Topic: The Ministry of Apostle Paul
Paul’s Nativity And Education
Paul’s Persecution of the Early Church
Attitude of Christians Towards their Persecutors
Paul’s Nativity and Education (Acts 22:1-5, 26-30)
Paul was formerly known as Saul of
Tarsus. He was born of a Jewish family, which lived abroad in the town of Tarsus. Tarsus was in the city of Cilicia in Asia Minor, now present day Turkey. He was a Benjamite.
His father was a Jew who settled in
Tarsus and bought Roman citizenship
that was sold to foreigners in Roman
Empire. Roman citizenship enabled
foreigners to enjoy certain privileges as original Romans. Hence, Paul was a
Jew and later in life, he confessed, “I
am a Jew, born at Tarsus in Cilicia'”.
Roman citizenship enables one to be
protected from any unjust treatment.
Paul, during one of his trials, used this
privilege to obtain a fair hearing.
As Jew, he was a Judaizer, and later
became a defender of Judaism. He was tent-maker as a family trade, which means leather-worker in Greek. Paul’s father was a Pharisee. When Paul grew up, he had his fomal education in Cilicia. But later, his father sent him to Jerusalem to study law. He was tutored by a respectable scholar called Gamaliel, and at the end graduated as a a lawyer. At a time he declared, “Brethren, I am a Pharisee”. He added, I was brought up in this city, at the feet of Gamaliel, educated according to the
strict manner of the-law of our fathers being zealous for God’ás you are all this day.
Paul’s Persecution of the Early
Church (Acts 7:5758; 8:1-3; 9:1-3)
Paul’s persecution of the Early Church
with Stephen. The Jews
Stephen and audience to defend himself. After listening to his defence they were highly angry. Yet they stil looked for stronger reason to get him punished. So, when Stephen declared before them, “Behold | see the heavens opened and tne son
of man standing at the nght hand of
God”, they saw this statement as a
blasphemy. Then, they ran to him, at
once, “and cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their dothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.
Paul as Saul, gave approval to the death of Stephen. What followed
was a great persecution against the
early Church in Jerusalem. Those who
survived fled Jerusalem and scattered
throughout the regions of Judea and
Samaria. From this incident, Paul became highly enthusiastic about
He went around Jerusalem dragging
and casting Christian men and women into prison. Paul, still full of anger and hatred, went to the high Priest to obtain letter of permission to go to the Synagogues in Damascus. He was going to Damascus, that if he should find any Christian there, whether a man or woman, such should be dragged back to Jerusalem bound. It was this journey that led to his conversion.
Paul’s Conversion (Acts 9:119)
Conversion means a process by which
one changes from one religion to
another. Some of our grand-parents
were converted from African Traditional Religion (A.T.R) to Christianity. So, Paul’s conversion means his change from Jewish religion called Judaism to Christianity religion of the followers of
Jesus Christ. Paul was converted to
Christianity after his encounter with
Jesus Christ on the way to Damascus.
Paul, having obtained the letter from the high priest, left for Damascus in
company of some other young men. As he was riding on his horse, and getting near to Damascus, in a mid afternoon, a bright light from heaven flashed on him.
The bright light blinded him and he fell down on the ground. Then, he heard a voice calling his name, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” When he asked who are you, Lord? the voice replied, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting”.
As he was trembling because of fear, he asked what He would want him to do. Jesus instructed him to go to Damascus where he would be told what to do.
Paul’s companions were silent and
afraid because they could hear the
voice speaking but did not see any one.
When he got up from the ground, he
could not see and his companions led
him into the city of Damascus. He was
there in the city for three days without
food and water.
On the other hand, the Lord appeared
to one of the Christians in Damascus
called Ananias. The Lord instructed him to go to the street called Straight. There he should ask for the house of Judas for Saul of Tarsus who was praying at that time. Ananias was told to lay his hand on him to enable him regain his sight. But, Ananias complained, telling the Lord how much evil Paul had done to the Christians at Jerusalem and how he had obtained authority from the high priest to “bind all those who call upon thy name”.
The Lord said to Ananias, , Go, for he is a chosen vessel of mine to carry my
name before the Gentiles and Kings
and the sons of Israel”. Ananias, without further waste of time, went to the house of Judas and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and he received the Holy Spirit. Immediately, after some things like scales fell from his eyes, and they were opened again. Paul rose and was baptized. He ate food and regained his strength.
Paul, therefore, joined the disciples in Damascus, and started preaching that Jesus was the Son of God.
Attitude of Christians towards
their Persecutors (Matthew 5:43-48; John 15:18-25)
The attitude of a Christian towards his
persecutors matters a lot. If it is positive, and according to the will of God for him; it brings glory and honour to God. Again it leads to respect and promotion of that Christian.
Furthemore, it leads to conversion of people, even the persecutors themselves.
One of the attitudes of Christians toward their persecutors is prayer. The Christian has to pray to God for grace to love and bless them that persecute him.
The love will enable him to do good to them that hate him and pray for them not to curse them. So, it is a great duty of all Christian, to love their enemies. We should have compassion on them and pray to God to forgive them and change them for them.
Another attitude of Christians towards their persecutors is to endure , for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was also persecuted yet He endured the persecution and prayed for their forgiveness. He had power and authority to call on legion of angels to punish them, but He endured. By this, He has left us example to follow.
After the Christian has prayed and
endured, yet the persecution becomes
unbearable, he should relocate. Jesus
enjoins his disciples to relocate to other places at the heat of persecution. He said, “But when they persecute you in this city, flee you into another..” This attude helps a Christian to be wise as serpents and hamless as doves.
1. We must understand that every new idea or religion introduced must
receive opposition by those who are
entrenched to the old ideas or
2. Education is very important in one’s life because it exposes one to
different kinds of knowledge that will
help one in future.
3. People must learn to respect all types of trade in their effort to earn an honest living as Paul did in learning tent-making.
4. We should not be quick to condemn some religious teachings we do not understand; rather we have to seek and understand it.
5. We must learn to listen and obey the voice of the Lord whenever He calls us to change from our evil ways to do better.
6. We should not in any way try to work against God and His messengers, for it is dangerous.
7. We must understand that God’s ways are far beyond man’s understanding. God can convert an
evil person and use him for the salvation of others.
8. God reveals Himself to whoever He
chooses, his background and past
life not withstanding.
9. All Christians must understand that
God watches their attitude towards
10. Christians must leam to pray that
their attitudes towards their
persecutors must be positive, and
according to the will of God for them.
1. State Paul’s fomer name, nationality
2. Outine Paul’s role in the death of
3. Quote Jesus” statement to Paul at
the point of conversion.
4. Narate the part played by Ananias in the conversion of Paul at Damascus
5. Mention two attitudes of a Christian towards their persecutors.
6. State any five moral lessons from this lesson.
Questions answered correctly? Bravo 🥰
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