Saul’s Conversion was Supernatural:
Saul’s salvation story was a supernatural event. He saw a light from heaven, and heard the voice of God speaking to him. Becoming a Christian is more than just making a decision or joining a club. When you put your faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit of the living God comes inside of you to make you a new person. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Becoming a Christian is a supernatural experience. Jesus calls this being born again. “But to all who believed Jesus and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn! This is not a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan – this rebirth comes from God.” (John 1:12-13, nlt). Something supernatural happens on the inside. Although you might not have seen a light or heard a voice, your conversion was no less supernatural than Saul’s. It wasn’t the light from Heaven or the voice of God that made Saul’s conversion supernatural. He became a different person when the Holy Spirit came to live inside of him. A transformation took place.
A caterpillar gives an illustration of what happens when you become a Christian. That caterpillar goes through a complete metamorphosis to become a butterfly. When that caterpillar emerges from its chrysalis, it comes forth with a brand new nature. When you become a Christian, there is a supernatural event that takes place on the inside of you. “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).” (Ephesians 2:4-5).
There’s a big debate in the church about whether or not a Christian can lose their salvation. Once a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, that butterfly can never become a caterpillar again. It has a new nature. That butterfly can choose to act like a caterpillar and crawl around on the ground, instead of soaring through the air, and that butterfly can go back to eating leaves and seeds, instead of enjoying the nectar of flowers, but that butterfly does not cease to be a butterfly. Consider some of these wonderful promises from God’s Word:
Jesus said: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” (John 10:28-29).
“No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39, nlt).
Saul himself wrote: “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6).
Too many Christians are eternally insecure. “I don’t know if God loves me today. Yesterday He did, but I was bad today, so I hope I’m not going to hell.” God will not send any of His children to hell. As a father myself, I understand something about God’s loving father’s heart. When my children are rebellious or disobey me, that doesn’t stop me from loving them and it doesn’t cause them to stop being my children. They will be my children now and forever, and this is our heavenly Father’s heart towards us, too.
Two Questions to Discovering Your Destiny:
After Saul experienced God’s amazing grace, he asked two questions that determined his destiny. My prayer is that these two questions would be forever burned in your heart, and that you would spend the remainder of your life looking for the answers to them.
“And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” (Acts 9:5-6).
The two greatest questions that we can ask to discover our destinies are: “Who are you, Lord?” and “What do you want me to do?”
1. Knowing God: “Who are you, Lord?”
Saul’s first question to Jesus was, “Who are you, Lord?” This question became the number one driving force for the rest of his life. When he prayed for a church in Ephesus, he prayed, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Jesus).” (Ephesians 1:17). Can you hear his heart’s cry in that prayer? He also prayed for them “to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge.” (Ephesians 3:19).
Saul’s first passion was to know Jesus better. “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ… that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” (Philippians 3:8-10). The Amplified Bible’s translation of this Scripture beautifully conveys Paul’s heart to us:
“Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord… For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One)… [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death.” (Philippians 3:8-10, amp).
Who are you, Lord? This is our highest calling as Christians, and the first question to discovering our destiny. May this spur you on to know Jesus more. For as long as I have been a Christian, this has been my heart’s desire.
Practically speaking now, how can we get to know the Lord better? The first place to look is in God’s Word. The Bible is a revelation to us of who God is. Do a study of the names and titles of God in the Scriptures. Here are some examples…
Scriptures that describe God’s nature:
- “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2).
- “Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle.” (Psalm 24:7-8).
- “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1).
- “For the Lord Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth.” (Psalm 47:2).
- “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11).
- “The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.” (Psalm 103:8).
The Names of God:
- Elohim: (God)
- El Shaddai: (Lord God Almighty)
- El Elyon: (The Most High God)
- Adonai: (Lord, Master)
- Yahweh: (Lord)
- Jehovah Nissi: (The Lord My Banner)
- Jehovah-Rohi: (The Lord My Shepherd)
- Jehovah Rapha: (The Lord That Heals)
- Jehovah Shammah: (The Lord Is There)
- Jehovah Tsidkenu: (The Lord Our Righteousness)
- Jehovah M’kaddesh: (The Lord Who Sanctifies You)
- Jehovah Jireh: (The Lord Will Provide)
- Jehovah Shalom: (The Lord Is Peace)
- Jehovah Sabaoth: (The Lord of Hosts)
The Seven “I Am” Statements of Jesus:
- I am the Bread of Life (John 6:35)
- I am the Light of the World (John 8:12)
- I am the Door (John 10:9)
- I am the Good Shepherd (John 10:11)
- I am the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25)
- I am the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6)
- I am the Vine (John 15:1)
2. Doing His Will: “Lord, what do you want me to do?”
Saul’s second question was, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” He realized that the next most important thing in life is to discover God’s will. Saul prayed, “that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” (Colossians 1:9). God has a plan and a purpose for every one of our lives – something that He wants us to do. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11).
There are people in the church today who think that they can take Jesus as their Savior, but not have him also as their Lord. They say, “I want Jesus to be my Savior, to forgive my sins, but I’m not going to be obedient to Him and let Him be my Lord.” You can’t have one without the other. You can’t have the benefits and blessings of the Cross, without submission to His Crown. Just because our salvation is a free gift of God’s sovereign grace doesn’t give us the right to go out and live however we want. “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more kindness and forgiveness? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2, nlt). The Bible says, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9). We must receive Jesus as our Lord if we want to be saved. The first thing the Lord Jesus said to Saul was a commandment: “Arise and go… and you will be told what you must do.” Jesus had a plan for Saul’s life, and he has a plan for our lives, too. Coming to Jesus means submission and surrender.
God has a destiny for us. The two greatest questions that we can ask that discover our destinies are: “Who are you, Lord?” and “What do you want me to do?”
Although reading the Bible is our starting point, knowing God is more than just knowing about Him. It is actually encountering Him in an intimate, personal way, and this happens in the place of prayer. The prophet Hosea said, “Come, and let us return to the Lord; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight. Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.” (Hosea 6:1-3). When we grow in our relationship with the Lord, we experience healing, revival and refreshing. That’s worth seeking after. The Lord has given us a wonderful promise: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8). In the next chapter, I will give you some more practical keys about how you can go deeper into the secret place of prayer with the Lord.
Pastor Chris Jordan