Summary: Although under house arrest, Paul continued to proclaim the Gospel. He refused to remain silent about the grace he had received. We need to share the desire and commitment of Paul to proclaim the Gospel.
A Witness to the Faith
Acts 26: 19-23; 27-29
This was a stressful and frustrating time for Paul. At this time he had been under house arrest for more than two years. He was accused and arrested in Jerusalem by the influence of the Jewish Sanhedrin. Following an appeal to Caesar, he was brought to Caesarea, where he remained bound. While in Caesarea, he was examined by two Roman governors, Felix and Festus. King Agrippa arrived in the city and Festus desired him to hear Paul’s case as well.
Our text follows Paul’s opening remarks as he stood before Agrippa in defense of his faith and the charges brought against him. He has just recounted his miraculous conversion on the Damascus Road, and his call to be a witness to the Gentiles. The verses we have read record Paul’s bold declaration to Agrippa, revealing his devotion to the Gospel ministry.
While our situation is different today, we can glean much from the testimony of the faithful Apostle. Every believer ought to share the desire and commitment Paul had to the Gospel. As we consider the details revealed in Paul’s encounter, I pray we will be challenged to remain devoted to the Lord and the Gospel. I want to preach on: A Witness to the Faith.
I. The Commitment of Paul (19-21) – In case there was any doubt regarding Paul’s commitment to his calling, he wanted to assure Agrippa of his determination to continue. V.19 – Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision. Paul spoke of:
A. His Ministry (20a) – But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles. Paul had taken his encounter with Christ and the calling he received very seriously. He began to preach the Gospel at Damascus and then traveled to Jerusalem. Facing opposition and rejection, he then turned to the Gentiles. While this was all within the plan and purpose of God, it also reveals Paul’s commitment to share the Truth with all who would listen. He had been saved by grace and commissioned to proclaim the Gospel.
Most of us will never have the opportunity to preach to the masses like Paul or travel the globe sharing the Gospel, but we can be faithful to share with those we encounter. We need the commitment of Paul to share our faith with anyone who will listen. We must learn to view our communities and work places, or anywhere we encounter people as a mission field.
B. His Message (20b) – [But shewed…them] that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. As Paul encountered people, whether Jew or Gentile, his message was the same. He called them to repent of sin, turn to God, and believe the Gospel. He challenged them to live their lives in a way that would honor God and reveal their salvation in Christ. He didn’t have one message tailored for the Jews and another adjusted for the Gentiles. Everywhere Paul went, he proclaimed the need for repentance and acceptance of the Gospel.
America has developed a culture that no longer embraces the Gospel. Believers are constantly pressured to abandon the truths of the faith and conform to the dictates of society. The world desires a watered down message of acceptance and inclusion of all, regardless of their lifestyle or commitment to the Lord. We must remain committed to the Gospel. Jesus Christ remains the sole means of salvation. Unbelievers must repent of sin and believe in the finished work of Christ for salvation. That isn’t popular, but it is Truth. We dishonor the Lord and do the world an injustice if we proclaim a false gospel.
C. His Misery (21) – For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. I don’t think Paul was seeking sympathy from Agrippa; he just wanted him to know the Jews desired to kill him because he proclaimed truth. Paul had suffered greatly for the cause of Christ. His commitment to the Gospel was the sole reason he was bound in Caesarea. (Serving the Lord often comes at a cost. You might as well prepare for, and expect, opposition. Those who reject and despise the Gospel will seek to hinder and defeat you as you serve the Lord.)
II. The Confession of Paul (22-23) – After revealing his commitment to the Gospel, Paul confessed his determination to continue, regardless of their decision. He revealed:
A. His Dependence (22a) – Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day. While wicked men had sought to destroy Paul, he remained able to proclaim the Gospel by the help of the Lord. In fact, he had been given the opportunity to share his faith with some of the most influential men of that time. Paul assured Agrippa that God had been faithful, and he stood before him that day through the providence of God.