Suddenly, the breaking in of a new world

The story of Saul's conversion in Acts 9 is alive today for us. In verse 3, Saul's on his way to Damascus and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. The word "suddenly" is also used in Luke 2:13-14, Matthew 3:17 and Acts 2:2 and means the breaking in of another world, a tearing apart. What's being torn is the curtain between the spirit realm and the physical realm. Suddenly a light shines and a man is reduced to putty in the hands of Almighty God.

Saul, highly intelligent, is confident he's entirely right in what he's doing. He's confident he's on God's side while trying to destroy anyone who belonged to The Way, meaning all the Christians. Suddenly a light shines, he's knocked to the ground and hears a voice.

"Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" And then Jesus asks him, "Is it hard for you to kick against the goads?"

Goads are sharpened sticks used to prod oxen along. Jesus is asking, isn't it hard to kick against those things that are seeking to move you? What's seeking to move Saul? The confusion Saul had to be feeling. I'm doing God's work! Lord, I'm persecuting You?

Verse 6 says, "trembling and astonished" he asks the Lord, "What do You want me to do?" He's a man like putty shaking in the middle of the road listening to a voice. Put yourself in Saul's shoes and feel the rush of understanding and emotion he felt. Imagine the overwhelming sense of "I've spent my whole life for everything I thought was right and everything I've been doing was wrong." In that moment, trembling and astonished, he was shaken to the core of his being. For the next three days he didn't eat or drink anything.

Saul was as sound in doctrine as anybody because he knew the Scriptures and was as committed to God as anybody. He was passionate for righteousness. Yet he was beating up on the body of Christ " the Christians. That's the point Jesus is making.

Jesus tells the parable of the weeds in Matthew 13:24-30. After discovering weeds were sown among the wheat, the servants came to the master and asked if they should pull the weeds. The master replies no because in doing so they may also kill some of the wheat. A Christian that prunes the body of Christ is in danger of doing the same. When trying to remove the weeds, we may end up destroying another's relationship with Jesus Himself. In this parable, Jesus says to leave the pruning to the harvesters.

My prayer and all of our prayer should be, "Lord I ask that on the day I stand before You I won't discover I was concerned over things that don't concern me. You didn't call me to prune the body of Christ. You didn't call me to pick weeds. You called me to sow seed."

Let us pray for mighty visitations of the Lord on blinded people. The story of Saul's conversion is what happens when people pray for someone who seems untouchable with God " you get "suddenlys" and the atmosphere is ripped open in their lives.

This is exactly the heart and hope behind the Spirit Fest that many local churches are celebrating Sept. 19 and 20 at Lampe Park. First, that many will experience "suddenlys" and encounter the true and living God. Secondly, a spirit of togetherness will be enjoyed by the body of Christ in Carson Valley as Christians from many churches stand side by side with eyes of hope and hearts of love.

n Ron Mogab is pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship and is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers' Association.


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