Fervency in Supplication & Faithfulness in the Ser

September 20, 2008 Acts 9:10-12

Feature #2 & #3:  Fervency in Supplication & Faithfulness in the Service

Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Behold, here am I, Lord.” And the Lord said tohim, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.(9:10–12)

Fervency in Supplication

Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Behold, here am I, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.” (9:10–12)

  • While Saul waited, blinded and fasting, thinking deeply about what had occurred, God was dealing with another man.
  • The certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias was obviously not the same Ananias executed by God in chapter 5.
  • Acts 22:12 describes him as “devout” and “well spoken of by all the Jews who lived” in Damascus.
  • He was likely one of the spiritual leaders of the Damascus church.
  • If so, he also, ironically, would have been one of Saul’s main targets.
  • The Lord told him in a vision to arise and go to the street called Straight and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.
  • That was a severe test of Ananias’s faith, since Saul’s fearsome reputation was widely known (cf. vv. 13–14).

Acts 9:13-14But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.”

  • Ananias would have had no way of knowing of Saul’s conversion, since the Lord did not reveal it to him.
  • The footnote for “behold, he is praying” informs us of what Saul did during his three days without sight.
  • Prayer is the spontaneous response of the believing heart to God.
  • Those truly transformed by Jesus Christ find themselves lost in the wonder and joy of communion with Him.
  • Prayer is as natural for the Christian as breathing.
  • Paul became a man of unceasing prayer.

You might have other notes on prayer. Feel free to insert them at this point in the lesson

  1. Basics on Prayer
  2. Prayer is simply talking with God:
  3. You can pray about anything you want to, any time, any place:
  4. Call on God for anything

1 John 5:14= “This is the assurance we have in approaching God;  that if ask ANYTHING according to his will, he hears us”.

  • Call on God anytime

Psalm 55:17= “Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and He hears my voice.”

  • Call to God from anyplace
  • God does hear our prayers

Praying is not merely some psychological exercise or discipline.  It’s not like a form of meditation where we engage in it strictly for our own benefit and edification.  It’s a genuine conversation.  You speak, and God listens.  He'll speak back to you through His Word (the Bible).

  1. God answers our prayers in one of three ways:  YES, NO, or WAIT.
  2. Example where God answers YES – Psalm 32:8

Psalm 32:8I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

  • Example where God answers NO

2 Samuel 12:15-18So Nathan went to his house. Then the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s widow bore to David, so that he was very sick. David therefore inquired of God for the child; and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him in order to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat food with them. Then it happened on the seventh day that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Behold, while the child was still alive, we spoke to him and he did not listen to our voice. How then can we tell him that the child is dead, since he might do himself harm!”

  • Example where God answers WAIT – Genesis 15:1-5

Genesis 15:1-5After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great.” Abram said, “O Lord God, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.” Then behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.” And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”

  1. Four Types of prayer

Prayer does not consist entirely of asking God for things we want.  Imagine having a relationship with someone in which all the other person ever did was ask you for things!  This condition does not exist in positive human relationships so it should not exist in our relationship with God, either.

  • Adoration:  Psalm 63:1-8
  • Confession:  Psalm 66:18 & 1John 1:8-
  • Thanksgiving:  Colossians 3:17 & 1Thessalonians 5:16-18
  • Supplication:  read Philippians 4:6-7;  John 16:23-24 & Psalm 143:8-10
  1. Facts about prayer
  2. God will hear your prayers regardless of your physical posture
  3. Mark 11:25
  4. Faith is vital in prayer
  5. Hebrews 11:6 & James 1:6
  6. We can’t expect God to grant our requests if we are unwilling to grant His
  7. Proverbs 28:9 & Matthew 6:14 & 15
  8. We must deal with any know sin in our lives before we can expect God to hear and act upon our prayers
  9. Proverbs 15:29, Psalm 34:15-17
  10. Prayer is hard work, and, as in all work, a very important factor is patient perseverance
  11. Luke 1:1-8
  • While he waited for Ananias, God gave Saul a vision that Ananias would come and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.
  • God, in His tender kindness to this persecutor, did not want him to be in any unnecessary sorrow, so He gave Saul hope for receiving his sight.
  • A pair of visions were about to bring together two men who had been poles apart.

Faithfulness in Service

But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Thy saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon Thy name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” And Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight,” (9:13–17a)

  • In answer to Saul’s prayer, God directed Ananias to go to him.
  • As already noted, that command provided a severe test for Ananias’s courage.
  • Understandably, he balked at going, protesting, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Thy saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon Thy name.
  • Since the word from the believers in Jerusalem had arrived before Saul, the church at Damascus knew he was coming and why.
  • So Ananias said in effect, “Lord, do You know what You are asking?”
  • The request no doubt appeared to him to be suicidal.
  • His life was at stake, andso was the ministry he had in the church. He was asking if the Lord really meant to end both.
  • The main story line here centers on Paul. Ananias is secondary. Like Ananias most of us will not find ourselves to be the subject main story line. Even so Ananias, the secondary character, lives out for us so vividly something that each of us has experienced and will continue to experience. Ananias is being tested.
  • Deuteronomy teaches us why we are tested, whether we play the primary character in the story or a more obscure part.
  • Deuteronomy  finds Moses instructing Israel.
    • Having reminded the people of the events of the past (chaps. 1–6), Moses now warns them of the perils of the future. For centuries Israel was a slave nation and for forty years it had been a pilgrim people. Now the people were to settle down in their own land, so they needed to beware of the dangers that would come with this new environment.
  • It is here we find the purpose of the Lord’s testing

Deuteronomy 8:2“You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.

  • It is at this point that we read about Ananias being humbled and tested to see what his heart was made of.
  • The importance of keeping God’s commands it taught by John in his Gospel.

John 14:21“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”

  • Next we will see that a deep and abiding love for the Savior was in the heart of Ananias as evidenced in his obedience to His Word.
  • Ananias’s protest was overruled, as God explained to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel.
  • The call to the ministry is not based on the whims of men but on the sovereign choice of God.
  • Ananias understood that truth clearly, and so did Saul.
  • We see throughout the writing of Paul that he was appointed by God and not by men or of his own volition.
  • This is best seen in Galatians 1:1 where Paul wrote,

“Paul, an apostle not sent from men, nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead.”

  • See also 1 Timothy 2:7 and 2 Timothy 1:11
  • To the Colossian church he said, “I was made a minister,” and that “by the stewardship of God bestowed on me” (1:23, 25).
  • He also understood that though he often preached to the Jews first (Acts 13:14; 14:1; 17:1, 10; 18:4; 19:8), his primary calling was to minister to the Gentiles (Rom. 11:13; 15:16).
  • Further, he was privileged to bear witness to his Lord before kings, such as Agrippa (Acts 25:23ff.), and, most likely, Caesar (cf. 2 Tim. 4:16–17).
  • Those trials were only a small portion of how much Saul would suffer for Jesus’ name’s sake.
  • Paul’s sufferings for the sake of His Lord are cataloged in
  • 1 Corinthians 4:9–13
  • 2 Corinthians 11:23–29
  • 2 Corinthians 12:7–10
  • And his suffering, which never stopped untilan ax severed his devout head from his faithful body, didn’t wait long to begin—only a few days.
  • Strengthened by the direct word from the Lord, and overcoming his fears, Ananias departed and entered the house of Judas, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight.
  • As Acts 22:14–15 reveals, this was Saul’s commissioning for service:

“And [Ananias] said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear an utterance from His mouth. For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard.’ ”

  • The stories of both Ananias and Saul illustrate the truth that the transformed life demands service to Christ.
  • As Saul was later to write,

“Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4:1).