Summary: 1. Hunt for opportunities to share (26:1-2). 2. Get a happy attitude about sharing (26:2). 3. Be hospitable in every situation (26:1-4). 4. Keep living in the hope of God's promise (26:4-8). 5. Be honest about who you are (26:9-11).
How to Tell Our Christian Story - Part 1
The Book of Acts - Part 84
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - May 24, 2015
*Please open your Bibles to Acts 25, as we focus on how to give our Christian testimonies. Back in Acts 21, Paul arrived in Jerusalem at the end of his third missionary journey. The Apostle returned to Jerusalem both to worship the Lord and to deliver a generous love offering that the mission churches had donated for the poor Christians of the city.
*About a week later, Paul was almost killed by a mob of Christ-rejecting Jews. But he was rescued, and then taken into custody by Roman soldiers. Over 40 fanatical Jews then tried to ambush Paul, but he was transferred to the safety of the governor's headquarters in Caesarea.
*By the end of Acts 24, Paul had been in custody for two whole years, even though he was completely innocent of any wrong doing. By that time, Paul had already gone through at least 3 trials, and the only thing he pled guilty to was being a follower of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (1)
*In tonight's Scripture, Paul was going through the fourth trial for his life. Starting in Acts 25:9, God's Word shows us the end of the third trial. It also sets-up the beginning of Paul's fourth trial:
9. But Festus (He was the new governor.), wanting to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, "Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and there be judged before me concerning these things?''
10. Then Paul said, "I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you very well know.
11. For if I am an offender, or have committed anything worthy of death, I do not object to dying; but if there is nothing in these things of which these men accuse me, no one can deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar.''
12. Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, "You have appealed to Caesar? To Caesar you shall go!''
*That was the end of the third trial. Starting in Acts 25:13, we see the circumstances that led to Paul's fourth trial:
13. And after some days King Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea to greet Festus.
14. When they had been there many days, Festus laid Paul's case before the king, saying: "There is a certain man left a prisoner by Felix,
15. about whom the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, when I was in Jerusalem, asking for a judgment against him.
16. To them I answered, 'It is not the custom of the Romans to deliver any man to (die) before the accused meets the accusers face to face, and has opportunity to answer for himself concerning the charge against him.'
17. Therefore when they had come together, without any delay, the next day I sat on the judgment seat and commanded the man to be brought in.
18. When the accusers stood up, they brought no accusation against him of such things as I supposed,
19. but had some questions against him about their own religion and about one, Jesus, who had died, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.
20. And because I was uncertain of such questions, I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem and there be judged concerning these matters.
21. But when Paul appealed to be reserved for the decision of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I could send him to Caesar.''
22. Then Agrippa said to Festus, "I also would like to hear the man myself.'' "Tomorrow,'' he said, "you shall hear him.''
23. So the next day, when Agrippa and Bernice had come with great pomp, and had entered the auditorium with the commanders and the prominent men of the city, at Festus' command Paul was brought in.
24. And Festus said: "King Agrippa and all the men who are here present with us, you see this man about whom the whole assembly of the Jews petitioned me, both at Jerusalem and here, crying out that he was not fit to live any longer.
25. But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself had appealed to Augustus, I decided to send him.
26. I have nothing certain to write to my lord concerning him. Therefore I have brought him out before you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that after the examination has taken place I may have something to write.
27. For it seems to me unreasonable to send a prisoner and not to specify the charges against him.''