Summary: Christians: God will help us... 1. walk in good works (vs. 19-20). 2. make it through our trials (vs. 21). 3. take a stand for our Savior (vs. 22-23). 4. love the unlovely (vs. 24-26).
God's Crucial Help for Christians
The Book of Acts - Part 86
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - June 7, 2015
*If anybody ever needed help, it was Paul in Acts 26. After he got to Jerusalem, Paul was almost murdered three times. He had also been held as a prisoner for at least two years.
*Now in this Scripture, Paul was in the middle of the fourth trial, in which he faced the death penalty. But God helped the Apostle Paul, and God will surely help us too. This part of Paul's story shows us four ways that the Lord will help us.
1. First: God will help us walk in good works.
*Paul tried his absolute best to obey God's will for his life. And his testimony in tonight's Scripture urges us to live the same way. In vs. 19-20 Paul said:
19. "Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,
20. but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance."
*In vs. 20, Paul tells us three things that we should do, and the first is repent or turn away from sin. Here Paul echoed the teaching of both John the Baptist and our Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew 3:1-2 tells us that:
1. In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,
2. and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!''
*Then in Matthew 4:17, Jesus began to preach, and the first word He said was "Repent!" "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
1. "To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, 'These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:
2. I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;
3. and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary.
4. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
5. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place unless you repent."
*Everyone should repent or turn away from sin. At the same time, we should turn to God confessing our sins, and trusting in His mercy. We should also start to do the things God wants us to do. As Paul said in vs. 20, we should "do works befitting repentance."
*Paul put it this way in Ephesians 2:8-10:
8. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9. not of works, lest anyone should boast.
10. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
*Start walking in good works, but what are these good works? Well, they certainly include all of our faithful, love-inspired service for the Lord in church: Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, serving on committees, serving as a deacon, serving in the nursery, singing in the choir, Orange, Upward, Youth, Children's Church and more.
*This Wednesday, our good works include special prayers for VBS. But our good work for the Lord is not just church work. Our good works go beyond the church to reveal the love and goodness of God where we live, work and play.
*God will help us walk in good works for Him. He spoke to Paul through a heavenly vision. Now God speaks to us through His Word, through the still, small voice of His Holy Spirit, and through inspirational examples like Paul and the many other Christians who shine for Jesus Christ.
*God also speaks to us through a troubled conscience. Focus on the Family told about a 6-year-old boy who was asked to define "conscience." He said he wasn't quite sure what it was, but he thought it had something to do with feeling bad when you kick girls. (1)
*Well, I know you haven't been kicking any little girls. But all of us know the sting of a guilty conscience, because all of us fall short. And God uses these things to steer us in the right direction. As Philippians 2:13 tells us, "God is at work in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure." God will help us walk in good works.