A Christ-Centred Ministry – Acts 9:10-31

20 February, 2022

Book: Acts

A Christ-Centred Ministry

Acts 9:19-31 

I want to sketch out the Context of what’s happening in Acts

  • Acts Describes Christ’s Continuing mission to spread the Gospel fr. Jerusalem –> Ends of Earth, thru His Apostles & Disciples
  • Luke describes Peter’s leadership fr. Acts chs.2 thru 8
    • Christ’s Mission predominantly to the Jews
  • Luke then turns in ch.9 vss.1-31, to Saul’s Conversion &
    • his early ministry to Hebrew & Hellenists Jews
  • Luke then returns in 9 vss.32-43 to Peter’s ministry in Lydda & Joppa. healing Aeneas & then raising Dorcas fr. death
    • Then he is given: vision of unclean animals made clean…
    • And sent to preach to Cornelius, in Acts ch.10:1-48
    • In ch.11 He reports back to Jerus. re Gentile converts
  • This Opens the way for the Gospel-Mission to go to Gentiles,
  • And its to that mission: Barn. & Saul will be called, in ch.13


  • So from Acts.2-12, Peter leads the mission mostly to the Jews
    • Including the Ethiopian Eun. & Cornelius…
  • Fr Acts Ch.13-end, Paul Leads the mission, mostly to Gentiles,
  • And the Gospel is spreading fr Jerusalem to Ends of the earth,
    • to Jew first, then to the Gentile
  • Just as Paul says in 1:16-17, “The Gospel is the power of God for salvation, to everyone who believes,
    • to the Jew first and also to the Gentile
  • And, it’s in this Context, that our passage sits, introducing us to what Saul’s Christ-Centred Ministry will be like in those later chs.


But, How do we know, from the text, it’s a Christ-Centred Ministry?

  • Becoz of the repeated Focus on Saul’s Communicating Christ.
    • 20, Saul Proclaimed Jesus is the Son of God
    • 22, Saul Proved Jesus is the Christ
    • 28, He spoke in the Lord’s name
    • 29, Saul speaks/argues w/Hellenists about Christ

And, it’s not just Saul who exercises this sort of ministry…

  • Just as Saul was called to a Christ-Centred ministry, so are we!
  • And so the Lord gives us an example… an Illustration for how our ministry should…. How it must operate.
  • 1) Ministry must have Christ-Cent. Context in which it operates
  • 2) Our ministry must be Biblically Practiced
  • 3) Ours must Focus on Christ in its Content


Notice First: The Context of A Christ-Centred Ministry

It Comes From a Godly Repentant Ministers

  • 21, We see Saul’s Repentant Heart-Mind-Life
  • Even his opponents recognised it & were amazed at the change.
  • Saul had-had, his mind/heart changed, by Christ
  • On the road, Jesus had revealed H-self to Saul as Lord – God
  • So altho Saul once considered Jesus: nothing more than a Blaspheming Carpenter/Rabbi fr. Nazareth….
  • Now Saul sees… believes… & is convinced that Jesus is the Son of God, God’s anointed Prophet, Priest & King
  • Saul has had his heart changed by God, from hating Christ
    • to loving Christ,
    • and desiring to know Christ, to be like Christ
  • Saul had consequently changed his actions & behaviour
    • From a Zealous Pharisee to a zealous Apostle
    • From Persecuting Christ to Preaching Christ
    • Fr hating Christ’ns, 2 Joining, Loving & Serving them
    • Saul His Heart, Mind, Life were repentant B4 God
  • 22, Saul’s Life was Continually Growing-Strengthening
    • He was increasing in Spiritual things,
    • He was growing in spiritual wisdom and understanding
    • He was growing in his confidence to preach Christ
  • So, Context of Saul’s Christ-centred ministry is a Repent. Life
  • That change of heart, mind & action, must be ours also
  • As Believers in Christ, we are to live a repentant lifestyle!


2) Christ-Centred Ministry Comes Fr Context of Church.

  • Notice 19, Saul was with the Damascus Disciples
  • 26, Saul was trying to associate with the Jerusalem Disciples
  • 28, Saul was with the Jerusalem Disciples,
  • Saul Devoted h-self to Fellowship w/ the Church & w/ Disciples
  • He followed the pattern of Acts 2:42, he devoted h-self:
    • to the Apostle’s Doctrine to the Fellowship,
    • to Breaking-of-Bread, to Prayer
  • In Acts 11, it was from the church of Antioch, that Barnabas & Saul were sent with a contribution to the Disciples in Judea
  • In Acts 12, they returned to the church in Antioch to minister
  • An Acts 13, & Saul were set apart by the Spirit, during a time of prayer & fasting within Antioch Church Fellowship
  • In Acts 14, Paul and Barnabas, return and report to Antioch Ch.
    • Paul saw h-self as accountable to the est. church
  • In 2, Paul submitted h-self & his gospel to Jeru. Church elders, in fear that perhaps, he had been running in vain…
  • The context of Saul-Paul’s ministry was always fr w/i church:
    • He was Called and Commissioned by Christ, as an Apostle
    • He was sent by the Church
    • He was accountable to the Church
    • He submitted h-self to the church elders


A Christ-Centred Min. is always in set in the context of the church

  • Scripture never considers the “lone-wolf” approach to ministry
  • The Biblical Principle of Discipleship, requires an Accountability for All church’s elders, pastors, leaders, servants, missionaries
  • The most painful lesson I had to learn in ministry was just this one!


3) The Context of a Christ-Centred Ministry is to both Saved & Lost

  • 20, immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in synagogues,
  • 22, Saul was proving to Jews that this is the Christ
  • 28, Saul was speaking boldly in the name of the Lord
  • 29, Saul was speaking-arguing w/ Hellenists: Greek-culture
  • His early ministry, described here, was amongst the unsaved
  • From Acts 13 onwards his standard pattern in missionary work was to find somebody (Jew-Gentile) who believed in God,
    • in synagogues, or wherever God-fearers would gather… he would proclaim gospel of Christ as Saviour & Lord
    • from those beginnings he would plant a church
  • His desire, in going to Rome, was to go on to Spain & preach the gospel, where others had not yet ministered – fresh ground!


  • Acts later describes his arrest, imprison’t & transfer to Rome
  • During that time His ministry shifted primarily to: Believers in the church, thru his Epistles.
  • tho he still witnessed for Christ, to his captors, guards, cell mates, etc. & saw some of them saved

Listen, A Christ-Centred-Gospel Ministry is never to only the unsaved

  • or only the saved, it always is to both the saved and lost.
  • It is not only the unsaved that need to hear the gospel
  • Believer, Ev. day of our lives needs to hear the Gospel
  • The Gospel is the Foundation & Capstone of our lives & ministry
  • Paul began his ministry in Corinth, resolved to know nothing but Christ & Him Crucified, preaching the Gospel
  • later, in 1Cor.15, Paul makes a great exposition, of Gospel, to the Corinthian Church, as of first importance to them


4) Context of a Christ-Cent’d Min. is in face of Opposit’n & Persect’n

  • 22, Saul confounded the Jews, by proving: Jesus is the Christ
    • That aroused their antagonism to pt. of plotting murder
  • 29, Saul was arguing with the Hellenists, clearly re: Christ.
    • That also raised their antagonism, to pt. of plot murder.
  • All thru his ministry, as it unfolds in Acts, Paul faced Opposit’n
  • He faced Opposition fr. Jews, who refused Jesus as Messiah
  • He faced Opposition fr. Judaisers who argued that Gentiles must Convert to Judaism & Accept Mosaic law, 2 B saved.


And since then, little has changed

  • We may not see Opposition to the Gospel fr devout Jews, But…
  • We certainly see Opposition to Gospel in other forms
    • Discarding Gospel truth: Repent, Sin, Hell, Judgem’t
    • Reshaping Gospel 2 B means: Health-Wealth-Prosper
    • Redefining Gospel truths: Convers. Justif’d. Sanctif’d.


The Preaching of the Gospel will Always be met with Opposition

  • Whenever Truth is proclaimed the enemy will arouse opposition Sadly from within the church, and also from outside the Church
  • The answer is to resist it, by graciously, prayerfully, steadfastly arguing & defending the Gospel w/ Biblical Truth & Transformed Lives


And, Occasionally Opposition becomes Open Persecution

  • 23, Damascus Jews Plotted to put Saul to death
  • 29, Hellenistic Jews Plotted again to put him to death
  • Both vss.24-30, Saul became aware of plots & escaped – How?!
  • God Sovereignly, Repeatedly Delivered Saul from Persecution
  • God also Delivered Saul thru Persecut’n & Death to Glory
    • Saul gave his back to be Flogged 5x, beaten w/ Rods 3x
    • Saul gave his body to be stoned
    • Saul was shipwrecked 3x (Paul: bad travelling companion)
    • He was Imprisoned times, total aprox. 5yrs of life
  • Ultimately, Saul gave his life to sword blow & martyrdom, and…
  • God Sovereignly Deliver’d Him thru Persecut’n & death to Glory


And here’s where we hear God’s voice to us fr. the text…

  • God says to U-I, “just as I delivered Saul from persecution in his early ministry, so also, I will deliver you”.
  • He will deliver Us from Immediate Persecution… Or
  • He will deliver Us thru that Persecution & Death, into Glory


Remember what Paul asked in Romans 8?

  • What can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus?
  • Not Tribulation, nor Distress, nor Persecution, nor anything!
  • Here we see the beginning of that reality in Saul’s own life
  • God sovereignly made their plots known to Saul/Brethren
  • Trust Him, Be Faithfull to the Ministry He has called Us to
  • The Context of a Christ-Centred Ministry is:
    • From A Godly Repentant Life
    • From within A Christ-Centred Fellowship
    • To the Unsaved and the Saved
    • In the face of Opposition & Persecution.


Notice Secondly: The Practice of a Christ Centred Ministry

  • We’ll look at this pt. very briefly (possibly skip)
  • Notice it says he immediately began to preach in Synagogues
  • In Galatians 1, Paul says after Christ called him, and revealed His Son in him, he did not confer with anyone, but went to Arabia, and them sometime later returned to Damascus…
  • Now, Dr Luke doesn’t explain, how this fits in with his account.
  • So, we’ll take Luke’s written account, as true, recognising that perhaps between vss.22-23, he went & returned – not sure.
  • Both accounts R Spirit-Inspired text, both are true.


V.20, Saul immediately began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues

  • Saul made an Authoritative Pronouncement of Christ & Gospel
  • He made a Loud, Public Announcement: Jesus is the Son of God
  • He spoke under Christ’s authority to the Jews, his own people
  • He spoke with Authority as Christ’s called/commission’d apostle
  • He proclaimed that Jesus is the Christ. – we must do the same!
  • We speak under Christ’s All-Encompassing Authority as Lord
  • We speak with the Authority of Holy, Inspired Scripture
  • So long as our message, our ministry is faithful to the text of scripture, it goes-out with the Authority of Christ.
  • Saul’s Ministry & Ours, is to proclaim Christ, and Him Crucified
  • Like Saul’s Proclamation, our Message must come 2:1-5, w/ Power and a Demonstration of the Spirit, so that the listener’s faith will rest on the power of God, not on the wisdom of man.


V.22, Saul was Proving that this (Jesus) is the Christ (Messiah)

  • Saul was a well-trained Pharisee, used to memorising great passages of scripture, knowing, with precision, most of OT.
  • Now, having learned that Christ is the fulfilment of OT,
  • he proves that Jesus is the Christ… the Messiah of God
  • The word Luke uses here “to prove”, means:
    • to establish a truth by argumentation & reasoning
    • to examine, to compare, and to conclude logically
  • So, the Practice of a Christ-Cent-Min. is to take the scriptures and to examine, to compare, and to bring them together
  • …like a skilled weaver, weaving coloured threads to create a beautiful pattern/picture,
  • So, we bind together the threads of scripture to display a beautiful, compelling, picture of the Glory of Jesus Christ
    • as Saviour & Lord, as the King and as the Judge!


  • So, the Practise of a Christ-centred ministry is both
    • To Proclaim the Gospel with Biblical authority and
    • To Prove, rationally and logically, from the scriptures that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Messiah, the Anointed of God, the Saviour of Sinners and the Coming Judge of all mankind…..
  • Bros & Sis., so long as we are faithful to the text of Scripture whose subject and content is our Lord Jesus Christ…
  • So long as we add nothing to gospel msg,
    • nor take nothing away fr it
  • So long as Christ’s glory is our goal…
  • it will be a Christ-centred ministry – just as Saul/Paul’s was.


  • Which takes us straight into our last point:
  • For our whole time preaching the text, this is where I wanted to be!


Notice Lastly: The Content of a Christ-Centred ministry:

  • Saul preached Christ and Him Crucified (1Cor.2:

V.20, He proclaimed that:   Jesus – is – the – Son – of – God

  • In six simple words we have the profound truth of The Person of Christ, the God-Man: Truly God – Truly Man
  • Listen, if you forget all that I’ve said today, so far, sad but Ok. Remember the rest, this last most important bit!


He is Jesus, truly Human

  • He was conceived in the womb of Mary, by power of H. Spirit
  • He was in womb 8-9 months just as any other normal pregnancy
  • He grew from infant, to child, to youth, to manhood all of it in submission to his parents,
  • He learned to speak, to write, to practice Joe’s trade of Carpnt
  • He knew pain, tiredness, sorrow, loss, hunger & thirst,
  • He knew both tears and laughter
  • He knew friendship & loyalty as well as: betrayal & disloyalty
  • He knew temptation beyond that which any other man would-could ever know…. yet without even the possibility of sin
  • He was, in every way human, as any other human – but w/o Sin
  • He understands every difficulty & ev. trial & ev. struggle that every one of us can/will experience,
    • except the humiliation of His own sin committed by Him.
  • He knows our hurts, our sorrows, our pain, our weariness

And Today He calls us, to come to him, to find relief, to find rest, to find forgiveness & reconciliation with God


He is Truly Human, & He is the Son of God

  • That was Saul’s message to the Jews
  • He is God! – Truly God,
  • He has the same essence as God the Father & God the H. Spirit
  • He is God, with every attribute of Deity that His Father has:
  • He is God, both Eternal & Unchangeable
    • This is why it’s Impossible for Jesus to commit sin
    • If Jesus could change fr sinless to sinner, His divine Person as God, would be neither eternal nor unchanging
  • He is God, All-Powerful & All-Knowing, as God Father/Spirit is
  • He is God, Absolutely Holy, Righteous & Just, just as: Father is
  • He is God, who is Good w/ Grace, Mercy, Kindness, Compassion
  • He is God, the King of kings & Lord of lords, w/o Beginning/End
  • He is God, Ruling, Reigning as Supreme Sovereign God on High,
    • You can’t fire Him, He cannot be Impeached,
    • He will not resign and He will never retire!
  • He is God all-Glorious, with the Glory he had with the Father before Creation, and returned to Him, after His Res.
  • He is God to whom the angels are unceasing in praise & worship


This: Jesus is the Son of Almighty God….


  • And, my tiny, incomplete summary barely scratches surface of
    • Who This Jesus Christ is….
  • He was the content of Saul’s Christ-Centred Ministry
  • And, Bros & sis, Christ must be the content of our ministry….
  • RC Sproul was once asked: what’s the world’s greatest need?
    • He said: It needs Jesus Christ
  • he was also asked: what then is church’s greatest need?
    • RC said: It needs Jesus Christ
  • Christ was the content of Saul’s Ministry to Saved & Unsaved
  • Christ will be the content of Ours – but wait there’s more….
  • The Content of our Ministry is not Only the Person of Christ,
  • It is also the Work of Jesus the Christ!
  • Why would the Son of God, be willing to take on Flesh and Blood, to be humble H-self, to suffer, to die
  • He did so to fulfil His Work, His Ministry


V.22, Saul is proving that this (Jesus) is the Christ

  • He is the Anointed of God – 3 roles in the OT were anointed
  • Christ is the Answer and the fulfilment of all three


Jesus Christ is Anointed Prophet of God, speaking God’s Word to us

  • He came as the Ultimate Revelation of God, in human flesh, to all the world. God spoke in Son to us.
  • He came & Explained-Expounded God the Father to us
  • He came and spoke the words of eternal life to us
  • He came and called us to repentance and belief
  • He Spoke the truth to us,
  • becoz we have all gone astray,
  • we have all sinned against God
  • we have all defied and trampled upon God’s Holy name
  • We have ignored God, denied God, disregarded God, defied God…. and Christ Came and Spoke as God’s Prophet
  • to Command us to Repent of Sin,
    • to Believe the Gospel and
    • to Follow Christ!


Jesus Christ is Anointed H. Priest of God

  • We all need a Priest!
  • We all need someone to go on our behalf, to reconcile us to God, with whom we are estranged
  • We need someone to go and soothe, to placate, to exhaust the anger of God against us, on our behalf
  • For we, who have all sinned, can only offer to God, our immortal souls, to be tormented forever in hell as payment for our sin
  • Meaning, being for-eternity, separated & forsaken by God
  • Jesus is the Christ, who came, to be our High Priest
  • Jesus is the Christ, who came to offer Himself in our place, to pay our death-penalty for us,
    • that we might be reconciled to God
  • He is the Christ, the Anointed High Priest of God.
  • He offered Himself as the Sacrifice for Sins
  • He intercedes for His people with the Father


Jesus is also the Christ, The Anointed King, of all kings

  • He rules and reigns from His Father’s Throne on High
  • He, as King will also serve as the great Judge of all creation
  • In the OT, the king sat in the gates – it was the place of the law courts, to hear charges & disputes, and to render verdicts
  • Jesus Christ is God’s Anointed King & Judge to save/condemn


My Dear friends please listen to me

  • If Jesus the Christ is not your Saviour, when He returns,
    • He will be your judge!
  • If Jesus the Christ is not your Saviour Now,
    • then He is Now Your enemy, and you are His enemy
  • He will Vindicate His Holy Name,
  • He will receive His Glory from His enemies,
  • He will deal with his Enemies, in Justice and condemnation to an unrelenting torment in Hell.
  • All, who do not know Christ as Saviour, will fall under Christ the King & Judge’s Condemnation
  • He will declare to those
    • who do not trust in Christ,
    • who are not repenting of sin:
  • Depart from me, you, workers of lawlessness


So, How is it that anyone can escape such a pronouncement?

  • Jesus first words of ministry, recorded in Mark 1:15-17
  • 1) Repent – Turn away from sin,
    • Turn fr Disobeying God, to Obeying Him
    • Turn Fully to Christ, in Faith that He will keep His Word and save you from His own judgement and wrath.
  • 2) Believe the Gospel – Trust in Christ to save you
    • He calls you to come to Him, all who’re weary and heavy laden, loaded down with sin, and He will give you rest
    • He calls you to receive his offer of forgiveness
  • 3) Follow Me
    • He calls us to Take up our cross, To Deny ourself
    • And to Follow Christ


  • The Call of a Christ-Centred Ministry is:
    • Trust in Christ
    • Repent of Sin
    • Believe the Gospel
    • Follow Him! Christ!


{Time given for reflection and response}

Closing Prayer.