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Studies in ACTS

"Acts 9:23-31 Saul Finds His Place With Believers"

From: "Pastor Buddy Martin" <>
Date sent: Thu, 12 Sep 2002 15:49:31 -0500
Subject: [HF] Acts 022 - Acts 9:23-31 Saul Finds His Place With Believers


Let's continue with our studies in Acts. We have quite a bit of material
to cover, but we can stop at any point for discussion.

In our last study we saw the right hand man of the Sanhedrin Council
change sides. Saul the tormentor of the church is now Saul the
proclaimer of Christ. Again we get another glimpse at what the term
'sovereign grace' means. The Lord can do what He wants, when He
wants, and with whom He wants. This is why the Bible says that His
ways are past finding out.

As we continue in these studies, I am using the term Christian Jews,
or Christians in a generic sense. That name was not given to the
Jewish believers until a little latter. Early believer's worship of Jesus
was known as 'the Way,' or as 'the sect of Nazarenes.' They remained
very much Jewish.

You might find it interesting that there is a prophecy in the former
testament that says God's people would be given a different name. I'll
explain this more when we get to the study where believers take on
the name Christian.

Saul is doing well in among the brethren in Damascus. But Jerusalem
is going to be another story.

Let's continue on with our studies.

This is Acts 022 - Acts 9:23-31 Saul Finds His Place With Believers.

Vss23-25: "When many days had elapsed, the Jews plotted together
to do away with him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were
also watching the gates day and night so that they might put him to
death; but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an
opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket."

.... "Many days had elapsed." Acts leaves some spaces in its telling of
early church history. Saul's conversion took place about three years
after Pentecost. It is commonly held that Saul was in Damascus for
three years. So we are considering events that are taking place six
years after Pentecost.

.... "The Jews plotted together to do away with him." Here also we see
the nature of a group of Jews who will later follow Paul in his
missionary travels to try and disrupt his work. It is this kind of people
who will become 'thorns' in his flesh.

.... "They were also watching the gates day and night." The Jewish
nonbelievers were unable to withstand Saul's wisdom. Their
astonishment began to turn into anger, and the natural course of
anger is to remove the cause. (Of course they did the same with
Jesus.) It appears the synagogue leaders had recourse with the
governing authorities. The apostle later writes that the governor of the
city had soldiers posted at the gates to seize him.

.... "His disciples took him by night and let him down." Saul's
testimony in the synagogues was the cause of a great many
conversions of the Jews. These converts would immediately look to
Saul as their teacher. It was likely that the the house Saul was in was
on the city wall. (This would be similar to Rahab helping the spies of
Israel escape.)

Vs26: "When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with
the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was
a disciple.."

.... Can you imagine the consternation among the Jerusalem
believers? The man responsible for many deaths and imprisonments,
was now trying to associate with the believers. No one could believe
that Saul was a disciple. And even though Saul had been gone from
Jerusalem, three years, the memory if his persecutions was very
fresh in their minds.

.... Also notice that Saul did not attempt to approach the Sanhedrin
Council. Obviously the word had gotten back to Jerusalem of his
conversion. But now that he was a man of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit
would direct his comings and goings. The time of his confrontations
with the Sanhedrin was yet to come.

Vs27: "But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles
and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and
that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out
boldly in the name of Jesus."

.... Barnabas means 'son of rest.' Barnabas took the initiative to seek
Saul out to hear what he had so share. Being fully convinced that
Saul was a true follower of Jesus, Barnabas personally brings him to
meet Peter and James. He did not meet the other apostles at this

.... Thank God for believers like Barnabas. These kinds of believers
have a special gifting for restorations, and for bringing peace to
troubled situations.

Note: Barnabas was the uncle of John Mark, the writer of the gospel
of Mark. Barnabas and Saul (Paul) became very close friends. It is
also likely that Saul stayed at the home of the sister of Barnabas
while in Jerusalem. He would have met Mark during this time.
(According to early church writers, Mark wrote his gospel at the
dictation of Peter.)

Vs28: "And he was with them, moving about freely in Jerusalem,
speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord."

.... The fear of Saul had vanished among believers. He continued with
the apostles and moved about as he wished. The persecutions in
Jerusalem had settled a bit, but Saul is going to stir things up a bit.

Vs29: "And he was talking and arguing with the Hellenistic Jews; but
they were attempting to put him to death."

.... Saul is doing his preaching in the same synagogues as did
Stephen. What a glorious testimony. The man of whom the Hellenist
Jews had put their cloaks at his feet so they could stone Stephen, has
now picked up the martyr's torch and is proclaiming Jesus to
Stephen's stoners. Once again we see the power of the 'sword' of the
Spirit. The gospel of Jesus needs no defense. It is well able to take
care of itself.

Vs30: "But when the brethren learned of it, they brought him down to
Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus."

.... The brethren are concerned for Saul's safety. Tarsus is where Saul
is from. Would not be wonderful if we had more fill-in here. Makes you
wonder what kind of reception Paul got from his parents and family.
Whether they turned to Jesus is not know. Paul says very little about
his family.

.... We are soon to turn away from Saul for awhile. His fruitful service
will increase later on. For now the Lord will have him continue to grow
in knowledge and understanding. It is the same with us. Sometimes
we are anxious to get things going, but our time is not yet. When the
moment comes we will have our work set before us.

Vs31: "So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria
enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord
and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase."

.... The rest is a rest from persecution. The Church needed this time
for regrouping, refreshing, and refurbishing.

.... Notice it speaks of the 'church' throughout all Judea, and Galilee,
and Samaria. There is the only one church, but many flocks. The
early believers met in homes, but often continued attending the
synagogues. Later on Jewish believers were forced from the

Since we are at a natural stopping point we can conclude this study
for now. Saul will not be heard from for awhile. The apostle Peter is
going to take the forefront. Our next study will pick up with Peter.

The study is open. Feel free to make observations or ask questions.

Shalom in Christ,

Lawrence E. (Buddy) Martin, HF Host

"See to it that no one comes short of the grace
of God; that no root of bitterness springing up
causes trouble, and by it many be defiled." (Heb12:15)

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