An Encounter With the Glorified Christ – Acts 9:1-19

6 February, 2022

Book: Acts

An Encounter with the Glorified Christ

Acts 9:1-19


Every Conversion to Christ is the Result of an encounter w/ Christ!

  • Few Encounters were physical, bodily encounters: Saul’s
  • Some Encounters are visions of Christ: Muslims today
  • All Conversions are Spiritual Encounters, as God’s H. Spirit ministers to and in our hearts to
    • bring us to understand something of Who Christ truly is!
      • and to understand: who we truly are as sinners
    • to bring us to Faith: God & Repent. of sin, to convert us
      • from sinners to saints
      • from enemies of God, to Sons/Daughters of God
      • fr persecutors of Christ to preachers of Christ
    • The Question is:
    • have we encountered Christ… and are we living life in a continual encountering with Him?


  • Luke, (writing under the influence of the H.Spirit, and under the apostolic supervision the Apostle Paul) Describes Saul’s encounter w/Christ to help us to understand:
    • That Nobody is beyond the reach of God’s Grace to save
      • Even one who persecuted & murdered Christians
    • That Christ is truly God, Risen, Exalted & Glorious
    • That He is Sovereign in His Salvation of Sinners
    • That Christ is Gracious in the Salvation of His People
  • Luke writes to help us understand that conversion
    • is not merely a regret for sin,
    • Conversion is not merely head knowledge about Christ
    • Conversion is not merely an emotional experience
  • All True Conversions are an ongoing encounter with the Glorified Risen Christ,
  • Now, We’ve seen, in the context of these beginning ch. of Acts
    • The conversion of 1,000’s to Christ in Jerusalem…
    • The conversion of great crowds in Samaria…
    • The False Conversion of Simon the Magician in Samaria
    • The True Conversion of the Ethiopian on the desert Rd.
  • Now, in Saul’s Conversion we will see something of conversion as an encounter with Christ that all conversions truly are.
  • Yes, His encounter was very unique, yet there are typical aspects to it that all conversions share!
  • Who is this Jesus Christ, we Encounter in Conversion?


One: Consider Christ, the Saviour of Sinners:


1) Christ is Glorious in His Holiness

  • Notice: Acts 9:3, A light from heaven shone around Saul, and falling to the ground, he heard a voice…
  • from Acts 26:13 (one of Saul’s other conversion descriptions) he says: At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me.

The Risen Exalted Jesus Christ is Glorious as God Almighty!

  • Jesus is no longer the humble, carpenter fr. Nazareth,
  • He no longer looks like a simple, ordinary 1st cent. Jewish man
  • He has been glorified, with the glory he had with the Father, before creation of the world (John 17)
  • And this description of the Risen, Lord Jesus Christ is consistent with other texts that describe God in His Glory:
    • Psalm.104:2 Lord wraps himself in light as w/ a garment
    • Matt.17 & Mark.9, Jesus gave 3 disciples a glimpse of His Glory, as He is transfigured before them and his clothing became as white as Light
    • 1Tim.6:15–16 …God, (is the) blessed & only Ruler, the King of kings & Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor & might forever. Amen.
  • Christ, who appeared to Saul as he travelled on His way is Glorious, as the Resurrected, Exalted, Glorified Lord


  • And that Glory had an effect on Saul… how could it not?
  • Christ caused Saul to fall to the ground.
  • Saul’s response is similar to others thru-out the Bible who saw the Glory of God:
    • Judg.13:2, Manoah and his wife, fell on their faces, before the Angel of the Lord.
    • Josh.5:14, Joshua, (when confronted by the Captain of the Army of the Lord, who is the Son of God, H-self), fell to the ground and worshipped Him,
      • worship which the Captain, unhesitatingly rec’d.
    • Matt.17:6, on the Mt. of Transfiguration, when the disciples heard the pronouncement that Jesus is the Beloved Son of God, they fell on their faces, terrified.
    • Luke.5:8, when confronted with the almighty power God, present in Christ, Peter fell down at Jesus knees, pleading for Him to leave, becoz he was a sinful man


But, Listen, the Light was not simply, so blinding, that Saul fell ground

  • It was the Holiness of God, reflected in that Light, that caused Saul’s dramatic response of falling to the ground…
  • The Attribute of God’s Holiness describes the purity and the majesty of God, both in His essence, as God, and
    • in His is actions towards His creation.
  • God is Holy and therefore wholly separate from sin
  • God’s Holiness highlights to our own souls our utter sinfulness


  • Christ Confronted Saul on the road to Damascus, in the white-hot glory of His Absolute Holiness
  • That’s why Saul falls to the ground – He was a sinner
  • That’s why Isaiah cried out Woe is Me, when confronted by the thrice-holy, glorified God in Isa.6:1-8, He is a sinner


  • The Holiness of God, causes men to fall down & to tremble in fear becoz God is Holy and we are Not!
  • God’s Holiness and sinlessness drives home to us that:
    • we are sinners
    • we are defiled and filthy before God
  • …that if we were to fall into God’s hands, we would be crushed!


  • One of the ways we know that we have a genuine conversion, is that the converted have deep, profound, sense of their own sinfulness before God.
  • Saul the persecutor, (who became Paul the Apostle), could write many years later, in 1Timothy 1:15–16: “…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. (the chief), But I received mercy….
  • This, Our Risen, Glorious, Exalted Lord is the God with whom we have to deal… we must deal, becoz only God can save us… can save us from His own wrath against me, and against you….
  • God’s wrath as an Almighty, Absolutely Holy God
  • Have U had that encounter w/ Christ, The Holy God Almighty?
  • U must deal with God!  U will deal with Him, now or on that great day of judgement, but by then too late
  • Every knee will bow; Every tongue will confess: He is Lord!


2) Christ is Sovereign in His Salvation

  • Notice: Acts 9:4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
  • Notice that Christ is speaking to Saul from the Light – similar to when the Lord spoke, calling to Moses, from out of the burning bush in Exodus 3:3
  • Notice that Christ took the initiative to come to Saul
    • Saul had no desire, no inclination, no regard for Christ
  • Christ came down to speak with Saul
    • Saul was not going, seeking for Christ
  • Christ spoke directly to Saul, altho the others there heard him
  • In His Saving of us, Christ comes to us, awakening us & causing us to become spiritually alive, so that we can respond
  • Christ must come to us, becoz, left to ourselves, we will never go to Christ
  • Romans.3:11-12, Saul said: None seeks for God… No, Not one.
  • Jesus, Himself says: John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide…

Christ is Sovereign in the Salvation of Sinners

  • Christ did not come to speak to Saul and his travel companions,
  • He addressed Saul, specifically and emphatically w/ repetition
    • Did his travel. companions not need to hear the gospel?
  • But, Christ came & called to Saul and spoke with him
  • The others heard the voice, yet as far as we can tell, from the text, they were not saved.

Christ as God is Sovereign in the Salvation of Sinners

  • So, What does that mean, that Christ is “Sovereign”?
  • Scripture give us many clues: understand God’s Sovereignty
  • Isaiah 46:9–11, Isaiah the prophet speaking for God writes:  I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ 11 calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.
  • Daniel 4:35, Nebuchadnezzar confessed, that God “does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”
  • Romans 9:15–16, the Apostle Paul defending this great truth of God’s sovereignty in salvation says: For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
  • The sovereignty of God is God’s absolute authority and power to accomplish his will as the Supreme Ruler of all things.
  • God exercises His sovereignty through His decrees and actions, which are planned & purposed in complete independence from anything outside himself, & enacted thru-out Salv. History.
  • God is sovereign over all His creation and our salvation
  • Christ is Sovereign in Saving Sinners


Now, Some will immediately say, no, no, no, I chose Christ….

  • I came to Christ, and then He saved me…
  • To which Paul would respond, Ephesians 2:1–5 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, (He) made us alive together with Christ, for by grace you have been saved….
  • God makes us alive, so that we can cry to God to save us.
  • Christ comes to Saul,
  • Christ calls to him,
  • Christ reveals Himself to Saul
  • Saul was not seeking for Christ, but Christ came to him
  • We, left to our own devices, will never seek for Christ –
    • Christ first comes to us.
  • So, does that hinder our gospel preaching, absolutely not!
  • Knowing, that God sovereignly purposes to save his people, thru the preaching of the gospel, and that God accomplishes their salvation, without any who can restrain Him, or question Him…
  • That gives us great freedom to preach and proclaim the gospel, (not in the faint hope that God might save), but in conviction that God Will Save!


3) Christ is Gracious in Salvation

  • Christ is Gracious in saving Saul who has no merit with God.
  • Saul was persecuting the Church.
  • Saul had seized, imprisoned & tortured Christians,
  • Saul had attempted to make Christians deny Christ & Blaspheme His Holy Name
  • Saul’s persecution was not merely against Christians, but Saul’s persecution was ultimately against Christ, Himself
  • Saul had even cast his vote to execute-martyr Christians
  • But, in Grace, Christ came to Saul to speak & to save him, and…
  • Christ is Gracious in saving us who have no merit w/God, either.
  • But, In order to understand the Grace of God, we must to understand just who we are, what our position B4 God truly is


Saul was a sinner before God, just as surely as all of us, are.

  • Saul was hostile towards God
  • Acts.7:58, He approved of Stephen’s death
  • Acts 8:3, He ravaged: church, dragging men/women to prison
  • Acts 9:1, He was breathing out threats/murder ag. Disciples
  • Saul was clearly, actively hostile against God
  • He had rejected Israel’s Messiah, the Saviour for all mankind


  • And, so were we hostile toward God, having our minds set, not on God, but on our flesh, entirely on ourselves…
  • Romans 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.


  • Now, I can guess, what some of you, might be thinking
  • What do you mean: We are hostile against God? I’m not Hostile towards God!
  • We’re hostile towards God, 2 ways, both passively & actively
  • We’re passively hostile towards God by being Careless and Thoughtless of God, in effect disregarding of God
  • But, how can being thoughtless, careless of God, be hostility?


Beloved, is there any greater Insult: we can level at Christ-God than

  • to be utterly careless about Him?
  • …to be thoughtless of God who Created everything: U and I
  • …to be thoughtless & careless for God, who Sustains all things,
    • including U and I, by the word of His power
  • …to be careless of God, who Designed, and Created, and Cares for, and Protects and Provides for U and I – that is Contempt!
  • Surely there’s no greater form of contempt for God, that we can show to Him, than to be utterly indifferent to Him.


But, we are also actively hostile, in this sense:

  • We sin ag. God, every hour of every day…
  • We’re actively hostile ag. God, by disobeying God’s commands
  • We sin continually, by Not Loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength
  • We sin continually by Not Honouring & Glorifying God thru complete obedience to all that God has told us to do!
  • We sin every day by Not Delighting in God who is the highest, most valuable beings in all existence
  • We are actively hostile against God by our sin & disobedience
  • Both Saul and us, all mankind, in sin are-were hostile tow’d God!


  • But, Yet…. God is So Gracious, that He Comes to Saul
  • He come to call him to follow Christ, to preach for Christ, to write for Christ, to suffer and to die for Christ!
  • Christ speaks to Saul, but, in Grace, it is not the words of justice, and condemnation that Saul deserves to hear
  • In Grace, Christ speaks with words of truth, to reveal Himself to Saul, I am Jesus whom you are Persecuting
  • In Grace, Christ speaks to reveal the nature of Saul’s sin which is ultimately against Him, altho enacted ag. Disciples
  • In Grace, Christ deals gently with Saul, that He might save Him
  • And God deals with you and I, in exactly the same way, thru the preaching of the Gospel of God’s Grace
  • In Grace, God comes to you and says to you
    • Why, are you at war with me?
    • Why, are you utterly contemptuous of my existence, so as not to even acknowledge it…
  • In Grace God says to you, today:
    • Don’t U understand? All that stands between U and an eternity in an unrelenting hell, is my gracious restraint
    • Sinner, Why have you not bowed yourself before Me, in humility and contrition and confession of sin!
  • It is Marvellous, Wonderful, Immeasurable Grace of God
  • It is in Grace, that God reaches out to His utterly rebellious Creation to save some… to you and to me!
  • It is in Grace, that God decreed, before creation, that Christ should Come & Suffer for His People: Jew & Gentile, together
  • It is in Grace that God-Father chose those who will be saved
  • It is in Grace, that God sent His Son to be: Saviour of World
  • It is in Grace that God-Spirit speaks to us, to reveal our sinfulness to us, to apply Christ’s Salvation to us.
  • It is in Grace that Christ now speaks to Saul, and…
  • Christ is now speaking to you and your heart,
  • if you have ears to hear and a heart to listen & respond.


Consider Christian, the Christ who saves… who saved U & worships U

  • He is the Glorified, Holy, Lord
  • He is the Glorified Sovereign Lord, coming and speaking to us
  • He is the Gracious Lord, kind, gentle, to reveal to us our sin, and the reality of His Holiness
  • He, who is God, causing Saul to fall to: ground, is the same God who will throw the unrepenting sinner into an eternal hell-fire.
  • He who is God, speaking to Saul, is the same God who will speak, in sweet fellowship and sweet communion with him thru-out his life, and yours, and all thru eternity, relating to us, the glorious riches of His grace.

Consider the Christ who Saves!


Two: Consider Saul, the Converted Sinner

  • Luke’s account, under Paul’s supervision, and the Spirit’s Inspiration, displays for us the nature of the truly converted


True (Saul’s) Conversions are not Man-Centred

  • Christ does not come to deal with all of Saul’s external needs
  • Christ does not come to merely make Saul, a bad person good
  • Christ came to make dead people, to be alive to Himself.
  • Saul’s conversion is not merely a regret for sins committed.
  • It’s not merely learning and understanding gospel truths
  • It’s not merely emotional experiences of God’s Spirit at work in our heart, mind & soul
  • It’s not primarily about: You becoming all that You could be
  • It’s not primarily about: You adding to your already great life, by being a Christian, to make it even better
  • It’s not certainly not about “living your best life now” becoz
  • if you track Saul-Paul’s life thru the New testament, you will quickly see, that physically, socially, relationally speaking it was a steady decline down from a celebrated, brilliant young scholar, a mover-shaker in Judaism, to a condemned man on Rome’s death row in Mamertine Prison….
  • True Conversion is not man-centred…


  • Saul’s Conversion is a complete change of heart & mind concerning Christ, above all else:

True (Saul’s) Conversions are always Christ-focussed

  • Notice: Paul’s two statements in the text: 9:1-20,
    • Vs.4, Who are you, Lord?
    • Vs.20, theme of his preaching: Jesus is the Son of God
  • In Paul’s question, he is not merely saying “who are you, sir”
    • (which the wd. ‘Lord’ can mean)
  • He is clearly recognising that this Light fr Heaven, this voice fr heaven, is indeed the voice of the Lord God Almighty!
  • Conversion is first of all, and most of all a change of heart concerning God, in the person of Christ!
  • To Saul, in that moment, confronted by the Glorified Christ, he is convinced in his mind: He is God!


True Conversion Demands Our Conscious Acceptance & Submission

  • to: Christ’s claims about Himself
    • His Identity as God – Saul said it: He is the Son of God
    • His Life as the Son of God, made flesh & blood,
      • To be Spirit-filled Saviour of His People
    • His Death to satisfy God’s demand for justice ag. us
    • His Resurrection for our Justification


True Conversions Demands:

  • Obedience to Christ and Saul obeyed Christ,
    • going to Damascus,
    • waiting in Damascus,
    • receiving baptism, going and preaching Christ
    • Saul-Paul’s life described in detail thru-out Acts, and in snippets of His epistles describes a life converted to Christ, Obedient to His Lord, to the pt. of sword blow
  • Faith in Christ
  • Repentance from sin, to following Christ


Beloved, sitting here today what about You?

What does this text say to you, today?

  • Consider: Exalted Lord Jesus Christ, Glorious in His Holiness
  • Consider: Exalted Lord Jesus, Sovereign over all Existence
  • Consider: the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, calling you to trust the Lord, to repent of sin, to believe the Gospel and be converted to Christ!