SERIES: The Book of Acts

TEXT: Acts 22:1-21

MESSAGE: “Take Courage”


“Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.” — Psalm 27:14

“Anxiety is always about the future and imagining a future without God. And that is a lie because God is always with us. Fear is going to a place where God is not and there is no such place.” – Laura Georgiakakos

TEXT: Acts 22:1-21

We see three signs of what Paul believed that uncovered a God-centered courage in his life. 

It was knowing…(1. Who He Was 2. Who He’d Become 3. Who He Saw)

       1. Who He Was (v. 2b-5)

“Then Paul said: “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.”

       2. Who He’d Become (v. 12-16)

“A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. 13 He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him. 14 “Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins awaycalling on his name.’”

About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked.” — Acts 22:6-8

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…” — Proverbs 1:7

“If a Gentile wanted to believe in the God of Israel, then Jews said, “Fine, you can believe, but you have to be baptized.” Only Gentiles were baptized. Why? They were unclean, unholy dogs. If they wanted to believe in the God of Israel, wonderful. But they’d never obeyed the law of God, so they were unclean. When Paul tells them this in verse 16, here’s what he’s saying: “Those of you who were born Jews and are fastidious for obeying the law of God are just as unclean, just as defiled, just as lost as the dirtiest pagan.”…the idea that a Jewish Pharisee, a born Jew, would need to be baptized would have been absolutely astonishing.” — Timothy Keller

        3. Who He Saw (v. 17-21 — resurrected Jesus)

17 “When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw the Lord speaking to me. ‘Quick!’ he said. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me.’ 19 “‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. 20 And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’ 21 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”

  • “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” — 1 Corinthians 15:55-58

“Being brought low may ruin our plans, but not God’s better, wiser, kinder plans for us. If we will learn how to be brought low, we will one day testify, “I want you to know, brothers, that this bankruptcy has really served to free me from money’s stranglehold.” Or, “I want you to know that this betrayal has really taught me how to forgive.” Or, “I want you to know that this sickness has fueled my hope for heaven like nothing else.”  — Scott Hubbard (Desiring God – Learn How To Be Brought Low)

TAKEAWAYS: What would it look like to…

* Let go of past achievements

* Let God define your identity

  • “You see, the verdict is in. And now I perform on the basis of the verdict. Because He loves me and He accepts me, I do not have to do things just to build up my résumé. I do not have to do things to make me look good. I can do things for the joy of doing them. I can help people to help people – not so I can feel better about myself, not so I can fill up the emptiness.”  Timothy Keller, The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness

* Let the resurrection shape your reality

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