Preaching Christ

Written by  //  March 15, 2016  //  Evangelism  //  No comments

PreachingChrist

“So when he had received food, he was strengthened.  Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.  Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.  Then all who heard were amazed, and said, ‘Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?’  But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.”  – Acts 9:19-22

It would probably be accurate to say that,  up to this point (Acts 9) in the history of the church, Saul of Tarsus was the greatest human threat known to Christians.  (See: Acts 9:1; Galatians 1:13-14).  But put yourself in Saul’s shoes for a moment…

Here was a man who was a champion of Jews, who rejected Christ, and now, upon receiving the truth, he has done a complete turn and demonstrated that he will do everything, as the Lord wills, to go and make disciples of Christ in every nation.

Paul’s trust in the Lord and in the truth that was revealed to him was so strong, that he did not hesitate to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ!  Luke tells us that “he immediately preached the Christ in the synagogues, that Jesus is the Son of God.”(v.20)

Saul did not stay inside a huddle of Christians and talk about his faith.  He didn’t begin his work by meeting only with Christians. In other words, there is nothing here that would even suggest to us that Saul “hid” in the comfortable ranks of his new brethren in Christ.  Saul could not rest and relax and say: “Well, Now that I’ve become a Christian, I guess my only duty is to assemble with brethren of like faith.”  No,  Saul’s focus was now Jesus, and he turned immediately from persecuting Jesus to proclaiming Jesus as the Son of God; the Messiah!

Luke makes the point of telling us that Saul preached Christ publicly even though he was fully aware of the dangers of doing so, and even though he knew that others would scoff and say: “This man’s a traitor: he went from seeking and destroying Christians, to being one!”  People must have thought: “This guy is out of his mind!”  But that didn’t stop Saul from doing what was right in the sight of God.

I wonder if we realize the degree of faith and courage it takes to do what Saul did?  Do we understand the amount of trust one must have in God – the amount of trust you must have in the truth that God has revealed – to change your life so significantly?  The gospel of Christ should lead you to stop all the wrong activities that you were involved in, and start doing all the right things!  (Even if you have to suffer for the changes you’ve made)

People are going to react differently to this faith in God and Christ:  Some are going to be utterly amazed at the changes they see in you.  Others are going to scoff and claim that you have no convictions at all   because you have completely abandoned one manner of living for another.  And those who feel betrayed by your actions,  those who will hear you speak the truth, warning them that they too better submit to the will of God in Christ – many of them are not going to like that;  they’re not going to like you.  They may even try to harm you and keep you from telling this truth to other people.

Saul faced all of this when he first became a Christian, and yet, he immediately preached Christ in the synagogues of Damascus.  Just as most of us are, I imagine that he was tempted to limit his activities to simply meeting in the quiet assemblies of Christians.  But you see, his faith in Jesus Christ would not allow him to  forfeit any opportunity to share God’s word with others.  Even at this point in time, Saul was “ready to preach the gospel!

“So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”     –  Romans 1:15-16

Saul immediately preached to those who were most-likely to be enemies of Christ.  He took the saving message of the gospel directly to his Jewish countrymen.   “Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ” (Acts 9:22).

Saul wasn’t timidly suggesting to the Jews that maybe this Jesus was the Christ, and maybe they should think about following Him – Saul was PROVING that this Jesus is the Christ.  He was boldly proclaiming it!

He showed absolute trust and confidence in the truth concerning whom he now believed Jesus was and what we must do to submit to the Lord’s rule.

 – John Hagenbuch   

 

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