Jesus   said   “You   did   not   choose   Me,   but   I    chose    you    and   appointed   you   that   you   should   go   and   bear   fruit,   and   that   your fruit   should   remain,   that   whatever   you   ask   the   Father   in   My   name   He   may   give   you”   (John   15:16).      “No   one   can   come   to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44). “But   you   are   a   chosen   generation,   a   royal   priesthood,   a   holy   nation,   His   own   special   people,   that   you   may   proclaim   the praises of Him who called   you  out of darkness into His marvelous light.”  1 Peter 2:9 The   wonderous,   glorious   and   life-changing   truth:   Christians   who   have   accepted   Jesus   Christ   as   their   Savior   and   Lord were   chosen   and   called   by   God.     All   revelations   of   His   existence   and   our   desire   to   know   Him   did   not   initiate   because   of our   own   will—but   because   of   His   desire   for   us—for   He   called   us   out   of   darkness   and   into   His   truth-revealing   light.     What’s   more,   our   miraculous   transition   from   darkness   and   death   into   light   and   life   compels   us   to   praise   and   proclaim His grace, His love, and His Son to anyone who will listen. Consider   for   a   moment   what   it   is   like   when   you   are   in   absolute   darkness—when   you   can’t   even   see   your   hand   in   front of   your   face   and   those   around   you.     All   you   can   do   is   rely   upon   your   senses   of   touch,   sound   and   smell—plus   emotions, mind   and   memory.      So,   as   you   move   around   you   continually   try   to   figure   out   what’s   going   on   around   you,   and   do   your best to survive and fulfill your needs.  The   above   scenario   depicts   spiritual   darkness.      For   those   who   are   saved   by   God’s   grace   can   attest   we   were   dying   in the   midst   of   darkness   and   lies;   bound   by   sin;   unable   to   truly   see   ourselves   and   others,   and   was   seeking   any   and   all means   to   fulfill   needs   and   the   lust   of   our   flesh.      However,   something   began   to   change   deep   within   our   heart   and soul—as   God   called   us   from   darkness   into   light,   and   illuminated   truth   so   that   we   could   see.      But   what’s   more,   we   were not   chosen   because   of   what   we   had   done   or   what   we   could   do.      But   rather,   we   were   chosen   because   of   something   in the innermost part of our heart and soul which only God can see. “He   sent   from   above,   He   took   me;   He   drew   me   out   of   many   waters.      He   delivered   me   from   my   strong   enemy,   from   those who   hated   me,   for   they   were   too   strong   for   me.      They   confronted   me   in   the   day   of   my   calamity,   but   the   Lord   was   my support.  He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me.”  Psalm 18:16-19 If   you   are   reading   this   text,   your   life   has   been   (or   is   being)   touched   by   God.      Those   who   are   in   absolute   darkness   repel against   anything   associated   with   God,   and   will   seek   to   avoid   Him   at   any   cost—including   reading   content   such   as   this.     Simple   truth,   Satan   does   not   want   to   relinquish   his   property.      However,   because   you   continue   to   read   means   the   Holy Spirit is working in your life. Jesus   said   “And   I   will   pray   the   Father,   and   He   will   give   you   another   Helper,   that   He   may   abide   with   you   forever—the Spirit   of   truth,   whom   the   world   cannot   receive,   because   it   neither   sees   Him   nor   knows   Him;   but   you   know   Him,   for   He dwells with you and will be in you.”  John 14:16-17 Jesus   said   “When   He,   the   Spirit   of   truth,   has   come,   He   will   guide   you   into   all   truth;   for   He   will   not   speak   on   His   own authority,   but   whatever   He   hears   He   will   speak;   and   He   will   tell   you   things   to   come.      He   will   glorify   Me,   for   He   will   take   of what   is   Mine   and   declare   it   to   you.      All   things   that   the   Father   has   are   Mine.      Therefore   I   said   that   He   will   take   of   Mine and declare it to you.”  John 16:13-15 Signs God is Calling You out of Darkness Listed   below   are   various   internal   and   external   influencers   that   provide   evidence   the   Holy   Spirit   is   working   in   your   life;   as His   light   illuminates   what’s   going   on   inside   you,   and   what’s   going   on   around   you.         Personally   reflect   upon   each influencer and identify those that are applicable to you. You may have a different “internal” perspective. You become more aware of what’s on the “inside” as you realize: o There is an unfulfilled emptiness within your soul. o The uselessness of your vain goals and behavior. o When you sin you don’t feel the same way, or you feel bad on the inside. o You have a growing: Disdain for sin. Desire for something better. o You have an indescribable awareness God is calling you to repent and turn towards Him. You may have a different “external” perspective. How you see your life begins to change, as you realize: o You have been on a path that is headed towards destruction, or… o You may have reached the “bottom” and have nowhere else to turn. How you see others begins to change, as you become more aware of: o The collateral damage you have caused others. o The sinful influence some persons have upon you. o Some you associate with are confused, lost, and unaware of their condition. You begin to see Satan’s deceptional lies in television, movies, on the Internet, and so forth. You begin to realize: o The darkened condition of the world. o We are at the “threshold” of the last days. You may have a different perspective of eternity, God and the Bible. You have a growing concern that if you die you may not go to Heaven. You have increasing awareness you are trying to avoid Him by holding onto lies and darkness. There is a growing urge to know more about God. When you read or hear scripture from the Bible: o It speaks to your heart. o You know it is absolute truth. Past and present events may have a greater influence. That which you have repressed comes to the forefront of your thoughts, such as: o Words spoken to you by Christians. o Scripture you have heard. o Feelings of overwhelming remorse for what you have done. You may hear God’s voice speak to you. You may encounter a Christian who provides counsel that speaks to your heart. God may “close the doors around you” and open only one that leads to Him. You may experience visions and dreams. Kicking Against the Goads The   Holy   Spirit   uses   the   various   influencers   listed   above   to   get   our   attention.      However,   those   who   are   in   darkness   are usually   stubborn,   hard-headed,   proud,   self-centered,   do   not   want   to   change,   and   have   a   “leave   me   alone”   attitude.     Plus, because they are in darkness, they are unable to see spiritual truth. Jesus   said   “Because   you   say,   ‘I   am   rich,   have   become   wealthy,   and   have   need   of   nothing’—and   do   not   know   that   you are   wretched,   miserable,   poor,   blind,   and   naked—I   counsel   you   to   buy   from   Me   gold   refined   in   the   fire,   that   you   may   be rich;   and   white   garments,   that   you   may   be   clothed,   that   the   shame   of   your   nakedness   may   not   be   revealed;   and   anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.”  Revelation 3:17-18 To   overcome   internal   “protective   barriers”   and   a   hardened-heart   caused   by   sin   and   darkness,   God   calls   us   by   spiritual goading.      Goading   is   defined   as   being   provoked   or   annoyed   to   stimulate   some   action   or   reaction.      The   term   is   based upon   the   practice   of   how   farmers   urge   a   stubborn   ox   into   motion.      Goads   have   a   pointed   end   that   is   used   to   provoke and annoy an ox (via pain), and they move.  The   term   “kicking   against   the   goads”   (spoken   by   Jesus   below)   refers   to   when   the   beast   kicks   at   the   goad   because   it does   not   like   being   prodded   with   a   pointed   object,   and   does   not   want   to   move.      Like   a   stubborn   ox,   many   of   us   can testify how we kicked against the goads of God as He was calling us into righteousness.  Paul   the Apostle   (also   known   as   Saul)   was   a   zealous   Pharisee   who   strictly   followed   Jewish   law,   hated   Jesus   Christ   and persecuted   Christians—some   to   the   point   of   death.      “As   for   Saul,   he   made   havoc   of   the   church,   entering   every   house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.”  Acts 8:3 But   God   saw   something   in   Paul’s   soul   that   transcended   his   hatred,   pride   and   murderous   behavior.      Jesus   said    “He   is   a chosen   vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.”  Acts 9:15 However,   Jesus   had   to   get   Paul’s   full,   complete   and   undivided   attention   to   call   him   out   of   darkness.      So   Jesus   goaded Paul   by   blinding   him   as   he   was   walking   on   the   road   to   Damascus.      (Note:   The   term   “the   Way”   was   used   to   define   the earliest growing Christian community.) “Then   Saul,   still   breathing   threats   and   murder   against   the   disciples   of   the   Lord,   went   to   the   high   priest   and   asked   letters from   him   to   the   synagogues   of   Damascus,   so   that   if   he   found   any   who   were   of   the   Way,   whether   men   or   women,   he might   bring   them   bound   to   Jerusalem.     As   he   journeyed,   he   came   near   Damascus,   and   suddenly   a   light   shone   around him   from   heaven.      Then   he   fell   to   the   ground,   and   heard   a   voice   saying   to   him,   Saul,   Saul,   why   are   you   persecuting Me?’     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.’      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.’      And   the   men   who   journeyed   with   him stood   speechless,   hearing   a   voice   but   seeing   no   one.      Then   Saul   arose   from   the   ground,   and   when   his   eyes   were opened   he   saw   no   one.   But   they   led   him   by   the   hand   and   brought   him   into   Damascus.     And   he   was   three   days   without sight, and neither ate nor drank.”  Acts 9:3-9 To   gain   a   greater   understanding   and   appreciation   of   the   depth   of   God’s   grace   and   love,   consider   the   fact   God   chose Paul.      Paul   hated   anyone   who   believed   in   Jesus   Christ;   sought   to   throw   them   into   prison;   and   had   blood   on   his   hands because   he   was   guilty   of   murdering   Christians.      Most   of   us   would   have   preferred   to   see   someone   like   this   spend eternity   in   the   lake   of   fire   because   murder   is   considered   by   humans   as   one   of   the   worst   possible   sins   one   may   commit.     But God had a different plan. To   some   it   may   appear   Paul’s   conversion   was   due   to   one   encounter   with   Jesus   as   he   was   walking   on   the   road   to Damascus.      However,   it   is   possible   Jesus   had   been   working   on   him   for   some   time   by   goading   him.      One   may   reach   this conclusion because Jesus asked him if it was hard to kick against the goads (goads is plural or more than one). Jesus   sent Ananias   (a   disciple   of   Jesus)   to   pray   over   Paul.     As Ananias   prayed,   Paul   received   his   sight,   was   baptized, and   then   spent   days   with   the   disciples   in   Damascus.   Thereafter,   Paul   began   to   speak   about   Jesus   Christ   to   all   who would   listen,   and   became   the   greatest   missionary   the   world   has   ever   known   as   he   spread   the   gospel   to   Gentiles   (non- Jews), and wrote thirteen of the New Testament books. When   you   consider   what   Paul   had   done   before   and   after   his   transformation,   it   is   safe   to   say   there   is   a   direct   correlation between   the   depth   of   one’s   sin,   and   the   degree   of   thankfulness   when   God’s   grace   (forgiveness   of   sins)   changes   a person’s   life.      Take   a   moment   and   consider   the   immensity   and   depth   of   the   repressed   guilt   and   shame   Paul   had—that came flowing forth to the surface—when Paul heard the voice of Jesus asking him “Why are you persecuting me?” For an excellent informative overview on Paul, click on the following link: Paul the Apostle The Holy Spirit God   provides   a   helper   to   those   who   are   called   out   of   darkness   and   into   His   light—the   Holy   Spirit—who   is   the   third person of the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  In addition, the Holy Spirit: Goads, guides and teaches us. At times will live in us and move through us to communicate God’s truth to others. Is an indicator of the guarantee of our eternal inheritance in God. “But   the   anointing   which   you   have   received   from   Him   abides   in   you,   and   you   do   not   need   that   anyone   teach   you;   but   as the   same   anointing   teaches   you   concerning   all   things,   and   is   true,   and   is   not   a   lie,   and   just   as   it   has   taught   you,   you   will abide in Him.”  1 John 2:27 “Now   He   who   establishes   us   with   you   in   Christ   and   has   anointed   us   is   God,   who   also   has   sealed   us   and   given   us   the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”  2 Corinthians 1:21-22 “In   Him   you   also   trusted,   after   you   heard   the   word   of   truth,   the   gospel   of   your   salvation;   in   whom   also,   having   believed, you   were   sealed   with   the   Holy   Spirit   of   promise,   who   is   the   guarantee   of   our   inheritance   until   the   redemption   of   the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”  Ephesians 1:13-14 “Giving   thanks   to   the   Father   who   has   qualified   us   to   be   partakers   of   the   inheritance   of   the   saints   in   the   light.      He   has delivered   us   from   the   power   of   darkness   and   conveyed   us   into   the   kingdom   of   the   Son   of   His   love,   in   whom   we   have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”  Colossians 1:12-14 But   God   has   revealed   them   to   us   through   His   Spirit.      For   the   Spirit   searches   all   things,   yes,   the   deep   things   of   God.      For what   man   knows   the   things   of   a   man   except   the   spirit   of   the   man   which   is   in   him?      Even   so   no   one   knows   the   things   of God   except   the   Spirit   of   God.      Now   we   have   received,   not   the   spirit   of   the   world,   but   the   Spirit   who   is   from   God,   that   we might   know   the   things   that   have   been   freely   given   to   us   by   God.      “These   things   we   also   speak,   not   in   words   which man’s   wisdom   teaches   but   which   the   Holy   Spirit   teaches,   comparing   spiritual   things   with   spiritual.      But   the   natural   man does   not   receive   the   things   of   the   Spirit   of   God,   for   they   are   foolishness   to   him;   nor   can   he   know   them,   because   they are   spiritually   discerned.      But   he   who   is   spiritual   judges   all   things,   yet   he   himself   is   rightly   judged   by   no   one.      For   ‘who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?’  But we have the mind of Christ.”  1 Corinthians 2:10-16 If you are goaded by the Holy Spirit…YOU ARE CHOSEN AND BLESSED! As   described   earlier,   the   Holy   Spirit   will   use   various   techniques   and   means   to   goad   our   stubbornness,   overcome   our fleshly   and   sinful   nature,   change   our   direction,   and   cause   us   to   move   towards   Him.      For   some   it   may   require   a   little prodding.  For others, like Paul, it may require a devastating “wake up” call.  Many   persons   have   “walked   down   the   aisle”   in   a   church   or   at   an   event   to   accept   Jesus   as   their   Savior,   consider themselves   to   be   a   Christian,   but   have   not   allowed   Jesus   Christ   to   be   Lord   over   their   life—which   defined   me.      I accepted   Jesus   Christ   as   my   Savior   when   I   was   a   teenager.      However,   I   did   not   accept   Him   as   my   Lord   because   I continued   to   live   my   life   of   sin.      A   few   years   later,   while   serving   in   the   United   States   Air   Force,   I   was   facing   serious consequences   for   my   behavior—including   a   military   court-martial   and   going   to   prison—because   I   was   guilty   as   charged for   something   I   had   done.      I   had   made   an   absolute   mess   of   my   life;   my   future   was   bleak;   and   I   was   completely overwhelmed with indescribable fear. Prior   to   this   time   the   Holy   Spirit   had   been   working   in   my   life,   goading   me   in   various   ways,   and   illuminating   various aspects   of   my   life—but   I   would   not   listen.      However,   He   now   had   my   full   attention.      In   the   midst   of   my   misery   I   had   a dream   (vision)   of   a   very   tiny   island   in   the   ocean.      The   island   had   very   steep   cliffs   all   around   that   rose   straight   up   from the   water’s   edge   more   than   a   hundred   feet.      The   island’s   surface   was   flat   with   no   vegetation   other   than   grass.     A   group of   people   were   on   the   island,   surrounding   and   facing   someone   in   the   middle   of   the   group   (whom   I   could   not   see).     Extending   out   from   this   group   of   people   was   a   very   long   taut   rope   that   was   parallel   to   the   ground   along   its   distance   and was   tied   around   my   waist.      I   was   standing   on   the   edge   of   the   cliff   at   a   45-degree   angle   trying   to   jump   off,   but   was unable   because   the   person   who   was   standing   in   the   middle   of   the   group   was   holding   onto   the   rope.      Jesus   was   holding onto   the   rope   and   would   not   let   me   go.      My   Savior   declared   in   Matthew   28:20   “I   am   with   you   always,   even   to   the   end   of the age.” This   is   when   I   tearfully   humbled   myself,   got   down   on   my   knees,   bowed   my   head,   and   accepted   Jesus   Christ   as   my Lord.      I   finally   realized   I   could   no   longer   trust   in   myself   to   make   the   right   decisions   and   needed   to   place   my   complete trust   in   God.      Thereafter,   things   began   to   quickly   change.      I   requested   and   was   assigned   a   new   military   lawyer,   was   not court-martialed,   was   given   a   reduced   punishment,   and   I   did   not   go   to   prison.      I   soon   joined   a   Christian   church   and   my life has never been the same.  All   of   this   occurred   50   years   ago—and   uncontrollable   tears   flowed   again   from   the   depths   of   my   soul   as   I   wrote   my vision   and   testimony   above.      Why   He   choose   me   I   do   not   understand—for   He   has   continually   extended   His   grace   and forgiveness   to   me   throughout   my   life,   and   has   fulfilled   all   of   His   promises.      In   addition,   as   each   trial   and   tribulation   has occurred,   I   have   gained   a   deeper   appreciation   of   the   importance   of   trusting   in   Him   to   guide   me   through   every   aspect   of my life. One   more   point   before   we   continue.      When   a   Christian   sins,   the   Holy   Spirit   continues   to   goad   us   in   the   form   of   guilt, remorse,   shame,   and   sadness   that   we   have   done   something   that   is   against   the   will   of   our   loving   God.      What’s   more, this pain is a good thing “For whom the Lord loves He chastens.”  Hebrews 12:6 Some reject His light because they prefer darkness. “But   even   if   our   gospel   is   veiled,   it   is   veiled   to   those   who   are   perishing,   whose   minds   the   god   of   this   age   has   blinded, who   do   not   believe,   lest   the   light   of   the   gospel   of   the   glory   of   Christ,   who   is   the   image   of   God,   should   shine   on   them.     For   we   do   not   preach   ourselves,   but   Christ   Jesus   the   Lord,   and   ourselves   your   bondservants   for   Jesus’   sake.      For   it   is the   God   who   commanded   light   to   shine   out   of   darkness,   who   has   shone   in   our   hearts   to   give   the   light   of   the   knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”  2 Corinthians 4:3-6 Jesus   said   “I   am   the   light   of   the   world.   He   who   follows   Me   shall   not   walk   in   darkness,   but   have   the   light   of   life.”      John 8:12 Jesus   said   “He   who   believes   in   Him   is   not   condemned;   but   he   who   does   not   believe   is   condemned   already,   because   he has   not   believed   in   the   name   of   the   only   begotten   Son   of   God.      And   this   is   the   condemnation,   that   the   light   has   come into   the   world,   and   men   loved   darkness   rather   than   light,   because   their   deeds   were   evil.      For   everyone   practicing   evil hates   the   light   and   does   not   come   to   the   light,   lest   his   deeds   should   be   exposed.      But   he   who   does   the   truth   comes   to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”  John 3:18-21 Is God calling you from darkness into His light? Our Lord: “Is longsuffering toward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”  2 Peter 3:9 “Desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  1 Timothy 2:4 “For   the   eyes   of   the   Lord   run   to   and   fro   throughout   the   whole   earth,   to   show   Himself   strong   on   behalf   of   those   whose heart is loyal to Him.”  2 Chronicles 16:9 “I,   the   Lord,   search   the   heart,   I   test   the   mind,   even   to   give   every   man   according   to   his   ways,   according   to   the   fruit   of   his doings.”  Jeremiah 17:10 Jesus   said   “For   God   so   loved   the   world   that   He   gave   His   only   begotten   Son,   that   whoever   believes   in   Him   should   not perish   but   have   everlasting   life.      For   God   did   not   send   His   Son   into   the   world   to   condemn   the   world,   but   that   the   world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17 Jesus   said   “I   am   the   bread   of   life.      He   who   comes   to   Me   shall   never   hunger,   and   he   who   believes   in   Me   shall   never thirst.      But   I   said   to   you   that   you   have   seen   Me   and   yet   do   not   believe.      All   that   the   Father   gives   Me   will   come   to   Me, and   the   one   who   comes   to   Me   I   will   by   no   means   cast   out.      For   I   have   come   down   from   heaven,   not   to   do   My   own   will, but   the   will   of   Him   who   sent   Me.      This   is   the   will   of   the   Father   who   sent   Me,   that   of   all   He   has   given   Me   I   should   lose nothing,   but   should   raise   it   up   at   the   last   day.     And   this   is   the   will   of   Him   who   sent   Me,   that   everyone   who   sees   the   Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”  John 6:35-40 “In   Him   we   have   redemption   through   His   blood,   the   forgiveness   of   sins,   according   to   the   riches   of   His   grace   which   He made   to   abound   toward   us   in   all   wisdom   and   prudence,   having   made   known   to   us   the   mystery   of   His   will,   according   to His   good   pleasure   which   He   purposed   in   Himself,   that   in   the   dispensation   of   the   fullness   of   the   times   He   might   gather together   in   one   all   things   in   Christ,   both   which   are   in   heaven   and   which   are   on   earth—in   Him.      In   Him   also   we   have obtained   an   inheritance,   being   predestined   according   to   the   purpose   of   Him   who   works   all   things   according   to   the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.”  Ephesians 1:7-12 So, here are two questions to consider: Are you aware of sin in your life?  Are you being goaded by the Holy Spirit? If you answer yes to either, YOU ARE BLESSED   because God is calling you out of darkness into His light!  What’s   more,   God   loves   us   more   than   we   are   able   to   comprehend.      It   is   because   of   His   patience,   grace   and   mercy   that causes Him to hold onto the rope that will not allow us to fall to an eternal death. Heavenly   Father,   in   the   name   of   Jesus   Christ   I   pray.      Holy   Spirit,   thank   you   for Your   truth,   patience   and   perseverance   as you   turn   me   away   from   darkness,   and   guide   me   towards   the   light   of   God   and   His   righteousness.      Jesus…my   Savior and Lord…I give you my heart, my life and all that I am…for You alone are worthy . God Bless You! Harold D. Thomas “For   you   were   once   darkness,   but   now   you   are   light   in   the   Lord.      Walk   as   children   of   light   (for   the   fruit   of   the   Spirit   is   in all   goodness,   righteousness,   and   truth),   finding   out   what   is   acceptable   to   the   Lord.      And   have   no   fellowship   with   the unfruitful   works   of   darkness,   but   rather   expose   them.      For   it   is   shameful   even   to   speak   of   those   things   which   are   done by   them   in   secret.      But   all   things   that   are   exposed   are   made   manifest   by   the   light,   for   whatever   makes   manifest   is   light.     Therefore He says: ‘Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.’”  Ephesians 5:8-14 Bible Study Thought-Provoking Questions The   purpose   of   the   questions   is   to   facilitate   a   deeper   understanding   of   the   Bible,   this   Bible   study   topic   and   ourselves.     The   questions   may   be   answered   by   each   reader,   or   used   by   a   Bible   study   group   leader   or   church   pastor.     The   following questions   should   be   answered   or   discussed   after   reading   “Signs   God   is   Calling   You   Out   of   Darkness   and   Into   His Light.” All   questions   are   designed   to   enhance   learning   via   the   determination   of   opinions   and/or   discovering   how   the   lesson content illuminates our personal lives.  As such, no answers are provided. Questions Look back in time, before you knew Jesus, and ask yourself the following questions. o Did the Holy Spirit “goad” you?  If yes, how? o What caused you to turn towards Him? Where did Paul receive the power to speak the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the multitudes?  o Was it because of his intellectual capacities? o Or, was it because the Holy Spirit was working through him?  Explain. Paul   was   a   religious   terrorist   who   was   guilty   of   Christian   enslavement   and   murder.      What   does   Paul’s   conversion reveal about God’s grace?  Explain. If you were asked by Jesus Christ to goad Paul prior to his conversion, how would you goad him? Why would a person claim to be a Christian, but continue to live in darkness and sin? o How do you think non-Christians respond to this person’s claim? o How do you think Christians respond to this person’s claim? Review   each   of   the   various   internal   and   external   influencers   used   by   the   Holy   Spirit   to   call   us   from   darkness   to   light.     Select (√) each one that is relevant to you.  Explain and/or discuss if you are in a Christian group setting. How do farmers use a goad?  What is the underlying motivator?  What is the purpose? Are the above influencers spiritual “goads?” Are some painful?  Explain. How and why does someone kick against the goads?  Did you learn anything new from this lesson?  Explain? You may download a PDF version of the questions by clicking on this button. Can you think of someone who could benefit from reading this lesson?  If so, PASS IT ON!
The words of Jesus Christ are in red text.
Jesus   said   “You   did   not   choose   Me,   but   I    chose    you    and appointed   you   that   you   should   go   and   bear   fruit,   and   that your   fruit   should   remain,   that   whatever   you   ask   the   Father in   My   name   He   may   give   you”   (John   15:16).      “No   one   can come   to   Me   unless   the   Father   who   sent   Me   draws   him; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44). “But   you   are   a   chosen   generation,   a   royal   priesthood,   a holy   nation,   His   own   special   people,   that   you   may   proclaim the   praises   of   Him   who   called    you    out   of   darkness   into His marvelous light.”  1 Peter 2:9 The      wonderous,      glorious      and      life-changing      truth: Christians   who   have   accepted   Jesus   Christ   as   their   Savior and   Lord   were   chosen   and   called   by   God.      All   revelations of   His   existence   and   our   desire   to   know   Him   did   not   initiate because   of   our   own   will—but   because   of   His   desire   for us—for   He   called   us   out   of   darkness   and   into   His   truth- revealing    light.        What’s    more,    our    miraculous    transition from   darkness   and   death   into   light   and   life   compels   us   to praise   and   proclaim   His   grace,   His   love,   and   His   Son   to anyone who will listen. Consider   for   a   moment   what   it   is   like   when   you   are   in absolute   darkness—when   you   can’t   even   see   your   hand   in front   of   your   face   and   those   around   you.     All   you   can   do   is rely   upon   your   senses   of   touch,   sound   and   smell—plus emotions,   mind   and   memory.      So,   as   you   move   around you   continually   try   to   figure   out   what’s   going   on   around you, and do your best to survive and fulfill your needs.  The   above   scenario   depicts   spiritual   darkness.      For   those who   are   saved   by   God’s   grace   can   attest   we   were   dying   in the   midst   of   darkness   and   lies;   bound   by   sin;   unable   to truly   see   ourselves   and   others,   and   was   seeking   any   and all    means    to    fulfill    needs    and    the    lust    of    our    flesh.    However,    something    began    to    change    deep    within    our heart   and   soul—as   God   called   us   from   darkness   into   light, and   illuminated   truth   so   that   we   could   see.      But   what’s more,   we   were   not   chosen   because   of   what   we   had   done or   what   we   could   do.      But   rather,   we   were   chosen   because of   something   in   the   innermost   part   of   our   heart   and   soul which only God can see. “He   sent   from   above,   He   took   me;   He   drew   me   out   of many   waters.      He   delivered   me   from   my   strong   enemy, from   those   who   hated   me,   for   they   were   too   strong   for   me.     They   confronted   me   in   the   day   of   my   calamity,   but   the   Lord was   my   support.      He   also   brought   me   out   into   a   broad place;    He    delivered    me    because    He    delighted    in    me.”    Psalm 18:16-19 If   you   are   reading   this   text,   your   life   has   been   (or   is   being) touched   by   God.      Those   who   are   in   absolute   darkness repel   against   anything   associated   with   God,   and   will   seek to   avoid   Him   at   any   cost—including   reading   content   such as   this.      Simple   truth,   Satan   does   not   want   to   relinquish   his property.      However,   because   you   continue   to   read   means the Holy Spirit is working in your life. Jesus   said   “And   I   will   pray   the   Father,   and   He   will   give   you another   Helper,   that   He   may   abide   with   you   forever—the Spirit   of   truth,   whom   the   world   cannot   receive,   because   it neither   sees   Him   nor   knows   Him;   but   you   know   Him,   for He dwells with you and will be in you.”  John 14:16-17 Jesus   said   “When   He,   the   Spirit   of   truth,   has   come,   He   will guide   you   into   all   truth;   for   He   will   not   speak   on   His   own authority,   but   whatever   He   hears   He   will   speak;   and   He   will tell   you   things   to   come.      He   will   glorify   Me,   for   He   will   take of   what   is   Mine   and   declare   it   to   you.      All   things   that   the Father   has   are   Mine.      Therefore   I   said   that   He   will   take   of Mine and declare it to you.”  John 16:13-15 Signs God is Calling You out of Darkness Listed   below   are   various   internal   and   external   influencers that   provide   evidence   the   Holy   Spirit   is   working   in   your   life; as   His   light   illuminates   what’s   going   on   inside   you,   and what’s   going   on   around   you.         Personally   reflect   upon   each influencer and identify those that are applicable to you. You may have a different “internal” perspective. You   become   more   aware   of   what’s   on   the   “inside”   as you realize: o There is an unfulfilled emptiness within your soul. o The uselessness of your vain goals and behavior. o When   you   sin   you   don’t   feel   the   same   way,   or   you feel bad on the inside. o You have a growing: Disdain for sin. Desire for something better. o You    have    an    indescribable    awareness    God    is calling you to repent and turn towards Him. You may have a different “external” perspective. How    you    see    your    life    begins    to    change,    as    you realize: o You   have   been   on   a   path   that   is   headed   towards destruction, or… o You    may    have    reached    the    “bottom”    and    have nowhere else to turn. How    you    see    others    begins    to    change,    as    you become more aware of: o The collateral damage you have caused others. o The sinful influence some persons have upon you. o Some   you   associate   with   are   confused,   lost,   and unaware of their condition. You     begin     to     see     Satan’s     deceptional     lies     in television, movies, on the Internet, and so forth. You begin to realize: o The darkened condition of the world. o We are at the “threshold” of the last days. You   may   have   a   different   perspective   of   eternity,   God   and the Bible. You   have   a   growing   concern   that   if   you   die   you   may not go to Heaven. You    have    increasing    awareness    you    are    trying    to avoid Him by holding onto lies and darkness. There is a growing urge to know more about God. When you read or hear scripture from the Bible: o It speaks to your heart. o You know it is absolute truth. Past and present events may have a greater influence. That    which    you    have    repressed    comes    to    the forefront of your thoughts, such as: o Words spoken to you by Christians. o Scripture you have heard. o Feelings    of    overwhelming    remorse    for    what    you have done. You may hear God’s voice speak to you. You   may   encounter   a   Christian   who   provides   counsel that speaks to your heart. God   may   “close   the   doors   around   you”   and   open   only one that leads to Him. You may experience visions and dreams. Kicking Against the Goads The   Holy   Spirit   uses   the   various   influencers   listed   above   to get   our   attention.      However,   those   who   are   in   darkness   are usually   stubborn,   hard-headed,   proud,   self-centered,   do not   want   to   change,   and   have   a   “leave   me   alone”   attitude.     Plus,   because   they   are   in   darkness,   they   are   unable   to see spiritual truth. Jesus   said   “Because   you   say,   ‘I   am   rich,   have   become wealthy,   and   have   need   of   nothing’—and   do   not   know   that you   are   wretched,   miserable,   poor,   blind,   and   naked—I counsel   you   to   buy   from   Me   gold   refined   in   the   fire,   that you   may   be   rich;   and   white   garments,   that   you   may   be clothed,   that   the   shame   of   your   nakedness   may   not   be revealed;   and   anoint   your   eyes   with   eye   salve,   that   you may see.”  Revelation 3:17-18 To   overcome   internal   “protective   barriers”   and   a   hardened- heart    caused    by    sin    and    darkness,    God    calls    us    by spiritual   goading.      Goading   is   defined   as   being   provoked or   annoyed   to   stimulate   some   action   or   reaction.     The   term is   based   upon   the   practice   of   how   farmers   urge   a   stubborn ox   into   motion.      Goads   have   a   pointed   end   that   is   used   to provoke and annoy an ox (via pain), and they move.  The   term   “kicking   against   the   goads”   (spoken   by   Jesus below)   refers   to   when   the   beast   kicks   at   the   goad   because it   does   not   like   being   prodded   with   a   pointed   object,   and does   not   want   to   move.      Like   a   stubborn   ox,   many   of   us can   testify   how   we   kicked   against   the   goads   of   God   as   He was calling us into righteousness.  Paul    the   Apostle    (also    known    as    Saul)    was    a    zealous Pharisee   who   strictly   followed   Jewish   law,   hated   Jesus Christ   and   persecuted   Christians—some   to   the   point   of death.        “As    for    Saul,    he    made    havoc    of    the    church, entering   every   house,   and   dragging   off   men   and   women, committing them to prison.”  Acts 8:3 But   God   saw   something   in   Paul’s   soul   that   transcended his   hatred,   pride   and   murderous   behavior.      Jesus   said    “He is    a    chosen     vessel    of    Mine    to    bear    My    name    before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.”  Acts 9:15 However,    Jesus    had    to    get    Paul’s    full,    complete    and undivided   attention   to   call   him   out   of   darkness.      So   Jesus goaded   Paul   by   blinding   him   as   he   was   walking   on   the road   to   Damascus.      (Note:   The   term   “the   Way”   was   used to define the earliest growing Christian community.) “Then   Saul,   still   breathing   threats   and   murder   against   the disciples   of   the   Lord,   went   to   the   high   priest   and   asked letters   from   him   to   the   synagogues   of   Damascus,   so   that   if he    found    any    who    were    of    the    Way,    whether    men    or women,   he   might   bring   them   bound   to   Jerusalem.      As   he journeyed,   he   came   near   Damascus,   and   suddenly   a   light shone    around    him    from    heaven.        Then    he    fell    to    the ground,   and   heard   a   voice   saying   to   him,   Saul,   Saul,   why are   you   persecuting   Me?’      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.’   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.’      And the    men    who    journeyed    with    him    stood    speechless, hearing   a   voice   but   seeing   no   one.      Then   Saul   arose   from the   ground,   and   when   his   eyes   were   opened   he   saw   no one.   But   they   led   him   by   the   hand   and   brought   him   into Damascus.      And   he   was   three   days   without   sight,   and neither ate nor drank.”  Acts 9:3-9 To   gain   a   greater   understanding   and   appreciation   of   the depth   of   God’s   grace   and   love,   consider   the   fact   that   God chose   Paul.      Paul   hated   anyone   who   believed   in   Jesus Christ;   sought   to   throw   them   into   prison;   and   had   blood   on his   hands   because   he   was   guilty   of   murdering   Christians.   Most   of   us   would   have   preferred   to   see   someone   like   this spend    eternity    in    the    lake    of    fire    because    murder    is considered   as   one   of   the   worst   possible   sins   one   may commit.  But God had a different plan. To   some   it   may   appear   Paul’s   conversion   was   due   to   one encounter   with   Jesus   as   he   was   walking   on   the   road   to Damascus.        However,    it    is    possible    Jesus    had    been working   on   him   for   some   time   by   goading   him.      One   may reach   this   conclusion   because   Jesus   asked   him   if   it   was hard   to   kick   against   the   goads   (goads   is   plural   or   more than one). Jesus   sent Ananias   (a   disciple   of   Jesus)   to   pray   over   Paul.     As Ananias   prayed,   Paul   received   his   sight,   was   baptized, and    then    spent    days    with    the    disciples    in    Damascus. Thereafter,   Paul   began   to   speak   about   Jesus   Christ   to   all who   would   listen,   and   became   the   greatest   missionary   the world   has   ever   known   as   he   spread   the   gospel   to   Gentiles (non-Jews),    and    wrote    thirteen    of    the    New    Testament books. When   you   consider   what   Paul   had   done   before   and   after his    transformation,    it    is    safe    to    say    there    is    a    direct correlation   between   the   depth   of   one’s   sin,   and   the   degree of   thankfulness   when   God’s   grace   (forgiveness   of   sins) changes    a    life.        Take    a    moment    and    consider    the immensity   and   depth   of   the   repressed   guilt   and   shame Paul   had—that   came   flowing   forth   to   the   surface—when Paul   heard   the   voice   of   Jesus   asking   him   “Why   are   you persecuting me?” For   an   excellent   informative   overview   on   Paul,   click   on   the following link: Paul the Apostle The Holy Spirit God    provides    a    helper    to    those    who    are    called    out    of darkness   and   into   His   light—the   Holy   Spirit—who   is   the third   person   of   the   Trinity:   Father,   Son   and   Holy   Spirit.      In addition, the Holy Spirit: Goads, guides and teaches us. At    times    will    live    in    us    and    move    through    us    to communicate God’s truth to others. Is    an    indicator    of    the    guarantee    of    our    eternal inheritance in God. “But    the    anointing    which    you    have    received    from    Him abides   in   you,   and   you   do   not   need   that   anyone   teach   you; but    as    the    same    anointing    teaches    you    concerning    all things,   and   is   true,   and   is   not   a   lie,   and   just   as   it   has taught you, you will abide in Him.”  1 John 2:27 “Now   He   who   establishes   us   with   you   in   Christ   and   has anointed   us   is   God,   who   also   has   sealed   us   and   given   us the   Spirit   in   our   hearts   as   a   guarantee.”      2   Corinthians 1:21-22 “In   Him   you   also   trusted,   after   you   heard   the   word   of   truth, the    gospel    of    your    salvation;    in    whom    also,    having believed,   you   were   sealed   with   the   Holy   Spirit   of   promise, who     is     the     guarantee     of     our     inheritance     until     the redemption   of   the   purchased   possession,   to   the   praise   of His glory.”  Ephesians 1:13-14 “Giving   thanks   to   the   Father   who   has   qualified   us   to   be partakers   of   the   inheritance   of   the   saints   in   the   light.      He has    delivered    us    from    the    power    of    darkness    and conveyed   us   into   the   kingdom   of   the   Son   of   His   love,   in whom     we     have     redemption     through     His     blood,     the forgiveness of sins.”  Colossians 1:12-14 But   God   has   revealed   them   to   us   through   His   Spirit.      For the   Spirit   searches   all   things,   yes,   the   deep   things   of   God.     For   what   man   knows   the   things   of   a   man   except   the   spirit of   the   man   which   is   in   him?      Even   so   no   one   knows   the things   of   God   except   the   Spirit   of   God.      Now   we   have received,   not   the   spirit   of   the   world,   but   the   Spirit   who   is from   God,   that   we   might   know   the   things   that   have   been freely   given   to   us   by   God.      “These   things   we   also   speak, not   in   words   which   man’s   wisdom   teaches   but   which   the Holy     Spirit     teaches,     comparing     spiritual     things     with spiritual.      But   the   natural   man   does   not   receive   the   things of   the   Spirit   of   God,   for   they   are   foolishness   to   him;   nor can   he   know   them,   because   they   are   spiritually   discerned.     But   he   who   is   spiritual   judges   all   things,   yet   he   himself   is rightly   judged   by   no   one.      For   ‘who   has   known   the   mind   of the   Lord   that   he   may   instruct   Him?’      But   we   have   the   mind of Christ.”  1 Corinthians 2:10-16 If    you    are    goaded    by    the    Holy    Spirit…YOU    ARE CHOSEN AND BLESSED! As    described    earlier,    the    Holy    Spirit    will    use    various techniques     and     means     to     goad     our     stubbornness, overcome    our    fleshly    and    sinful    nature,    change    our direction,   and   cause   us   to   move   towards   Him.      For   some   it may   require   a   little   prodding.      For   others,   like   Paul,   it   may require a devastating “wake up” call.  Many   persons   have   “walked   down   the   aisle”   in   a   church   or at    an    event    to    accept    Jesus    as    their    Savior,    consider themselves   to   be   a   Christian,   but   have   not   allowed   Jesus Christ   to   be   Lord   over   their   life—which   defined   me.      I accepted    Jesus    Christ    as    my    Savior    when    I    was    a teenager.      However,   I   did   not   accept   Him   as   my   Lord because   I   continued   to   live   my   life   of   sin.      A   few   years later,   while   serving   in   the   United   States   Air   Force,   I   was facing   serious   consequences   for   my   behavior—including   a military   court-martial   and   going   to   prison—because   I   was guilty   as   charged   for   something   I   had   done.      I   had   made an   absolute   mess   of   my   life;   my   future   was   bleak;   and   I was completely overwhelmed with indescribable fear. Prior   to   this   time   the   Holy   Spirit   had   been   working   in   my life,   goading   me   in   various   ways,   and   illuminating   various aspects   of   my   life—but   I   would   not   listen.      However,   He now   had   my   full   attention.      In   the   midst   of   my   misery   I   had a   dream   (vision)   of   a   very   tiny   island   in   the   ocean.      The island   had   very   steep   cliffs   all   around   that   rose   straight   up from   the   water’s   edge   more   than   a   hundred   feet.      The island’s    surface    was    flat    with    no    vegetation    other    than grass.      A   group   of   people   were   on   the   island,   surrounding and   facing   someone   in   the   middle   of   the   group   (whom   I could   not   see).      Extending   out   from   this   group   of   people was   a   very   long   taut   rope   that   was   parallel   to   the   ground along   its   distance   and   was   tied   around   my   waist.      I   was standing   on   the   edge   of   the   cliff   at   a   45-degree   angle trying   to   jump   off,   but   was   unable   because   the   person   who was   standing   in   the   middle   of   the   group   was   holding   onto the   rope.      Jesus   was   holding   onto   the   rope   and   would   not let   me   go.      My   Savior   declared   in   Matthew   28:20   “I   am with you always, even to the end of the age.” This   is   when   I   tearfully   humbled   myself,   got   down   on   my knees,   bowed   my   head,   and   accepted   Jesus   Christ   as   my Lord.      I   finally   realized   I   could   no   longer   trust   in   myself   to make    the    right    decisions    and    needed    to    place    my complete   trust   in   God.      Thereafter,   things   began   to   quickly change.      I   requested   and   was   assigned   a   new   military lawyer,    was    not    court-martialed,    was    given    a    reduced punishment,   and   I   did   not   go   to   prison.      I   soon   joined   a Christian church and my life has never been the same.  All   of   this   occurred   50   years   ago—and   uncontrollable   tears flowed   again   from   the   depths   of   my   soul   as   I   wrote   my vision   and   testimony   above.      Why   He   choose   me   I   do   not understand—for   He   has   continually   extended   His   grace and   forgiveness   to   me   throughout   my   life,   and   has   fulfilled all    of    His    promises.        In    addition,    as    each    trial    and tribulation     has     occurred,     I     have     gained     a     deeper appreciation   of   the   importance   of   trusting   in   Him   to   guide me through every aspect of my life. One   more   point   before   we   continue.      When   a   Christian sins,   the   Holy   Spirit   continues   to   goad   us   in   the   form   of guilt,   remorse,   shame,   and   sadness   that   we   have   done something    that    is    against    the    will    of    our    loving    God.    What’s   more,   this   pain   is   a   good   thing   “For   whom   the   Lord loves He chastens.”  Hebrews 12:6 Some reject His light because they prefer darkness. “But   even   if   our   gospel   is   veiled,   it   is   veiled   to   those   who are    perishing,    whose    minds    the    god    of    this    age    has blinded,   who   do   not   believe,   lest   the   light   of   the   gospel   of the   glory   of   Christ,   who   is   the   image   of   God,   should   shine on   them.      For   we   do   not   preach   ourselves,   but   Christ Jesus    the    Lord,    and    ourselves    your    bondservants    for Jesus’   sake.      For   it   is   the   God   who   commanded   light   to shine   out   of   darkness,   who   has   shone   in   our   hearts   to   give the   light   of   the   knowledge   of   the   glory   of   God   in   the   face   of Jesus Christ.”  2 Corinthians 4:3-6 Jesus   said   “I   am   the   light   of   the   world.   He   who   follows   Me shall   not   walk   in   darkness,   but   have   the   light   of   life.”      John 8:12 Jesus   said   “He   who   believes   in   Him   is   not   condemned;   but he   who   does   not   believe   is   condemned   already,   because he   has   not   believed   in   the   name   of   the   only   begotten   Son of   God.      And   this   is   the   condemnation,   that   the   light   has come   into   the   world,   and   men   loved   darkness   rather   than light,    because    their    deeds    were    evil.        For    everyone practicing   evil   hates   the   light   and   does   not   come   to   the light,   lest   his   deeds   should   be   exposed.      But   he   who   does the   truth   comes   to   the   light,   that   his   deeds   may   be   clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”  John 3:18-21 Is God calling you from darkness into His light? Our Lord: “Is   longsuffering   toward,   not   willing   that   any   should perish   but   that   all   should   come   to   repentance.”      2 Peter 3:9 “Desires   all   men   to   be   saved   and   to   come   to   the knowledge of the truth.”  1 Timothy 2:4 “For   the   eyes   of   the   Lord   run   to   and   fro   throughout   the whole   earth,   to   show   Himself   strong   on   behalf   of   those whose heart is loyal to Him.”  2 Chronicles 16:9 “I,   the   Lord,   search   the   heart,   I   test   the   mind,   even   to   give every   man   according   to   his   ways,   according   to   the   fruit   of his doings.”  Jeremiah 17:10 Jesus   said   “For   God   so   loved   the   world   that   He   gave   His only   begotten   Son,   that   whoever   believes   in   Him   should not   perish   but   have   everlasting   life.      For   God   did   not   send His   Son   into   the   world   to   condemn   the   world,   but   that   the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17 Jesus   said   “I   am   the   bread   of   life.      He   who   comes   to   Me shall   never   hunger,   and   he   who   believes   in   Me   shall   never thirst.      But   I   said   to   you   that   you   have   seen   Me   and   yet   do not   believe.      All   that   the   Father   gives   Me   will   come   to   Me, and   the   one   who   comes   to   Me   I   will   by   no   means   cast   out.     For   I   have   come   down   from   heaven,   not   to   do   My   own   will, but   the   will   of   Him   who   sent   Me.      This   is   the   will   of   the Father   who   sent   Me,   that   of   all   He   has   given   Me   I   should lose   nothing,   but   should   raise   it   up   at   the   last   day.     And   this is   the   will   of   Him   who   sent   Me,   that   everyone   who   sees   the Son   and   believes   in   Him   may   have   everlasting   life;   and   I will raise him up at the last day.”  John 6:35-40 “In    Him    we    have    redemption    through    His    blood,    the forgiveness   of   sins,   according   to   the   riches   of   His   grace which   He   made   to   abound   toward   us   in   all   wisdom   and prudence,   having   made   known   to   us   the   mystery   of   His will,   according   to   His   good   pleasure   which   He   purposed   in Himself,    that    in    the    dispensation    of    the    fullness    of    the times   He   might   gather   together   in   one   all   things   in   Christ, both   which   are   in   heaven   and   which   are   on   earth—in   Him.     In    Him    also    we    have    obtained    an    inheritance,    being predestined   according   to   the   purpose   of   Him   who   works   all things   according   to   the   counsel   of   His   will,   that   we   who first   trusted   in   Christ   should   be   to   the   praise   of   His   glory.”   Ephesians 1:7-12 So, here are two questions to consider: Are you aware of sin in your life?  Are you being goaded by the Holy Spirit? If   you   answer   yes   to   either,   YOU ARE   BLESSED    because God is calling you out of darkness into His light!  What’s   more,   God   loves   us   more   than   we   are   able   to comprehend.      It   is   because   of   His   patience,   grace   and mercy   that   causes   Him   to   hold   onto   the   rope   that   will   not allow us to fall to an eternal death. Heavenly   Father,   in   the   name   of   Jesus   Christ   I   pray.      Holy Spirit,   thank   you   for   Your   truth,   patience   and   perseverance as    you    turn    me    away    from    darkness,    and    guide    me towards     the     light     of     God     and     His     righteousness.     Jesus…my   Savior   and   Lord…I   give   you   my   heart,   my   life and all that I am…for You alone are worthy . God Bless You! Harold D. Thomas “For   you   were   once   darkness,   but   now   you   are   light   in   the Lord.      Walk   as   children   of   light   (for   the   fruit   of   the   Spirit   is in   all   goodness,   righteousness,   and   truth),   finding   out   what is   acceptable   to   the   Lord.     And   have   no   fellowship   with   the unfruitful   works   of   darkness,   but   rather   expose   them.      For it   is   shameful   even   to   speak   of   those   things   which   are done   by   them   in   secret.      But   all   things   that   are   exposed are    made    manifest    by    the    light,    for    whatever    makes manifest   is   light.      Therefore   He   says:   ‘Awake,   you   who sleep,   arise   from   the   dead,   and   Christ   will   give   you   light.’”   Ephesians 5:8-14 Bible Study Thought-Provoking Questions The    purpose    of    the    questions    is    to    facilitate    a    deeper understanding    of    the    Bible,    this    Bible    study    topic    and ourselves.        The    questions    may    be    answered    by    each reader,   or   used   by   a   Bible   study   group   leader   or   church pastor.      The   following   questions   should   be   answered   or discussed   after   reading   “Signs   God   is   Calling   You   Out   of Darkness and Into His Light.” All   questions   are   designed   to   enhance   learning   via   the determination    of    opinions    and/or    discovering    how    the lesson   content   illuminates   our   personal   lives.     As   such,   no answers are provided. Questions Look    back    in    time,    before    you    knew    Jesus,    and    ask yourself the following questions. Did the Holy Spirit “goad” you?  If yes, how? What caused you to turn towards Him? Where   did   Paul   receive   the   power   to   speak   the   Gospel   of Jesus Christ to the multitudes?  Was it because of his intellectual capacities? Or,    was    it    because    the    Holy    Spirit    was    working through him?  Explain. Paul   was   a   religious   terrorist   who   was   guilty   of   Christian enslavement   and   murder.      What   does   Paul’s   conversion reveal about God’s grace?  Explain. If   you   were   asked   by   Jesus   Christ   to   goad   Paul   prior   to   his conversion, how would you goad him? Why   would   a   person   claim   to   be   a   Christian,   but   continue to live in darkness and sin? How    do    you    think    non-Christians    respond    to    this person’s claim? How   do   you   think   Christians   respond   to   this   person’s claim? Review     each     of     the     various     internal     and     external influencers   used   by   the   Holy   Spirit   to   call   us   from   darkness to    light.        Select    (√)    each    one    that    is    relevant    to    you.    Explain    and/or    discuss    if    you    are    in    a    Christian    group setting. How   do   farmers   use   a   goad?      What   is   the   underlying motivator?  What is the purpose? Are    the    above    influencers    spiritual    “goads?”   Are    some painful?  Explain. How and why does someone kick against the goads?  Did you learn anything new from this lesson?  Explain? You   may   download   a   PDF   versi on   of   the   questions   by clicking on this button. Can   you   think   of   someone   who   could   benefit   from reading this lesson?  If so, PASS IT ON!
Words of Jesus are in red text.