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?