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ANANIAS OF DAMASCUS AN UNSUNG HERO

By Rev. Robert Bushman

2-12

Introduction

What Is A Hero?

There are many athletes, celebrities, & politicians in today’s society whom we consider heroes.

But rarely do we recognize the unsung heroes of today or days gone by. Those are the ones that many times do the heavy lifting behind the scenes.

 

 

 

An unsung hero is someone who does great deeds, but receives little or no recognition for them.

He is a person who is not honored or praised;

He is uncelebrated.  

He is a person who makes a substantive yet unrecognized contribution

 In Hebrews chapter 11 we read the praises of great men and woman of faith, then we get down to verses 36-38 and read; .

Other believers were brutally tortured but refused to be released so that they might gain eternal life.

Some were made fun of and whipped, and some were chained and put in prison.

Some were stoned to death, sawed in half, and killed with swords. Some wore the skins of sheep and goats. Some were poor, abused, and mistreated.

The world didn't deserve these good people. Some wandered around in deserts and mountains and lived in caves and holes in the ground.

Hebrews 11:36-38

I want to take a few minutes and speak about an unsung hero from the New Testament,

His name is Ananias a Christian from Damascus;

This is not the same Ananias, who had a wife named Sapphira.

 

Text; Acts 9:10-19

10- Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”

11- And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying,

12- And he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.”

13- But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to your saints at Jerusalem;

14- And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.”

15- But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine, to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;

16- For I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

17-So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

18- And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight and he got up and was baptized;

19- And he took food and was strengthened.

  1. 1.    In verse 10 we are told that Ananias of Damascus was a disciple.

 

The word disciple comes from a Latin word meaning "learner"

A disciple is therefore a learner; who is a follower of Christ who learns the doctrines of Scripture and the lifestyle that they require, growing literally, into a true Christ-follower.

So Ananias of Damascus was indeed a Christ follower.

 

  1. 2.     The Lord spoke to him through a vision (verse 10)

What does it mean that God spoke to him in a vision?

Strong’s concordance says he had a “Spiritual seeing” (with inward spiritual perception).

When Pastor Bill was speaking on prayer recently; he told us that prayer isn’t communion with God if it is just you giving God your list of wants and desires.

Communion is 2 way, we speak to God and He speaks to us.  There has to be a two way interaction to have communion. This disciple Ananias had communion with God, and God was able to speak to him through this inward spiritual perception.

 

  1. 3.     Ananias of Damascus had a proper response when God spoke to him,

His response was, “here I am”.

As we seek God’s guidance, we sometimes think it would be nice if we could hear Him clearly. 

We find ourselves hoping for our own “burning bush experience” to point us in the right direction. 

Does God still speak to us today? The answer is a resounding, “Yes! 

God does speak to us!”  But sometimes we don’t hear because we are listening for the wrong thing. 

It isn’t always clear and easy to understand when God speaks to us.

Most of us will never actually “hear” God’s voice with our ears. 

But he speaks to us daily through our prayers, through Scripture, through our consciences and through the events He orchestrates to teach us and help us to grow spiritually.

Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)

If we are cultivating our relationship with the Lord on a regular basis, then we will be ready to hear as Ananias was, when God spoke to him.

 

  1. 4.     At times God will ask us to do some things that seems unreasonable to our natural common sense.

(Verse 13-14) But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to your saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.”

Even though Ananias was a fully devoted follower of Jesus, and he was in communion with God; he still had to deal with fear and doubts.

At times we all deal with fear and doubt in this Christian journey.

And just because we have to work through some doubt and fear, it does not disqualify us from doing God’s will.

Ananias worked through his doubts and fear; He honestly shared with God his struggle that he was dealing with in his mind.

 

C. S. Lewis wrote;

We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.


A Wise Bird

A wise bird knows that a scarecrow is simply an advertisement.

It announces that some very juicy and delicious fruit is to be had for the picking.

There are scarecrows in all the best gardens... If I am wise, I too shall treat the scarecrow as though it were an invitation.

Every giant in the way which makes me feel like a grasshopper is only a scarecrow beckoning me to God's richest blessings.

Faith is a bird which loves to perch on scarecrows. All our fears are groundless.

 

 

5- God did not rebuke Ananias;  but He just re-assured him of his mission to go and be a part of a great miracle that God had ordained.

 
15- But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine, to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;

 

God had orchestrated a unique situation that involved Ananias. God wanted to use him as a conduit to do a miracle in Saul’s life.

 

We know that it was Jesus Christ himself , God the Son who appeared to Saul, and that He  was involved in working this miracle, remember Jesus told Saul that he was persecuting Him.

Acts 9:5  and he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting”…

 

In this story of the persecutor Saul’s salvation experience , we are privileged to see how God transforms him from the inside out, changing his name, and making him into the beloved Paul.

God has His reasons for changing people names, starting even in the Old Testament.

For instance; Sarai to Sarah, Abram to Abraham, Simon (His disciple) to Peter, and of course Saul to Paul. God did huge life changes in each of their lives with the changing of their names.

This was the turning point in his life from being a persecutor to an advocate.

Many of us can recall times in our lives when God has invited us to be a tool to bring this life changing experience to others.

I could tell you about my Ananias that God used to transform my life; his name is David Peterson who is now the Pastor of a church in Schroon Lake NY.  He was only 17 years old, but was used by God to disciple me, a 15 year old messed up kid.

God wants us all to be in a relationship with him where he can at any time be able to use us to bring the miracle of salvation to the lost.

Blessed the man and woman who is able to serve cheerfully in the second rank... a big test.  Mary Slessor

There are those who are waiting for a hero to come to them, to bring to them the healing touch of God so that their eyes would be opened to the truth, that they might be filled with The Holy Spirit, but if we are not in communion with Him we won’t be able to hear the still small voice telling us to go.

I thank God for Roberto Cabrera who was able to hear the voice of God one Sunday during  a  church service a few years ago and told him we were to go to my brother Bo house because he was suicidal. We went and a week later Bo was gloriously saved. I watched God transform an atheist into a believer. He had a lot to deal with last August as he was preparing to meet the Lord face to face at only 52 years old, but he had a peace about his relationship with the Lord. His peace was a testimony to his whole family.

Verse 17- So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

 

Conclusion

Mordecai Ham was Billy Graham’s Ananias

 Edward Kimball was D. L. Moody’s Ananias

I think that God is saying to us that we need to have a kind of relationship with God that he could use us like Ananias was used. It must have been a joy to his heart to see how God transform Saul into Paul.

 

Alan Redpath said, “If you look up into His face and say, "Yes, Lord, whatever it costs," at that moment He'll flood your Life with His presence and power.”

Ask yourself; “am a committed to-the-death, fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ.

I do not want to be a mere 'fan' who will walk away when I don't like what he asks me to do, or when my 'self' disagrees with his solution to a problem in my life.”

 

“The soul that waits upon the Lord is the soul that is entirely surrendered to Him, and that trusts Him perfectly.

Therefore we might name our wings the wings of Surrender and of Trust.

If we will only surrender ourselves utterly to the Lord, and will trust Him perfectly, We shall find our souls "mounting up with wings as eagles" to the "heavenly places" in Christ Jesus, where earthly annoyances or sorrows have no power to disturb us.”  Hannah Whitall Smith

He has right to interrupt your life.

He is Lord.

When we accept Him as Lord, we gave Him the right to help Himself to our lives anytime He wants.

 

Prayer

Dear God please help each of us to have communion with you, not just to bring our list of wants to you and call that prayer.

Help us to be willing and ready when you call us to go.

Help us to give you our fears and apprehensions as Ananias did,

Then allow us to be the conduit that you work through even when we fade into the background as an unsung hero of the faith. In Jesus name amen

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Comment by madhu babu on March 19, 2012 at 8:51am

good words.

Comment by madhu babu on March 19, 2012 at 8:50am

good message.

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