The title for this sermon is called Wrecked. Our text for this sermon is from:
Saul was forced to leave Damascus. The Jews at Damascus were tired of hearing him and they wanted to kill him.
Saul goes to Jerusalem. He did not return to the Temple. He’s not stupid.
vs 26 It is interesting to see that Saul goes back to Jerusalem. Saul first left Jerusalem with sealed documents giving him permission to go to Damascus and bring back any disciples of Jesus. In Jerusalem, Saul worked for the Temple Mafia. Saul was a Pharisee. By now, word has made it to the temple that Saul has become a disciple of Jesus. What would infuriate the Temple Mafia more than knowing their top student, their most zealous follower has joined the dark side? Saul has been wrecked by Jesus.
The disciples in Jerusalem are not sure what to make of this Saul character showing up in their midst. They are not sure that he is who he says he is. He does have a violent past. His reputation goes before him. They are approaching this guy with caution. They can’t be too careful. They do not want to end up in front of the Temple Mafia to be tortured and killed.
vs 27 Barnabas stands in the gap for Saul. Barnabas stakes his life on the fact that Saul is truly a disciple. Barnabas tells the other disciples of how Saul met Jesus and the regenerate change that took place in Saul’s heart. The disciples were looking at Saul’s life before Jesus. Barnabas saw what Saul was like after Jesus changed him. Saul is a different man. Where there once was violence, there is now peace. Where there was once cursing, there is now compassion. Where there was once hate, there is now love. Saul is a man wrecked by Jesus. He cannot help himself. He is compelled. He must preach. He must talk about Jesus wherever he goes. If Jesus can change Saul, Jesus can change anyone.
vs 28 Because of Barnabas’ testimony, they allow Saul into their fellowship. Saul shows that Barnabas’ testimony about him was true. Saul continues to preach boldly the name of Jesus. Anyone who has been saved from eternal death has great cause to speak boldly the name of Jesus. When the fear of death and hell are removed, nothing stands in the way of the disciple speaking boldly the name of Jesus.
vs 29 Again, Saul is threatened with death. The Hellenists want to kill him. Saul was once one of them. They feel the most betrayed. Most Christians do not do enough to be made fun of let alone persecuted or threatened with death. Why is it when we hear the words Go Hard or Go Home we expect that to apply to military, football players or UFC fighters but not Christians.
vs 30 The disciples want to help their brother in Christ. He has proven to them that he is has been washed by the blood of Jesus. He is no longer what he once was. Look at what he has become. He is a true disciple of Jesus. The disciples send Saul back to his hometown, Tarsus. Saul will mention later that this moment was ordained by God to get him out of Jerusalem. Saul is being prepared for his ministry to the Gentiles.
vs 31 There seems to be little persecution going on now. There is a period of peace and the church is walking in the fear of the Lord and the Holy Spirit begins to multiply the church again. This is the calm after the storm. The church, instead of becoming secure and comfortable, ramped it up. They edified the church, they increased in knowledge and grace, they continued to spread the gospel. They walked in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit continued to multiply the church.