“On Location with Luke”-26

Highlights in Acts-Chapter 9

Saul, in the wake of an astonishing capitulation, a genuine conversion to Christ, is now preaching the Name and Person of Christ. "But all that heard him were amazed…." (From Verse 21). Could this be the same man that came to arrest and destroy the Christians? Not only was it that man but a transformed man who demonstrated the truth of what he later wrote to the church in Corinth: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new" (II Corinthians 5:17)."…. Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ." (From Verse 22). He stirred up a hornet's nest and, after a considerable time, they sought to kill him. He was helped by the disciples to escape. This fearless preacher was put in a basket by night and lowered down by the wall. Not too many evangelists have to leave town that way. He went to Jerusalem, intending to meet and work with the disciples there. This plan failed, because they were afraid and doubted that he really was a disciple. However, God had a man who befriended Saul, vouched for him, and gave witness to Saul's conversion experience. He was accepted, spoke boldly for the Lord, and disputed with the Grecians, until they went about to slay him. When their intentions were revealed, the disciples brought Saul down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus. After this, things quieted down for the church for awhile, a period of rest ensued, and they were edified and multiplied. The account shifts to Peter, while Saul is believed to have spent considerable time in or near the Arabian Desert. It is likely that, during this time, Saul was given some of the greatest revelation ever entrusted to men.  God, while preparing Saul for his next assignment, is leading Peter into some extraordinary activities. Selah! God may sometimes take us aside to ready us for a special work later on.   Ron

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“On Location with Luke”-25

 Highlights in Acts-Chapter 9

Ananias was told by the Lord to go to Saul and lay hands on him "….that he might receive his sight." Saul had been blinded by the encounter with Jesus on the Damascus Road. Ananias offers a protest to the Lord, reminding the Lord that Saul was known to be very dangerous to Christians. Of course, the Lord knew this without Ananias' input. The Lord replied, "….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…." (From Verse 15). Luke adds this glimpse into Saul's future in Verse 16: "….for I will show him how great things he must suffer for My name's sake." How very true this proved to be. Did you notice that the Lord was going to show him these things? Ananias went, laid hands on Saul. He not only obeyed but even addressed Saul in a surprising way "….Brother Saul." This revealed his confidence in the Lord and in what the Lord had told him. Saul's sight was restored, he arose and was baptized, after which he took food and was strengthened. He stayed with the disciples at Damascus for some days. What transpires next is remarkable! Saul, the now former persecuter and instrument of death to Christians, began his new ministry. "And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God" (Verse 20). This was the prelude to attacks, hostility, danger, and suffering. Trouble started, then an interlude that has enormous significance for us. It was during this time that Saul had some experiences, that perhaps no one else ever had. Some of the amazing ways of God are revealed to us, as the life of Saul unfolds from this point onward. Stay with us as we see more of the acts of the Holy Spirit. Selah! Are there anymore "Sauls" around waiting for a God sent "Ananias" (Us?) to touch their lives with faith and courage? Who knows? Best be ready!    Ron

“On Location with Luke”-24

Highlights in Acts-Chapter 9

God told Saul to go into the city and await further instructions. He would be told what to do. The men who accompanied Saul were speechless! They heard a voice, but saw no man. Saul got up, opened his eyes and discovered that he was blind and helpless. This, alone, was a start in the breaking down of his pride. He had been in charge and felt self-sufficient but now he is totally dependent on others to help him. They took him by the hand and led him into the city of Damascus. He was blind and without food or drink for three days. He stayed at the house of a man named Judas who resided on a street called Straight. While all this was going on, God was working on the heart and mind of a disciple by the name of Ananias. God told him where Saul was staying and that Ananias was to go to him. Then God added, "….for, behold, he prayeth, and hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight." (From Verses 11-12). Ananias is being told to do something that he considered life-threatening. Saul, praying and seeing a vision? This man could have Ananias arrested or killed! These fears were understandable. What would he do? People like Saul never receive Jesus, do they? Would Ananias go? Is this God speaking or only a subjective experience? What would you do? Imagine the outcome, if he didn't go. Tomorrow, we consider Ananias' decision and the next step in this unfolding drama. Stop by and read more of the acts of the Holy Spirit. Selah! Only God knows who will yield their lives to Him. We don't! Many of the most unlikely people have been saved and often with profound results. Don't try to second-guess God!   Ron

“On Location with Luke”-23

Highlights in Acts-Chapter 9

Struck down to the earth by a blinding light, Saul "….heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, 'why persecutest thou Me'?" (From Verse 4). We can only guess at the impact made on this zealous religionist. I suspect that Saul, at least deep down in, knew Whose voice it was that spoke to him. Nevertheless, he asked, "….Who art thou, Lord?" (From Verse 5). The reply: "I am Jesus Whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." (From Verse 5). What turmoil and shock Saul must have experienced! Realization dawned on Saul. Jesus is alive and Saul had been opposing Him. His mind must have kicked back to the witness and death of Stephen. Having consented unto Stephen's death, Saul now knew guilt. He had agreed to put to death God's servant, the very God that he thought he was serving. Indeed, he had been kicking against the pricks. These pricks were tools used to bring oxen into line. God had been reaching out to Saul but he had been doggedly pursuing his own agenda. Now it was inescapable: Saul was wrong! All of his thinking had to be adjusted. He would lose his position of influence, be rejected and ridiculed, be in danger and be under financial stress. What followed was instant, unconditional surrender. "And he, trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" (From Verse 6). Saul was to be told what to do and we, even today, are immeasurably blessed and guided, as a result of those Divine moments. God willing, we will learn about an amazing work of God, in and through one life. Join me tomorrow as we start to examine with Luke's help, God's power and Presence at work in a single life. Selah! A very important sidelight is how Jesus' identifies Himself with His church.  In essence, go against My church and you are up against Me. Let's be careful how we deal with His church!   Ron

“On Location with Luke”-22

Highlights in Acts-Chapter 9

Luke now gives us the record of one of the most significant events in all of Christian history! The scene opens with an ancient traveler. However, this man is not just any traveler. He is a man on a mission. Not only that, but fired with patriotic and religious zeal, he persuaded the high priest to give him letters (apparently letters of authority) to the synagogues of Damascus authorizing him to arrest any "of this way" and bring them bound to Jerusalem. Verse 1 gives us a glimpse into Saul's heart. Evidently, his hatred of Christians was so severe that he "snarled" out threats and intended slaughter of the disciples of the Lord. Attack a person's religion, especially a religious fanatic, and you are apt to stir up an intense animosity. Saul was no exception. Steeped in Judaism, and having reached a high level in it, possibly headed for the position of high priest, he was not about to take the teaching of this new "sect," lying down. They must be exterminated and he was the man to get it done. On to Damascus and, doubtless, eventually to any place necessary to end this uprising. On the way, already close to Damascus, an astonishing event was about to happen. What took place changed the course of history and changed a man who couldn't have been a more unlikely candidate for being changed. "And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven." (From Verse 3). Blinded by the dazzling light (beyond the light of the midday sun), he fell to the ground, stunned and startled. He heard a voice. He was addressed by the resurrected Jesus. Of all people, it was Jesus, the very One Whom he knew was dead and who deserved it. Can anyone even begin to imagine the dynamic impact this had on Saul? We'll take a hard look at this encounter, tomorrow, Lord willing. Selah! Don't ever assume that anyone is beyond the reach of redeeming grace!   Ron

“On Location with Luke”-21

Highlights in Acts-Chapter 8

Luke writes of an individual who is seeking light.  God, by an angelic visitation, brought an evangelist to the scene of an honest seeker. An Ethiopian government official, a eunuch, high up in a position of authority, under Queen Candace was returning from a trip to Jerusalem where he had gone to worship. He was sitting in his chariot, reading Isaiah, the Prophet. Philip, meanwhile, was alerted to this man's need and location by the Angel of the Lord and was assigned to go and reach him. Obeying, he came alongside the man's chariot. He initiated conversation with a question, often a very effective way to do it. He asked "….Understandest thou what thou readest?" (From Verse 30). The man admitted his inability, and asked for guidance from Philip. Philip preached Jesus from Isaiah 53 (the Old Testament, by the way). As they traveled, they came to water and the official asked if there was any reason why he could not be baptized. Philip said, "….if thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest…." (From Verse 37). Assuring Philip that he believed that Jesus is the Son of God, he went with Philip "downinto the water" (Verse38) and was baptized. "When they were come up out of the water. the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip…." Supernatural transportation is not an everyday occurrence. However, God is not limited! Philip disappeared from the Ethiopian's sight, leaving the man rejoicing. Just like that, "…. Philip was found at Azotus…." From Verse 40). "….and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea." Our God continues to act! Selah! For an honest seeker, God will use all means necessary to reach that one who is open.    Ron

“On Location with Luke”-20

Highlights in Acts-Chapter 8

As Luke continues to give us historical insight into the birth and growth of the church, he recounts a remarkable encounter. One Simon, a  sorcerer, had had the people of Samaria under his spell, convincing them that he was "the great power of God." (From Verse 10). He had  bewitched them for a long time, inflating his ego in the process. Things began to change when Philip's anointed preaching was used of God to bring a number of Samaritans to Himself. Their conversion is implied in the words of the text: "…they were baptized, both men and women." (From verse 12). Simon's influence was waning. Unexpectedly, we are told that "….Simon himself believed also…." (From Verse 13). He was baptized and began to company with Philip and the believers. All the while, he was fascinated with "….the miracles and signs which were done." Word reached the Apostles at Jerusalem of what was developing in Samaria. They sent Peter and John to help the fledgling believers. These two men prayed that these new Christians would receive the Holy Ghost and they did, with the laying on of hands. Intrigued with what happened, Simon offered to pay for the ability to enable people to receive the Holy Ghost. This resulted in a scathing rebuke by Peter, who charged Simon with not having any part nor lot in what was going on and of having a heart not right with God. He was admonished to repent of his wickedness and pray for forgiveness. Peter surmised that his conversion wasn't genuine. Simon requested prayer that God wouldn't punish him. Simon's questionable faith is a reminder to "make y[our] calling and election sure." (See II Peter 1:10). The preaching and teaching continued, even as Peter and John traveled back to Jerusalem. The flame that was ignited on the Day of Pentecost spread like wildfire! Selah! That flame is still spreading. Don't let it flicker.    Ron