Tag Archives: Acts 9

Being Ananias: Ministry to those we Fear

Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.  Acts 9:17-19

Have you ever wondered why exactly Ananias was necessary to Paul’s conversion experience?  Doesn’t it seem like a lot of extra (unnecessary) steps?  God could have handled this entire conversion experience so much more efficiently by just handling it Himself.  What is the point of blinding Paul until a fellow believer could come to him and play a part in helping Paul see again?  Friends, I believe we, the church, must answer these questions if we are to understand God’s expectations of us.

I have built an entire ministry around the proposition that the church is not just one alternative plan to reach this broken world, but rather is God’s only plan.  I believe this with all my heart.  Christian Unity Ministries is not about finding alternative ways to reach the communities of the world…it is about bringing health and vitality to the only vehicle God has already ordained for that work: his church. And a big part of that work involves helping churches become the people God expects us to become in order to love well, whether the objects of that love are within the church or outside the church. If we are to be God’s vehicle for reaching a lost and broken world, we must learn to minister even to those in our culture with whom we strongly disagree or fear.…

The Principle of the Spirit

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples… As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. Acts 9:1, 3-5

The Principle of the Spirit: There is only one head of the church and He is in us all.

That Christ indwells every believer should change some things about how I see myself and how I see other believers.  It should change the way I listen to other believers and it should change the way I treat them.  Paul, who had busied himself with throwing Christian men and women into prison and persecuting people who were followers of “the way”, learned this lesson the hard way.

He saw the threat posed by this band of rebels who had been disciples of Jesus.  He recognized the damage they were doing to his church.  He saw the potential damage yet to come, and he responded.

But haven’t you done the same thing?  Haven’t you ever felt the need to “protect your church” by being mean and ugly to someone?  That’s all Saul (Paul) was doing…protecting his church.  The problem, of course, is this: when we perceive that our church is at stake, hasn’t history proven that we (Christians) are capable of all manner of bad behavior (ever heard of the Spanish Inquisition)?  When we have demonized a person to the point that we now believe he/she is a threat to the church, and when we take it upon ourselves to be the defender of Christ’s church, we are only one very tiny step away from inflicting great pain …