The Courage of Ananias Acts 9:10-22

 

Our lesson this morning comes from our text that was read about Ananias and the courage that he had. Courage has always been an essential characteristic of God's people.

 

Courage: ďMental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger,

fear or difficultyĒ (Webster).

 

We can see early in the OT that Gods children were to be children of courage. Lets look a few examples. Before his death, Moses challenged the children of Israel to have courage as we read in:

 

Deuteronomy 31:6 ††"Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.

 

Here Moses tells the source of our courage is our faith in God and the fact that he will never leave us nor forsake us. When you have someone like God in you corner there is no need to fear other people. Jesus tells us this in:

 

Matthew 10:28 "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

 

I think most of us have experienced the fear of others from time to time and instead of speaking out for God we held our words inside. But as we can see the word of God calls us to become more bold and courageous when it comes to defending Godís truth and righteousness. I like what the writer of Proverbs says in:

 

Proverbs 28:1 The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion.

 

Now being courageous is not just a mere suggestion it something that all Christians are to work toward.

 

1 Corinthians 16:13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.14 Let all that you do be done with love.

 

Here we see Paul commanding these Christians at Corinth to be Watch and stand fast in the faith. Now how does one stand fast in the faith and not compromise it when the going gets tough its by being brave and strong. It not easy sometimes to go against the majority but if we want to stand fast in the faith and bring glory to God sometime we have to be courageous enough to stand up to the majority and let them know that what they are doing is not right in the side of God. But I also want you to notice that even though we are to be courageous and bold we are to guide our actions based upon love and not brutality. This means being courageous does not give us a licenses to be arrogant or condescending. Instead Paul tells us,

Colossians 4:6†† Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

 

When you read in the OT and the NT you find all kinds of examples of Godly men and women who had this type of courage and were bold but they did so out of love. But for our time this morning I want to focus in on Ananias and the courage that he had as a Christian.

 

I. His courage caused him to be ready (v. 10).

Acts 9:10 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."

 

Now I like this because when the Lord speaks Ananias listens and responds quickly hear I am Lord. His response reminds me of many other faithful men in the past who were ready to hear the call of the Lord. For example:

 

1 Samuel 3:10 Now the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel answered, "Speak, for Your servant hears."

 

Isaiah 6:8 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."

 

You see Gods people should always ways be ready to listen to Godís word and to be doer of his word. Now I am saying that God will speak to us directly today but that he speaks to us loud and clear from our Bibles. We should all have this same attitude when we see an opportunity to take heed to Godís word.

 

James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only,

 

So clearly we can see that as Christians we must always be ready. There are several things that we need to be ready to do.

 

1. We need to be ready to tell people why we believe what we believe.

 

1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

 

This means we need to be a prepared people and that it imperative that we study our Bibles faithfully and that our lives reflect what is found in Godís word.

 

2. Sometimes we need to be ready to preach the gospel to others.

 

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

 

Again one cannot preach what they do not know which goes back the necessity of studying your Bible and Paul commands Timothy:

 

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

 

3. We need to be ready to do good unto all men:

 

Galatians 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

 

So let us always strive to be ready to hear God Word and act upon it.

 

II. Sometimes courage requires deep thought.

 

Acts 9:11 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.12 "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."13 Then Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem.14 "And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name."

 

Here we see that Jesus wants Ananias to go to Saul and to heal him of his blindness. Now this command causes Ananias to really think about situation because he heard about Saul and what kind of man he was. He realized that going to Saul could indeed end up costing him life. It is human nature for a person to fear for their own life and so Ananias is not necessarily trying to get out doing what God is asking him to do. To me I just see him making absolutely sure that Jesus wants him to go to this man who has been trying to destroy Christianity.

 

I think we can several lesson from this. First of all I think thatit is important that we put some thought into how we are going to be courageous.

 

Proverbs 15:28 The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.

 

This goes right back to the point of the importance of studying our Bible and anticipating situation we might find ourselves in and how to deal with those situations. I can promise that if you have already thought of situation you might find yourself in and you have prepared yourself on what you would do in that situation you will be more confident and able to handle that situation. If you have not prepared then you will most like fail to handle that situation very well at all.

 

Another thing we learn here is that it is natural for humans to have fear.For instance,

1. How many times have we wanted to talk to a loved one about God but we were afraid what they might think?

2. How many times have we thought about talking to our fellow employee, but we were

afraid that they might get mad at us?

3. How many times have talked to our next door neighbor, but we could not seem to find enough courage to talk to them about the gospel?

 

All of us have faced the fears because we are human. However, God wants us to grow in our Christianity to the point that we can learn to overcome these fears. Paul teaches this concept in:

 

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

 

So let us always try to be courageous and to realize ††††† Romans 8:31If God is for us, who can be against us?

 

Now one more thing I want to point out is that being courageous doesnít mean that canít run from a situation in order to save your life so that you can have another opportunity to proclaim Godís Word. For example:

 

1. Elijah fled for his life in 1Kings19 after he had killed those prophetsof Baal.

2. Even Jesus himself fled on occasions:

 

John 8:59 Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

3. Paul fled for his life many times as the Jews kept following him from city to city trying to kill him.

 

So this tells us we need to be realistic with our courage today by studying the situation and making a righteous judgment. It important that we base our righteous judgment according to Godís Word.

 

III. Ananiaís courage caused him to be receptive to God's word (vss.15-17).

 

Acts 9:15 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.16 "For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake."17 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."

 

Here we see that once Ananias clearly understood what Jesus wanted him do he was ready and willing to do it as he set his fear to the side. Ananias may not have fully understood Godís purpose here but he was willing to do it anyway. We need to understand that there will be sometimes we come to a command in the Bible and in our human thinking we might thinkwhy, why should it be done that way. When we start thinking this way we need to rememberthat the Lord often has a higher purpose than our limited minds can grasp. Rightly did Isaiah say in:

 

Isaiah 55:8 " For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD.9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.10 "For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater,11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

 

Its important that we take these words to heart and learn to trust in God infinite wisdom and to allow him to direct our steps and not allow our own emotions or our own human reasoning to reject Godís Word.

 

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

 

Now I want you to think about the courage it took for Ananias to go to Saul like God commanded. This is same the courage that every Christian should learn to have so thatGodís will will be done

 

IV. Ananias courage helped bring about great results (vss.18-22).

†††††††††††

Acts 9:18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.19 So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.20 Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.21 Then all who heard were amazed, and said, "Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?"22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.

 

There is one thing that we can never know for sure and that is what kind of fruits may be produced by the person we convert through Godís Word. Ananias had no idea just how influential Saul would up being. As we read our Bible we can see that Saul ends up making a very big impact for the growth of Godís church as he went on 3 missionary journeys setting up churches and converting most likely converting thousands of people who in turn converted more and more people and of course Paul is responsible for at least 13 books of our NT.††

 

This teaches us another great lesson to never give up on trying to covert people to Godís truth because that one convert that maybe you think wont amount to much may go on to be one the of the most successful soul winners we have ever seen.

 

I hope this lesson this morning has shown you that Christians need to be full of courage and bold when it comes to standing fast in the faith and defending Godís Word.

Conclusion:

1. By studying the life of this great man, we can see the kind of courage that pleases

God.

2. We need patience and tact, but we also need courage in this day and age.

3. Elders need the courage to take stands and contend for the truth..4. Preachers need courage to open their mouths and preach the Gospel.

5. Members need courage to support elders and preachers in the proclamation of the

truth.

6. It takes courage to break away from whatever it is that is keeping us from Christ.