Daniel’s life is a story of God’s miraculous leading and providential guidance.
Changed Lives Change the World
By Mark A. Finley
It’s difficult to overestimate the influence of individuals who are totally committed to Jesus. Lives changed by the power of God transform the world around them. The apostle Paul certainly did! The power of the living Christ transformed him from a persecuting, religious zealot to an apostle of the cross and a gospel-preaching evangelist. In this month’s lesson we will study the amazing power of amazing grace.
1. What was Saul’s intent as he traveled to Damascus? Read Acts 9:1, 2, carefully and explain his attitude toward Christians.
Saul, whose name was later changed to Paul, was a fierce persecutor of Christians. He took delight in apprehending and imprisoning as many of Christ’s followers as possible. Today’s lesson reveals that God is relentless in pursuing His lost children, and that His grace can change the hardest hearts.
2. Describe Paul’s conversion in Acts 9:3-6. Are all conversions as dramatic as the apostle Paul’s? Compare Paul’s conversion with Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in John 3:3-8.
Some conversions are dramatic, like the apostle Paul’s. The Holy Spirit works a divine, unexplainable, sudden miracle in their lives. Others are more like Nicodemus’ conversion: The Holy Spirit gently woos them. Gradually they yield to the insistent pleading of the Spirit and surrender their lives to Christ. Whether conversion is sudden or gradual, dramatic or unnoticed, the end result is still the same: a life changed by the power of God.
3. What lessons can we learn from Jesus’ words to Saul in Acts 9:5: “It is hard for you to kick against the goads”?
A goad was a sharp iron rod used to hasten the pace of oxen. The expression “to kick against the goads” may well have been a Greek proverb describing an ox’s discomfort at being constantly prodded. The Holy Spirit may well have been saying to Saul, “It is difficult for you to continually fight against the Spirit’s appeals to your conscience.”
4. Read Acts 9:6, 11, 12, 15-17. Where did Jesus tell Paul to go immediately after his conversion? Why do you think Paul received that instruction?
This is a good example of the Holy Spirit’s leading newly converted believers into contact with Christ’s church for more instruction after their conversion.
5. What did Paul do after his conversion? How does this apply to our lives as followers of Jesus? Read Acts 9:20.
When Jesus changed Paul’s life, Paul longed to share Christ with others. When Christ changes us, we become powerful witnesses of His grace and ambassadors of His love.
6. Explain Paul’s experience in Acts 16:9. Why is this so significant?
One consecrated life changed the world. Paul listened to the voice of the Spirit and planted the first Christian churches in Europe. The apostle’s message went to cities throughout Asia and the European continent.
7. Once Paul was converted, he had a new reason for living and a new passion. Read Acts 28:28-31 and describe the passion of Paul’s life.
When we are transformed by the grace of God, our greatest desire is to witness to others about His love. We cannot be silent. We live for one main purpose: to share God’s message of eternal life and reveal the clarity of His truth and the beauty of His character to others.
The apostle Paul changed his world; and we can change the world around us as well. Let’s allow Christ, through His Holy Spirit, to empower us to be world changers today.