Acts 9:23-31, Less Popular Activities In The Power Of Spirit

Acts 9:23-31, Less Popular Activities In The Power Of Spirit
1. Spending Time Alone In The Power Of The Spirit (v23)
2. Sneaking Away In The Power Of The Spirit (v24-25)
3. Trying And Failing In The Power Of The Spirit (v26)
4. Vouching For People In The Power Of The Spirit (v27-28)
5. Going Home In The Power Of The Spirit (v29-30)
6. Settling Down In The Power Of The Spirit (v31)

Pastor Jerry Simmons teaching Acts 9:23-31, Less Popular Activities In The Power Of Spirit

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Jerry Simmons shared this Verse By Verse Bible study from Acts on Wednesday, March 8, 2023 using the New King James Version (NKJV).

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Well here in Acts chapter nine, we are jumping into the accounts. That's quite incredible, Saul of Tarsus, the legendary enemy of the Christian faith, is on his way to Damascus from Jerusalem. He's been persecuting Christians. He's been torturing. Christians, he's been beating Christians until they. Denounced the name of Christ until they renounced that. They love Jesus until they turn away from the Christian faith. He's been seeking to turn believers into unbelievers and wrecking havoc in the churches. The way that it's described as Saul is on a rampage against Christ and against. The things of Christ. And so he's against the Christians. He's against the believers as we start out in Chapter 9 and he. Gets his fill of torturing Christians in Jerusalem. He's, you know, done as much as he can there. So he decides, you know what? What we need to do is take a missionary journey against Christians and go out and torture Christians everywhere else. And so he gets permission from all the chief priests and the the leadership of the Jewish people. There and he heads out to Damascus. It's about 150 miles north and east of Jerusalem. He makes this trek quite a journey for the singular reason of finding Christians, putting them to death, or torturing them, putting them to prison, getting them to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ. But then on the way to Damascus, the Lord. Arrests Saul and captivates him. Delivers the call to repentance to him, and amazingly, saw response. He turns from his wickedness. He turns from his fighting against God. He believes in Jesus Christ. He receives the Gospel his well. The Lord sends Ananias to. Free for him and he restores the site that was temporarily taken from him in this encounter with the Lord. He receives the Holy Spirit and so now you have this guy who was 1000% against Christ. And immediately he turns around, all that same energy and effort and passion he puts towards pursuing Christ and preaching Christ. But what we find in Acts Chapter 9. Is that his initial efforts don't go so well. Let's jump back a couple verses to our verses this evening. Verse 20 of Acts Chapter 9 says 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, that he might bring them down to the chief priests. But Saul increased all the more in strength and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that Jesus is the Christ, and so right off the bat Saul goes to the synagogues, he begins to preach. He begins to call people to believe in Jesus. And it's quite shocking to all the Jews in the region because they're confused. They know he came up. There to destroy. Christians, and now he's promoting their message. And they don't like. It and so verse 23 says after many days were passed, the Jews plotted to kill him. He doesn't have a revival there in Damascus. He doesn't have a, you know, a huge band of disciples that have been converted. He has enemies that have been made and it's not quite the scene that you might imagine just reading up to this point. And if you have not gone through the accounts. Before and I think as we work our way through these verses tonight versus 23 through 30. It's it's important to think about these things. It's valuable to think about these things because you know, not everything in the Christian life is victory and success and great story after great story after great story, there is a lot of occasions in our Christian life. Where we're not going to be experiencing all of the highs that we want to experience. I don't know if this happens to you. But I would ask you to consider. Does it ever feel like other people live much cooler lives than you live? Does it ever feel like other people hear from God so much more than you do and they take steps of faith because God gives them open doors way more than you have open doors in front of you? Or or do you ever feel like other people see so much more success in their life and and in their attempts to do things for the Lord that that there's just so much more victory for other people that you just don't see in your life? For that other people are able to overcome or to go forward that that. There's just so much excitement and and amazing things happening for other people. But then you look in the mirror, you contemplate your own life and it just is kind of discouraging. You just don't sense the same kind of work in your life. That you are seeing in other people's lives. And of course, much of that is just plain false because you know, if you just base your assessment of, you know, how the Lord is working in other people's lives off of social media or what they say at church, you know, like that we have such a limited preview into other people's lives. And then we take the little snippet that we have and we exaggerate, you know, to fill in the blanks. And so a lot of what we feel about that is not even accurate to be. In with but still we can be quite discouraged and I think you know for myself this is something I walk through this message this evening because I need to hear this. I need to be encouraged by this. It seems like I can look around other people, other pastors, other churches, so much cooler, so much more exciting, so much better. Other pastors are so much more. Equipped to have so much more vision, or so much more talented or qualified or gifted. You know, all these things that are so easy for us to just kind of. Discourage ourselves in as we look around at those around us, but what I appreciate about the scriptures is that there's a great genuineness and honesty in the scriptures and here as we work through these verses in Acts chapter nine, I think we see kind of the other side of some of the exciting things. You know, the first half of the chapter. Oh man, exciting the greatest enemy that the Christian Church has ever known. Meets Jesus gets saved is filled with the Holy Spirit. Like wow, how do you get more exciting than that? Well, you don't always have to get more exciting than that. And the next day is not always more exciting than the day before. Sometimes things take a different turn, and so I've titled the message tonight less popular. Activities in the power of the spirit. And I want to consider with you some activities, some things that happen in Paul's life, some things that we may face in our life that are not the popular things, not the things that everybody wants to talk about, but also important to note, not void of the power of the Holy Spirit and not outside of the will of God. But there are a lot of things that are in the will of God that we need to be filled with the holy spirits for. But are not the headlines that people write, or the things that we might dream or fantasize about. And so there's some encouragement here by looking at what Paul experienced for. Those less popular activities. Sometimes we get weird ideas in our heads and we develop expectations that are not realistic, and especially when it comes to things related to the Lord and is working and is working in our lives. Sometimes we can think you know I I believe God's put this on my heart. Therefore, I'm gonna have success for sure. There's gonna be victory. Things are gonna go smooth, and it's just gonna be amazing. A lot of times, we measure things even as mature believers. We measure things by visible. And we can become quite discouraged because that's not the way that God works. And you might tell yourself, I thought God told me to do that, but then it didn't work. So it must not have been from God. But that's not. Necessarily true that spiritual life, a walk with God is a long journey. And there's lots of various seasons and ups and downs in that journey, and there's still many parts of life that are absolutely, completely normal in the. Power of the Holy Spirit. So not absence, God not absent the Holy Spirit in our lives, but also still. And basic and not the popular. Not the exciting, not the headline things that we want to celebrate or experience over and over and over again. There are many things that the Lord teaches us through the lulls, as well as those swells, and so less popular activities in the power. Of the spirit we're going to walk through six activities here looking at Acts Chapter 9, verses 23 through 31. Here's the first activity empowered by the Holy Spirit. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We're commanded to continually be filled with. The Holy Spirit so that. We can be spending time alone. In the power of the spirit. In verse 23, again it says now after many days were passed, the Jews plotted. To kill him. Here in Saul's journey and his life, he's in Damascus. He's been saved for a little bit, but there's this time period that happens, referred to here in verse 23. After many days now we get a little bit of insight into what happened during those many days. In Paul's letter to the Galatians. He fills in a little bit more of the background on his testimony that Luke is not covering here in Acts Chapter 9. There's a lot of details that Luke is not trying to recount everything. But he's just, you know, giving the general overview and some key points to what occurred in Saul's life here in this chapter with his conversion. And so the picture that he paints in Galatians gives us a little bit better understanding deletions chapter. Verse 16, he says. I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, talking about his salvation experience, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me. But I went to Arabia and returned again to Damascus. Then, after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter and remained with him 15 days. So there in Galatians chapter one, as Paul is giving his personal testimony about how he received the gospel message and understood the gospel message he's making the point that it wasn't that the apostle sat down with Saul and told him now Saul. Hears the gospel message. Memorize this because this is what you're going to need to preach. No, Saul had that encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. He believed in Jesus. He began to walk with the Lord and at some point he left Damascus. He didn't go back to Jerusalem right away. At some point he was in Damascus. He left Damascus and went to Arabia. He goes out to the wilderness. And and the wilderness was nearby to Arabia or nearby to Damascus. Here's a quick look at that. So Paul Saul's there in Damascus and he goes down a little bit S into this area and it would have been known as Arabia. So it doesn't mean he had to go all the way. SSSS to like Sinai where the children. Of Israel wandered. But but he he goes a little bit of distance away from Damascus into the wilderness, and he has some. Alone time, he tells us here in Galatians, chapter one. He's there for three years. Years, three years in the wilderness and Damascus all together, he's he's three years there. And so so he has some significant time that is just away from everybody, some some significant time with just him spending time with the Lord and and of course that was important. Because Saul was the Pharisee of Pharisees, he knew the scriptures well, but with the. The twisted perspective and he could spend some time reviewing all of the scriptures that he knew under this new light of Jesus Christ as the Messiah, and he had to transform and reshape all of the theology that he had built up all of the scriptures and. Of understanding of them, there was a whole new transforming work that God needed to do in Saul. And it happened as he spent time alone in the power. Of the spirit. Not exactly the same type of thing, but you might remember Jesus had a similar experience. He's baptized at the beginning of his ministry. The Holy Spirit descends upon him like a dove. And then immediately after that, he's led by the spirits into the wilderness for 40 days of fasting and temptation. Time alone filled with the Holy Spirit, empowered by the spirit. We we might get the idea sometimes in our heads that filled with the Holy Spirit, empowered by the Holy Spirit, is always going to include some dramatic experience with other. People around us. But that's just not always the case. Sometimes what we need the most. Is to be empowered by the Holy Spirit. And to get away from everyone else. And to sit alone with the Lord to have some wilderness time, some breaking away from everything else. And to have some quiet time with. Jesus, Pastor John Corson puts it this way. Paul took off for the desert, where he enrolled in a three-year course taught by the Holy Spirit on how every symbol, every sacrifice, every picture in the Old Testament related to the person of Jesus Christ. He went to his own Bible college, his own seminary. Where he just between him and the Lord. Filled with the Holy Spirit, walked through the Scriptures and now, with a fresh understanding of who Jesus is, is able to understand all the scriptures that he's known. I mean, what an incredible experience it must have been for him. All the scriptures he's known so well for so long. All of a sudden they have this new life. They have this color this vibrant, you know, essence coming from the it's Jesus that that is being talked about here like it must have been an amazing time but. Also, his time spent alone that comes with some loneliness. Perhaps that comes with some of the challenges that go along with that. But but he's filled with the Holy Spirit, spending time alone with the Lord. You know, for some people, solitude is glorious. And for some people, solitude is torturous. But in both cases, there are times in our lives. Where we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit empowered by the Holy Spirit. So that we can have really excellent superb time alone with the Lord. It's not always interacting with people. That the Holy Spirit. Is seeking to work in us now. That doesn't mean that. There's only alone time in our lives, right? But but there are those seasons. There's, there's. It's OK for there to be seasons of loneliness. You can be filled with the Holy Spirit and be lonely. You can be filled with the Holy Spirit and be away from everybody else and have time and disconnections and and it maybe doesn't feel exciting and it maybe doesn't, you know, fit the idea of what you had in your head or what you wanted or what you think of being filled with the. Holy Spirit, looks like or feels like. And it's not the only way to experience. All of this right, but. But to not limit it to just those exciting kind of ideals that we might have, but to accept that there are those times where being filled with the Holy Spirit, the the Lord might send us in to you 40 days of isolation and temptation. Or three years of isolation and education. Or some other time frame for some other purpose that the Lord wants to accomplish in our life. But sometimes being filled with the Holy Spirit is so that we can have the power that is necessary to be alone, to be still, and to hear from the Lord we're moving on to verse 24 and 25, we get activity #2. Less popular activity. And the power of the Holy Spirit. This is definitely not one of the popular ones sneaking away in. Power of the Holy Spirit, verse 24 says, but their plot became known to Saul, and they watched the Gates day and night to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket. Here in these. Couple of verses we get to see Paul. Behaving in a way that we have. Not seen up. To this point, we've seen him ferocious and powerful. We've seen him violent. But we've never seen him. Sneak away from a situation. It tells us in verse 23 that the Jews they're in Damascus, as Paul comes back. There's this conflict. There is this uprising. There's this uproar and and there is a desire and a plot, a plan to put Saul to death. But it becomes known. Saul finds out about it. And So what does Saul do, Saul, the guy who previously exercised great violence against other people, saw the guy who, you know, is not afraid of being ferocious and going head to head with anyone. Right. Saul, how does he handle this? Plot that now has become known. He doesn't summon an army. He doesn't hatch a plan. He doesn't buy some weapons, he doesn't take them to court. What does he do? He goes into hiding. Verse 24 tells us they watched the gates notice day and night. What does that tell us? They're looking for Saul. They can't find him and and there's some time that is passing. So they they've put a watch on the Gates day and night, so this is not a. One time, you know, thing that happened in a an hour. And 1/2 this is. A few days, a couple of. Days, maybe a little bit longer time frame. We don't know for sure how long it was. But some time is passing, and they're watching the gates, but they're not finding salt. Because Saul's not going through the gate. Where is he going? He's hiding. Have you ever heard of hiding in the spirit? Crouching down under the table behind the curtain. I'm empowered by the Holy Spirit. We can easily get this picture of boldness, right? We saw in Acts chapter four and five there was the empowering of the Holy Spirit and there was the boldness and I don't care if it's you, all of you saying Hedron, you can put us to death, but you can't stop us from preaching the gospel boldness that came from the empowering of the. Holy Spirit but. But that is not the only way. The empowering of the Holy Spirit manifests in our life and sometimes filled with the Holy Spirit, led by the Holy Spirit. The right thing to do and the direction that God is giving us is. They watched the Gates day and night. And they're not evil to find soul. And then in verse 25 it tells us the disciples took him by night. And let him down through the wall. In a large basket. Why do you suppose they took him by night? Obvious reasons, right? It's dark. Much more challenging to be discovered at night, so they're sneaking away. They're getting out of town. The gates are being watched. So they're getting out of town another way. That's sneaky. Another way. That's clever that their enemies are not looking for. Now we should not look at this and think, man, Saul, what a backslide, bro. I mean, come on, like, don't you have any faith? Why are you sneaking away? I mean, you just March out those gates if you want to go in the name of Jesus. Just March out those gates. Listen, I think that's a wrong perspective to take on this. Don't assume that Saul is no longer filled with the Holy Spirit. We shouldn't assume that he's just backslidden. He's lost his faith and and he's just, you know, running in the flesh right now. No, he's operating in the spirits. And this occasion the Holy Spirit is saying sneak away. Get out through the window, Saul. There's a basket right there. Tell the people you're staying with. He just lowered me down. By the basket. And I'll sneak out of town. Paul gives us accounts also in Second Corinthians Chapter 11, verse 32, he says in Damascus, the governor under Eritis with the king was guarding the city of of the Damascenes with the Garrison desiring to arrest me. But I was let down in a basket through a window in the. Wall and escaped from his hands. Paul shares the same thing later on. This is what happened. I was in danger. But I escaped the danger in the power of the Holy Spirit by being let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and I escaped. I didn't battle and then saw victory. I escaped, I ran away. I snuck out. Not typical things that we would associate with being filled with the Holy Spirit. Being empowered by the Holy Spirit. You know, on the the the job for the Lord as a apostle of Jesus Christ, I snuck away, you know. Like that is. Just not the things that we associate so many times, but. That doesn't mean. That it's of the flesh. It doesn't mean that it's not part of what God might also want to do in our lives. There are times to sneak away, and the power of. The Holy Spirit. There's some battles. That God doesn't want us to fight. There's some battles that if we would listen to the Holy Spirit, we wouldn't enter that argument. We wouldn't engage with that. We wouldn't pursue that. We wouldn't start that, we wouldn't stir the pot we. Would sneak away. It's something to think about. There's some occasions. Hey, you want to share the gospel, you want to be filled with. The Holy Spirit. You want to reach that person that you love so much. And that's. Great desires to have in your heart. And so be filled with. The Holy Spirit. And when the spirit leads enter into those discussions and engage in those battles and have those conversations and preach the gospel boldly and clearly. But also understand as you are led by the Holy Spirit, it's less popular, but sometimes under the influence of the Holy Spirit. The best thing to do is oh, cousin Sue is. Here, just gonna sneak away right now. I don't need to engage in that. That's not going to advance the gospel. It's not going to advance the work of God. That's going to be a distraction from what God is doing. I I just need to sneak away in the power of the spirit. Not that I don't trust God. Not that you know, but just there are those times where we need to be led by. The Lord that. We don't always. Just attack the danger in the name of Jesus. Sometimes sneaking out the back door is. The right thing for us to do. Pastor Thomas Constable says the fact that Paul did not minimize this undignified exit in his writings says a lot for his humility and the transformation that God had affected in this once self-righteous Pharisee. Paul here is demonstrating humility. And maybe at the time while he's in the basket, it felt like humiliation. But later on, as he's recounting the story, it's humility. As he's saying, this is what happened. This, yes, yes. I am Saul of Tarsus Pharisee of Pharisees. The apostle to the Gentiles, this dramatic conversion experience. Empowered with the Holy Spirit. But the right thing for me to do at that time was not fight, not go to war, not go to battle and not try to stand up for it. Remember, Peter was released from prison earlier, and the the Lord told him through the Angel. Don't be afraid. Go back and preach the gospel. And so he went back to the same area where he was arrested previously. He he went back to the same spot and defied the religious authorities and preached the gospel anyway. That's not how the Lord LED Saul. It doesn't always happen that way sometimes. The Lord says sneak away. Get out of there. Go hide. Duck under the table for a few days. Let things calm down. That can be just as much a leading. Of the spirits. And it might require a full on empowering of the Holy Spirit to defy your desires, to deny yourself what you want to do in the face of that situation, and how much you want to tell them what's what, and put them back in their place. But sometimes you need the strength and the power of the Holy Spirit. To not engage that way, to sneak away. As the Holy Spirit leads you. Does it ever feel like other people have much cooler lives than you? They get to go advance and fight and engage and battle. And mostly you just sneak away. Hey, if it's in the Holy Spirit, if it's in the power of the Holy Spirit and LED it. By the Holy Spirit, nothing to be. Discouraged about in that? That is a legitimate activity as you walk with God. Sometimes it's the right thing to do. It's the way that God will lead you. Well, point #3 continuing on verse 26 trying and failing in the power. Of the Holy Spirit. Again, it's less popular. We want to try and succeed, get it right. On the first time. Trying and failing is an activity. That we will likely experience in the power of the Holy Spirit, verse 26. And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples. But they were all afraid of him and did not believe that he was a disciple. So we get the idea here. Paul has left Damascus. He's made the journey, the trek back down to Jerusalem. But he's been gone for a few years. And as he gets to Jerusalem, he tries to join the disciples. I think that's. A quick good side note there to to to take note of. Saw moves. And the first thing he tries to do that. Priority is to join in with other believers in Jesus. It's a good reminder of the priority of fellowship of having other believers around us. Wherever we go, we need to join the disciples as we move from place to place. As we go from here to there, we need to join the disciples. It's a a part of our Christian life and our Christian behavior. And so. It's important. It hasn't been written yet, but. Saul knows the principle to not forsake the gathering. Of the brethren. So he says I need to. Meet up with the Christians here in Jerusalem. And he tries to join them. They're afraid, though. I think we all understand that. Three years ago, Saul was in town torturing people. Trying to get people to blasphemy the name. Of Christ. The people that Saul is trying to interact with might be relatives friends. With some of the people that were severely affected by his wrecking havoc on the church. And so they think this is a trick. They didn't believe that he was a disciple who would, right. It's it's not hard to understand why the disciples behaved the way that they did. But on Saul's side? He made the attempt and it wasn't just. A1 time attempt Pastor Wayne Risby says it this way. At first, the believers in Jerusalem or the Jerusalem Church were afraid of him. Saul kept trying. That's the literal Greek to get into their fellowship, but they would not accept him. So he tried to join the disciples doesn't just mean he gave it one shot. But the idea here is that OK, I understand. You won't let me into church tonight, but. I'm going to come. Back next week, I'll try again. And I'm going to come back. On Sunday and see if. You'll open the doors then that that there was this ongoing attempts that was happening that Saul was trying. To join the disciples. But failing. Now again, we could easily. Think about this scenario. And being in the midst of it, we would imagine OK, here I. Am recently converted filled with the Holy Spirit. This awesome, powerful testimony, this incredible turn around and and future that God has for Saul. Like the doors should just open. And there should just be this miraculous vision that comes down, and the disciples, being led by the spirit, also should have this word from the Lord Embrace Saul. Bring him in. Don't fight against and don't resist. And don't be fearful. You know, like there, there should be this dramatic entrance. And overcoming of this fear and situation. There should just be this glow around Saul that persuades the people, whoa, we can see, we can tell. Look, your countenance has changed. There should just be this radical thing. That's what we might think. Being in the midst of this situation. But instead we find Saul trying and failing. And so he tries again, and it doesn't work still. But I'm filled with the Holy Spirit and Lord, I know you want me to join the church. You want me to be part of the fellowship and to not. Forsake the assembling and so. I'm gonna try again, and I'm gonna fail again. And I'm gonna try again. And I'm gonna fail again. So many times we get this idea in our head that. If we tried. It and it failed. It must not have been God. It must not be something that God wants us to do. It must not be, you know, something that we actually heard from him. It it must be something different because it failed and we're using that to measure whether or not the Lord was in it in the 1st place. That's a faulty way of approaching and understanding what God wants for us. You can't just measure by whether or not something was a success or a failure. We don't just get victory the first time every time, because we're filled with the Holy Spirit. And when we don't get victory, it doesn't mean we weren't filled with the Holy Spirit. In our walk with the Lord. Being right, with the Lord, being in the center of God's will will include times in our lives where we try things. And fail at them. Try things that God wants us to do. Try things that God is leading us in. But that doesn't mean that it's always successful on the first time out. Of course we want it that way. That's our preference. That's not the way that God works. It just doesn't always work that way. Trying and failing. In the power of the Holy Spirit, again, that's less. Popular, right? We don't. Post that on our Facebook account like hey I. Failed again in. The name of Jesus praise the Lord. That's just not something we celebrate that much, but. But it's important that we acknowledge it and recognize failed plans do not prove that God wasn't in the plans. I don't have the exact reference in my head at the moment, but in the book of judges you can follow through with this if you want to kind of chase that down a little bit more. There is the time towards the end of the book of Judges where the Lord sends the tribes of Israel out to battle. He tells them to go and they fail. They are defeated in battle, so they come back. And they cry out to the Lord. And the Lord says again go to battle and they go to battle and they're defeated and they come back and it's God telling them to go, and they're going into battle. And you would expect God tells you to go into battle. That means you're gonna have success and victory. Finally, they do have victory. As the Lord is telling them to go into battle. It's not. Immediate it's not the first time around. It's the third time around that they respond to God as he's speaking to them that they experience the victory. And Saul's going to experience victory in this, and he's going to be able to join the disciples, but it's not going to be on his first try. It's not gonna be on his second try. He's going. To try a few times, he's going to try over and over. He's not in the. He's filled with the Holy Spirit. And so he's going to try and fail. And the power of the spirit. Well, point #4 this time we're looking actually at Barnabas for this point vouching for people in the power. Of the spirits. Verse 27 and 28 says, but Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles, and he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that he had spoken to him and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. So he was with them at Jerusalem coming in and going out. There in verse 28, we can finally see the victory right? He tried and failed to join the disciples. But after verse 27 now he was with them. He was one of them. He was. Part of the. Church and he was able to come in and go out. There was a an acceptance and embracing and so finally. He's able to be part of the fellowship. But it didn't happen. By something Saul did. It happened by God working in somebody else. To open the door for Saul. To have victory. In that. And sometimes our victories are not our own. But it's other people. Responding to the work of the Lord in their life that enable us. To try one more time. And then succeed and it it was the last time we tried only because. Well, then finally it worked. If it didn't work. Well, there would still be the trying and failing, but. But it succeeded. It was successful. But why? Well, because Barnabas. Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And Barnabas declared to the apostles. How Saul had seen the Lord Saul's not telling his testimony. Barnabas is telling Saul's testimony. And so I I just picture Barnabas, like he's one of those guys who talks with a lot of excitement and passion. He's kind of like dragon solid. It's always like this is not a good idea. I don't know that we should be doing this. Like I've been trying this, it hasn't been working. It'll trust me. Come on, let's just. Let's go. We got to try again. And so there's Barnabas saying, guys, hey, Peter, listen, I know, I know it's scary. And he tortured your cousin. I know it's tough, OK, but. Listen how God. Revealed himself to Saul on the road. And and let him tell you the things that the Lord said. God spoke to him and. And then after. That we he. Was preaching boldly at Damascus. Now we don't know how, Barnabas. Knew any of this? Maybe Barnabas was in Damascus for some of that time, or maybe he had heard the rumors. Or maybe. He he had befriended Saul personally and so. He got to hear first hand from Saul over coffee one day. You know, this whole testimony of what happened, and he's just like, wow, we need to bring this to the rest of the church. And so here's Barnabas. On behalf of Saul declaring what God had done, this was part of Barnabas's character. Barnabas, we know him as Barnabas, but it's not actually his real name. Acts Chapter 4 gives us the background where this came from. Acts chapter 4, verse 30. It says and Josis, who was also named Barnabas by the Apostles, which is translated son of encouragement. A Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles feet. Barnabas was involved with the church way back in Acts Chapter 4. But his original name was Joseph or Joseph. But after hanging out with him for. 5 minutes. Nobody called him Joseph. No, no, no. His name is Barnabas. They gave him a nickname. Usually nicknames are shorter than the real name, right? But no, no, no. This guy, it deserves. He deserves the extra syllables because anytime you're around this guy, man, there is just encouragement and strength. And just man, you are invigorated. Having spent some time with Barnabas, let's call him. Son of encouragement. That's literally what Barnabas means. Son of encouragement. And so here's Joseph. AKA Barnabas encouraging Saul. Come on, Saul, let's try again. Let's go back. I'll get you into the apostles. Let's tell them your story. They need to hear what God has done. What a great testimony. Of God's work. And he's talking to the apostles. He's saying, guys, no, you gotta trust him. You gotta listen to what he said. And here you'll see as you hear his story, this is real. God really has transformed him. He's changed. And so Barnabas is vouching for Saul's risky move. Leading in the greatest enemy the church has ever seen. Right into the midst of the apostles. But he vouches for him. This guy has no I've spent some time. I know this guy now. I've heard his story. You need to hear this story. Barnabas filled with the Holy Spirit. The son of encouragement connects Saul with the church in Jerusalem. We need that kind of work of the spirit. Sometimes the doors that need to be opened in our lives are not going to be opened. By us. But by allowing other people. To be filled with the Holy Spirit. To vouch for us to open those doors on our behalf, and sometimes we need to be. Doing that for other people. To be bringing people in. Interacting with them ourselves, but then bringing them in, pushing them through opening doors, you know, making those connections that. It can be a bit of. A risk? Can be a bit of. A challenge. But it's a work of the Holy Spirit. To make those connections, to establish those relationships. To put ourselves on the line, our names on the line for one another in the power of the Spirit, Pastor Thomas Constable points out. Barnabas pointed out three indications that Saul's conversion was genuine for the benefit of the Christian skeptics. Saul had seen the Lord he had talked with him, he had witnessed. Spoken out boldly in Damascus, in Jesus name. And so it wasn't a blind vouching, you know, it wasn't just. Well, I don't know, but I just going to try it again. I have no idea why or you. Know like saul's. I'm sorry, Barnabas is thinking through this. He has logical succession of points like here's why we should listen to him. Here's why we you should receive him. And so he's being safe. He's being careful. He's not just being reckless. But at the same time. Filled with the Holy Spirit, he's being a great encouragement, helping to open doors for Saul to do what he needed to do what he was trying to do for some time to join the church and be part of the Fellowship of Believers there in Jerusalem. Well, verse 29 and 30 gives us point #5 this evening. The less popular activities and the power of the Holy Spirit #5 activity is going home and the power of the spirit. Verse 29 and 30 says. And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the hellenists. But they attempted to kill him. When the Brethren found out, they brought him down to Cesarea and sent him out to Tarsus. Here is the account continues on Saul's life is in danger again. It was in danger just a little bit ago up in Damascus as the Jewish people in Damascus were seeking to take Saul out. But now Saul is in Jerusalem. He gets accepted to the church. He's like. All right, great. I'm part of the church now. I can start to activate my ministry and do what I've been called to do, and so he speaks boldly. He's filled with the Holy Spirit. He speaks boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus. Specifically, with the group known as the Hellenists. Now these were the Greek speaking Jews. This was the same group that we saw in chapter seven and six interacting with Stephen and then ultimately putting Stephen to death. Saul, part of the group that put Stephen to death, right. Saul perhaps is. Ministering to the same people that he was hanging out with. When they were debating with Stephen and then putting him to death. And so he has come back now to the same group and he's saying, guys, I had it backwards. Listen, Jesus is the Messiah. He's filled with the Holy Spirit and with boldness. He's preaching to this group and they are not having it they. Are attempting to kill him. This time, it's not just a plot. There's an attempt now. We don't know what that attempt was, how they attempted it, what they actually did. Someone threw a knife and he dodged it. You know, I don't know. But they attempted to kill him. And verse 30 tells us when the brethren found out. So ohh man, someone tried to kill Saul on Saturday. Did you hear that? Like he was debating the. Hellenists and and they just tried to take him. Out right then. So so there was this attempt on his life. And so when the brethren found out. Says they brought him down to Cesaria and sent him out to Tarsus. The church found. Out and said Saul, you got to get out of here. You can't stick around. They're they're already trying to kill you. You've only been here. A few days. They're already trying to kill you. It's it's not safe for you here. We're going to send you home. Go home, Saul. But there's so many who need to hear the gospel. Saul, go home. Now we have a little bit more insight into this occasion from Saul's testimony later on in Acts Chapter 22. Acts 2217, Saul says. Now it happened when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple that I was in a trance and saw him saying to me, make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning me. And so we see that what happens here in Acts Chapter 9 is not just overly cautious Christian Church taking the safe route. We don't want to risk anything. You know, you better just go home. That's not what happened. I'm sure that's part of what happened. They they were fearful of Saul's life and thought it best for him to get out of town. It wasn't all just running away from danger because he was afraid of death or afraid of getting hurt. That might have been part of what was going on, right that I'm sure Saul was experiencing emotions and feelings like you and I might experience in that situation. But also the Lord tells him get out of Jerusalem. Get out of there. It's not the same situation as Damascus, where he's sneaking away, but he does need to get out of there. He does need to pack his bags and go. So where's he gonna go? Well, he's gonna go home. His name. Is Saul. He's referred to as Saul of Tarsus because. That's where he grew up. That's where his family was from. And so he goes up to Damascus for a little bit. He comes back down. There's a lot of. Travel here in Chapter 9. And then he goes to Cesaria, gets on a boat, goes straight north. To Asia Minor, the city of Tarsus. His hometown, he goes back home. Under the leading of the Lord, the direction of the Lord, the Council of the Church, and in fear for his life. He's going home in the power of the spirit. Now that's different than what we might imagine. We say hey. Come and have hands laid on you and be empowered by the Holy Spirit. And then we think, OK, the next thing is you're going to go on. The mission field. No, sometimes the next thing is go home. Go back to your hometown. Go back with your family. Go home. Yeah, but this is. Where all the activities happening and so many exciting things, Jerusalem is the hub. It's the center of everything that's happening with the. That's not your place right now. Go home. But this is not it's not exciting there. There's not so many things happening, there's, you know. I'd rather be on the mission field. I'd rather be out, you know, in this place or that place and involved in those activities and there will be times and occasions where in the power of the Holy Spirit, the message of the Lord is go on the mission field. Go do the outreach. And sometimes in the power of the Holy Spirit, the. Lord is going to say go home. Go to what's familiar? Not something new, not something. Go to something familiar. Go to something boring, go to the neighborhood that you already know, the people that you already know. Go sit on the couch at home. Sometimes in the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to go home. That's not a popular activity. Unless you want it to be because you're really lazy and you don't want to be on the mission field anyways, and so you're like, well, I'm just going to go home in the power of the. Spirit then cause then I. Can just get out of everything. Well, no, you you need to be led by the Lord. Paul's gonna go on the mission field. Some time is going to pass. But in the appropriate time, as the Lord leads, he's going to go out. But at this time. The Lord's leading. Still filled with the. Spirit not backsliding, not jumping into the flesh. And the power of the Holy Spirit, it was time for him to go home. Well, finishing it up in verse. 31 We get activity #6 settling down in the power of the spirit. Verse 31 says then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee and Samaria had peace and were edified and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they. Were multiplied. Now it zooms out a little bit from the focus on Saul and looks at the whole church and the whole church as all of these things unfold begins. To settle down. Acts chapter eight started with the persecution as Saul is beginning to persecute the church and people are fleeing for their lives, are running out of Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the Earth. They're they're getting out of there to save their lives. There's commotion, there's stress, there's agony. So much so, Saul tortures all the people he can torture in Jerusalem and goes to Damascus. But now Sal has been converted a few years have passed. He tried to set up camp in Jerusalem. That didn't work out so well. So he goes home and what happens? The church all over Jerusalem. There's a settling there's a piece. The guy who is heading up the persecution against the church. He's out of the picture. He's not heard from for years. We don't have an exact number, but it's probably 7 to 10 years that Saul is just off the map. He's at home. And I'm sure the Lord was doing amazing things and he was working and serving the Lord. And walked with the Lord. All that. But as far as the general context of the church he was. Just off the scene, not part of it. And so there was peace. The churches were edified. They're walking in the fear of the Lord in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, and the Lord is growing and developing. The church during this time. Saul is going to come back on the scene. And be an incredible force for the things of the Lord. He's going to go on to write the majority of the New Testament. He's going to go on the mission field and. Bring the gospel to the world. Establishing churches all over. He's going to be this huge force. But before all of that, there's this time of settling down. Some activity, but not much. Was there, like this radical massive mega church that Saul set up there in Tarsus? Not that we're aware of. I'm sure the Lord was using him. He was speaking to people. There was conversions happening. That's kind of guaranteed. But at the same time, it was not the big flashy center stage. It was a settling down for the whole church, for Saul. It was the right place for him to be, for the church to be in that time. And so. I encourage you to consider these less popular activities in the power of the Holy Spirit. These are things that we probably don't associate with being empowered by the Holy Spirit most of the time. We don't think about being filled with the. Holy Spirit. And then you know. Exercising these activities, these, these are things that we generally beat ourselves up for. We discourage ourselves about and we look around and we think nobody else is having to sneak away. Nobody else is trying and failing like I'm trying and failing. Nobody else needs someone else to vouch for them like it's just me. Like I'm the only outcast here and everybody else gets to go out and do cool things and be in exciting places. And I just have to go home like we can look at these and just think defeat. Defeat defeat. Defeat, defeat. I must be so far from what God wants me to be. He must be. So disappointed in me. And maybe that's true. If the Lord is calling you to something else and you're ignoring it and saying no. I'm just going to go home. If you're walking with the Lord and you're spending time with him, you're giving him opportunity to lead you and guide you. You're opening up the Scriptures and praying. You're being filled with the Holy Spirit. And then going home. You don't have to be discouraged about that. You don't have to feel like God is displeased with you. Give him opportunity to speak and redirect, but also understand sometimes under the power of the Holy Spirit, being led by the Holy Spirit, you're going to have significant time alone. You're going to feel loneliness. You're going to experience disconnect. You're not going to feel the fellowship. That seems like everybody else has, and sometimes you're going to sneak away. And you might feel horrible about it. It might not be what you want to do, but. It's just the. What you need to do in that moment to sneak away in the power of the spirit. Sometimes you're gonna try things and you know God's put on your heart. But why isn't it successful? And you'll start racking your mind. Maybe there's some sin in my life. And, yeah, maybe there is some sin. In your life, but also maybe not. And maybe God just wants you to try a few times. You put it on your heart not to give you victory, but to give you defeat, because sometimes we need defeat in our lives and failure in our lives more than we need victory. In overcoming in our lives. The important thing is don't try to measure. Your status with the Lord, his pleasure towards you. By all of these outward visible things, the real popular activities of the Holy Spirit, right. Understand these less popular things are just as much a work of God in our lives as we walk with him. And so, don't be ashamed. Don't be discouraged. Seek the Lord. Respond as he leads. And don't be surprised when you encounter things like this. Don't be discouraged when you encounter times like this. Sometimes what we need is that settling down, that going home, that quiet time, that sneaking away. Those times of humiliation or humility. Where we learned some valuable lessons. It's not the rest of our life. It's not our whole life that is this way. But there are seasons. And so let's allow the Lord to walk us through those seasons. What I pray that you would help us. To be encouraged by you and your word. Help us, Lord, to learn how to measure Lord our status, our position with you not. Based on what is seen and visible, or what we can feel, or to measure it by what we believe our faith in you and what you are saying to us, Lord, it's really about us. Spending time with you, hearing from you and responding to what you are saying. And so, Lord, I pray that you would draw us near to you, keep us close. And Lord, we're willing if you want us to be behind the scenes. Difficult situations. Challenging seasons. Lord, that's where we want to be. If you want to put a center stage, lots of victory, lots of publicity. Lord, whatever you want. That's what we need. And so, Lord, we look to you. Would you lead our lives? Anything that's out of line? Anything that's sideways. Lord, would you bring us back to the center of what you have for us and what you're. Calling us too. Fill us with your Holy Spirit, we pray. That we would know your will. That we'd be able to approve. The things that are right for us. In your eyes. Not in our eyes and not in. Other people's eyes. Lord, that you would be the one. That we seek to please. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.