Joining God’s People (Acts 9:23-31)

Jun 10, 2022 By: Damien Garofalo Topic: Sermon Devotional Series: Acts Scripture: Acts 9:23-31

And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. (Acts 9:26-28 ESV)Our previous study of the Book of Acts recounted the amazing conversion study of Saul, also known as Paul the Apostle. Saul was dramatically brought to faith when he encountered the risen Christ on the Damascus road, and his life changed forever. Luke tells us after his conversion, Saul immediately began preaching that Jesus is the Christ.
In one sense, Saul could have continued his new mission alone, for he had been directly commissioned by the Lord himself. But Saul was no maverick, no lone ranger. From the very beginning, Saul had to rely on other Christians to carry out his mission. In Damascus, Ananias and other disciples helped him. In our text for Sunday, he will attempt to join those disciples in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem was where the church started. It was, at this time, rocked by intense persecution (of which Saul himself played a major role). It was also the headquarters of the 12 Apostles. As such, Saul’s relationship with the church would be vital for his ministry.
At first, the disciples were afraid of him. And who wouldn’t be? This man presided over the death of Stephen and was responsible for putting their friends in prison. But Barnabas is able to convince the other disciples that Saul is a true convert, and he is welcomed.
Let us not miss this vital aspect of our Christian faith. The Book of Acts is filled with signs and wonders and many amazing individual miracles and conversions. But if there is one drum that is beat over and again it is the necessity of the church community. Let us not lose sight of this. Saul needed the church in order to carry out his mission properly. 
What about us? Do we see the church as necessary? Do we understand the benefits of joining God’s people? In a world that markets individualism so well, we need a good dose of God’s truth to renew our minds to this elementary but often overlooked doctrine of the important role of the church in our lives.