Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

I am Jesus!



Act 9:3-6

(3)  As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.

(4)  Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?"

(5)  And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" Then the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads."

(6)  So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" Then the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."


Paul’s Conversion

In this passage we have the story of Paul’s conversion from Judaism to Christianity.  He was converted from a religious zealot to a follower of Christ.  He was converted from a man who was forcing his religion on others to one who preached the Gospel and expected the Holy Spirit to do the convicting and converting.  He was the persecutor, but now he became the persecuted.  His life took a 180 degree turn that day on the road to Damascus.  Paul never got tired of telling what happened to him.  He knew why there was a MUST in John 3:7 where the Lord says, “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’"  Paul knew how he was born again, he knew where he was born again and he knew when he was born again.  Of course we are not given the date when this experience occurred.  But it did occur, and Paul remembered the experience


Have we actually been Converted?

Many of my friends cannot relate to Paul’s experience.  They say it was unique and that they don’t remember becoming Christians.  They say that they don’t need to remember that because they know they are Christians now.  They say that they know that they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.  I am concerned about my friends who say that because we are not born Christians, we are born sinners who are children of disobedience.   We have to be born again to become Christians.  We are lost before we are saved or born again.  We are converted when we are born again.  I realize that this experience is not as dramatic for children as it would be for adults.   But finding out one is lost and about to be condemned eternally, and then realizing that Christ died for us so that our sins can be forgiven is a hard thing to forget in my mind.  I often wonder how people are going to respond when they meet the Lord and He asks them, "What makes you fit for heaven, why should you be allowed through the Pearly Gates?"  What answer will people give?  To tell the Lord that you always believed because of the way you were raised, or that you grew up in a church and were baptized as an infant and that you tried to do right just isn’t going to cut it.  All of those answers give the glory to something man does.  Answers that will please God are answers that give all the glory to the Lord Jesus.


Paul’s meeting with the Risen Lord

Paul had thought he was doing right in persecuting the Christians.  He was also trying to advance in the political ranks of the Pharisees, a sect of Judaism.  But his religion had become cruel.  Not only had it caused an innocent man to be crucified, but now it was trying to stamp out the followers of this man.  Why?  Because the Pharisees wanted to control the people.  And just like today, they were using religion as a club rather than as a means of salvation and service to others.  But Paul had held the clothes of those that stoned Steven in Acts 7.  He had seen a man who prayed, "Do not charge them with this sin."  Paul certainly wasn’t living his life in that forgiving way.  Likely Paul had heard the Lord preach in the temple since Paul was a Pharisee and would likely have celebrated the feast days by going to the temple.  Paul may even have witnessed the crucifixion of the Lord though I am perhaps using a little sanctified imagination when I say that.  He surely heard others that were there say that the Lord had cried, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."  That was certainly not Paul’s attitude or life. So when he began thinking about these things, his conscience began to bother him.  It was hard for him to kick against the goads, sticks that are used to prod the oxen into moving.  But even so, wasn’t the Lord dead?


When Paul heard those words, "I am Jesus", all of a sudden everything he had believed about this Man was proven wrong.  Jesus was the Messiah.   He was alive.  Paul had been wrong in persecuting his followers.  Paul was stopped in his tracks.  On the one hand hearing those words had to hurt.  On the other hand hearing those words gave his life purpose and hope that he had never had before.  Hearing those words and believing them, changed everything. 


What is your Story?

Paul never got tired of telling this story.  My story is different but I never tire of telling it either.  However, I get concerned when I preach it publicly to people who claim to be Christians and they get exasperated with me.  They say we should be teaching the Christians how to be Christians. Reminding them of the great change that should have occurred in their life is redundant and boring and just not needed.  I do not understand how Christians can ever tire of telling about how they met the Lord or of hearing how others met Him.  I never tire telling people how I met my wife.  I suspect those who get the most exasperated do not have a story to tell.  And if you don’t have a story to tell, I wouldn’t trade places with you for five minutes.  In those five minutes, the Lord might decide your time on earth is ended.  Maybe a person can be "born again" without a story to tell, but I certainly wouldn’t bet my soul for eternity on that.


Bruce Collins


Meditation for the week of October 23, 2016

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