Summary: Paul continues with Agrippa
a. Vince Lombardi once said that the best defense is a good offense. This last week, as my family sat around Sunday evening, eating chicken wings, and watching the two top teams in football square off, I thought about Paul, and how he was in a Superbowl of sorts, when we left him last week in chapter 25.
b. Here he was standing in the Amphitheater of Caesarea, and everybody who was anybody came to see the trial of the year. The king came down from Galilee, and the Governor, and all of the top military officials were there. All of the Pomp and hype, in fact it REALLY reminded me about the Superbowl.
c. Paul’s trial wasn’t without scandal, either. The king showed up with his date, who just happened to be his sister. The Governor was in a pinch because he needed some charges to try and pin on Paul so that he could send him to Caesar, seeing as how Paul had appealed to Rome.
d. But, as we talked about last week, Paul wasn’t really on trial here. What was on trial was Christianity. The fresh new way of worship, ushered in by Jesus Christ, the Messiah. The Old Testament scriptures had alluded to it throughout history, and now it was here, and people were skeptical.
e. G.K. Chesterton once said that The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried. The people who would hear Paul’s defense today would be confronted with the truth, the message of the church, and if they rejected it, they would be rejecting God.
f. Paul wrote to the Romans in chapter 1, starting at verse 15 - 15 So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. 6 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
g. Today would be no exception; Paul would preach the gospel as he made his defense to Agrippa and Festus. He would do what God had called him to do, and left the results to God.
a. Chapter 26 marks Paul’s last hurrah as it were in the nation of Israel. Next week, in chapter 27, Paul begins his journey to Rome, and the week after, we will conclude the book of Acts with chapter 28, and a review.
b. What a story is told in the pages of the book of the Acts! We open with a group of several hundred disciples, which was practically the whole church at that point, standing on a mountainside, and they witness the Ascension of Jesus up into heaven. Jesus said in Acts 1:8 that they would be his witnessed in Judea, in Samaria, and to the very ends of the earth.
c. Hit the fast forward button, and today, we see Paul presenting the gospel to the king of Israel and the Roman Governor of Judea. We are told much about the journey it took to bring the gospel to this point, but I think that we can’t fully understand all of the hardship and suffering it took on the part of Paul and the other disciples to actually get to this point. Thousands of miles on foot, stonings, beatings, getting thrown in jail, and some had already been killed at this point.
d. All of these trials these men shouldered cheerfully, gratefully. Back in Acts chapter ***, Peter and John said that they were glad to have suffered for the Name of Christ.
e. I hear often people describing their church as an Acts kind of church, or that they are looking for an Acts kind of church. What they are talking about is that they are looking for the power and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that we see driving these men to accomplish what would have seemed to them to be impossible.
f. I may not get a lot of accolades when I say this, but if you are looking for the power of the Holy Spirit in your life like we see in Acts, then it takes the same kind of hardships that these men experienced to get it. It takes dying to yourself. This means sacrifice. Instead of question being “What can this church offer me?” it becomes “What can I do for the church?” That, guys, is true ministry. That is getting something done for the kingdom of God.
g. Ministry comes at the point that we reach the end of ourselves, and God has to take it up, because we can’t do it any longer. I never really understood that before a year ago, and I am still learning now, but this one thing I do know.