Study 4 WHAT HAPPENED IN STRAIGHT STREET
STUDIES IN ACTS (Chapters 8 -11)
by Francis Dixon
Study verses: Acts 9:1-22
For this study we shall lift out from Acts 9:11 the words “Straight Street”, and we shall make this the focal point of our consideration of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, the notorious enemy of Christ and His Church who was bent on exterminating the Christians – sincere, misguided, blind – and then wonderfully saved! Saul thought Christ was an impostor and that Christians were deceived, but dramatically the Lord Jesus met him (verses 3-5). Immediately this proud man was humbled – convicted, converted and commissioned. It was, of course, a miracle, as every conversion is. Then the Lord spoke to Ananias and sent him to encourage Saul (verse 11). Ananias could not believe that this man was actually praying! – but in obedience he sought out Saul and helped him (verses 10-18). We shall consider the things which happened in Straight Street.
1. It was the street where a man was gloriously converted
No-one becomes a Christian apart from conversion (Matthew 18:3). Saul had a revelation of the risen Lord in all His glory, and when he saw Him he was at once convinced that Jesus was no impostor; He was alive, He was the Son of God, His death was unique, He had risen from the dead, He was the true Messiah, He was the Saviour of the world and He was worthy of Saul’s devotion. This was the heavenly vision which Saul had, and to which he was not disobedient (Acts 26:19). It was in the home of Judas in Straight Street that he began to come into the assurance of the Saviour’s love and grace.
2. It was the street where a man really began to pray
We are told about this in verse 11. Of course, Saul had said many prayers as a very religious man but his praying had been a formal matter. Like the Pharisee (Luke 18:11), he had prayed about himself. What a difference now, however, as humbled before the Lord he lifted up his heart in true worship and petition! This raises the question, ‘I often say my prayers, but do I ever pray?’
3. It was the street where a man discovered God’s will for his life
God leads His people one step at a time (Psalm 37:23-24), and we learn here that God had a plan for Saul’s life, as He has for yours; read Acts 9:6,15-16. How amazing it is to discover God’s plan for your life! We should be constantly praying the prayer in Acts 9:6, and taking note of John 2:5!
4. It was the street where a man was filled with the Holy Spirit
At the very beginning of his new life Saul not only came to know the Lord as his Saviour (Acts 4:12); he was not only born into the family of God (John 1:12-14); but he was filled with the Holy Spirit (verse 17). This is God’s provision for every one of His children – look up Ephesians 5:18. It was necessary for Saul to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that he might live for the Lord and serve Him effectively, and this gracious infilling of God’s Spirit is necessary and available for you and for me every day down here (Acts 2:4; Acts 2:39). It is great when a new convert is led at once to understand something of the ministry and to experience the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
5. It was the street where a man openly identified himself with the Lord and His people
Think what a great thing this was for Saul to do. He had been an enemy of the Lord and of Christians; but look at verse 18! At once, on coming to know Christ, “he got up and was baptised”. This was in accordance with Matthew 28:19 and Mark 16:16. Think what this meant for Saul, the enemy, persecutor, the infidel, to take this step! Some may have said, ‘I wonder if it’s real…if he’s really converted…whether it will last?’ We know the answer to these questions, but have we really identified ourselves with the Lord and with His people in accordance with His own command and desire? – look up Mark 16:16.
6. It was the street where a man was introduced into a new and wonderful fellowship
Now that he was a Christian Saul came into fellowship with the saints – look up Ephesians 2:19; he was in the family of the redeemed (Galatians 3:13); he belonged to the royal family of heaven (Ephesians 3:15). To see this from our study verses, notice that as soon as he was converted he came into fellowship:
- 1. With the Lord Jesus Himself (verses 5-6).
- 2. With Judas, presumably a believer (verse 11).
- 3. With Ananias (verse 17).
- 4. With those who baptised him (verse 18).
- 5. With those who fed him (verse 19).
- 6. With the disciples (verse 19).
- 7. With others at Damascus (verse 22).
7. It was the street where a man became a living witness for the Lord
Look again at verses 20-22: Saul not only became a Christian, but from the start he became a Spirit-filled, witnessing Christian.
Straight Street was famous because of what happened in it. Is there a street, a place somewhere on this earth where all this has happened to you? If so, thank God! If not, why should this not happen now? – because the Lord is waiting to do all this for you. If you will say to Him, “Who are you Lord?” (Acts 9:5), then He will reply, “I am Jesus…” (which means Saviour – Matthew 1:21). Then you can say to Him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).