Acts 9:19-43 God Is Doing Extraordinary Things With Ordinary People


Imagine yourself in that early church with no legal protection and all the power structures are indifferent or hostile to you. Would you not be tempted to murmur and feel fatalistic. The Romans (like Pilate) are against us, the Jewish council (the Sanhedrin) is against us, the priests are against us and they even give authorized letters to have us imprisoned and killed. This is the way it will be for a long time. Nothing is going to change this. Nothing is going to turn this around. The momentum is too great. The powers of evil are too entrenched. There won’t be any peace for the church for a long, long time, if ever.

That’s the way we tend to be, except for a few chronically faith-filled hopers among us. But that is emphatically not the way we have to be—or should be. Because Jesus is alive and he turns things around. He is full of surprises. He is not locked into any fatalistic pattern of continuity. He is infinitely creative and infinitely resourceful. And he dislikes very much coming across as boringly predictable.

So suddenly, out of the blue, he takes the key player in the persecution of his people and turns him totally around on the Damascus road. The Saul who was breathing out threats and murders against Christians doesn’t just drop dead—which would have been a big enough reversal for the enemy—he gets converted to Christianity. And not just converted, but wildly converted, beyond anybody’s imagination. So converted that he turns totally around—from being the worst enemy of Christianity to the strongest advocate and most powerful missionary for Christianity.

He is the same today as he was then. He is surprising people and nations all over the world. He is alive and he is turning things around.

The book of Acts is written to encourage us again and again that the Jesus who began to do and to teach on earth is now alive with omnipotent power and continues to do what he began to do and teach what he began to teach. He is turning things around all over the world.

The point of the book of Acts—the point of the kingdom of God, the point of the Christian life—is that Jesus is alive and in charge of the world and that he butts in and changes things. The world is not a machine. It’s a drama. And there is a live author-director, named Jesus, who can and does jump on the set anytime he wants to and boggle the minds of the actors who think they know the script. I want to encourage you this morning that Jesus is alive and that he turns things around. I want you to have a kind of open-ended expectancy to your life because Jesus is alive.

John Piper

Heart Preparation
Read Acts 9:19-43. Look at how God worked through ordinary people to do amazing things. What is that God wants to do in your life? What amazing work can you trust in him to do?

Posted on: September 12, 2013 - 5:59PM

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