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
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.
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.
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."
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Acts 23:1-5Respect is Always Appropriate
Acts 23:6-11Comfort In Times of Trial
Acts 23:12-22A Plot to Kill Paul
Acts 23:23-35God’s Timing is Very Evident to Paul
Acts 24:1-9Paul’s Response vs. Reaction to Charges
Acts 24:10-21Paul’s Defense Before Felix
Acts 24:22-27Concern from Paul’s Friends & Foes
Acts 25:1-7Paul’s Roman Trial–Festus Hears False Accusations
Acts 25:8-12Paul’s Appeal to Caesar’s Roman Courtroom
Acts 25:13-22Festus Consults Agrippa for a Second Opinion
Acts 25:23-27Paul’s Opportunity to Face Agrippa & Company
Acts 26:1-11Paul to Agrippa–Honesty is the Best Policy
Acts 26:12-23Paul’s Purpose Changed to God’s Purpose
Acts 26:24-32God’s Truth Brings Conviction to Agippa’s Heart
Acts 27:1-12Paul’s Advice – Initially Rejected
Acts 27:13-26Peace In the Midst of The Storm
Acts 27:27-44Peer Pressure Adds to the Present Peril
Acts 28:1-6Crisis Averted–God’s Will for Paul is Evident
Acts 28:7-10Paul Faith Validates God’s Work in their Midst
Acts 28:11-16Paul–Steadfast to God’s Purpose For His Life
Acts 28:17-22Paul’s Opportunity to Preach in Rome
Acts 28:23-31The Urgency of Giving the Gospel To the World