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CG Discussion Questions
Preacher: Deputy Senior Pastor Tony Ng
21 Sep 2014
Scripture: Acts 9:1-30
Today’s sermon is on the conversion story of Saul (who was later named Paul) from a
Pharisee who led the charge to persecute 1st century AD Christ-believers to become a
champion for Christ in spreading the gospel.
More importantly, this passage is, like many biblical accounts, about the immensurable
grace of God that works on the most hardened of a man’s heart in order to bring about
change in a seemingly impossible situation to the 1st century Christians.
As introduced in Acts 9:1-2, Saul, having shown approval for the stoning of the martyr
Stephen (Acts 7:54-60), was still in a murderous stance over the Christians. He then went on
a journey of hatred to Damascus. His mission in this journey was to arrest all the disciples of
Christ. Saul was known as a zealous Pharisee. He was well-learned in the Mosaic laws and
Jewish religious beliefs about God, and would not hesitate to take drastic action against
anyone, in this case it was the Christians, who would jeopardise this faith of his.
On the other hand, the Christians were all fearful for their lives after Stephen’s martyrdom
and now that their perpetrator Saul was sparing no effort in hunting them now. It was indeed
a dire situation for the Christians.
It was with this backdrop, God, in His immensurable grace, intercepted Saul on his way to
Damascus (Acts 9:3-6), and caused a complete change of Saul’s heart and his mission in
Damascus. In the same stroke, the believers’ fear of Saul’s persecution was also alleviated.
The grace of God didn’t stop here. Saul, now converted, began to preach fervently that
Jesus is the Son of God (Acts 9:20-22) and the Messiah, even to the Jews in their very own
synagogues. Consequently, Saul was personally, knowingly, getting himself into a deathwish by his very own kind prior to his conversion.
It is with this new conviction, by the grace of God, that empowered Saul (who was later
named Paul) to start a new life in Christ, preaching in boldness and with life-giving sacrifice –
the power of a God-changed life when he least expected it!
Summary Statement: The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along
with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Scripture Reading and Discovery:
In the next 5-10 minutes, before you have someone read the scripture for today’s study,
imagine you are Saul going through the following physical and mental states (some of it are
the sermon reflection’s writer’s imagination):
1) State 1: (Acts 22:3) I am a learned man of privilege status in my Jewish community –
a Pharisee trained under a re-known teacher of the law and well-honoured by all the
people (Acts 5:34).
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2) State 2: (Acts 22:3-5) I am zealous for my belief in God because I understand how
He works. I am committed to Him and His cause and would do anything to preserve
my belief <writer’s imagination>.
3) State 3: I am proud that I have played a part in convicting a Jewish blasphemer,
Stephen, to his death. Stephen practises this new idealogy that calls for a re-think of
my Jewish beliefs. He claims to be the follower of this messiah whom they call Jesus
Christ. These Christians are gaining traction within my Jewish community and many
seem to believe this Jesus Christ <writer’s imagination>.
4) State 4: (Acts 9:1-2) I am going to get those Christians in Damascus. They will pay. I
thank God that I am devoted to you and know your ways <writer’s imagination>.
5) State 5: (Acts 9:3-9) Ahhh, I am blinded. I can’t see. Who is this Jesus Christ who
spoke to me in such an unexpected manner. He is the one whose followers I am
trying to persecute for the right reason.
6) State 6: (Acts 9:20-22) I am feeling physically better after the blindness and the long
trip from Jerusalem to Damascus (150-175 miles). The son of God and the messiah
Jesus Christ has revealed Himself to me. He has also brought Ananias to me to tell
me His will for me to witness for Him. Now, I must do as my Lord, Jesus Christ has
commanded me, to witness to my Jewish community in our synagogues.
7) State 7: (Acts 9:23) There is a conspiracy by the Jews to kill me. The conspirators
are trapping me within the city of Damascus. I must escape and to continue bearing
witness to Jesus Christ.
Have someone read aloud Acts 9:1-30. While listening to the verses being read, try to
imagine the changing mental states of Saul as the events unfold.
This passage is a brief overview of Saul’s conversion along the road to Damascus, from
being a persecutor of Christ-followers to being one of the fearless proponent of Jesus Christ,
the son of God and the messiah to the Jews in their own synagogues.
Living for our Lord, Jesus Christ, will inevitably bring mistreatment, struggles, opposition,
suffering and even death threats along the way. By the grace of God, through the least
expected way, God breaks into our lives and empower us in order to carry out His will. This
road is never easy. We need to encourage each other in this journey, as Saul too had many
believers as companions and rescuers in his treacherous journey.
Insights into studying the Word together/ Discussion:
1. Why did Saul want to persecute the early Christ-followers?
2. By breaking into Saul’s life, while he was on his way to Damascus to persecute the
Christian, what was the larger consequence to Saul’s life and the impact on the
spread of the gospel?
1. Reflect on your life. Have you ever had similar kind of encounter with God as Saul’s “onthe-journey-to-Damascus” experience? That is to say, you were about to do something
which was not right in God’s eyes which you either knew or did not know at that time, but
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in the nick of time, somehow, you were restrained from it, or the event skipped over you?
This could be your personal encounter with God. Share your encounter if you feel
What do you think God is prompting you?
What could you learn from it?
Have that incident(s) caused you to take proper steps to respond positively and
move closer to Jesus Christ? If yes, what steps have you taken? If not, why not?
2. Do you feel you have been/ are being “persecuted” for standing your grounds as a
Christ-believer? It could be struggles over moral issues at work or at school,
mistreatment and opposition by others, etc. While this is going to take some commitment
and time, read the letters by Paul (and also Hebrews and 1 Peter), it is worthwhile in our
faith walk. After Saul’s conversion to being a Jesus Christ believer, his calling to be a
witness for Christ was a treacherous journey to the end. We can draw strength, God’s
strength, from Paul’s life journey.
Prayer requests: (write down those who shared their requests)