“Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.” Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.””
Acts 9:10-16 NKJV
Here I am, Lord
Very often, God asks us to do hard things. As our world declines, it seems as if everything we do for the cause of Christ is increasingly hard. Thuis morning, I read of Ananias, a man called by Jesus to go and minister to the infamous Saul of Tarsus. I can imagine that moment, the sudden realization of what the Lord had charged him to do.
Like any human being, he had questions as he recounted what he had heard about this man Saul of Tarsus, who had done such evil to the saints. Instead of resistance, Ananias believed God and went to the street called Straight and met with Saul.
“And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.””
Acts 9:17 NKJV
Over the last few decades, the church of Jesus Christ in America has become one where we sit comfortably in our pews and wait for people to come to us.
We establish programs and other events in the hope of attracting people that we think Jesus wants to save. Instead of great moves of evangelism, we engage in fish tank swapping, with no one really getting saved.
In these present times, our world has become more divided between darkness and light, with the darkness growing ever darker. The world has embraced the darkness and its proponents, and marginalized those who represent the light.
Hearts have grown harder, as sin has calcified and culture has affirmed those whose conduct has become more and more extreme. There are few people who desire to darken the entrance of the church building to hear the Gospel. Because of this, we must be the ones to go to them.
In the great commission in Matthew, we are instructed to go. We are not instructed to sit, waiting for them to come to us. As with Saul, God was already doing the work, and Ananias only needed to bring the harvest. Jesus is going before us into this sick and dying world, as His Holy Spirit is convicting people of their sin.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”
Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV
I can imagine Ananias as he approached the house where Saul was staying. All of the things he had heard had to be running through his mind. What would he find, how would he be received. Empowered by the Spirit of God, and wearing the full armor, he entered in and did what he was told.
In the mission that Jesus has given us, we must be willing to go and tell. To enter in and share the Good News. by faith, we have confidence that God, the Holy Spirit is going before us. Sharing the Gospel is not a cold call, but one where we are acting on leads prepared by the Father from the foundation of the world.
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
Romans 8:29-30 NKJV
The hard part has been done for us. We must only be faithful to deliver. The world we are seeing devolve right before our eyes is a fertile mission field if we are willing to go out and do the work. There will be mockings, there will be name calling, there may be violence, beatings, or even martyrdom. But we must go nonetheless.
Pray that the Lord give you the bold heart of Ananias, who when called said: “Here I am, Lord. May we have the heart of Isaiah beholding the glory of the Lord,
“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.””
Isaiah 6:8 NKJV
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