The Book of Acts: An Unfinished Story (pt 5 of 6)

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Beyond Peter and his epistles, everything gets even more dramatic when you add in the writings of Paul. Paul was a man well known by the Christian community, but quite as you would expect, he was known as a persecutor of the church!

Here was Ananias minding his own business when, in a vision, the Lord says to him, “Anie, I want you to go to a street called ‘Straight,’ and you’ll find a house owned by someone named ‘Judas.’ I want you to look for a man from Tarsus named Saul and he was blinded when I met him on the road. But he is praying, and in a vision I told him you were coming over to lay hands on him so that he could see again.” Now could God have healed him without Anie coming and laying hands on him? Sure He could have, but as you will see when we to to the story, there was a reason God did it this way.

But Ananias didn’t jump at the chance. He said, “Whoa Lord, I’ve heard about this guy, how he’s caused a bunch of trouble to your saints in Jerusalem, and that he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call on your name!” —Acts 9:10-14

But the Lord says, “It’s okay, trust me on this . . .” But the fact that Ananias had already heard about him is interesting

So when Paul writes, he writes with the full authority of an apostle:

From Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Sosthenes, our brother —I Corinthians 1:1

Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? If I am not an apostle to others, at least I am to you, for you are the confirming sign of my apostleship in the Lord. This is my defense to those who examine me. Do we not have the right to financial support? Do we not have the right to the company of a believing wife, like the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? —I Corinthians 9:1-5

If anyone considers himself a prophet or spiritual person, he should acknowledge that what I write to you is the Lord’s command —I Corinthians 14:37

For this gospel I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher —II Timothy 1:11

For I consider myself not at all inferior to those “super-apostles” —II Corinthians 11:5

I have become a fool. You yourselves forced me to do it, for I should have been commended by you. For I lack nothing in comparison to those “super-apostles,” even though I am nothing. Indeed, the signs of an apostle were performed among you with great perseverance by signs and wonders and powerful deeds —II Corinthians 12:11-12

Without the Book of Acts, there’s no way we would know and understand Paul’s teachings as those of a true apostle?  In Acts, we have three accounts of his conversion and commissioning (Acts 9, 22, 26). We don’t just see his desire to associate with the saints, but also his willingness to suffer as a Christian. All of that is in the Book of Acts! The book certifies Paul as a true apostle. I bet we could go so far as to say that it’s in the Book of Acts that see how Paul “earns his stripes” (literally) as an apostle of Jesus Christ. And that’s how we can understand Paul when he writes:

From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body —Galatians 6:17

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