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Furthering Thoughts for May 10th 2019

Acts 9: On the Damascus Road

Closed to the word of God, Saul was “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord[Ac9:1]. He vehemently opposed anyone who believed in the Christ. And on the Damascus road he went, as Saul was on his way to persecute any who confessed the Christ. Yet with his raging heart closed to the word of God, it is the Lord who says, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? [Ac9:4]..”I am Jesus, who you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city..” [v.6]. Everything changed for Saul that day.

And though Saul was known to be the great persecutor, the Lord said [v.15], “..for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel“.

Acts 26: St. Paul’s defense before Agrippa

The Lord shattered the obstinate heart of Saul. And at the same time, by His Word, Saul was opened and made alive [v.18] by the words of eternal life. And we know the story of St Paul…that by the grace of God, he would become the greatest evangelist for the Christ.

Closed

Like St Paul, we very well know how we [in the flesh] are closed. Due to sin, how we desire to be isolated and closed to the word of God. Our ears, eyes, hands and….”the intention of man’s heart is evil from youthGenesis 8:21 Cocooned by our own ways, “the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God” [Rm8:7]. This is the closed condition of sin.

But by the grace of God, He sets us free from the bondage of sin and death. The Lord gives the Word of Christ [by the law/Gospel and the Sacraments] and creates faith in us [Rom10:17]. By the power and promise of His Word, Lord breathes life, opening us to His gracious and life-reversing message of the Cross.

And by His grace we are opened. For we cannot be opened ourselves [I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ…see further Apostles Creed Article III explanation] . Dwelling upon this faith given by our Lord, we rejoice in His promises!

Set free, redeemed, comforted, at peace, knowing full that we have been saved from the treachery of sin and the anchor of death all by the body and blood of Jesus.

Opened we are! And thus we go serving Him in “everlasting righteousness, blessedness and innocence” [AC ArtII-Redemption]

With open ears, we listen and care for one another in Christ [1Pt4:10-11].

With open hands, we serve and help those around us in Christ [Gal5:13-14].

With open mouths, we proclaim the life-saving message of the Gospel [1Pt3:15].

With open arms, we love one another [unconditionally] in Christ [Jn13:4-35].

And in so doing, [Gal5:22-23], we thank the Lord for all that He has done and continues to do. For Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” [Jn15:5].

Let us pray,

Almighty and gracious Lord, you sent your only begotten Son to conquer sin and death for us. Thank you O Lord, for the all-atoning sacrifice that has made us your own. Bless and guide us by your joy filled-Word that lead us to serve in your righteousness, innocence and blessedness. Through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.