Paul's Early Years As A Christian

Paul's Early Years As A Christian (9:19-30)
INTRODUCTION
1. When people think of the life of Paul (Saul), they are likely mindful of...
   a. His persecution of the church prior to his conversion
   b. His vision of the Lord on the road to Damascus
   c. His three missionary journeys recorded in the book of Acts
2. What may not be as well-known are the years immediately following his
conversion...
   a. His conversion likely took place around 35-36 A.D.
   b. His first missionary journey began 45 A.D.
[What was Paul doing during his early years as a Christian?  Knowing the zeal
of Paul, it was not likely an idle time of his life.  This period
began with...]
I. THREE YEARS IN DAMASCUS AND ARABIA (36-39 A.D.)
   A. INITIAL PREACHING IN DAMASCUS...

      1. Immediately after his conversion, Paul began preaching - Ac  9:19-20
      2. To the amazement of those who heard him - Ac 9:21-22
   B. TIME IN ARABIA...

      1. Paul did not stay in Damascus long after his conversion - Ga 1:15-17
      2. He went to Arabia, the desert area east and south of Damascus
      3. How long he stayed is uncertain, though it is thought to have
         been the greater part of three years - Ga 1:18
      4. What he did is unknown, though some think it was a time of
         personal reflection, and of revelations from the Lord - Ga 1:11-12
   C. RETURN AND ESCAPE FROM DAMASCUS...

      1. He returned from Arabia to Damascus - Ga 1:17
      2. Some time later an attempt was made to kill him, which he escaped - 
Ac 9:23-25
      3. Years later he recounted his narrow escape - 2Co 11:32-33
[Damascus was the first place Paul preached (Ac 26:19-20), and the first
place he experienced persecution.  It would not be the last place for
either experience!  Leaving Damascus, Paul made his...]
II. FIRST VISIT TO JERUSALEM (39 A.D.)
   A. SKEPTICAL RECEPTION BY THE CHURCH...

      1. At first, the church was afraid to receive him - Ac 9:26
      2. Barnabas (cf. Ac 4:36-37) introduced him to the apostles - Ac 9:27
      3. He saw Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days - Ga 1:18
      4. He also saw James the Lord's brother - Ga 1:19
   B. PREACHING IN JERUSALEM...

      1. He was given free access to the church - Ac 9:28
      2. He proclaimed boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus - Ac 9:29
      3. He disputed with the Hellenists (Grecian Jews) - Ac 9:29
   C. ATTEMPT ON HIS LIFE...

      1. The Hellenists attempted to kill him - Ac 9:29
      2. Paul was warned by the Lord in a vision - Ac 22:17-21
      3. The brethren send him to Tarsus by way of Caesarea - Ac 9:30
[Paul had now become a dangerous enemy to his former friends.  His
testimony concerning the Lord and his own conversion was difficult to
answer, and the opposition was willing to do anything to silence him! At
 this point Paul returned home (Tarsus) and spent...]
III. FIVE YEARS IN SYRIA AND CILICIA (39-43 A.D.)
   A. RETURN TO TARSUS...

      1. The place of his birth - Ac 22:3
      2. It became the center of preaching in the surrounding regions of Syria
 and Cilicia - Ga 1:21
      3. Churches in Judea heard of his preaching - Ga 1:22-24
      4. Little else is known of this period of Paul's life, though it  may have been
 a time when:
         a. Churches in the area were established - Ac 15:23,41
         b. Paul suffered persecution not recorded in Acts - 2Co 11:24-26
         c. He had the vision of Paradise - 2Co 12:1-4
   B. DEPARTURE FROM TARSUS...

      1. Occasioned by the arrival of Barnabas - Ac 11:25
         a. Who introduced him to the Jerusalem church earlier - Ac 9:26-27
         b. Who traveled with him on his first missionary journey later - Ac 13:1-4
      2. Who had come from Antioch of Syria, the site of a new and  growing
 church - Ac 11:19-24
CONCLUSION
1. "Paul's Early Years As A Christian" was a time of...
   a. Relative obscurity, out of the limelight in comparison with later years
   b. Service and experience which prepared him for the work to come later
2. In our zeal to be of great service to the Lord...
   a. Don't discount the need for time spent in preparation, and preliminary
 acts of service
   b. How we serve in small things will determine our usefulness in greater
things
As Jesus told His other apostles in their time of training...
   He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he
who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. - Lk 16:10
As we have ability and opportunity, even if it be seemingly insignificant, let us
 be faithful so that Lord might one day find us useful for greater service...
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Author: jfm

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