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Used of God (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
July 9, 2020 4:00 am

Used of God (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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July 9, 2020 4:00 am

In Acts chapter 9, we find the brief account of Ananias, a man whose story reminds us that God loves to use ordinary, seemingly insignificant people to do great things for His kingdom. Join us for an encouraging message on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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The we don't know much about Ananias, the man God used to teach the gospel Saul of Tarsus, but as will learn today on Truth for Life. God loves to use ordinary, seemingly insignificant people to do great things for the kingdom Alistair Begggest teaching from acts chapter 9 we begin at first 10 survivors forming a character one way or another where forming reputations and recollections that other people will bring to their thinking when they recalled us either in the immediacy of these days. At a later date, and there will be certain things that attach to who we are and what we've done that will be at the forefront of people's thinking.

That is one reason why it's so important for us to live with short accounts and to continually ponder the question. I wonder what would be written about me.

If my epitaph were to appear in tomorrow morning's newspaper, what would they say about me tomorrow morning if my life was over.

As of tonight's opening thoughts. An important thought and it's the kind of thing that people have lived and died with resembled a man whose name was Mr. on the lawyer called on ODD went through his life with his name being such a burden to you would call him on the phone and say hello. Thank you envoy and oddball and all sorts and all kinds of things. So much so that I see Drew. Towards the end of his life.

He wrote into his will that his name should not appear on his tombstone, but rather just the simple inscription here lies an honest lawyer and that's what happened. He died.

That was the inscription on his tombstone and people would walk through the cemetery and stop and look at it and say that's odd. There are just certain things about all of us that we will be able to shake we're going to look at an individual tonight whose name begins with a the individual's name is Ananias.

Ananias is introduced to us in the 10th verse in Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias.

If you have the King James version. I think it reads there was a certain disciple named Ananias. Nearly all of my Bible memorization is been done in the King James version and I find myself reverting to it with great frequency, and so I'll probably refer to Ananias as a certain disciple and that almost to the time when I was reading that the proper version of the Bible before I got onto this one.

All of us doubtless have heroes in the Scriptures. If we asked one another. Who would you like to meet. First, when you get to heaven, somebody*I'd like to meet Moses. I want to talk to them about crossing the Red Sea, someone else might say, and I like to meet Martha or Mary Silas to find out what Paul was really like in the jail there in Philippi. And so we would go on probably out of this group tonight if I had given you sheets of paper before hand.

Not a single one of us would've written down this character. I certain disciple named Ananias because he is not a biggie. He's not one of the big ones as it where from the human reckoning he's not somebody will immediately springs to our minds.

He does not get great coverage in the pages of the New Testament, and yet he was God's man. For God's time to do God's tax and what I want to suggest tonight is just this notion that despite our preoccupation with big names and big photographs and big deals. God does not have the same preoccupation and I wanted to be an encouragement to many of us tonight find ourselves at a gathering like this and we may not have done tremendous things we may not have been amazing places we may not be well known in human terms, and yet God is in the business of searching throughout the year.

Looking for those upon whom he may set his hand to use them in the way that he desires that Ananias is just such an individual.

What were going to do is this. We're going to discover what were told about Ananias in the New Testament and then we're going to summarize the account here in 10 to 20 in three statements and then were just going to wrap it up with a couple of practical applications. So first of all, then what we told all of this character Ananias in the New Testament. Well actually were not told a great deal indeed here in acts chapter 9 is what introduced them were simply told that there was a disciple named Ananias, he is introduced in this way in the 10th verse now that is a great wonder contained in the fact that there was a certain disciple named Ananias in Damascus. On this occasion, it is as a result of God moving by his spirit giving a birthday to the church and following the day of Pentecost as believers scattered throughout the regions of that time the gospel began to be planted in all kinds of different places and now some 200 miles northeast of Jerusalem in this location. There were a group of disciples of the Lord Jesus would be gone together and out of that group of disciples. There was this individual called Ananias.

Now it was because there was a group of disciples in this area that Saul of Tarsus, who wasn't particularly keen on Christians.

At this point in his life was making his way with the express purpose of dealing with these people dealing drastically with them.

He had already supervised the destruction and cruel destruction of Stephen been prepared to allow people to throw the courts down so that they might be freed up to throw the rocks with a more vicious expression of that hatred and now he was on his way to carry out a further purge of these Christians who were such a threat to the monotheistic Judaism which Saul of Tarsus held so dear and he was breathing out threatenings and he was breathing out slaughter against those disciples of the Lord, the disciples of the Lord. Now that these last three words are very important because they were disciples of the Lord.

They were not disciples of the church. First of all, they were certainly not disciples of a denomination. They were not disciples of a peculiar theological point of view they were disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ and what marked them out was that they had been with Jesus and he had been changed by Jesus. That is, by the spirit with them and by the spirit by him and now they were becoming like Jesus and Ananias was one of the group. Now they were individuals who had said no to sin. Said no to themselves and he had said no to secrecy. Incidentally, that's a disciple. One definition of another disciple. We, you and I have not disciples of Jesus Christ. Tonight unless we have first said no to sin said no to ourselves and continue to do so on a daily basis and are saying no to secrecy. These people will know that's why Saul was going to be able to get a hold of them and I want to say tonight to some of us vacillate in our approach to these things, who tend to mention the fact that Christianity can be seen in our actions as of course it must be and to use that as a cloak for allowing is never to verbalize our faith. I want to say this to us either. Our discipleship will destroy our secrecy or our secrecy will destroy our discipleship. But if you and I are in love with Jesus Christ if we know that he has taken hold of our lives and has changed us then we will be wrong within ourselves to seek the opportunity to speak concerning the same Lord Jesus. Now Saul of Tarsus. Realizing that this was going on had a mission for Damascus if he'd been successful. Then Ananias would have been a convict, as it was, he was unsuccessful and Ananias became a counselor and God was at work in all of this now you need to turn forward, then to acts chapter 22 to find out a couple of other things that were told about Ananias, first of all, we're told that he was a certain disciple. One of the group who was following the Lord in acts chapter 22.

As Paul gives his testimony, which begins in the first verse by the time you get to verse 12 is explaining what happened to them after he had seen this great light. In verse 12 he tells his listeners a man named Ananias came to see me in a refiner to further things about one he was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. So to further things concerning his description is that he was a fairly anonymous character. His devotion was found in that he was committed to the Scriptures as he had them in the Old Testament, he would be the embodiment of your life of the man of someone. What is the man in someone like at least the character that God commands. Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standard in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in his law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by rivers of water, which bring you forth its fruit in season whatsoever he does shall prosper and Ananias is described as that kind of man. What a beautiful description a man if you like of the book a man for whom the Scriptures were opened and a man for whom the Scriptures were being digested and consequently were told that he had a good report of all the Jews that dwelt there.

That is still in 2212 that kind of reputation I suggest to you is not gained in five minutes. Nor is it gained even in a few days, but it is only in the daily Evan flow of life as we go in and out of our houses for Ananias as he went about his business there in that region as he was known within the structure of his family life as people came over and spent time in this all just in the flux and flow of life as we know it. People will build a picture of who we are and of what we hold dear and they'll be able to tell, we will need to placarded.

They'll just be able to tell by watching us and when people watched Ananias, he gained a good reputation in our tonight you and I have a reputation tonight you and I are writing a gospel. I chapter each day by the deeds that we do in the words that we say and man read what we write, distorted or true.

So what is the gospel according to you when we told about this man while he was a certain disciple.

He was developed concerning the law and had a good reputation from the Jews who lived around pretty good but a lot of other things a good incentive might not have been his command. That's the description. Secondly, then let's try and summarize the events as we are familiar with the many of us in acts chapter 9 concerning the nature of what this certain disciple was doing. I want to suggest first of all, that it is important we realize that he was open to the Lord's call verse 10. The Lord called to him in a vision of the important thing is not that he called to him in a vision cognitive called to him anyway. He chose the important thing is that when he called to and Ananias was unmistakably and clearly aware of what was going on.

His ear was tuned to the voice of God is your ear tuned to the voice of God tonight. Do you hear God speak to you through the word is he speaking that unmistakable still small voice saying as the word is "in this people share it. That's true that's for you.

Take hold of that that this is my word to you. This is a mark of discipleship.

This is the mark of those who are walking in the pathway of Jesus when Jesus said, my sheep hear my voice. I call them by their names and they follow me and God is never spoken audibly to me and never ever heard them say Alister in the way my father would there have been many times in this kind of context many times on my own in the car many times in prayer many times in listening to someone seeing that God has spoken clearly when our leaders are unclogged and open, but his voice. I can still recall the thrill of the Sunday school lesson in first Samuel chapter 3 how I loved and love that story how I wished that I could be in that temple. How I thought that Eli was a real dead brain you know when Samuel Going through his bedroom as the Sunday school teacher told me about going through, waking him up.

Did you call Mila now about your bedside okay Samuel way back through the roof. The voice comes again back through Eli what he wants and call you back to red practice and imagine the kids going next. Samuel's wife said I'm losing some hearing voices in the Knights third time back to Eli, Eli and then Eli says wait a minute, I've got it now.

Sorry, here we go go back go back when the voice comes again. See speak Lord for your servant here or to preach to congregations who come to the worship of God on the Lord's day with that as their theme, not this scrambling gambling horde of people talking about where the going for lunch and how they bought a new caravan and what happened to their grandchildren and who knows what will happen in the next general election or wait a minute I think I just have the buzzer going. I think it must be worship beginning know all know people who are coming to the word of God saying's peak because I'm listening not entertainment not coming to get points out of 10 for whether the guys running on long or short. Good ordinal groups, but coming because they want God to speak. That's discipleship. That's Ananias he had any year that was open to the voice of God. God give us six years. But not only was that the case he also had a will that was obedient to the Lord's command for many of us may have had the voice but never obeyed the call. Some of us may be in this meeting tonight and we had the voice somewhere along the line or someone preach stork through the counsel and guidance of a loved one or a friend and we made a commitment to the Lord.

We told him we were going to do something or we were going to go somewhere or we were prepared to give or spend our lives in a certain way and we were so sure is that time came to an end or years or months of past with no further down the line during God is gratified by the fact that we had an emotional surge at the end of a meeting somewhere that we just add his voice. Jesus said, I'll tell you the guy who really follows me is the one who hears my voice and puts into practice what I tell were back on the children's Sunday school again right the foolish man built his house upon the sand foolish man member that used to slap the person space next to you if you got the chance who's doing this, the sand foolish man built a house on sand sand and and the rate and Eunice the Sunday school teachers are going crazy and are they trying to teach Scripture with the songs and you're beating a person around you are stuck and the walls came tumbling down right and the wise man built his house upon the rock. We know that was the difference. The wise man and the foolish man both heard the same message.

The difference was one did what he was told and Ellen was contented just to have her husband Jesus that many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, then we do all these things and do this and do that and do the next NGC. Earlier I know your and he asked him why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do the things I tell you if I'm Lord, your baby if you don't obey me. I'm not more, and Ananias not only had any year that haired Vienna will that of the I noticed that he obeyed before he had the specific details of what he had to do God spoke Ananias yes Lord, he knew who he was talking to. Yes, and then comes the instruction very very clear when you go to straight Street while everybody knew straight Street Everybody Knows Straight St. in Damascus today runs 3 miles from east to west.

Still, there are exactly as it was then but it still straight Street, straight Street, he says, and you will ask for a man from Tarsus is called Saul Ford he is and how is my hers ears must of been open now as for a guy called salting Saul for he is free reign in a vision he seen a man named Ananias, and placed his hands on him to restore his science now.

I love Ananias because he saw human verse 13 Lord and Ananias answered, I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your sins in Jerusalem and he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name Lord could easily have answers that are Ananias, are you trying to inform me of something are you trying to tell me something I don't already know, simply as Moses while you are not a very good speaker. God there is a tough guy, really big problems in Egypt and a younger brother. He's released with menu. You should meet my brother he can do the stop.

God said he Moses, who made your mouth by okay I got a clear the humanity of the response. The natural response of his heart.

Listen, I'm scared.

Also, he may well have felt a measure of resentment.

After all, he was coming to destroy the Christians, of whom he was a part. The use of Stephen had already begun to travel and get his Ananias was obedient to God. God given victory over any feelings of dislike that he may well apply in coming to this man Saul of Tarsus, Eddie was able to grasp the one who at first the Christians he was able to pray for the one who it despitefully use an extraordinary example from an ordinary man your listing to Truth for Life. Alister Bacchus titled this message used of God's part of our series called jars of Clay. If you missed any of the previous messages in the study, or if you'd like to listen again at your own pace.

We have a few options available to you first. All of her messages are archived online the Truth for you can listen free of charge or view the transcripts of these messages and then this particular series has been made available on a USB drive at just our cost to produce without any markup you can download the studies to your computer. Keep the thumb drive your car for easy listening. We love being able to provide high quality Bible study resources like these without cost. Being a barrier, but the only way that's possible is because of God's provision through listeners like you. When you donate today would like to express our appreciation by sending you a book written by pastor and apologist David Robertson a book titled ask this book is designed to help you and your older children think biblically about critical issues in today's culture. The book tackles 52 questions from teams from all around the world. Request a copy of ask when you donate today online at or call 88858878848885887884 by Bob Lapine.

Hope you can join us tomorrow as we continue looking at the story of Ananias and his faithfulness to obey God's direction, even when it was frightening. This daily program features the Bible teaching of Alister furnished by truth for like the Learning is for Living

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