THE SIGNIFICANCE OF A NOBODY
Intro: In the New Testament we find three men named Ananias. The first man, along with his wife tried to deceive God. We saw this portrayed in episode 4 of AD The Bible Continues. Needless to say, God was not fooled. Ananias’ lie was bad enough but his greater sin was his attempted theft of God’s glory. As believers we must never do what we do to bring attention to ourselves. Ananias’ judgment teaches us a valuable lesson about telling the truth. There is another Ananias mentioned in the New Testament in Acts Chapter 23. This Ananias is the High Priest in Jerusalem. He has an encounter with Paul much later - as Paul has grown in his faith.
The Ananias in the New Testament we will explore today was the polar opposite of the first and second Ananias’. Rather than putting himself in a position to be judged this Ananias put himself in a position to be used by God. Many believers today are asking why God is not using them. Maybe God is using them all He can but not all He could.
If you watched last week’s episode of AD The Bible Continues you saw the portrayal of this passage of scripture.
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."
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."
Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized. So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus. Acts 9:10-19
We learn three valuable lessons from this Ananias about living our life to make a difference. How was Ananias able to do what he did for the Lord?
1. ANANIAS WAS ABLE TO OBEY GOD BECAUSE HE COULD HEAR HIS VOICE
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." Acts 9:10
It goes without saying that before we can do the will of God we first have to know the will of God. Generally speaking, we can know God’s will by studying His Word. However, when it comes to God’s particular will for our lives, like Ananias, believers must live close enough to the Lord to hear His voice.
Ananias was able to obey God because He knew what the Lord wanted him to do. The Lord is much more likely to speak to someone with whom He is in fellowship. Are you living close enough to God these days to hear His voice?
2. ANANIAS WAS ABLE TO OBEY GOD BECAUSE HE FEARED THE LORD
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." Acts 9:13-14
How do we really know that Ananias feared or had respect for the Lord? Based on his conversation with the Lord it’s likely that Ananias certainly feared Saul of Tarsus. After all, Saul had developed quite a reputation. According to Ananias everyone was talking about how much harm he had done to the church of God before meeting Christ on the Damascus Road.
The point here is that we know Ananias had a greater respect for the Lord than he feared Saul because Ananias did what the Lord asked him to do. This was likely the last thing Ananias wanted to do. How much respect for God can we have if we only do those things for Him that have no degree of difficulty, only things we want to do? When was the last time you did something for God you really didn’t want to do?
3. ANANIAS WAS ABLE TO OBEY GOD BECAUSE HE WAS WILLING TO DO WHAT HE TOLD HIM TO DO
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." 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 9:15-17
The Lord told Ananias what He wanted him to do and he did it. The Lord told Ananias to go and Ananias went. If God tells you to do something, do it. If the Lord tells you to say something, say it. Just make sure that when you go and when you speak you’re doing God’s will and not your own. To say we’re going for God or speaking for Him when He is not actually involved is blasphemy.
Once He was sure of God’s leadership Ananias acted sooner rather than later. Putting off what we know God wants us to do makes it much more likely we will never be truly obedient to Him. What have you been putting off doing for God what you know He wants you to do? Ananias obeyed God by walking down the street to Judas’ house like God told him to.
His reward for faithfulness was to see the scales fall off Saul’s eyes and hear Saul’s first proclamation of his new faith and his desire to be baptized. It is thought by tradition that it was Ananias that baptized Saul as the demonstration of his new found faith.
Testimony of Paul about Ananias:
“…There a man named Ananias, as godly a man as you could find for obeying the law and well thought of by all the Jews of Damascus, came to me, and standing beside me said, ‘Brother Paul, receive your sight!’ And that very hour I could see him! “Then he told me, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Messiah and hear him speak. You are to take his message everywhere, telling what you have seen and heard. And now, why delay? Go and be baptized and be cleansed from your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’ Acts 22:11b-16 (LB)
Last week’s episode concluded with Paul going into the Synagogue to testify about Jesus Christ!
Is there someone insignificant in your life whom you could prayerfully mold into a Paul? I challenge you today to prayerfully give that idea some real time, mull it over, and see if God doesn’t put someone on your heart. Someone who just might become a somebody for Christ because you helped them with your prayers. You offered forgiveness instead of judgement. You extended love to someone who was in need.
Consider living your life by these 3 simple principals:
1. Walk with the Lord and listen for His voice.
2. Know the Lord and live your life in respect to who He is…
3. Be careful to do what God wants you to do!