Portland News

September 27, 2017

Fall Bible Study Series: Part 2

The second session of the fall Bible study series on “The Life and Teachings of Paul” was held on Wednesday, September 27. The topic for this week was Paul’s “Conversion and Early Christian Years.” Ed Habre led the study, speaking on the following four aspects of Paul’s spiritual transformation: contact, chastisement, conversion, and consecration.

Starting with the contact, Brother Ed pointed out that God initiated the encounter with Saul, and he said this is the case in every conversion; it is always God who seeks the lost. He also noted that there was no question that an encounter occurred, for Saul and his entire entourage were stopped in their tracks by a light from Heaven that was so bright it was noticeable in the midday sun. It brought the proud Saul to his knees, and from that vantage point, He saw Christ. Not too long before this, Saul had participated in the martyrdom of Stephen, and would have heard him declare that he also saw Christ in glory.

Concerning the chastisement, Acts 9:4 records that Jesus pointedly asked Saul, “Why persecuteth thou me?” Brother Ed said every believer can be encouraged by this question because it reveals that Jesus regards the persecution of His followers as a personal attack on Himself.

Jesus also said to Saul, “It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” (Acts 9:5), and this statement led to Paul’s conversion. Brother Ed said that outwardly, Saul had been on a righteous crusade in defense of the Jewish faith against a group of heretics. Inwardly, however, he had been suppressing doubts. Now he was confronted with the prospect that he had killed innocent people whose faith was genuine. He responded by acknowledging his sin, and was converted.

The proof of Saul’s conversion was his immediate transformation from persecutor to servant. While still on his knees, he surrendered his will, asking, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6). This began a life of consecration devoted to the Gospel of Christ.

In closing, Brother Ed said not every conversion is as dramatic as Paul’s, but the outcome is always the same: a transformed and consecrated life.

Watch the full session in the Media Center.