Summary: Expository message applying Paul’s commission towards the lost while exhorting believers to greater evangelistic effort
Acts 26:16 - But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
I. To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God...
A. A sudden change in consciousness (open their eyes)
1. Realization of sin
Each person need to realize his/her need for Christ - "People need the Lord."
Illustration: A certain man was troubled with dizzy spells. He went from one doctor to another and none could tell him what the problem was. He tried everything, it seemed. Finally, it was bothering him so much he started to lose weight, and he couldn’t sleep at night. He became a nervous wreck and his health began to deteriorate. He had lost hope that he would ever recover. So he decided to prepare for the worst. He made out his will, bought a cemetery plot, and even made arrangements with the local undertaker for what he was convinced was his soon demise. He even decided to buy a new suit of clothes to be buried in. When he went into the haberdasher’s he was measured for everything and picked out shoes, socks, coat, pants--and he asked for a size 15 shirt as well. The clerk said, "But, sir, you need a size 161/2 shirt, not 15." But the man insisted he wore a size 15. Finally, in exasperation the clerk said, "But if you wear a size 15 you’ll get dizzy spells."
2. Realization of lostness
Illustration: Two cliffs 100 feet apart - you only have 50 feet of cable - I have 50 feet of string. Would you cross? How about 99’ rope / 1’ string?
B. A sudden change in understanding (darkness/light)
1. Knowledge of Christ’s substitionary sacrifice
Illustration: "The Passion of the Christ"
2. Knowledge of Christ’s offer of salvation
Why would God choose an orthodox Jew to preach the gospel to the unbelieving Gentiles? Because as a Jew schooled in all the do’s and don’ts of the Old Testament--who was saved by grace through faith alone--he knew better than anyone that those outside the law could be saved without the law. A Gentile missionary would have wanted to adhere to all the Jewish rituals and ceremonies (Christianity was an extension of Judaism)
C. A sudden change in loyalty (from...Satan to God)
Look at the entire phrase - "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God," - in other words, Satan’s power over people depends on him keeping them in the dark
1. Freed from the bonds of slavery to sin and Satan
Romans 6:16 - Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
2. Freed to serve the living Lord Jesus Christ
Romans 8:2 - For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
II. ...that they may receive forgiveness of sins...
Ephesians 1:7 - In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Micah 7:18 - Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.
19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
Psalm 103:11 - For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
III. ...and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
1. Abundant life in this world
John 10:10 - The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.