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Paul to Agrippa–Honesty is the Best Policy

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A story is told about a famous evangelist, Brownlow North, who had lived a life that was anything but Christian. Once, just before he was to enter the pulpit, he received a letter. This letter informed him that its writer had evidence of some disgraceful thing he had done before … More

Honesty

One of the extraordinary things about the great Christian leaders in the New Testament was they were not afraid to confess what once they had been. In the presence of the king, Paul frankly confessed that there was a day when he had tried to blast the Christians out of existence. In this passage we see Paul before King Agrippa. Agrippa tells Paul that he can now speak for himself (v. 1). Paul then explains that he was particularly pleased to be able to state his case to King Agrippa (vv. 2-3). Of all the government officials in the country, nobody knew better the precepts, principles and passions that motivated the Jewish people. Fetus might not understand, but Agrippa could.

This is the third time Paul’s conversion experience is recorded in the book of Acts. He also spoke of his life as a Pharisee and how sincerely he had tried to live a blameless life (v. 4-5) and follow the promise God made to the Jews (v. 6). Paul explains how day and night the twelve tribes have earnestly served God, waiting for his promised blessing (v.7). Why should anyone doubt that God raises the dead to life (v. 8)? Because of this hope the Jewish leaders have brought charges. This was why he had worked so hard to persecute the heretical sect of the followers of Jesus (v. 9-11). Just as in the case of Paul, no one can doubt the sincerity of most religious people. They are convinced that they are saved by following the religious beliefs and codes in which they have been raised. Human religion is man’s thoughts about God, sin, salvation etc. rather than what God actually says about Himself and what he says about man from His Word.

Application

What can I learn about sharing the gospel from this passage? If I have an opportunity to tell my story before government officials, how would I go about doing it? This would be a good time for me to be open and honest about my life before Christ, and tell about changes since I came to know Him.

Acts 26:1-11 (English Standard Version)

So Agrippa said to Paul, "You have permission to speak for yourself." Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense: "I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am going to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews, especially because you are familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently. "My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee. And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king! Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead? "I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities."

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »

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