account of the vision later in the book which is remarkable in connection with his career: "Separating thee " says the Lord "from the people and from the Gentiles to whom I now send thee." This moral end of Saul separated him from both-of course from the Jews but did not make a Gentile of him either-and united him with a glorified Christ. He was neither a Jew nor a Gentile in his spiritual standing. All his life and ministry flowed from his association with a heavenly glorified Christ.

Nevertheless he comes into the assembly by the usual means-like Jesus in Israel-humbly taking his place there where the truth of God was established by His power. Blind for three days and fully engrossed-as was natural-with such a discovery he neither eats nor drinks; and afterwards besides the fact of his blindness which was a quiet continual and unequivocal proof of the truth of that which had happened to him his faith must have been confirmed by the arrival of Ananias who can declare to him from the Lord that which had happened to him although he had not been out of the city-a circumstance so much the more striking because in a vision Saul had seen him come and restore his sight. And this Ananias does: Saul receives sight and is baptised. He takes food and is strengthened. The conversation of Jesus with Ananias is remarkable as shewing with what distinct evidence the Lord revealed Himself in those days and the holy liberty and confidence with which the true and faithful disciple conversed with Him. The Lord speaks as a man to his friend in details of place and circumstances and Ananias reasons in all confiding openness with the Lord in regard to Saul; and Jesus answers him not in harsh authority though of course Ananias had to obey but with gracious explanation as with one admitted to His confidence by declaring that Saul is a chosen vessel to bear His name before Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel; and that He will shew him how great things he must suffer for His sake.

Saul makes no delay in confessing and declaring his faith; and that which he says is eminently worthy of notice. He preaches in the synagogue that Jesus is the Son of God. It is the first time that this is done. That He was exalted to the right hand of God-that He was Lord and Christ-had been already preached; the rejected Messiah was exalted on high. But here it is the simple doctrine as to His personal glory; Jesus is the Son of God.

In the words of Jesus to Ananias the children of Israel come last.

Saul does not yet begin his public ministry. It is so to speak only the expression of his personal faithfulness his zeal his faith among those that surrounded him with whom he was naturally connected. It was not long before opposition manifested itself in the nation that would have no Christ at least according to God and the disciples sent him away letting him down by the wall in a basket; and through the agency of Barnabas (a good man and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith whom grace had taught to value the truth with regard to the new disciple) the dreaded Saul found his place among the disciples even at Jerusalem. [1] Wonderful triumph of the Lord! Singular position for himself there had he not been absorbed by the thought of Jesus. At Jerusalem he reasons with the Hellenists. He was one of them. The Hebrews were not his natural sphere. They seek to put him to death; the disciples bring him down to the sea and send him to Tarsus the place of his birth. The triumph of grace has under God's hand silenced the adversary. The assemblies are left in peace and edify themselves-walking in the fear of God and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost the two great elements of blessing; and their numbers increase. Persecution accomplishes the designs of God. The peace which He grants gives opportunity for ripening in grace and in the knowledge of Himself. We learn the ways and government of God in the midst of the imperfection of man.

Peace being established through the goodness of God-sole resource of those who truly wait upon Him in submission to His will-Peter passes throughout all parts of Israel. The Spirit of God relates this circumstance here between the conversion of Saul and his apostolic work to shew us I doubt not the apostolic energy in Peter existing at the very time when the call of the new apostle was to bring in new light and a work that was new in many important respects (thus sanctioning as His own work and in its place that which had been done before whatever progress in accomplishment His counsels might make); and in order to shew us the introduction of the Gentiles into the assembly as it was at first founded by His grace in the beginning preserving thus its unity and putting His seal upon this work of heavenly grace.

The assembly existed. The doctrine of her oneness as the body of Christ outside the world was not yet made known.The reception of Cornelius did not announce it although paving its way.


[1] This was it would appear later but is noticed here to put him so to speak in his place among Christians.

── John DarbySynopsis of Acts


Acts 9

Chapter Contents

The conversion of Saul. (1-9) Saul converted preaches Christ. (10-22) Saul is persecuted at Damascus and goes to Jerusalem. (23-31) Cure of Eneas. (32-35) Dorcas raised to life. (36-43)

Commentary on Acts 9:1-9

(Read Acts 9:1-9)

So ill informed was Saul that he thought he ought to do all he could against the name of Christ and that he did God service thereby; he seemed to breathe in this as in his element. Let us not despair of renewing grace for the conversion of the greatest sinners nor let such despair of the pardoning mercy of God for the greatest sin. It is a signal token of Divine favour if God by the inward working of his grace or the outward events of his providence stops us from prosecuting or executing sinful purposes. Saul saw that Just One 14; 26:13. How near to us is the unseen world! It is but for God to draw aside the veil and objects are presented to the view compared with which whatever is most admired on earth is mean and contemptible. Saul submitted without reserve desirous to know what the Lord Jesus would have him to do. Christ's discoveries of himself to poor souls are humbling; they lay them very low in mean thoughts of themselves. For three days Saul took no food and it pleased God to leave him for that time without relief. His sins were now set in order before him; he was in the dark concerning his own spiritual state and wounded in spirit for sin. When a sinner is brought to a proper sense of his own state and conduct he will cast himself wholly on the mercy of the Saviour asking what he would have him to do. God will direct the humbled sinner and though he does not often bring transgressors to joy and peace in believing without sorrows and distress of conscience under which the soul is deeply engaged as to eternal things yet happy are those who sow in tears for they shall reap in joy.

Commentary on Acts 9:10-22

(Read Acts 9:10-22)

A good work was begun in Saul when he was brought to Christ's feet with those words Lord what wilt thou have me to do? And never did Christ leave any who were brought to that. Behold the proud Pharisee the unmerciful oppressor the daring blasphemer prayeth! And thus it is even now and with the proud infidel or the abandoned sinner. What happy tidings are these to all who understand the nature and power of prayer of such prayer as the humbled sinner presents for the blessings of free salvation! Now he began to pray after another manner than he had done; before he said his prayers now he prayed them. Regenerating grace sets people on praying; you may as well find a living man without breath as a living Christian without prayer. Yet even eminent disciples like Ananias sometimes stagger at the commands of the Lord. But it is the Lord's glory to surpass our scanty expectations and show that those are vessels of his mercy whom we are apt to consider as objects of his vengeance. The teaching of the Holy Spirit takes away the scales of ignorance and pride from the understanding; then the sinner becomes a new creature and endeavours to recommend the anointed Saviour the Son of God to his former companions.

Commentary on Acts 9:23-31

(Read Acts 9:23-31)

When we enter into the way of God we must look for trials; but the Lord knows how to deliver the godly and will with the temptation also make a way to escape. Though Saul's conversion was and is a proof of the truth of Christianity yet it could not of itself convert one soul at enmity with the truth; for nothing can produce true faith but that power which new-creates the heart. Believers are apt to be too suspicious of those against whom they have prejudices. The world is full of deceit and it is necessary to be cautious but we must exercise charity 1 Corinthians 13:5. The Lord will clear up the characters of true believers; and he will bring them to his people and often gives them opportunities of bearing testimony to his truth before those who once witnessed their hatred to it. Christ now appeared to Saul and ordered him to go quickly out of Jerusalem for he must be sent to the Gentiles: see 21. Christ's witnesses cannot be slain till they have finished their testimony. The persecutions were stayed. The professors of the gospel walked uprightly and enjoyed much comfort from the Holy Ghost in the hope and peace of the gospel and others were won over to them. They lived upon the comfort of the Holy Ghost not only in the days of trouble and affliction but in days of rest and prosperity. Those are most likely to walk cheerfully who walk circumspectly.

Commentary on Acts 9:32-35

(Read Acts 9:32-35)

Christians are saints or holy people; not only the eminent ones as Saint Peter and Saint Paul but every sincere professor of the faith of Christ. Christ chose patients whose diseases were incurable in the course of nature to show how desperate was the case of fallen mankind. When we were wholly without strength as this poor man he sent his word to heal us. Peter does not pretend to heal by any power of his own but directs Eneas to look up to Christ for help. Let none say that because it is Christ who by the power of his grace works all our works in us therefore we have no work no duty to do; for though Jesus Christ makes thee whole yet thou must arise and use the power he gives thee.

Commentary on Acts 9:36-43

(Read Acts 9:36-43)

Many are full of good words who are empty and barren in good works; but Tabitha was a great doer no great talker. Christians who have not property to give in charity may yet be able to do acts of charity working with their hands or walking with their feet for the good of others. Those are certainly best praised whose own works praise them whether the words of others do so or not. But such are ungrateful indeed who have kindness shown them and will not acknowledge it by showing the kindness that is done them. While we live upon the fulness of Christ for our whole salvation we should desire to be full of good works for the honour of his name and for the benefit of his saints. Such characters as Dorcas are useful where they dwell as showing the excellency of the word of truth by their lives. How mean then the cares of the numerous females who seek no distinction but outward decoration and who waste their lives in the trifling pursuits of dress and vanity! Power went along with the word and Dorcas came to life. Thus in the raising of dead souls to spiritual life the first sign of life is the opening of the eyes of the mind. Here we see that the Lord can make up every loss; that he overrules every event for the good of those who trust in him and for the glory of his name.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on Acts


Acts 9

Verse 3

[3] And as he journeyed he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

And suddenly — When God suddenly and vehemently attacks a sinner it is the highest act of mercy. So Saul when his rage was come to the height is taught not to breathe slaughter. And what was wanting in time to confirm him in his discipleship is compensated by the inexpressible terror he sustained. By his also the suddenly constituted apostle was guarded against the grand snare into which novices are apt to fall.

Verse 4

[4] And he fell to the earth and heard a voice saying unto him Saul Saul why persecutest thou me?

He heard a voice — Severe yet full of grace.

Verse 5

[5] And he said Who art thou Lord? And the Lord said I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

To kick against the goads — is a Syriac proverb expressing an attempt that brings nothing but pain.

Verse 6

[6] And he trembling and astonished said Lord what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him Arise and go into the city and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

It shall be told thee — So God himself sends Saul to be taught by a man as the angel does Cornelius Acts 10:5. Admirable condescension! that the Lord deals with us by men like ourselves.

Verse 7

[7] And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless hearing a voice but seeing no man.

The men — stood - Having risen before Saul; for they also fell to the ground Acts 26:14. It is probable they all journeyed on foot.

Hearing the noise — But not an articulate voice. And seeing the light but not Jesus himself Acts 26:13 etc.

Verse 9

[9] And he was three days without sight and neither did eat nor drink.

And he was three days — An important season! So long he seems to have been in the pangs of the new birth.

Without sight — By scales growing over his eyes to intimate to him the blindness of the state he had been in to impress him with a deeper sense of the almighty power of Christ and to turn his thoughts inward while he was less capable of conversing with outward objects. This was likewise a manifest token to others of what had happened to him in his journey and ought to have humbled and convinced those bigoted Jews to whom he had been sent from the sanhedrim.

Verse 11

[11] And the Lord said unto him Arise and go into the street which is called Straight and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus: for behold he prayeth

Behold he is praying — He was shown thus to Ananias.

Verse 12

[12] And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him that he might receive his sight.

A man called Ananias — His name also was revealed to Saul.

Verse 13

[13] Then Ananias answered Lord I have heard by many of this man how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:

But he answered — How natural it is to reason against God.

Verse 14

[14] And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.

All that call on thy name — That is all Christians.

Verse 15

[15] But the Lord said unto him Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel:

He is a chosen vessel to bear my name — That is to testify of me. It is undeniable that some men are unconditionally chosen or elected to do some works for God

Verse 16

[16] For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.

For I — Do thou as thou art commanded. I will take care of the rest; will show him - In fact through the whole course of his ministry.

How great things he must suffer — So far will he be now from persecuting others.

Verse 17

[17] And Ananias went his way and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said Brother Saul the Lord even Jesus that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest hath sent me that thou mightest receive thy sight and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

The Lord hath sent me — Ananias does not tell Saul all which Christ had said concerning him. It was not expedient that he should know yet to how great a dignity he was called.

Verse 24

[24] But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.

They guarded the gates day and night — That is the governor did at their request 2 Corinthians 11:32.

Verse 26

[26] And when Saul was come to Jerusalem he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him and believed not that he was a disciple.

And coming to Jerusalem — Three years after Galatians 1:18. These three years St. Paul passes over Acts 22:17 likewise.

Verse 27

[27] But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way and that he had spoken to him and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.

To the apostles — Peter and James Gal. i 18 19. Galatians 1:18 19 And declared - He who has been an enemy to the truth ought not to be trusted till he gives proof that he is changed.

Verse 31

[31] Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost were multiplied.

Then the Church — The whole body of Christian believers had peace - Their bitterest persecutor being converted.

And being built up — In holy loving faith continually increasing and walking in - That is speaking and acting only from this principle the fear of God and the comfort of the Holy Ghost - An excellent mixture of inward and outward peace tempered with filial fear.

Verse 35

[35] And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him and turned to the Lord.

Lydda was a large town one day's journey from Jerusalem. It stood in the plain or valley of Sharon which extended from Cesarea to Joppa and was noted for its fruitfulness.

Verse 36

[36] Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.

Tabitha which is by interpretation Dorcas — She was probably a Hellenist Jew known among the Hebrews by the Syriac name Tabitha while the Greeks called her in their own language Dorcas. They are both words of the same import and signify a roe or fawn.

Verse 38

[38] And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa and the disciples had heard that Peter was there they sent unto him two men desiring him that he would not delay to come to them.

The disciples sent to him — Probably none of those at Joppa had the gift of miracles. Nor is it certain that they expected a miracle from him.

Verse 39

[39] Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made while she was with them.

While she was with the in — That is before she died.

Verse 40

[40] But Peter put them all forth and kneeled down and prayed; and turning him to the body said Tabitha arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter she sat up.

Peter having put them all out — That he might have the better opportunity of wrestling with God in prayer said Tabitha arise.

And she opened her eyes and seeing Peter sat up — Who can imagine the surprise of Dorcas when called back to life? Or of her friends when they saw her alive? For the sake of themselves and of the poor there was cause of rejoicing and much more for such a confirmation of the Gospel. Yet to herself it was matter of resignation not joy to be called back to these scenes of vanity: but doubtless her remaining days were still more zealously spent in the service of her Saviour and her God. Thus was a richer treasure laid up for her in heaven and she afterward returned to a more exceeding weight of glory than that from which so astonishing a providence had recalled her for a season.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on Acts


Chapter 9. Conversion of Saul

A Man Named Saul
He Is Praying

I. A Vision in Damascus

  1. The Ascended Christ
  2. Light Flashed and Fallen to the Ground
  3. Ananias

II. Paul's Testimony in Early Days

  1. Preach Jesus
  2. Encounter Hardship
  3. Fellowship with Saints

III. Peter's Ministry and Miraculous Signs

  1. Travel about the Country
  2. Heal a Paralytic
  3. Dorcas Raised from the Dead
── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament
Chapter Nine General Review
1) To study the conversion of Saul
comparing Luke's account in this
   chapter with Saul's own words recorded later on in chapters 22 and 26
2) To note two miracles by Peter
and the affect they had on many people
   who heard about them
Not content with persecuting Christians in Jerusalem
Saul received
permission from the high priest to seek out those of the Way in Damascus
and bring them bound to Jerusalem.  It was near Damascus that Saul was
blinded by a vision of the risen Jesus.  Told to go into Damascus for
further instructions
Saul was led blind into the city where he waited
for three days
neither eating nor drinking (1-9).
The Lord then appeared to a disciple named Ananias and sent him to
restore Saul's sight and tell him what he would do as a chosen vessel
for Christ.  With his sight restored
Saul was baptized and resumed
eating.  For some days Saul remained in Damascus and began immediately
preaching in the synagogues that Jesus was the Christ
the Son of God
to the amazement of those who knew that he had come to the city to
arrest Christians (10-19).
After many days had passed (during which Saul apparently spent about 3
years in Arabia
cf. Ga 1:17-18)
Saul barely escaped a plot to kill him
by the Jews in Damascus (cf. 2 Co 11:32-33).  He went to Jerusalem where
after Barnabas spoke in his behalf he was accepted by the brethren.
Another plot by the Jews to kill Saul prompted the brethren to bring him
to Caesarea and send him on to Tarsus.  The churches in Judea
and Samaria then enjoyed peace and grew as they walked in the fear of
the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit (20-31).
Luke then records two miracles performed by Peter.  The first in Lydda
where Peter healed Aeneas
a man paralyzed and bedridden for eight
years.  This led many in Lydda and Sharon to turn to the Lord.  In
nearby Joppa
a disciple named Tabitha (Dorcas) became sick and died.
Having heard that Peter was in Lydda
the disciples sent for him to come
without delay.  Peter raised Tabitha from the dead
  leading many people
in Joppa to believe on the Lord.  Peter then remained in Joppa for many
staying with Simon
a tanner (32-43).
      1. Saul granted authority by the high priest
         a. While aggressive in persecuting disciples of the Lord
         b. With letters to the synagogues in Damascus
         c. To find those of "the Way" and bring them bound to Jerusalem
      2. The Lord's appearance on the road to Damascus
         a. Approaching Damascus
suddenly a light from heaven shone
            around him
         b. Falling to the ground
he hears a voice:  "Saul
            are you persecuting Me?"
         c. When he asks
"Who are you
he is told:
            1) "I am Jesus
whom you are persecuting."
            2) "It is hard for you to kick against the goads."
         d. When asked what to
he is told:
            1) "Arise
go into the city."
            2) "You will be told what you must do."
         e. His companions stand speechless
hearing a voice but seeing
            no one
      3. Saul's arrival in Damascus
         a. Getting up
he sees no one
         b. His companions lead him by the hand into the city
         c. There he waits for three days
without sight
neither eating
            or drinking
      1. The Lord appears in a vision to Ananias
a disciple in Damascus
         a. Instructed to go to house of Judas on the street called
            1) Where Saul is praying and has seen a vision in which
               Ananias restores his sight
            2) Ananias is reluctant
knowing of Saul's persecution of
               the saints
         b. Ananias is commanded to go
for Saul is a chosen vessel
            1) Who will bear the Lord's name before Gentiles
               the children of Israel
            2) Who will be shown how many things he must suffer for His
               name's sake
      2. Ananias goes to Saul
         a. Laying hands on Saul as he explains his purpose in coming
            1) That Saul might receive his sight
            2) And be filled with the Holy Spirit
         b. Saul's sight is immediately restored
and is baptized
         c. He resumes eating and spends some days with the disciples
      1. Saul immediately preaches Christ as the Son of God in the
         a. To the amazement of all who heard and knew his background
            1) How he destroyed those in Jerusalem who called on His
            2) How he came to Damascus to bring them bound to the chief
         b. He increases in strength
            1) Confounding the Jews who dwelt in Damascus
            2) Proving that Jesus is the Christ
      2. Saul is forced to leave Damascus
         a. After many days
the Jews plot to kill him
         b. When the plot is revealed
they watch the gates day and
            night to kill him
         c. The disciples help Saul escape at night by letting him over
            a wall in a basket
      1. Saul joins himself to the disciples
         a. Though at first they were afraid and did not believe him
         b. Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them:
            1) How he had seen the Lord on the road
who spoke to him
            2) Of his bold preaching in Damascus
         c. Saul is accepted and circulates freely among the disciples
            in Jerusalem
      2. Saul is forced to leave Jerusalem
         a. He speaks boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus
            1) Disputing against the Hellenists
            2) Who attempt to kill him
         b. The brethren learn of the attempt to kill Saul
            1) They bring him down to Caesarea
            2) They send him to Tarsus
      1. Peter comes to the saints in Lydda
      2. He meets Aeneas
paralyzed and bedridden for eight years
      3. Peter tells him that Jesus Christ heals him
and he arose
      4. All who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the
      1. At Joppa
a certain disciple named Tabitha (Dorcas) dies
         a. A woman full of good works and charitable deeds
         b. Her body was washed and laid in an upper room
         c. Two men were sent to Peter in nearby Lydda
      2. Peter raises Dorcas from the dead
         a. He is brought to the upper room
where weeping widows showed
            garments by Dorcas
         b. Sending the widows out
Peter kneels down and prays
         c. Telling her "Tabitha
she opened her eyes and sat up
         d. Peter presents her alive to the saints and widows
         e. As it became known throughout Joppa
many believed on the
      3. Peter remains in Joppa with Simon
a tanner
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Conversion of Saul (1-31)
   - Miracles of Peter (32-43)
2) What was Saul doing when he went to the high priest? (1)
   - Breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord
3) What did Saul get from the high priest? (2)
   - Letters to the synagogues of Damascus
authorizing him to arrest
     and bring those of "The Way" to Jerusalem
4) As Saul came near Damascus
what happened?  What did he hear?  (3-4)
   - Suddenly a light shone around him from heaven
   - Falling down
he heard a voice saying
why are you
     persecuting Me?"
5) When he asked "Who are You
what was he told? (5)
   - "I am Jesus
whom you are persecuting."
6) What did Jesus tell Saul to do? (6)
   - To go to the city
where he would be told what to do
7) How did the men with him respond to what was happening? (7)
   - They stood speechless
hearing a voice but seeing no one
8) How was Saul led into the city?  What did he do for three days? (8-9)
   - By the hand
for he was blind when he arose from the ground
   - He did not eat or drink
and remained without sight
9) To whom did the Lord appear in a vision? (10)
   - A disciple at Damascus named Ananias
10) What did Jesus tell him to do? (11)
   - To go to the street called Straight
   - To inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul
11) What had Saul been doing during this time?  What had he seen in a
    vision? (11-12)
   - Praying; a man named Ananias laying hands on him that he might
     receive his sight
12) Why was Ananias hesitant to go? (13-14)
   - He had heard what Saul had done to the saints in Jerusalem
and why
     he had come to Damascus
13) What did the Lord say about Saul to reassure Ananias to go to him?
   - Saul is His chosen vessel to bear His name before Gentiles
     and the children of Israel
   - He will be shown how many things he must suffer for the Lord's sake
14) When Ananias laid his hands on Saul
what did he say as to why the
    Lord sent him? (17)
   - That Saul might receive his sight
   - That Saul might be filled with the Holy Spirit
15) What happened immediately thereafter? (18)
   - Something like scales fell from his eyes and his sight returned
   - He arose and was baptized
   - He was strengthened when he ate
16) What did Saul then do? (19-20)
   - He received food and was strengthened
   - He spent some days with the disciples at Damascus
   - He immediately began preaching in the synagogues Christ as the Son
     of God
17) What was the reaction of those who heard him?  (21)
   - They were amazed
for they knew what he had done in Jerusalem and
     why he came to Damascus
18) As Saul increased in strength
what did he do? (22)
   - He confounded the Jews in Damascus
proving that Jesus was the
19) After many days had passed
who plotted to kill Saul?  How did he
    escape? (23-25)
   - The Jews
who watched the gates day and night
   - The disciples let him down through the wall in a large basket
20) When Saul came to Jerusalem
what did he try to do?  What was the
    reaction? (26)
   - To join the disciples; they were afraid of him
for they did not
     believe he was a disciple
21) Who brought him before the apostles?  What did he tell them about
    Saul? (27)
   - Barnabas; how Saul had seen the Lord who spoke to him
and how Saul
     preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus
22) What was Saul then permitted to do? (28)
   - To be with the disciples
coming in and going out
23) What did Saul do while at Jerusalem?  What then happened? (29-30)
   - He spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed with the
   - An attempt was made to kill him
but the brethren took him to
     Caesarea and sent him on to Tarsus
24) What was the condition of the churches in Judea
    Samaria at that time? (31)
   - They had peace and were edified
   - Walking in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit
     they were multiplied
25) Where did Peter go and what did he find there? (32-33)
   - He went to Lydda where he found Aeneas
paralyzed and bedridden for
     eight years
26) What did Peter do and what was the result? (34-35)
   - He healed him in the name of Jesus
all in Lydda and Sharon turned
     to the Lord
27) Who died at Joppa
and what did the disciples there do? (36-38)
   - A disciple named Tabitha (Dorcas)
a woman full of good works and
     charitable deeds
   - They washed her body
laid her in an upper room
and sent two men
     for Peter
28) When Peter arrived
what did he see and what did he do? (39-41)
   - Widows weeping in the upper room
showing the garments Dorcas made
   - He sent the widows out
knelt and prayed
and then said "Tabitha
   - After she opened her eyes and sat up
Peter called the saints and
     widows back into the room and presented her alive
29) What happened when this became known throughout all Joppa? (42)
   - Many believed on the Lord
30) What did Peter then do? (43)
   - Stayed in Joppa for many days with Simon
a tanner


Saul Of Tarsus (9:1-19; 22:6-16; 26:12-18)
1. From the conversion of "The Ethiopian Eunuch"
we now turn our
   attention to what is perhaps the most famous of conversions in the
   New Testament...
   a. The conversion of Saul of Tarsus
chief persecutor of the early
      church - Ac 8:1
3; 9:1-2
   b. Who became Paul the apostle (Ac 13:9)
a recipient himself of
      much persecution for the cause of Christ - cf. 2 Co 11:23-28
   -- Whose conversion stands as a powerful testimony to the 
      resurrection of Jesus Christ
2. There are actually three records of his conversion in The Book of
   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 example of the conversion of "Saul of Tarsus"...
   a. We find not only a powerful testimony to the resurrection of 
      Jesus Christ
   b. But also more evidence concerning the nature of conversions as
      they are revealed in The Book of Acts
4. For example...
   a. When was Saul (Paul) saved?
      1) Was it on the road to Damascus
when the Lord appeared to him?
      2) Or was it in Damascus
at some point after he arrived there?
   b. How was Saul (Paul) saved?
      1) Through saying a sinner's prayer?
      2) Or 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; 26:14-15
         b. Jesus then tells Saul...
            1) Why He has appeared to him - Ac 26:16-18
            2) To go on to Damascus
               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
         a. Has his sight restored - Ac 9:17-18a; 22:12-13
         b. Is told why the Lord appeared to him and how he will be a
            witness of what he has seen - Ac 22:14-15
         c. Is told to be baptized and wash away his sins
calling upon
            the name of the Lord - Ac 22:16; cf. 9:18b
      1. Preaching immediately in Damascus - Ac 9:20
      2. And later in Jerusalem
and to the Gentiles - Ac 26:
[As mentioned previously
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"
of the Christian faith to "chief proclamator" of the Christian faith?
But the conversion of Saul is also valuable for the insights we can
glean into the process of conversion.  With that in mind
allow me to
      1. It is often stated 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) At that point
Saul was still in his sins!
            2) I.e.
he was still not saved!
      -- While in one sense he was indeed "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 the statement of Ananias in Ac 22:16 (to wash away his
we learn that:
         a. Saul was not saved by virtue of the vision on the road
         b. Saul was not saved by virtue of the prayers and fasting he
            had offered for three days - cf. Ac 9:9
      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 (Ac 2:21)
Peter told his crowd to be 
         baptized - Ac 2:38
      2. Now Ananias commands Saul to be baptized
"calling upon the
         name of the Lord" - Ac 22:16
      3. As Peter wrote
baptism saves us
and is an appeal for a clear
         conscience - 1 Pe 3:21
      4. In baptism
         a. We are "calling upon the name of the Lord"
         b. We are appealing to God by the authority of His Son Jesus
            to forgive our sins
      5. While we can certainly pray as we are being baptized
         itself is a prayer (an appeal) to God for a clear 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 we have seen already
one is saved when...
   a. They are baptized for the remission of their sins - Ac 2:38
   b. They are baptized to have their sins "washed away" - Ac 22:16
3. Of course
we learn from Paul's discourse in Romans 6 that the 
   simple rite of baptism is efficacious because in baptism...
   a. We are baptized 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
   -- Of course
such baptism is conditioned upon faith and God's 
      working - Ac 8:36-37; Co 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 death." (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."


                               Acts 9:31
1. In writing about the early church
Luke recorded:
   "Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and
and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord
   in the comfort of the Holy Ghost
were multiplied." (Ac 9:31)
   Note that they were "walking in the fear of the Lord"!
2. In writing to the church at Philippi
Paul told them:
my beloved
as you have always obeyed
not as in my
   presence only
but now much more in my absence
work out your own
   salvation with fear and trembling;" (Ph 2:12)
3. The concept of "fear and trembling" in connection with God is not a
   popular concept today
   a. People prefer to hear about God's love
longsuffering and mercy
   b. Sometimes
when we point out God's righteous indignation
and justice
people reply "My God is not like that!"
4. The emphasis on God's love and mercy today is probably an reaction
   to the "hell
and brimstone" preaching of another generation
5. But could it be that we have gone to other extreme?
   a. Where there is no concept of "fear and trembling" as it relates
      to the Christian?
   b. Could this be why many Christians are apathetic in their service?
   c. Could it be we have forgotten Whom we should fear if we are
      negligent in our service? - cf. Mt 10:28
6. In this lesson
I hope to accomplish three things:
   a. Define the "fear of the Lord"
   b. Point out why the "fear of the Lord" is important to the
   c. Suggest how we can develop a healthy "fear of the Lord" without
      going to one extreme or the other
[We begin by...]
   A. THE WORD "FEAR"...
      1. In the Hebrew
the word is "YIR'AH" and is used in the Old
         Testament to describe:
         a. fear
         b. awesome or terrifying thing (object causing fear)
         c. fear (of God)
      2. The Greek word is "PHOBOS"
and it is used to describe:
         a. fear
         b. that which strikes terror
      "REVERENCE" OR "AWE"...
      1. Which is fine as far as it goes...
      2. But I wonder if this definition truly goes far enough...
      3. For though the terms "reverence" and "awe" imply a place for
do most people make the connection?
      1. Even as Paul indicated in Ph 2:12
by combining "fear and
      2. The Greek word for "trembling" is "TROMOS" and means "a
         trembling or quaking with fear"
      3. Just as one would likely tremble in the presence of one who
         could take our life
so Jesus taught us to fear the Lord
         - Mt 10:28
      1. "reverence and awe..."
      2. "being afraid to offend God in any way" - HENDRICKSEN
      3. A trembling and quaking if one knows they have offended God
         and have not obtained forgiveness! - cf. He 10:26-27
[The value of such an attitude is seen as we continue on and now
      1. The "fear of the Lord" is the beginning of knowledge - Pr 1:7
      2. The "fear of the Lord" will cause one to hate evil - Pr 8:13
      3. The "fear of the Lord" will prolong life - Pr 10:27
      4. The "fear of the Lord" provides strong confidence and is a
         fountain of life - Pr 14:26-27
      5. The "fear of the Lord" prompts one to depart from evil - Pr
      6. The "fear of the Lord" leads to a satisfying life
and spares
         one from much evil - Pr 19:23
      7. The "fear of the Lord" is the way to riches
and life!
         - Pr 22:4
      1. We close ourselves to the treasures of God's wisdom and
      2. We will flirt with evil and be corrupted by it
      3. Our lives are likely to be shortened by our refusal to heed
         God's word (e.g.
suffering sexually transmitted diseases
         because we did not heed His Word on sexual relationships)
      4. We will not come to know the love of God that gives us
         assurance and confidence of our salvation
      5. When fallen into sin
we will not be motivated to repent and
         turn to God!
      6. We will not be motivated to truly "work out our own
[Without the "fear of the Lord"
we cannot please God (cf. Is 66:1-2).
Only the person who "trembles at His Word" has God's promise to receive
His tender mercy! (cf. Ps 103:17-18).
But how does one develop the proper "fear of the Lord" without going to
the extreme of earlier generations?]
      1. Just as "faith comes by hearing
and hearing by the word of
         God" (Ro 10:17)
the same can be said for the "fear of the
      2. Notice Deu 31:10-13
where the children of Israel were told
         to gather every seven years to read and hear the Word...
      3. The purpose?  "...that they may learn to fear the Lord"!
      4. As one reads the Word of God
they should gain a healthy
         degree of the "fear of the Lord"
         a. Consider the words of Paul in Ro 2:4-11
         b. Or how about the words of Peter in 2 Pe 3:7-14
      1. It is important to emphasize
that to avoid extremes
         we must read ALL of God's Word
         a. Some read only those portions will reveal God's love and
and have no "fear of the Lord"
         b. Others emphasize the "fire
hell and brimstone" passages
            and know nothing of God's everlasting lovingkindness
         c. The one develops an attitude of permissiveness that
            belittles God's holiness and justice
         d. The other develops a psychosis of terror that forgets God's
            grace and compassion
      2. Even in the passages noted above
the context of each speaks
         much of God's grace and forgiveness for those who will repent!
      3. So we must be careful how we use the Word of God
but use it
         we must!
1. The Psalmist said...
   "God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints
and to
   be had in reverence of all [them that are] about him." (Psalms 89:7)
2. Why do we need to "fear the Lord"?  So we will be sure to "work out
   our salvation with fear and trembling"!
3. The warning is necessary
for as it is written in Hebrews:
   "Let us therefore fear
a promise being left [us] of entering
   into his rest
any of you should seem to come short of it.  For unto
   us was the gospel preached
as well as unto them: but the word
   preached did not profit them
not being mixed with faith in them
   that heard [it]." (Hebrews 4:1-2)
   And again...
   "Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest
lest any man fall
   after the same example of unbelief." (Hebrews 4:11)
4. With the proper "fear of the Lord"
we will "work out our
we will "labour...to enter into that [heavenly] rest"!
   "Having therefore these promises
dearly beloved
let us cleanse
   ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit
   holiness in the fear of God." (2 Co 7:1)
Are you "perfecting holiness in the fear of God"?


--《Executable Outlines