Summary: Paul always had to consider his commitment to Christ before he would make his decisions.
MOMENTS OF DECISION
This morning I want us to consider how important it is for us to walk in the ways of the Lord. Sometimes, this is not easy to do. Especially when we consider our commitment to Christ when we have to say, or do, the right thing. We all have heard it said that,
“One thing leads to another…”
This saying can become very true.
As an example, let me tell you about two very important and powerful men who are leading our country.
The Attorney General John Ashcroft is someone we can use an example. You may not know this, but John Ashcroft comes from an Assembly of God family in Missouri. His father and grandfather were both very well respected preachers. John Ashcroft has had to defend his faith and commitment to Christ on numerous occasions. He decided to run for the U.S. Senate and was certain to be elected, until his opponent suddenly died just before that election. It looked as if John Ashcroft’s political career was over when he lost that race to the widow of his opponent.
God was not through with John Ashcroft. God just had a greater plan than what Mr. Ashcroft had thought.
Another story is one most of us will never forget. And that is the election of our president, George W. Bush.
Pres. Bush barely won the election and his critics considered him to be a bumbling idiot. And once again, the Lord had a much greater plan.
The nation discovered a strong and courageous president after 9/11.
Within days after that disaster, the president went to “Ground Zero” to meet with the firemen and policeman of New York City.
President Bush had a very important MOMENT OF DECISION for himself and the rest of the world.
The President and the Fire Chief climbed a pile of rubble (there at “Ground Zero”) and shouted those fateful words through a megaphone,
“I hear you…the whole world hears you!”
That Critical MOMENT OF DECISION let the entire world know that America was committed to it’s God given freedom and pursuit of happiness.
There are moments in all of our lives when we must reckon ourselves to exactly what the Lord is doing.
These MOMENTS OF DECISIONS are important to the Lord and us.
One thing may lead to another.
In one brief moment, the Lord may very well call on you to make a stand. A stand with your faith can literally change the course of someone’s life.
As a believer, we must be ready for such an important moment in our life.
The Apostle Paul was a great man of God and there were many times in his life when he had to make difficult decisions. Paul always had to consider his commitment to Christ before he would make his decisions.
One such time was when Paul was brought before a Roman Governor by the name of Felix. Paul had been falsely accused of many things by the Sadducees and Pharisees, and they wanted him executed.
Paul’s life was hanging in the balance. Anything Paul said could easily make the difference as to whether he would live or die.
It was a very important MOMENT OF DECISION for Paul.
Paul’s back was against the wall.
This Roman Jew that once persecuted Christians for their faith was now facing the gallows as well.
Let me read to you a quote from Paul as he testified to Felix that day.
Text: Acts 24:10 thru 21
It may be a little difficult for us to understand the whole story here.
But to simplify the story, let me (briefly) tell you how “One thing leads to another” for Paul.
Here is some of what happened to the Apostle Paul in chapters 23 & 24:
1. Paul testified in Jerusalem of his salvation experience. And for this he was beaten and put in chains.
2. He then told how he had repented to the Lord for persecuting and killing the believers.
3. He was arrested and put in chains by the Romans Centurions.
4. He then had to testify before the Sanhedrin Court of what happened. And for this he was beaten again.
5. Some said he was guilty and should be executed, while others could find no fault in him. (So far this is a lot like the arrest and trial of Jesus in the same court.)
6. As you might expect, the Lord had something to say about all of this in Acts 23:11
the Lord stood near Paul and said, "Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome."
7. Forty men promised to not eat or drink until they had killed Paul.
8. The Romans called out the 470 soldiers from their National Guard to protect Paul, and get him safely out of town.