FROM TERRORISM TO TESTIMONY

THIS IS MY TESTIMONY

I saw satan fall like lightning
I saw darkness run for cover
But the miracle that I just can’t get over
My name is registered in heaven

I believe in signs and wonders
I have resurrection power
Still the miracle that I just can’t get over
My name is registered in heaven
My praise belongs to you forever

This is my testimony from death to life
Cause grace rewrote my story, I’ll testify
By Jesus Christ the Righteous
I’m justified
This is my testimony
This is my testimony

Come together sons and daughters
Bought with blood
And washed in water
Sing the praises of the Spirit
Son and Father
Our God will finish what He started
Our God will finish what He started

If I’m not dead, You’re not done
Greater things are still to come
Oh I believe

This is my testimony from death to life
Cause grace rewrote my story, I’ll testify
By Jesus Christ the Righteous
I’m justified
This is my testimony
This is my testimony

(Songwriters: Brandon Lake/Christopher Joel Brown/Steven Furtick/Tiffany Hammer)

This song of praise that testifies of a changed life plays in the background of our passage today.  We now come back to Saul, the chief priests’ credentialed leader of terrorism.  Remember Saul?  Saul is the one who held the coats of the men who stoned Stephen, “a man full of God’s Holy Spirit” who helped the widows of the new church be helped.  Saul, so intent on destroying, led other self-righteous terrorists in pulling these new believers in Jesus from their homes, beating them and throwing them into prison. Saul is out for blood.  Once a terrorist tastes blood, they only want more.  So Saul get permission and paperwork to go to Damascus from more blood!

Saul, this blood thirsty terrorist of all new believers in Jesus, is stopped cold right in the middle of his mayhem.  He meets The Master, Jesus Christ.  Jesus speaks directly to Saul, “Why do you persecute Me?”  This question alone brings new perspective to Saul’s thinking.  I’m reminded of Jesus’ words to his disciples, “Whatever you did to the least of these, you did for me…” (Matthew 25:40) in the parable of the sheep and goats.  Direct correlation? 

Saul, who zealously and relentlessly worked to stop the Jesus movement from spreading is literally brought to His knees in front of the Lamb of God whose shed blood saved the world from sin.  He is humbled by blindness for three days.  Saul no longer has a thirst for the blood of men, women and children who believe.  Saul now has a new zeal for Christ, the One and Only who saved him by His blood and gave him new life! 

It took three days of blindness so Saul could see clearly the new mission before him. 

We can almost hear Saul singing, “This is My Testimony”—”Grace rewrote my story” … 

ACTS—God’s Acts through His Disciples

Acts 9:1-19, The Message 

The Blinding of Saul—Part One

1-2 All this time Saul was breathing down the necks of the Master’s disciples, out for the kill. He went to the Chief Priest and got arrest warrants to take to the meeting places in Damascus so that if he found anyone there belonging to the Way, whether men or women, he could arrest them and bring them to Jerusalem.

3-4 He set off. When he got to the outskirts of Damascus, he was suddenly dazed by a blinding flash of light. As he fell to the ground, he heard a voice: “Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me?”

5-6 He said, “Who are you, Master?”

“I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down. I want you to get up and enter the city. In the city you’ll be told what to do next.”

7-9 His companions stood there dumbstruck—they could hear the sound, but couldn’t see anyone—while Saul, picking himself up off the ground, found himself stone-blind. They had to take him by the hand and lead him into Damascus. He continued blind for three days. He ate nothing, drank nothing.

10 There was a disciple in Damascus by the name of Ananias. The Master spoke to him in a vision: “Ananias.”

“Yes, Master?” he answered.

11-12 “Get up and go over to Straight Avenue. Ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus. His name is Saul. He’s there praying. He has just had a dream in which he saw a man named Ananias enter the house and lay hands on him so he could see again.”

13-14 Ananias protested, “Master, you can’t be serious. Everybody’s talking about this man and the terrible things he’s been doing, his reign of terror against your people in Jerusalem! And now he’s shown up here with papers from the Chief Priest that give him license to do the same to us.”

15-16 But the Master said, “Don’t argue. Go! I have picked him as my personal representative to non-Jews and kings and Jews. And now I’m about to show him what he’s in for—the hard suffering that goes with this job.”

17-19 So Ananias went and found the house, placed his hands on blind Saul, and said, “Brother Saul, the Master sent me, the same Jesus you saw on your way here. He sent me so you could see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” No sooner were the words out of his mouth than something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes—he could see again! He got to his feet, was baptized, and sat down with them to a hearty meal.

WHAT WE LEARN…

This is only the beginning of a hard, but heaven bound road for Saul.  Saul’s whole being was changed by Jesus.  Jesus changed his mind, his heart and filled his dark soul with His Light!  Saul even gets a name change to Paul later in the story. 

Don’t miss the continuing saga of the testimony of Saul to Paul.  It is amazing to read about the acts of God and His Holy Spirit working through Paul, now a servant of Jesus Christ!

One of my favorite “testimony” scripture passages, knowing what we knew about Saul, written later by Paul to the church, is found in Philippians…

“The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.

I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”  Philippians 3:7-14, The Message

“This is my testimony”, Paul shouts through the words!  “And I’m not turning back!”

What is your testimony?  

Lord,

You have changed me, rearranged me and loved me unconditionally through it all the seasons of my life.  I’m not there yet, but I’m daily gaining ground.  I’m not turning back, for life with you is life beyond my wildest dreams.  There is no one like you, dear Jesus.  Thank you for saving my soul and refusing to let me go.

In Jesus Name, Amen 

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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