Pastor James J. Barker

Text: ACTS 22:1-16


1.     In Acts 9, we have the story of the conversion of the apostle Paul.

2.     In Acts 22 & Acts 26 we see Paul giving his testimony.

3.     This morning we will look primarily at the testimony given in Acts 22.  It begins at verse 1 and goes on to verse 21.  In verse 22 and following, we see that the Jews assembled there that day did not appreciate his testimony.

4.     When Paul was converted, the Lord told him to go to Damascus (Acts 9:6-9). 

5.     Meanwhile, the Lord spoke to Ananias in a vision, and directed him to Paul (9:10-19).

6.     As we study Paul’s words in Acts 22, we will examine them in the context of Acts 9. 

7.     With that in mind, let us now look at our text, Acts 22:16.   “Why tarriest thou?”   Let us ask the Holy Spirit to apply these words to our hearts this morning.



1.     There are certain people who teach that this Scripture teaches “baptismal regeneration.”   They believe that Ananias was telling Paul to get baptized in order for his sins to be washed away (Acts 22:16).

2.     That is not what Ananias was saying. Before I go further, let me state some basic hermeneutical principles.  Hermeneutics is the science and art of Bible interpretation.

3.     An important principle: Always compare Scripture with other Scripture. In other words, Scripture is its own best commentary. All the passages touching on a particular matter (e.g., baptism or salvation) need to be studied and harmonized before truth is found.

4.     There are many Scriptures which teach that salvation is by grace through faith.   Ephesians 2:8, and 9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (cf. John 3:16; Romans 10:13).

5.     If we are going to study what the Bible teaches about baptism, we should look at other Scriptures dealing with this important subject.   For example, we would go to Acts 9 and see that Paul was saved before he was baptized.

6.     We should go to Acts 26 where we would find that Paul does not even mention his baptism.  Not because baptism is unimportant, but because baptism does not have anything to do with one’s conversion to Christ.  It always follows conversion (cf. I Cor. 1:17).

7.     In Acts 8, the Ethiopian eunuch was baptized after he was saved.

8.     In Acts 10, Cornelius was baptized after he was saved.

9.     In Acts 16, Lydia was baptized after she was saved.

10. In Acts 16, the Philippian jailer was saved after he was saved.

11. Therefore, after all these relevant passages have been studied and compared, we can be sure of our interpretation.  The best interpreter of the Bible is the Bible itself.  And the Bible teaches that baptism comes after conversion, not before.

12. Another important Biblical principle: All Scripture must be taken in its proper context. This means that the interpretation of Scripture should be looked at in the light of the verses and book in which the passage is found.

13. This is perhaps the most violated of all the principles and is why there are so many cults and false doctrines around today.  It has been rightly said, “A text without context is a pretext!”

14. The washing away of sins is not from baptism, but by “calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 9:16; cf. Acts 2:21; Rom. 10:13, 9). 

15. Have you called on the name of the Lord?



1.     Now that it is established, that salvation by God’s grace through faith in Christ must come first, let us look at next: “Arise, and be baptized…”

2.     Baptism is a picture of the washing away of sin.  But sins are not washed away by water – only the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ can wash away our sins.

3.     First John 1:7 says, “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

4.     Baptism is one of the two church ordinances.  All new converts are commanded to be baptized, but baptism does not save anyone (cf. Mark 16:15, 16).

5.     By getting baptized, Paul was publicly identifying with the Lord Jesus Christ and with His church.  By taking this step of obedience, Paul was forever disassociating himself from the Jewish religion and their rejection of Christ (cf. Acts 2:37, 38).

6.     The word “repent” in Acts 2:38 means the Jews had to turn from their unbelief, and turn from their sin (specifically the crucifixion of Christ – Acts 2:36), and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

7.     Repentance and faith are two sides to the same coin.  Our Lord said in Mark 1:15, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”

8.     The apostle Paul said in Acts 20:21, “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”

9.     According to the Scriptures, baptism follows repentance and faith.   To the Jews, baptism was a sign that the new Christian was publicly cutting his ties with Judaism.  In fact, it is still that way today.

10.Here in America, where Baptists have been around for hundreds of years, many people take baptism for granted.  For many people, it is not a big deal.  But it is a big deal to God (cf. Matthew 28:18-20).



1.     When you compare the three accounts that describe the apostle Paul’s conversion (Acts 9; 22; 26), you will notice all three accounts emphasize the commission given to him by our Lord (Acts 9:15, 16; 22:12-22; 26:12-20).

2.     Immediately after he was saved, Paul got busy serving God (Acts 9:17-25).

3.     Notice that in his testimony before the Jews, the crowd became enraged when Paul mentioned his ministry to the Gentiles (Acts 22:21-23).

4.     The Jews rejected the Gospel and it annoyed them greatly that Paul (who had been a Pharisee) was now preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 22:21-23; cf. I Thess. 2:14-16).

5.     When we take a stand for God there will be opposition.  Bro. McGowan and I were passing out Gospel literature in the subway the other day and I can tell you some people were very angry.

6.     But thank God, some people were very happy and they thanked us.  Not all of us can preach like Paul.  We are not able to travel around from city to city establishing churches.

7.     But we can all get busy serving God.   If you are not sure what to do, do what Paul did.  He said to the Lord, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6).

8.     Let me ask you – “Why tarriest thou?”



1.     Let me summarize.  First, Paul was baptized.  Then Paul was baptized.  Then he got busy serving God.  But first he was saved.   Are you saved?

2.     Many years ago, the great evangelist RA Torrey preached a message entitled, “What Are You Waiting For,” and he used Acts 22:16a for his text.

3.     Dr. Torrey said, “I am going to ask you who have not accepted Jesus Christ or have not publicly confessed Him before the world, to put to yourself the question, ‘What am I waiting for before I accept Jesus Christ and publicly confess Him before the world?’, and then I am going to take up your answers and answer them.

4.     These are some of the answers Dr. Torrey dealt with in that message:

·       “I am waiting until I am convinced.”

·       “I am waiting until I have enjoyed the world enough.”

·       “I am waiting for my friends (or husband, wife, etc.).”

·       “I am waiting for a feeling.”

·       “I am waiting until I am a better person.”

·       “I am waiting until I am sure I can hold out.”

·       “I am waiting until I have done something that I could not do (i.e., sin) if I were a Christian.”

·       “I am waiting till I am ready to die.”

5.     From Dr. Torrey’s message: “If you wait until your deathbed before you accept Jesus Christ, the overwhelming probability is that you will be lost forever.  My first winter in Chicago I got home late one night after a very busy day.  In the morning I had been lecturing to my students, answering letters and doing other things.  In the afternoon I had been studying.  At night I had been out preaching.  It was after 11:00 at night when I reached home.  My wife had already retired and…had pinned a note on the droplight.  ‘Dear Archie, There is a man dying down at 228 North Clark Street.  They think he cannot live through the night.  They want you to call.  Now whatever hour you get home tonight, don’t go to bed until you have seen that man.’”

6.     Dr. Torrey went on to say that he was tired but knew he had to go and see this dying man.  He walked the four or five blocks to the man’s apartment and went up to see him.

7.     “I saw he was near his end and whatever was done must be done quickly.  I stepped at once to his bedside and put my right hand on the outside rail of the bed and the other hand beyond him, and then bent over him so as to be sure he would hear every word I said.  It was over 35 years ago, but I remember it as vividly as if it were last night.  Oh, how eagerly that dying man looked up into my eyes.  I began to explain to him as simply and as briefly as I could just what he must do to be saved.  He drank in every word as I was explaining to him the way of life, and, oh, how eagerly he was looking up into my eyes.  Suddenly there was a little gurgle in his throat; and I was looking down into the eyes of a dead man, and a dead man was looking up into my eyes, and I was trying to tell a dead man what to do to be saved.  Too late!”

8.     Dr. Torrey concluded his great sermon by saying, “Oh, men and women, whatever you are waiting for, put away your delay and accept Jesus Christ right now.” 

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