Our text for this sermon comes from Acts 9:10-19
vs 10 Ananias – a disciple at Damascus. He is not in any way related to the Ananias in Acts 5. He was born and raised in Damascus. Because a disciple from Jerusalem was obedient and left during the persecution, Ananias met Jesus.
Here I am, Lord – It is highly probable that Ananias has heard the Lord speak to him before. Without trembling, confusion or hesitation he readily answers: Here I am, Lord. Jesus is his Shepherd.
The greatest edifying, honoring, glorifying response that you can give to God is Here I am, Lord.
Here I am – I am available. I am present. I am ready to serve.
Here I am – Use me as your chosen vessel to accomplish your purposes. I will go where you send me. I will do what you want me to do. I will say what you want me to say. The clay is being shaped and formed in the hands of the Potter.
vs 11-12 Ananias is sent. “Rise and go.” Get up and move. The Holy Spirit will guide you where to walk.
Rise. Get up. Get out of bed. Get off the couch. Get out of your comfort zone. Rise and Go!
This is how we know Saul is a disciple – Jesus knows where to find him and Saul is praying and Jesus gives Saul a vision. The mouth that only a few days ago was spewing anger and hatred now calls out to Christ in prayer.
Ananias gets clear direction on where to go and what to do. Saul is expecting Ananias. Because of the vision that God gave Saul, Ananias’ going to him is an answer to prayer.
vs 13-14 The objection: Ananias questions God sending him to Saul. Can you see Ananias saying, “I don’t want to die. Lord, are you really sure you want to send me there?”
Saul was a persecutor. His reputation has gone before him. He is known for the persecution and torture of disciples. Now he has official documents that give him permission to go and take disciples out of Damascus and drag them back to Jerusalem.
This sounds a lot like us today when we object to what God has called us to do. We object when what God wants is hard, uncomfortable, uncertain, costly, and time-consuming.
vs 15-16 Jesus’ Answer: Go! For he is a chosen instrument. He is a vessel in which will be placed the message of the gospel. He will be the disciple that preaches Christ to Gentile nations. He will pour himself out into men who will become pastors. He will plant churches. He will be used to accomplish the purposes God has already laid out for him from the foundation of the world.
Suffer – We think of Paul (after God changes his name) as holy. Through suffering we identify with the sufferings of Christ. Through suffering – we are conformed more to the image of Christ. Jesus said that his disciples would suffer in this life for his name.
vs17-19 Saul came with violent hands – destruction, death, persecution. Ananias came with the hands of Christ.
Brother – Ananias is able to call Saul his brother because the souls of both men have been forever cleansed by the blood of Jesus. Two souls that were once stained with sin have been washed and made pure.
The Lord Jesus – The one who you used to persecute, not believe in, curse – the one who brought you to the end of yourself, reached down and snatched you off the path to hell and called you to be part of His flock, the Lord Jesus has sent me to you.
Scales fell from his eyes. Saul once was blind but now he can see.
That is Amazing Grace.