Sermons

Summary: Almost choosing to become a Christian doesn't get you into Heaven.

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Paul has been traveling allover what is now eastern and central Europe, preaching and teaching people about Jesus Christ. After his third and final missionary journey, Paul returns to Jerusalem. Paul arrives in Jerusalem only to be arrested by his fellow Jews, because they believe that Jesus’ teaching contradicts their own. Paul tells them that he is also a Jew, and tries to explain that his teaching about Jesus is not contradictory to the law, but the fulfillment of the law. Well, needless to say, they didn’t like that very much either. They then take him before the Sanhedrin, which is kind of like a court, but for religious matters in the Jewish law. It’s the same court that Jesus was first brought to when they arrested Him. Well, Paul tells them that he’s a Roman citizen, and they tell him He must go to Rome. So, to make a long story short, the Jewish leaders plot to kill Paul while He’s traveling to Rome. Well, the commander at the prison, where Paul is currently residing, gets wind of this plot, and has two soldiers take him to Caesarea to see the governor, Felix. Paul then has his trial before Felix, and what Paul says makes him nervous, so he decides to postpone the trial—indefinitely. Meanwhile, two years later, Paul is still sitting in prison, when a new governor named Festus takes over. Festus then gives Paul a trial. Festus doesn’t want to make a ruling, so he says that he’s going to be sent to Caesar. The Bible then tells us that a few days later King Agrippa comes to town to see Festus. Somehow, I believe by divine intervention, the subject of Paul arises sometime during their visit together. Festus tells King Agrippa about Paul, and the king becomes very interested in the matter, and says that he’ll hear Paul’s case the next day. So, the next day, Paul appears before Festus and King Agrippa, and begins to tell them about his conversion.I would like to point out to begin with that this is the third time that Luke, the writer of Acts, has recorded the story of Paul’s conversion. Luke only uses repetition in his writing of Luke-Acts when he considers something to be extremely important, and wants the reader to never forget about it. Luke is stressing the fact that Paul, who once persecuted Christians, condoned their killing, and was eagerly hunting down more Christians for punishment, has now been converted to Christianity. Jesus tells Paul, “It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” I had no idea what a goad was, so I did some research. ‘A goad is a long stick with a sharpened, pointed end. It was used by the keepers of livestock, to prod the animal when it was yoked up to a wagon or some type of farm machinery. This kicking, though, was useless and the animal soon learned it was better to submit to the farmer’s direction rather than to kick against the goad.’ ‘Jesus is trying to tell Paul that it is completely useless for him to fight against Christianity. What God had accomplished with Jesus’ death was now going to be carried out, and proclaimed by His church.’ Luke is concerned with pointing out that Jesus loved Paul, Jesus died for him, and that Paul accepted that love, mercy, and grace, and thus was forgiven of his sins, and became one the greatest people in the cause for Christianity. So, to begin with, everyone here needs to put out of their mind the idea that they are too bad, that they’ve done too much wrong for Jesus to forgive them. Paul killed Christians, yet Jesus had died for him, and when Paul asked for forgiveness, it was given to him along with grace, in abundance.


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