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Summary: To “die on third” in baseball lingo equates to being “almost persuaded” in matters pertaining to one’s spiritual life.

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DON’T DIE ON THIRD!

27 "King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe." 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian." 29 And Paul said, "I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains." Acts 26:27-29

Few words trigger the emotions more than the word “almost”. This is true in many areas of life. In this year’s World Series (2005), the Houston Astros almost won game one; almost won game two; almost won game three, and almost won game four…but almost winning makes losing even more disappointing. Being a native Houstonian, this year’s World Series was a “tough pill” to swallow. But in baseball, there is always “next year”. For the Chicago White Sox, who swept the Astros four in a row, it has been eighty six “next years” before they could glory in the fact that they were the best team in baseball,

We see something immensely more tragic in our text today. To “die on third” in baseball lingo equates to being “almost persuaded” in matters pertaining to one’s spiritual life.

I. PAUL’S TESTIMONY BEFORE KING AGRIPPA

The entire 26th chapter of Acts is given to Paul’s witness before King Agrippa. Paul told of his pre-Christian activities and then told of his conversion on the road to Damascus.

12 "While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, 13 "at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. 14 "And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ’Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 "So I said, ’Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ’I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”

II. PAUL’S URGENT PLEA

27 "King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe." 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian." 29 And Paul said, "I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains." Acts 26:27-29

III. AGRIPPA’S DISAPPOINTING DECISION

." 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian." Paul had a great passion for the lost, both Jew and Gentile. How it must have broken Paul’s heart to hear Agrippa say “you almost persuade me.” So close and yet so far away. There is no indication, in either sacred or secular history, that Agrippa ever embraced Christianity.

IV. DON’T DIE ON THIRD!

So near home and so close to victory. So close to eternal life, eternal glory and honor. But close is not sufficient. Only in the game of “horseshoes” does “coming close” count for anything. Don’t play “horseshoes” with your eternal destiny. Tragically, in your spiritual life, “a miss is as good as a mile!”

The greatest personal tragedy a person could experience is to stand before Christ at the Judgment of the Great White Throne and hear Him say: “Depart from Me, I never knew you!” (Matthew 7:23). Hearing this and knowing all the while that you were once so close to eternal life, only serves to deepen the tragedy. To think, you were “almost persuaded”. Almost...but forever lost!

If you can hear me today, or read this in print before you, know this; it is not too late for you. When the Holy Spirit calls you to trust Jesus, get off third base…and head home! What do you need to do to make this happen? Let’s see what God’s Word tells us we need to do.

The Philippian jailor asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” I like to think that the first simultaneous revival ever conducted took place in that jail that night. Paul and Silas answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…” Acts 16:30-31. Trust in Christ Jesus and accept Him as your Savior. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) Simply trust Jesus. Not Jesus plus anything or anyone else…just Jesus!

Please dear friend...DON’T DIE ON THIRD! Hymn writer P. P. Bliss wrote one of the greatest invitational songs ever penned. It is about this greatest of all tragedies. Consider carefully its message.

“Almost persuaded,” now to believe;

“Almost persuaded,” Christ to receive;

Seems now some soul to say, “Go, Spirit, go Thy way,

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