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"Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian"
The chapter out of which our text is taken contains an account of Paulís conversion to Christianity which he gave before governor Festus and King Agrippa. Paulís speech before Agrippa is his sixth and final defense of Christianity recorded in Acts. As Paul finished his defense, I notice his sudden thrust in verse 27. Then I see the side-stepping tactics from Agrippa, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." But then I observe the single theme of the Apostle in verse 29. Paulís one theme was that men might turn to Christ.
It is from these words of Agrippa that the hymn ALMOST PERSUADED was based.
Almost persuaded, now to believe,
Almost persuaded, Christ to receive.
Seems now some soul to say,
Go, Spirit, go thy way;
Some more convenient day
On Thee Iíll call.
"Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian."
From these words of Agrippa I want to use three words for our thoughts this morning:
I. Christian - The DESPISED word
Many names for believers in the Bible.
disciples- verse 1
this way- verse 2
call on thy name-verse 14
brethren- verse 30
Notice a name for the believer that was given by the world (Acts 11:26). From all indications it was a name given to the believers in mockery. The name has stuck and has become a badge of honor. It is a name by which the Lordís people are known to this day. It is a name that identifies the believer with Christ and Christ with the believer.The suffix ian means "belonging to the party of." It is only found three times in the NT. Christian is word that identifies a people who attest to a change (II Corinthians 5:17), accept a call (II Corinthians 5:18-20), and are assured a cross (Philippians 1:29). Christians are a people who stand out from the crowd (Acts 11:25,26), speak out for the Lord (Acts 26:28), and sing out in their afflictions (I Peter 4;14,16).
What manner of people Christians ought to be because of the name we bear. Our character, conduct, and our conversation ought to advertise to the world that we are His.
II. Persuade -The DECISIVE word
Persuade means "to convince by argument and reason, to draw on incline the will to determination by presenting motives to the mind."
Acts 18:4; Acts 19:26; and II Corinthians 5:11.
A. Persuade men by our life (4). Note continuance in verse 22.
B. Persuade men by using the Word (verse 22).
C. Persuade men by lifting up Christ (23).
D. Persuade men by our persistency (29).
Not persuade men until you are fully persuaded (II Timothy 1:12).
Are you fully persuaded that Jesus is the only way!
Are you fully persuaded that Jesus is the sufficient way!
III. Almost - the DANGEROUS word
Think of the emotion that is packed into the word almost. It is five seconds to the buzzer; the home team is down by one point, and the crowds favorite player has the basketball. Quickly the moves into position. He jumps. He shoots. The ball arches up to the hoop, bounces twice on the rim.... and falls away. As the buzzer sounds, the fans let out a collective moan - their team almost won the game.
Almost won -- the two words together are gut wrenching. There is not second chance; there is no trophy for the most "almost winsí; there are no cheers, no banners, no victory celebrations. it doesnít
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