|Acts 9 |
1 Meanwhile Saul was still breathing out threats of slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, and he went to the high priest,
2 And requested letters addressed to the synagogues of Damascus, granting him authority over any men and women he found believing in the Way, so that he might bring them chained to Jerusalem.
3 Now as he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven shined around him.
4 And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"
6 Trembling and astonished he said, "Lord, what do you want me to do? " And the Lord said to him, "Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told you what you must do."
7 And the men that journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
8 So Saul got up from the ground; and when his eyes were opened, he could see nothing; but they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.
9 And he was without sight for three days, and he neither ate nor drank.
10 There was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he replied, "I am here, Lord."
11 And the Lord said to him, "Arise and go to the street called Straight and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying there;
12 And he has seen in a vision of a man named Ananias coming and putting his hands on him so he might receive his sight."
13 Then Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many people about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem;
14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to arrest and chain all who call on your name."
15 But the Lord said to him, "Go on your way, for he is a chosen vessel to me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.
16 For I will show him what great sufferings he must endure for my name's sake."
17 So Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and as he laid his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you along the way as you journeyed, has sent me so that you might receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
18 And immediately [blindness] fell from his eyes as if it had been scales; and he received his sight immediately, and arose and was baptized.
19 And after he had taken food, he was strengthened. Now Saul remained there for some days with the disciples who were in Damascus.
20 And right away he preached2 Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
21 And all who heard him were amazed, and said, "Is not this he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and came here for the purpose of bringing them in chains to the chief priests?"
22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ [the promised Messiah].
23 Now after many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him.
24 But their plan became known by Saul. They watched the gates day and night, hoping to kill him,
25 And the disciples took him at night and lowered him down over the wall in a basket.
26 When Saul came to Jerusalem, he attempted to join with the disciples there; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple.
27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles, and declared to them how Saul had seen the Lord on the road, and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how Paul had preached boldly in Damascus in the name of Jesus.
28 And he stayed with them traveling around in Jerusalem.
29 And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians [Greek Jews]; but they attempted to murder him.
30 And when the brothers heard of that, they took Saul down to Caesarea, and sent him to Tarsus.
31 The churches then had peace throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria; and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were edified and increased in number.
32 And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout the region, that he also visited the saints who dwelt at Lydda.
33 There he found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been confined to his bed for eight years, being sick and paralyzed.
34 And Peter said to him, "Aeneas, Jesus Christ makes you whole; arise, and make up your bed." And he arose immediately.
35 And everyone who dwelled at Lydda and Saron saw him and turned to the Lord.
36 Now in Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, whose name means Dorcas [gazelle]. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds she had done.
37 And it happened in those days that she became sick and died; and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room.
38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, asking him come to them without delay.
39 Then Peter arose and went with the two. And when he arrived, they took him into the upper room, where all the widows then stood by him weeping and showing him the coats and garments which Dorcas had made while she was alive with them.
40 But Peter put them all out, kneeled down and prayed; and looking at the body, he said, "Tabitha, arise." Then she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up.
41 Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up, and when he had called in the saints and widows, he presented her alive.
42 And this became known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.
43 And he stayed many days in Joppa with Simon, a tanner.
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1 Notice, Jesus said that Paul's persecutions of believers, was persecuting Jesus himself: As you have done so to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done so to me. And we know from history, that wherever Jesus appears in Spirit within his true believers, those believers are persecuted. As Jesus said: if they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you. As Paul said: all who are determined to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. So here is a test of a true believer in Christ, possessing his Spirit in sufficient measure, that the worldly religious people will hate, persecute, and even kill the true Christians. This occurred in the Early Church; it also occurred with the Early Quakers, who suffered over 900 dead, thirteen thousand imprisoned, tens of thousands having property seized as spoils, and two hundred sent to slavery — killed and persecuted by Episcopalians, Baptists, Presbyterians, and Congregationalist Puritans. See Persecutions for More.
2 Some people point to this scripture and say: "see I can preach whenever I want; I don't have to wait until I am perfected, restored, and authorized (like Jesus told us to)." But Paul was sent by Christ to proclaim a very simple message: Jesus is the Son of God — and he was sent to the Jews, of whom he was an authoritative leader with tremendous credibility. He was highly respected as an authority on the Old Testament and he tried to persuade the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah: Therefore having had help from God, I continue to this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying nothing other than those things that the prophets and Moses said would come, Acts 26:22; he was not preaching the mystery of the gospel yet. This was a special case of a huge convert being sent (Mark! He was sent) to tell his former associates they were wrong. After this Paul was sent home to Tarsus in Syria, and then he went to Arabia and Damascus to learn from Christ directly; for three years he did not confer with any of the Apostles. All true ministers, including teachers, preachers, or evangelists, are appointed as a gift by the Holy Spirit; not to be self-assumed, or appointed by men; it is Christ who educates, appoint, and sends his ministers — all others are false prophets — wolves, hungry for your money, dressed in sheep's clothing.
The Lord never spoke of himself, he only spoke as he heard the Father tell him to speak:
For I have not spoken of myself, but the Father, who sent me, himself commands me what I should say and what I should speak.
And I know that [to obey] his command is life everlasting. Therefore, whatever I speak is just as the Father tells me to speak. John 12:49-50
But any preacher or teacher has to first be pure and perfect to hear the Father tell him what to say in real-time. The unperfected ministers seek their own glory by speaking from their own carnal minds and imaginations, just as Jesus said:
He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory, but he who seeks the glory of the One who sent him, that man is true, and there is no unrighteousness in him. John 7:18.
So, any man who speaks of God or Christ without the Spirit's specifically supplied words is seeking his own glory.
Before George Fox had entered the second stage of perfection and the kingdom, for about three years he was sent on limited, specific assignments by the Lord. But he only did what he was specifically told to do, exactly when he was told to do it; he then returned to his residence and continued waiting on the Lord. Plus, he was sufficiently perfected that he was able to speak with words supplied by the Holy Spirit; so powerful were his words that even churches shook when he prayed within them. So limited teaching or preaching can be instructed by the Lord before you are completely perfected; but be careful to only do what he tells you to do, nothing more, nothing less; then return to your home to continue to wait on the Lord's further imparting of his Spirit by his words that you hear him speak to you.
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