This is a reflection of last Sunday’s sermon by Dr Tan Gee Paw.
In Acts 9, the focus lay in Paul’s encounter with the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus.
That experience instantly changed Paul’s lifetime ministry. He had always thought he was doing God’s work – in his own understanding! Breathing out murderous threats against believers and taking them as prisoners to Jerusalem was his way of serving God until that spectacular close encounter of the heavenly kind.
Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? (Acts 9.6 KJV) At that moment Paul acknowledged the sovereignty of God. Sovereignty that cannot be challenged. And the Bible guaranteed it. The saying “God said it, I believed it, that settles it” is not exactly true. What God has said, it is settled whether we believe it or not. Ditto for His sovereignty. And for Paul, his destiny was determined by God.
Another fact that Paul realised from that encounter was ownership. That Jesus owned him and he could not run away, so he submitted to Jesus. That put him in good stead in his later years as he weathered the storms of life: thirty-nine lashes, being stoned, ship-wrecked and given up for dead were all in a day’s work in his missionary life. Because the Lord owned him, he did not fear tomorrow.
Jesus did not appear to Paul for nothing. Besides giving Paul eternal life God had a special calling for Paul to be of service to Him. But when Paul asked, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? God did not immediately lay out his grand plans for him. No missionary journeys, no church planting, or works of miracles. Instead an anti-climax reply; “arise, go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do” (Acts 9.6 KJV). It was to be after several years of training before God said, “set apart for me Barnabas and Paul” (Acts13.2). God is never in a hurry as far as service for Him is concerned.
And as he was nearing the end of his life, Paul was able to declare that “I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done.” (Rom 15.18)
So three things – sovereignty of God, ownership by God, service unto God. A SOS message from God that we need urgently to act on today .We may not have the same Damascus road experience as Paul but the principle remains: In the storms of life, we are reminded to reflect and acknowledge His sovereignty, ownership and service for Him. We can then say confidently with Paul in Acts 27.23 “…..an angel of the God (sovereignty), whose I am (ownership) and whom I serve (service) stood beside me and said “Do not be afraid, (our name)….”
Brother Henry Leong