We must not be hasty or presumptuous when listening for God's call for our lives.
Scripture: Acts 21:37-23:11
- Paul defends himself before the mob, giving evidence that he is a Jew who was educated in Torah and zealous for God, even persecuting “the Way.”
- The bright light and the voice from heaven on the road to Damascus was recognized by the Jews as a theophany, the voice of God calling Paul to service.
- Knowing that he was being commissioned by Jesus, Paul asks “What shall I do?” (Acts 22:10).
- The name “Ananias” means “The Lord is gracious.”
- Ananias' message confirms to Paul that God hand-picked him to see Jesus (the Righteous One) and to witness to His name.
- Paul met the Righteous One (Isaish 53:11) who would bear our iniquities and cause us to be counted righteous.
- Paul left Jerusalem a condemned sinner, met Jesus on the road, and arrived in Damascus justified.
- In a vision Paul is told to leave Jerusalem to be a prophet to the Gentiles (Acts 22:17-21; cf. Isaiah 6).
- Only Jesus can provide the righteousness that comes from God, having taken our condemnation in our place on the cross. It's a free gift of God to be accepted in faith.
- We're offered eternal life, as Christ has reversed the death sentence due us on account of sin.
- The prophet Isaiah speaks of God lifting the veil of death and tears from all people (Isaiah 25:7-8).
- In Acts 22, Paul's conversion and his calling are closely linked.
- We're saved for God's purposes and glory – in Paul's second call, he was sent to foreign, Gentile cities.
- We must not be hasty or presumptuous when listening for God's call for our lives.
- People and prayer both indicate God's calling on Paul's life.
- As you're listening to God's call, hear what other brothers and sisters are saying. Be diligent in prayer.
- Paul's conversion and calling entailed tribulation – God had to humble, mold, and equip him for service.
- We need to be humbled and shaped for service (cf. Hosea 6:1-2).
- God revives us through suffering and tribulation.
- Our hearts will remain restless until we submit to God's purposes for our lives.
- The Father calls us, the Son redeems us, the Spirit comforts us in our trials.
- What was the significance of the bright light and voice from heaven to the Jewish mind, and to Paul in particular?
- Compare and contrast the calling of Isaiah, Moses, and Paul (Isaiah 6; Exodus 3:1-12; Acts 22:6-21).
- Do we testify about our name as Christians that the Lord is gracious? Or do we deny it by the way we treat others?
- How do we respond to the call of God? Are we running or resisting?
- What means does God provide to discern and follow His vocational call upon our lives?
- What was the role of suffering in Paul's experience? What purpose can it have in our vocations?