International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday August 20, 201
Purpose: To recommit to God’s call to share the gospel
Bible Lesson: Acts 9:10-20
Background Scripture: Acts 9:1-31
Key Verse: Ananias went to the house. He placed his hands on Saul (Acts 9:17)
Acts 9:10-20 (CEB)
(10) In Damascus, there was a certain disciple named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, “Ananias!
“He answered, “Yes, Lord.”
(11) The Lord instructed him, “Go to Judas’ house on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying. (12) In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias enter and put his hands on him to restore his sight.”
(13 Ananias countered, “Lord, I have heard many reports about this man. People say he has done horrible things to your holy people in Jerusalem. (14) He’s here with authority from the chief priests to arrest everyone who calls on your name.” (15) The Lord replied, “Go! This man is the agent I have chosen to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and Israelites. (16) I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
(17) Ananias went to the house. He placed his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord sent me—Jesus, who appeared to you on the way as you were coming here. He sent me so that you could see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (18) Instantly, flakes fell from Saul’s eyes and he could see again. He got up and was baptized.
(19) After eating, he regained his strength. He stayed with the disciples in Damascus for several days. (20) Right away, he began to preach about Jesus in the synagogues. “He is God’s Son,” he declared.
Some Thoughts by Burgess Walter
In these final four lessons this quarter we are looking at people that were called in the Book of Acts. While most commentators call this the Book of “Acts of the Disciples”, it could better be called the “Acts of the Holy Spirit”.
Luke places a lot of emphasis on the way the Holy Spirit worked during this time of establishing the early church, more than any other Gospel writer.
What struck me as I read this account was how people in the background are used by God, for His plan to be accomplished. While Paul/Saul becomes the leading individual in the New Testament, it is those in the background that intrigue me.
Where would Paul be without the testimony he heard from Stephen? Or the hospitality of Judas? Ananias was a very devout Jew, but he was also a Christ follower. The early group of Christ or Jesus followers were mostly Jews. (Next week we will look at Peter and how he accepted the Gentiles into this group) The point being that most people are called, but the Holy Spirit, does a lot of background work to help them in responding to that call.
Would Saul become Paul without the Holy Spirit working in the life and testimony of Stephen? Or without the obedience of Judas and Ananias? I know I would not be a Christian today without the obedience of an uncle that was willing to sacrifice his time to drag me and several others to all kinds of church services. Nor would a classmate of mine be a missionary without a Sunday School teacher that instilled the desire to do more with his life.
Very few of us accomplish anything on our own. The amazing thing is that we are never fully aware of how God intervenes and uses others to minister and influence us to be more and do more. God’s plan is accomplished when we respond to His call, and others around us are also obedient to God’s call, urgings and their willingness to answer a similar call. We may not be called to be the greatest Evangelist or writer of the New Testament. Some are called to open their home to strangers, some are called to witness to those in need, But it takes all of them to fulfill God’s plan.
I do not know of many preachers that became preachers in isolation. Almost always there was a person of influence in their lives. That someone was listening to God and accepted his call to help, encouraged, or prayed for someone responding to that call on their life.
My hymn for this week is “Channels Only” which is what each of us are called to be.