What Must I Do, Lord?

Acts 9:1-9


Verse 1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,

I.    The first taste of blood was in Acts 7:58 when the Pharisees killed Stephen, laying their coats at the feet of Saul (who was a young man).


Verse 2  And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

Notice what a lost person will do, even while they are under conviction.


Verse 3  And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

I.    There comes a time in everybody's life when they will come face to face with God.

A.  It may come at a time when you have something else you believe is very important.

B.   Notice that Saul didn't continue on his way.

1.      Neither will we continue on our way when we come face to face with God.

2.   The things he thought were very important became very unimportant.


II.   It must be noted that this light is Jesus.

A.  It must also be noted that sinners shouldn't wait to see a light to understand that God is dealing with them for salvation or service.

1.      Don't wait until there are physical evidences of God's dealing with you before you yield yourself to the service of God.

2.   I remember one preacher who said he resisted God by holding on to the back of the pew until his knuckles turned white.

a.   That was a good story, but the rest of that man's life proved he wasn't called to preach, and that leaves doubt in my mind that he was ever saved.

b.   I haven't kept up with him, so I don't know if God is still dealing with him, but if he isn't suffering chastisement over his lax life style, there is little doubt he doesn't belong to God.

c.   God always chastises those He loves.


Verse 4  And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

I.    What is done to the children of God is done unto Christ.

A.  Matt. 25:31-46 - When we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, take in strangers, visited the sick, visit people in jail, we do those things unto God.

  1. The way we treat saved people is the way we treat God.
  2. Saul was persecuting the church, which is the body of Christ.


Verse 5  And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: [it is] hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

I.    Saul asks who is speaking to him, because he doesn't know.

A.  It is very possible for a person to be unsure of why things are happening to him like they are.

1.      They might put up a good show on the outside, but what goes on in the inside is what really counts.

B.   It is important that Saul knew who Jesus was.

1.      Jesus didn't have to explain to him that He had died that Saul might be saved.

2.      Saul had already heard the gospel story and knew it was true.

C.   It was more important that Jesus knew Saul than that Saul knew Jesus.

1.   A lot of people know who Jesus is, but if Jesus doesn't know them they will spend eternity in hell.

2.      Matt. 7:23 - Jesus doesn't know who lost people are.

D.  It must be noted that Jesus came to Saul while Saul was running away from Jesus.

1.      Lost sinners are doing all they can to get away from God.

2.      They would be successful in their attempt to get away if God would let them.

3.   God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son - There was never a human being that asked God to send his son into the world to die for their sinfulness.

E.   Has Christ come to you, convicting you of your way of life?

1.      This is a most marvelous and wonderful thing.

2.   We ought to be very glad He has come to us.

3.       He didn't have to come - He could have left us alone.

F.      Acts 7:58 – when Stephen was stoned, they laid their clothes at the feet of Saul, who watched over their clothes as they stoned Stephen.

1.       Acts 26:9-11 – Paul before Agrippa, telling how he persecuted believers before his conversion.

2.       These verses explain the progression of persecution from holding the clothes of those who stoned Stephen, to leading in the persecutions.


II.   Kick against the pricks.

A.  The prick is a goad, which is a rod about 8' long and sharpened on one end, sometimes with metal placed over the sharpened end.

1.   The goad is used to poke the ox so it will do what it is told to do.

2.   It is also used to clean the plow: or discipline (chastise).

3.      This is how we get the expression, "I'm going to clean your plow" meaning I'm going to give you an "attitude adjustment."

B.   God is telling Paul that he can go ahead and continue to fight against what he knows in his own heart (by the leadership of the Holy Spirit), or he can yield to what he knows he ought to do.


III. Paul was fighting against what God wanted him to do, and he knew it.


IV. Paul is here submitting himself to the pricking of God.

A.  He doesn't have to submit himself.

B.   He can continue in the path he is taking, but he will injure himself by continuing not to yield himself to God.

1.      Sinners can hear the Words of God and disregard them for a while.

2.      You will not be able to continue disregarding God's voice for very long.

3.   God will put things in your life that will get your attention.

C.   Holy Spirit conviction is hard to resist.

1.   The sinner believes yielding to God is hard, but that is very easy.

2.   It is hard for the sinner to believe God is right when He pricks them with the goad of His Word, and the circumstances of life.

3.   The sinner doesn't want to believe they are wrong and that God is right.

4.   A lot of people believe life would be much easier if God would leave them alone - they are right.

5.      Their eternity would be much more difficult, however.

D.  Kicking against the pricks.

1.      This is not a simple not knowing that God is convicting of sin.

2.      This is more than just an inactive resistance or gentle disregard to God's leadership.

3.      This is more than just an active resistance or active disregard to God's leadership.

4.      This is active rebellion against the desires of God in our life.

5.      This is when the sinners knows what God wants, and actively fights him.

6.   It should be noted that every time the ox would kick at the prick (goad) if he hit the goad, he would be pricked again.


Verse 6  And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

I.    Trembling and astonished.

Song: Where He Leads I Will Follow 

A.  This is speaking about Saul being afraid when he realizes his own depravity and God's righteousness.


II.   Paul understood perfectly what God is talking about.

A.  Rom. 7:7 - It is by a perfect understanding of the law that Paul came to understand what lust was.

B.   Lust is the only part of the law that is completely internal.  All the other parts can be fulfilled outwardly, even if the heart is not right, but lust is completely internal.


Verse 7  And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.

I.    When Saul fell to the ground, the others stood.

A.  This doesn't mean that these people will never be saved, it just means that their salvation is not to be at this time.


Verse 8  And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought [him] into Damascus.

I.    Saul might have been the leader of this wicked bank when he was lost, but when he is saved, he must yield himself to those that know where to take him.


Verse 9  And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.


I.    You can't get away from God.

A.  Every person doesn't use the persecution of believers as a means to cover up their Holy Spirit conviction.

1.      Some use seemingly unconcern about spiritual matters.

2.      Some would blame some wayward preacher or church member for their continued rebellion against salvation, or their obedience to the will of God. 

3.      Some will bury themselves in work, forcing their minds away from spiritual matters, getting so tired, they won't think about spiritual matters when they lay down at night.


II.   Outward actions don't always tell what is going on in the heart.


III. God speaks to his sheep in particular.

A.  When God calls, His sheep hear.

1.      Hearing and answering is two different things.

B.   Verse 7 - There may be others standing by that hear the exact same message, but only those chosen of God will hear with convicting power.


IV. A person will either yield to God or continue to be goaded by Him.