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Taking a look at Paul's call for the unity of the body of Christ, and the steps of maturity that he offers for growing up into Christ with our brothers and sisters.
In John 20:9, it says that Jesus had to rise from the dead. We ask the question: why? Three answers are given: To Assure Us, To Prepare Us and To Empower Us.
After Saul’s conversion he spent some days in Damascus and eventually went to Jerusalem and then on to Tarsus. During this time God was using Saul and preparing him for what would come next. Like Saul all of our life experiences are supposed to be bearing fruit now while also preparing us for what will come next. I. Saul had to tell others about what happened (Acts 9:19, 20) A. He spent some days with the disciples in Damascus B. He went to the synagogues in Damascus…immediately C. He preached in the synagogues – He told them Messiah was the Son of God II. Saul took time to learn (Gal 1:17, 18) A. Saul did not immediately return to Jerusalem B. He spent 3 years in the wilderness around Damascus C. During that time he studied and prepared D. He did that three years III. Saul got better and better at teaching the gospel A. People were amazed at first (Acts 9:21) 1. Is this not he that destroyed the Christians in Jerusalem? 2. Didn’t he come here to do the same thing? 3. Wasn’t he going to carry of Christians bound to the chief priests? B. Saul increased in strength 1. He confounded the Jews in Damascus 2. He was convincing people that Jesus is the Messiah (Acts 9:22) C. Then they got tired of it (Acts 9:23-25) 1. The Jews threatened to kill Saul and Saul found out about it 2. Jews and local officials watched the gates day and night to kill Saul (II Cor. 11:32) 3. The disciples helped Saul escape IV. Saul comes to Jerusalem A. He didn’t really receive a warm welcome (Acts 9:26) 1. He tried to join the disciples 2. They were all afraid of him 3. They didn’t believe he was saved B. Barnabas vouched for him though and got him in (Acts 9:27) 1. He brought Saul to the apostles/Peter and James (Galatians 1:17, 18) 2. Barnabas told what happened to Saul and how he preached boldly in Damascus 3. He got in with the group 4. He was there 15 days C. He began to preach in Jerusalem (Acts 9:28) 1. He argued with the Hellenists and they tried to kill him 2. Saul had a vision that his life was in danger (Acts 22:17-21) 3. When the brethren found out got him to Caesarea and home to Tarsus (Acts 9:30) There Paul continued to preach (Galatians 1:21) and establish churches (Acts 15:23). He was out of the scene in Judea, but everyone knew what he was doing and that was glorifying God. (Acts 1:22-24). He continued working there until Barnabas comes to get him and takes him to Antioch (several years).