Summary: The best way to share your faith is to start with your own story of life change. In Acts 26, Paul gets to do just that when standing before king Agrippa
Lessons in Courage Part 7 Series Final
Dr. Tom Bartlett
November 3, 2019
Acts 26:1-32 (ESV)
“You have permission to speak for yourself”
(Vs. 1-3) So Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense:
Telling Your Story
Paul: “My manner of life”
(Vs. 4-8) “My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee. And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king! Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?
(Vs. 9-10) “I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them.
Paul says these people who once hated are “saints”. That means faithful and holy people, in other words they were right and I was wrong.
This reference to “cast my vote” was regarding the way the Sanhedrin, the group of 70 that ruled over the Jewish people made decisions. Paul may have been part of that group. They would cast a white stone or a black stone each signaling a yes or no over matters. That would mean that Paul was part of their highest ruling body, like the supreme court. It’s also interesting that if that’s so and many believe it was, he would have had to have been married since all members in that group were required to be 30 years of age and married. So, we know from other scripture that Paul was now single either his wife left him or died or something else. He continues about his zeal.
(Vs. 11) And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities.
You: Describe your life before Christ
Paul: “I saw a light from heaven”
(Vs. 12) “In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests.
(Vs. 13-15) At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.
You: Tell how God got your attention
Paul: “I appoint you as a servant and witness”
(Vs. 16) But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you,
(Vs. 17-18) delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
(Vs. 19-20) “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.
You: Share how God has redirected your life
Paul: “The Jews tried to kill me”
(Vs. 21-23) For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”
You: Tell them what God has brought you through