Sunday Messages

Acts 9:1-31 by Pastor Dan Walker
In our May 10 Mother's Day message, we will be looking at how mothers can be prayer warriors for their children. This message will explore how God worked in Saul's life to bring him to Jesus. Mothers will learn from that example how to pray for three stages in your children's life.
Duration:28 mins 39 secs

Happy Mother’s Day! We’re glad that you have joined us for worship on this special day that we honor mothers. A mother has the joy and responsibility of raising children. As a Christian mother, your goal is to lead your children to follow Jesus Christ. As we get started today, let’s watch a video about all the ways that mothers influence their children’s lives. God is there to help each and every mother shine for Him to their children. Paul writes of the important role that mothers play in their children’s faith in …

2 Timothy 1:5 (ESV)  I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.

Paul tells of how faith in Jesus was passed down from a mother named Lois to her daughter Eunice. Then in turn Eunice passed her faith down to her son Timothy, a co-worker with Paul. We see three generations impacted by these two mother’s faith. Now passing your faith to your children is not automatic. It takes prayer, faith, words, actions and perseverance.

Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)  Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

This promise from God’s Word speaks of the importance of training up children in God’s way while they are in the home. This type of godly training will have a life-long impact on each child.

Sometimes there are challenges in raising children for the Lord. A child may rebel against the Lord in their teenage years or when they leave home. Or parents may themselves not have been walking with the Lord when raising their children. No matter if your children are walking with the Lord today or not, God wants to use you as a mother in their lives. God desires for you to pray and counsel your child, whether at home or away. First of all to make sure that they are saved and secondly that they are walking out God’s plan for their lives.

Our message today is entitled “Transformation.” We’re going to be looking at the life of a man named Saul in Acts 9. As a young Jewish man, Saul was bent on imprisoning Christians and even putting them to death. But Saul was transformed into a loving and courageous follower of Jesus Christ. If God can transform someone like Saul into the beloved apostle Paul, then He has the power to transform your children in followers of Jesus as well.

Today, we’re going to look at three ways that you as a mother can pray for your children at each stage of their lives, whether still at home or away from home. The first foundational prayer is to pray that your child will …

Believe in Jesus Christ

The salvation of your child is the most important goal of any mother. Although our message this morning is not about a mother, my prayer is that it will encourage you as a mother.Our story this morning begins in

Acts 9:1-2 (ESV)  But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest  and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

Saul was raised in a Jewish home and taught the Old Testament scriptures by a well-known rabbi. He thought that he was being faithful to his Jewish religion by persecuting believers in Jesus and putting them into prison. Saul had even been part of the movement to put Stephen to death by stoning. You could hardly imagine anyone being further away from believing in Jesus. But nothing is impossible for God.

Acts 9:3-4 (ESV)  Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him.  And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”

After the martyrdom of Stephen in Jerusalem, persecution there had greatly increased. Many Christians had left Jerusalem and sought refuge in the city of Damascus in Syria. But Saul had received authority to search for, arrest and bring back believers from Damascus to Jerusalem for prosecution. On the road to Damascus, God broke into Saul’s world with a brilliant light and an audible voice.

Acts 9:5-6 (ESV)  And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.  But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”

Saul undoubtedly had been immediately aware that God was speaking to him. But now he received the shock of his life when the speaker identified Himself as Jesus. And by persecuting the followers of Jesus, Saul was persecuting Jesus Himself, who was not dead but alive. In a moment in time, Saul’s world and whole life was turned upside down. He immediately realized that he had been completely wrong. Jesus would be His Lord from now on and would tell him what to do. Saul’s life had been radically transformed in a few minutes by the power of God.

Last Sunday we noted that Saul had been present at Stephen’s stoning. There Stephen had prayed that his murderers would be forgiven. Now, Stephen’s prayers were being answered, as Saul was awakened to the reality of the risen Lord Jesus Christ. His mind was changed and he believed in Jesus.

As a mother, you can’t make your child a believer in Jesus. However, you can pray for them, teach them and show them what it means to be a believer. As you do that, the Holy Spirit can work in your child’s life preparing them and leading them to put their faith in Jesus and be saved. God’s timing is different for each child. Some are saved at an early age, others when they are older.

Perhaps you weren’t a believer or weren’t walking with the Lord when you raised your children. Don’t give up hope, you can still pray for them and talk to them about Jesus even after they have left home. Trust that if God could save Saul, He can surely save your children. Once your child is saved, pray for your child to …

Discover God’s plan

God has a plan for each person’s life when they are saved. God wants each person to know and follow His plan for their lives, but it does not happen automatically. Let’s see how God communicated His plan to Saul beginning in …

Acts 9:11 (ESV)  And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying,

The Lord spoke to a man named Ananias and gave him instructions to find and speak to Saul. Saul was now saved, but he had no idea what God’s plan for his life was going to be. God was going to use another believer to help Saul discover God’s plan. Ananias wasn’t too sure that God was working in Saul’s life, so he said …

Acts 9:13, 15 (ESV)  But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. … But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.

Saul had a very bad reputation among believers. Undoubtedly Ananias was worried about ending up in prison if he spoke to Saul. But the Lord answered Ananias and told him about His plan for Saul. Saul would go from being a persecutor of Christians to an apostle for Jesus to the Gentiles, kings and Jews. An amazing transformation. So, Ananias obeyed the Lord and went to visit Saul.

Acts 9:17-18 (ESV)  So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized;

Ananias prayed with Saul and he was healed of his blindness. Saul was also baptized in the Holy Spirit. Finally, Ananias helped Saul to be water baptized. Saul now had his spiritual foundation in place and was well on his way to discovering God’s plan for his life.

So, let’s get back to talking about mothers. Once your child becomes a believer, that is not the end of what God desires to do in their lives. In order to discover and fully live out God’s plan for their lives, they need the foundations of the faith in their lives. Besides salvation, each new believer needs to be Spirit baptized and water baptized. Pray and teach your children as God leads about these spiritual steps.

Then the child needs to discover and follow God’s plan for their lives. God’s plan for a person’s life has many facets. God has plans for your child’s schooling, career, marriage and family, as well as ministry in a good church. As you continue to pray and give godly counsel to your children over the years, you will see God answer your prayers. Of course, no child will be perfect and each will make some mistakes in life. But as you continue to support them spiritually as a mother, God will do great things in and through them. Finally, pray for your child to …

Complete God’s purpose

In our story about Saul this morning, we’ve seen how his life was transformed as he was saved through an encounter with Jesus. God next helped him discover the plan for his life through Spirit and water baptism. But, as we’ll see, there were going to be challenges to God’s plan that would continue throughout Paul’s life. Let’s see how that plays out in the next verses.

Acts 9:22 (ESV)  But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.

Saul began to immediately preach to the Jews in the synagogues, proving from the Old Testament scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah. Saul was rapidly growing in the Lord and great things were happening through his ministry. But wherever God moves in great power, there will be attacks of the enemy, Satan.

Acts 9:23, 25 (ESV)  When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, … but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.

The Jews certainly did not like that Saul’s preaching was seeing people in their synagogues get saved and leave to join the church. So, they began to plot to kill him, just as Saul had previously plotted to kill believers. But the Lord alerted Saul to their plot and other believers helped him escape from Damascus at night. 

Acts 9:28-30 (ESV)  So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord.  And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists. But they were seeking to kill him.  And when the brothers learned this, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

After escaping from Damascus, Saul spent three years in the desert of Arabia, learning more about the faith and growing spiritually. Then we went to Jerusalem and met with the other apostles. He also began to preach about Jesus in Jerusalem, the center of the Jewish religion. The Hellenists, which were the Greek-speaking Jews, did not like what he was teaching and they too sought to kill him. Again, Saul escaped and continued to walk in God’s purpose for his life. At the end of his life, Paul was able to say that he had finished the race that God had given him to run. He had completed God’s purpose.

As a mother, you pray for your child’s salvation, but that is just the start. Then you pray for them to discover and begin to follow God’s plan for their lives. But just as they were attacks on Saul, there will be attacks of the enemy on your child as they seek to follow God’s plan. Lift your children up to the Lord and pray for His protection on their lives so that they complete His purpose for them.

Pray that they do not fall away from the Lord, but if they should wander, that they will find their way back to Him. I believe that God has ordained that one of the purposes of a Christian mother is to be a prayer warrior for her children. Of course, fathers should also be involved in everything we’ve talked about this morning, but today, we’re focusing on mothers. Even if things look difficult for your children, don’t give up hope. God gave them to you as children and He will give you wisdom to pray for and to counsel them. Attacks will come, but the Lord will see them through.

The story of God’s transformation of Saul as a murderer of Christians to the foremost apostle Paul is remarkable. It shows us God’s great power to transform a life through His Spirit. As a mother this morning, be encouraged that no matter what your children are going through, God can bring them through it. As you continue to pray for and believe in God’s power, your children can be saved, can follow and complete God’s plan for their lives. God is pleased with all your prayers and ministry for your children over the years. He will do great things in answer to your prayer and faith. This week, in your time of prayer for your children, thank Him for the way that He is working in their lives now and how He will continue in the future.

Remember, nothing is impossible for God. All things are possible with Him.