Summary: Agrippa was close, but was it close enough.
This post was published to Denn’s Sermons at 7:12:23 AM 14/06/2009
Almost Only Counts in Horseshoes.
Account Denn’s Sermons
You ever play horseshoes? Angela’s Dad loved to play horseshoes. Throughout the summer months if you are wondered where Al was all you have to do is wander down to the horseshoe pitch and there he was. Personally I’m not a big horseshoe fan, and some of you are wondering “What in the world are horseshoes?” Shoes that fit on horses of course. But they are also a game, two people play with large specially made horseshoes, some folks own their own horseshoes much like some bowlers own their own bowling balls. And you take turns throwing your horseshoes down the length of a sand filled pitch trying to get them around a stake driven into the ground at the end of the pitch. You get a certain number of points for getting your horseshoe around the stake and a certain number for being the closest to the stake. When I was a kid, when somebody said “I almost did this” or “I almost did that” the proper response was, “Almost only counts in horseshoes.” Did you ever say that? Did you know why almost only counted in horseshoes?
That is one of the facts of life: almost doesn’t cut it, as a matter of fact “Almost only counts in horseshoes.” In the book of Acts, Paul was arrested for preaching the Gospel and the Roman Consulate Festus decides to hand over the responsibility of Paul to King Agrippa, who wasn’t really a king at all but who was actually Herod Agrippa the second, who ruled over a small part of Palestine at the grace of the Romans with his sister Bernice, who was the sister in law of Festus. The story is told in the book of Acts in chapter 26 Paul states his case, he starts with his early life and then how he persecuted the Christians, and then he told of his conversion, in short he gave his testimony. Paul has laid everything out and used all his ammunition, and then he closes with these words in Acts 26:27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do—”
Paul has become the master fisherman. He has baited his hook, he has cast his line and now he has a nibble, he can see Agrippa taking the bait, easy, easy, and gotcha. he gives the line a jerk to set the hook. You know it’s at this point that most of us fail in being fishers of men. We testify, we witness and get folks interested and then we don’t set the hook and they eat the goodies and swim away. But not Paul, Paul takes the time to set the hook. Paul was used to success, and I’m sure that he was ready for Agrippa to saw, “I believe Paul, I believe”. But instead we read in Acts 26:28 Agrippa interrupted him. “A little more, and your arguments would make me a Christian.” You might be more familiar with this translation Acts 26:28 NKJV Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian” Almost Paul, but not quite. Paul must have been flabbergasted, discouraged, disgusted. And when I get discouraged I think of Paul, he blew it, he wasn’t a hundred percent.
Why? Who knows, maybe he wasn’t convincing enough, perhaps he had turned Agrippa off in some way or perhaps Agrippa wasn’t paying attention maybe his mind was wandering and was thinking of something else. We don’t know why Agrippa was only “Almost persuaded”. Paul had done everything right but it didn’t seem enough.
I love the ministry, it’s my life, and to a certain degree I have been training for the ministry since I was sixteen years old. During the summers I spent working on salvage tugs and oil tankers but during my high school years I began selling and I continued to sell into my time at college. I sold dress clothes, blue jeans, vacuum cleaners, wood stoves, bicycles, cars, trucks, travel trailers and advertising. From the time that I was sixteen years old I made my living convincing people that they needed what I had to offer.
Ministry is sales. No that’s not sacrilege. I have something other people don’t have but need. My job very simply is to convince them that they need Jesus Christ. Every once in awhile someone will ask me if I can do something about the weather to which I reply “Sorry I’m in sales not management.”
Now I am not one of those people who can sell everything to everybody I will never be able to sell refrigerators to Eskimos, I worked hard at my selling and I used all of the tools of my trade. I made sure that I was properly groomed, and well dressed, I discovered how to address people and set them at ease, and I learned everything about my product and I learned how to set the hook. It was no good spending time selling a product and then never ask the customer if they actually wanted to buy it or not.