A Sovereign Call to Serve – Acts 9:10-31

13 February, 2022

Book: Acts

A Sovereign Call To Serve

Text: Acts 9:10-31


A Brief Prayer (Psalm 119:36-40)

  • Incline our hearts, O God to your Word & not to dishonest gain
  • Turn away our eyes, from looking at worthless things
  • Revive us O Lord, in your ways, Establish Your Word to us as that which produces reverence for You
  • Revive us again, O God thru Your Righteousness, for we pray these things in our Lord Jesus’ Name, Amen.



  • Christ’s Sovereign choice of His Disciple-Servants, requires a response, to Him, from each of us. How will we respond?
  • Christ Sovereignly Chose his 12 disciples to be His Apostles and to continue the Mission he had begun…
    • The 12 Submitted to Him, as their Lord, Saviour & God
    • They Followed Him, and (with the exception of Judas)
    • They Went-out Preaching, Serving, Spreading gospel
    • They Suffered for Him, and…
    • All, but one, Died a violent death for Him
  • Christ Sovereignly chose Saul to be His Apostle to Gentiles
  • The text before us today, illustrates this great principle of Christ’s Sovereign leadership and control of His Mission.
  • He chose Saul & Ananias, & He Sovereignly chooses U & I to Serve Him, on Mission, wherever He sends us, Home or Office, School-rm or Hospital-rm, Church or Job-site or Factory, wherever He sends us.
  • And God’s Sovereign choice Requires a response from us.


Remember: The Sovereignty of God is His authority and power

to accomplish his will as the Supreme Ruler of all things.

  • God demonstrates his sovereignty through His decrees and His actions, which are planned in complete Independence of anything outside of Himself, and enacted thru-out time-space.
  • God’s sovereignty extends over all creation, & particularly His acts of predestining, calling, justifying & glorifying His people.
  • Isaiah 46:9–11, the Lord says: “I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’; Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.

And God’s Sovereignty is as a source of Great Comfort to Christians

  • becoz our hope rests in a God alone, Who controls all things for the glory of His name & good of His people and His creation
  • God does not exercise His Sovereignty in steam-roller fashion, crushing/flattening everything to His will, rather He exercises it as Loving, Kind, Caring Father, concerned for His Children


  • God’s Sovereignty certainly does not remove man’s will, rather our will must be brought into Submission to God…
    • It will bring us to Humility before God
    • It requires our Obedience to God
  • Our text this morning displays these three responses from Saul to Christ’s Sovereign Call to serve, in His Mission


One. Notice: Christ’s Sovereign Call to Serve

  • 4, Saul was Sovereignly chosen, by Christ, for Salvation
  • 15, Saul was Sovereignly chosen by the Lord to be His instrument-tool-vessel
  • He was no longer His own, He now belonged to Christ
  • God’s salvat’n moves us fr slaves to sin, to slaves to Righteousn.
  • Saul was chosen by the Lord to bear Christ’s name, to be His Representative-Apostle to the Gentiles & scripture shows it:
    • 1:1, Paul a bondservant, called as an apostle
    • 1:1, Paul called as: apostle of J.Chr, by: will of God
    • 1:1, Paul: Apos. not fr men, nor thru men| thru Christ
  • 1:16, Eph.3:8, Saul was chosen by the Lord to preach the gospel among: Gentiles, to preach unsearchable riches: Christ
  • To Represent Christ in His writing-speaking, as an apostle


  • 16, Saul: Sov. chosen by Christ to suffer 4 His name’ sake
    • That suffering began as Saul began to preach
    • 23, Jews plot. ag. Saul, to put him to death – escap’d
    • 29, Hellenists attempt. to put him to death – escaped
    • 13:50, Jews incited persecution ag. Paul-Barnabas
    • Acts 14:5, Gentiles/Jews attempt. to have P&B stoned
    • Acts 14:19, Jews succeeded in stoning Paul
  • Saul was Sov. chosen by God to continue Christ’s mission to spread the gospel fr Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria & end-earth
  • Christ Sov called Saul to be His Servant-Apostle
  • And Christ is still Sov. Calling men, women, older-younger to serve Him, in His Mission, to reach the world w/ His Gospel


  • Does that mean that every believer is sovereignly called to be:
    • An Evangelist, or A Missionary?
    • A Pastor?, A Teacher, a Preacher?
    • An Elder? A Deacon?, A Sunday School Teacher
  • Absolutely not! To quote my good friend Larry Page, Can :Lord use humble Bee-Keeper to spread the gospel in his area? Yes!
  • Notice what Saul says in a parallel text where he is describing his calling: Galatians 1:15–16 “But when God, who had set me apart (separated me) even fr my mother’s womb & called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles
  • Saul-Paul recognised that :Lord had sovereignly set him apart 2B an apostle to Gentiles, to preach Christ, to write scripture…
  • Does the Lord set us apart to certain roles, not apostles? Yes
  • :Lord sets us apart to the role-vocation, in life he’s called us to
    • As a Christian Tradies sharing Christ on Jobsite
    • As a Christian Professions doctor, lawyer, businessmen
    • It may be as a pastor, elder, deacon, missionary, evang.
    • It may be as a Mum at home, as a teacher in a school
    • No calling is greater-lesser than the other
    • God uses Christ’n doctors as much/more Pastors/elders
  • How does the Lord communicate his calling to us?
  • For me, not long after I’d been converted, I had a desire to serve the Lord, in preaching… did that auto. mean I was called to be a pastor, to dedicate my life to it? No, not necessarily.
  • Much later, as I had begun to preach, in itinerant ministry, and had several older, godly men, in my life take me aside to tell me that God had given me a gift, and that I ought to use it, to serve Him – did that mean I was called to it – Not necessarily.
  • But, as I wrestled w/ Lord, striving in prayer and seeking to know :Lord’s mind, that a deep conviction settled in my heart, that this was only thing I could do, that I must do, nothing else
  • God sovereignly chooses us for a ministry that he has for us
  • A ministry that will be difficult, it will involve suffering & loss,
  • …but will give us a joy and a dependence on the Lord, like no other role/work could do for us.


  • Christ’s Sov. call demands response fr Saul – and fr. each us.

Two: Christ Sovereign Call to Serve demands Humility

  • Acts 9, Saul was Humbled by the Lord, in his conversion
  • 4, He was knocked off his feet, lying prostrate on ground
  • 8, He was blinded, and had to be led by the hand, of those he had been leading
  • 9-12, He was made to wait for Ananias (whom he’d come to arrest) – to wait for him to come & lay hands to restore sight
  • 20-21, Saul amazed his listeners by proclaiming that this Jesus is the Son of God…
    • Saul, one of the greatest thinkers-philosophers of his day, had to admit: he had been wrong! – Humbling!


  • And thru-out His ministry Saul-Paul displayed same Humility
  • 3:5-11, He describes losing everything once valued 4 Christ,
    • 5, He was the son of Mosaic-Law-Abiding parents and…
    • He was a Benjamite, Heb. of Hebrews. – Pure Lineage
    • 22:28, He was a Roman citizen, by birth
    • 22:3, Educated at feet: Gamaliel “Jerusalem-Oxford”
  • 3:5, He’s a Pharisee, & blameless reg. Law of Moses
    • 3:6, He’s Zealous 4 God, Persecuting the church
  • Saul is regarded by scholars as one of the greatest minds of the ancient world… he had all he could want….
  • he could’ve had anything else he wanted….


  • But God intervened in 9
  • Christ gently humbled this great man, 2 B His greatest servant
  • Christ humbled Saul, to gently bend Saul’s will to His Own will
  • He, who was once respected, trusted, listened to,
    • was now-maligned, hated, pursued & persecuted, etc.,
  • He suffered the loss of these things, and counted them as rubbish, compared to the surpassing value – “the excellency of the knowledge Christ Jesus my, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, & count them but dung that I may win Christ”
  • Paul could write many years after his call-conversion: in Acts 20:18–19 “You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials
  • …and in 2:2–3, Paul writes: For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ & Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear & in much tremblingHumility!
  • Saul was Humbled by God to Serve in Christ’s Mission
  • Saul Humbled Himself, even calling himself the chief of sinners


  • But as great an Eg. of humility as Saul is, Christ is Inf. Greater

Christ is the Ultimate example of Humility in Serving

  • He Humbled Himself to an extent none of us can even grasp
  • Enthroned in Glory, to Swaddled in cloths, in a manger
  • Unceasing Worship of Angels, to Mocking & Curses of men
  • Fr Glorified with His Father to Crucified between 2 thieves
  • Heaven’s Heights, to the Depths of A Borrowed Tomb
    • Christ Jesus our Lord, Humbled Himself.
  • Paul writes in2:6–8, “although He (Christ) existed in the form of God, (He) 1did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but 2emptied Himself, 3taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men, and being found in appearance as a man, He 4humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
  • How great is the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour, who calls us to humble ourselves, but first set for us: Ult. example of Humility



  • Saul, Sovereignly called by God, followed Christ’s Eg. Humility
  • Christ still Sovereignly calls us to Follow Him and to Serve Him
  • But, Before God can use us, He must first Humble us
  • Before God can truly use us, we must humble ourselves B4 Him
  • The greatest danger we face, in serving the Lord…. to serving the Lord, is the Pride that so easily creeps in.
    • Pride thinks: because I serve the Lord, I’m somebody
    • Pride loves, like Diotrephes 9, to have 1st place.
    • Pride (as 11:2 says) brings disgrace-dishonour
    • Pride tears families, churches, ministries, elderships
  • But it is Humility that comes with Great promises:
    • 66:2, To this one I (God) will look, He who is humble, contrite in heart and trembles at my Word
    • 15:33, 18:12, Humility comes before honour

So, How do we humble ourselves B4 Christ as His Servants-Disciples?

  • Back in Phil.2:5-11, the main idea of that passage is have the same mindset, attitude of Christ, who:
  • The Key to Humbling ourselves B4 God is in 2:6-8
  • We Imitate Christ who

1) did not regard equality with God a thing to grasped

  • Idea is to hold tightly for fear of loosing it
  • Saul never expressed (to my memory) any doubt as to his salvation, by faith he accepted it as absol. secure
  • Bros-Sis, Remembering and Trusting Christ, that our salvation, our place with Christ is absolutely secure, never to be lost, that sets us free to Humble ourselves…


2) Christ Emptied Himself

  • For Him it was to lay aside His Visible Glory for a time
  • Anyone seeing Jesus: on earth, from a distance would have thought he was just another ordinary 30yr Jew.
  • For Saul it was to no longer refer to himself as
    • The Pharisee, Roman citizen, the educated man
  • For Saul it was to see-refer to himself in his letters as
    • the slave, the bond-servant, the apostle
    • The least of all the apostles, the chief of sinners
  • For us it means to let go of the things: bring us honour
  • No longer giving our spiritual resume,
    • I preached here, I earned this-that degree
    • I’ve led 1,000’s to Christ, etc…
  • It’s No longer looking for the affirmation/regard of man
  • No longer making sure everybody knows who we are and what we have accomplished…. My Biggest Struggle.


3) Taking the form of a Bondservant

  • For Christ, He took on the role, the heart, the attitude, the devotion, the obedience of a servant
  • He being truly God is equal to the Father in deity, power, glory, omniscience, immutability, and so on.
  • But, taking the form of a servant,
    • He submitted Himself to God, to be obedient to the Father, to obey all that the Father had given and told Him to do.
  • For Us it means the same thing, we submit to God as servants, to be obedient to God –
  • For some of us, it may mean exercising Rom.12:1-2, daily


4) He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death

  • And here we see the essence of Humbling ourselves and Submission to God.
  • Being willing to take the road, the path the journey thru death in obedience to God, trusting entirely in God as we do…
  • To be willing to have God’s will done, rather than our own
  • To submit fully to Christ for His will not our own
  • To take the road of service, even if that service results in our death – that’s humbling ourselves…
  • For me to Live: Christ; to Die: Gain!


Three: Christ’s Call to Serve Requires Submission

  • Saul submitted to Christ, as His Lord – How do we know?
  • 5, He recognised the speaker is: Lord – Kyrios, Master,
  • He called Christ, ‘Lord’ and He lived in the reality of that truth
  • He Submitted by obeying Christ, doing all he was told to do
    • 8, He went into Damascus,
    • 9-12, He waited where he was told
    • 17-18, He submitted h-self into hands of one whom he was plotting to arrest, have bound & taken to Jerus.
    • 20, He immediately began to proclaim Christ’s name…
  • He submitted in total dependence of his life to Christ’s will
    • 1:21,For me to live: Christ, to die: gain”
  • He submitted his remaining life to Christ’s will, leading,
  • Saul-Paul called himself: doulos, slave-servant to the master
  • Acts 21:13 Paul said “I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
  • Saul submitted himself, from 9:8-end of his life, to Christ’s Sovereign Call, to Serve Him as the Lord’s Servant
  • And as good an example as Saul is – he is not the best


Our Lord Jesus Christ is our Ultimate Eg. of Godly-Submission

  • Christ, in calling us to submit and to follow Him, calls us to do, what He Himself has already done, and set the example for.
  • 42:1 & Matt.12:18, Christ is the Chosen Servant of God
  • 2:51, Jesus lived in subjection to His parents: Mary-Joe
  • 26:39, He prayed in submission to His Father’s Will,
    • My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You
  • John 18:12-13, He submitted Himself to torturers-murderers
  • He submitted Himself in obedience to death, even on a cross
  • He submitted Himself to the grave, in faith of His resurrection
  • Christ is the Ultimate Servant of the Lord, Chosen by God


Application: Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

  • The call to follow Christ our Submission to Christ, as Lord
  • The call to serve the Lord requires same submission to Christ
  • We learn submiss. by submit. to: Author. God placed in our life
  • As Children We’re to submit to parents and to teachers
  • As Citizens We’re to submit to governing auth.
  • As Members in the local church we submit to Elders-Pastors
  • As Elders in the church, we each submit to our Fellow-Elders
  • As a Congregation together we submit to Christ, as Lord
  • As Indiv. Disciples-Christians we all submit to Christ
  • Ananias submitted to Christ to go and serve one, whom he understood to be his enemy, seeking his very life – but he submitted to Christ and went!


Bros & Sis, beware the mindset, the spirit of Rebellion that’s steadily

  • taking hold, within wider church – It’s A Refusal to Submit.
  • We hear about, and occasionally we meet men who have a desire to “serve” in the local church, and yet will not submit to the leading & governing of the elders.
  • We meet men who come along, with desire to lead in church, But cannot, will not submit to what Scripture calls them to do.
  • In 13:7, we’re commanded to submit to leaders in a church
    • 5:1-5, 1Tim.3, Titus.1, etc., supply the counter-pts. to submission, by instructing elders to lead, shepherd church
  • But, Don’t miss the point!
  • A Sovereign Call by Christ, to be on Mission with Him, in His Work requires Submission to Him, to His Word: First!

So, How do we submit?

  • Look to Christ, who submitted to His Heavenly Father
  • Look to the examples of Paul, Disciples, Church History
  • Look to the examples of older, godly, men-women in our context
  • Look to the Scripture and we bend bow in submission to it.
  • Jesus words and Paul’s words are both absolutely Key:
    • Nevertheless, Not My Will, but Thine be done
    • For me to Live: Christ, to die is gain!
  • Altho my will wants this, and I can justify it 1,000 dif. ways….
    • Not my will, but yours, O God be done!
  • Even tho my idea is so much easier & guaranteed to be so much more successful, from my perspective than Yours….
    • Not my will, but yours, O God, be done
  • For me to Live: Christ!
    • Christ: First in my worship
    • Christ: First in my living
    • Christ: First in my everything
    • Obedient Submission to Christ is… must be 1st in my life
  • For me to Live: Christ and to die is gain
    • To die to self, is gain
    • To die to sin, is gain
    • To die to this world, is gain
    • To die physically (Paul’s intent), is to gain the eternal presence of Christ.

Christ Sovereignly Calls us to Serve, and His call requires:

  • Humility
  • Submission
  • And…


Fourthly, Christ’s Sovereign Call to Serve requires Obedience

  • Saul Obeyed the Commands of Christ
  • He got up
  • He went into Damascus
  • He waited, in fasting and prayer for the Lord to act.
  • He received the healing hand of God
  • He was baptised, and he continued with the Disciples.
  • He immediately began to preach-proclaim Jesus is Son of God
  • He went where God sent Him
  • He Suffered for Christ His Lord
  • He Fought the good fight, Finished the race, & Kept the faith
  • He Ultimately died rather than renounce Christ as Lord
  • He will rec’v crown of righteousness that Christ laid up 4 him


Conclusion: what therefore is the conclusion to the matter?

  • Our Lord Jesus Christ Sovereignly saves His People
  • Our Lord Jesus Christ Sovereignly calls men and women into service for Him, wherever you are, wherever God has placed u
  • Christ’s Sovereign call demands a response to Him from us
    • A Response of Humility
    • A Response of Submission
    • A Response of Obedience
  • How do we do these things?
    • Faith in God who Sovereignly Controls EVERYTHING!
    • Humbling ourselves
    • Obeying Christ