Personal encounter – Part 2
Text: Acts 9:1-21
Key Verse: Acts 9:4, “Then
he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (NKJV)
Saul renamed Paul as not a hidden figure. All the Jews knew him. He used torture to compel people to renounce Jesus Christ. He grew up as a young man to know the God of Israel, made up his way and attended one of the best schools that any Jew could attend. He studied at the feet of Gamaliel, one of the premier teachers of the law in the First Century. He grew up to become someone with recognition by the national leadership in the land of Israel. He was filled with bitterness and hatred for the church and persecuted it anywhere and everywhere. He arrested people all over the place and put them in prison. If anyone was to be killed, he was one of those that would vote. He was a member of the Sanhedrin, the council of 70 Jewish leaders that had authority in the religious lives of the Jews. Paul was one of the Jewish leaders fighting for God as he thought (Acts 26:1-11).
I want to liken Saul to some believers in Christ. Saul could have been a General Overseer or a church leader of high repute. He could have been the president of a Bible school today. He could have been anybody occupying any position in the church and full of zeal. It looked like Paul was a Ph.D holder; he could have been a university graduate or master’s degree holder. He may even have had a diploma or whatever in any field. He could have been someone who had studied the OT Scriptures from cover to cover but had no personal encounter with Jesus Christ. However, one day on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians, he encountered Christ. A very bright light from heaven suddenly shone around him and he fell to the ground, and a voice said to him: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” With this question, Saul had a face-to-face encounter with Jesus Christ.
Those that were with Saul did not hear the voice, although they saw the light (Acts 9:7). The voice was for Saul alone, it was not for those around him. It was a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. You are supposed to have a personal encounter with Christ and it does not concern the person by your right or left-hand sides. It is supposed to be a personal encounter with the Lord. I am afraid that some people may attend great spiritual meetings, yet they won’t experience personal encounters with the Lord.
So, Saul, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” The Lord instructed him to go into the city of Damascus and he will be told what to do (Acts 9:6). They led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus and he was there for three days without his sight, and neither did he eat nor drink. This was a personal matter and a personal encounter. God sent Ananias, a certain disciple to go and pray for Saul at the house of Judas, in Damascus.
Ananias laid his hands on Saul and he received his sight and was filled with the Holy Spirit.
God is interested in you having a personal encounter with Him. I beg you in the name of Jesus Christ, I know you attend church; I know you are occupying a position in the church, and I know that you sing in the choir, but beyond all these and much more important is your personal encounter with God.
• Today’s Nugget: Much more important is your personal encounter with God. Prayer: Help me to have a personal encounter with Jesus. Prayer lines: 08054477940. E-mail: email@example.com. Rev. Pastor Ejikeme Ejim, General Superintendent, Assemblies of God Nigeria.