Summary: Here is Paul, on trial for his life, giving a beautiful witness to the life-changing power of God. But it is not his testimony alone, but the same one that each believer might be able to give.
Passage: Acts 25-26
Intro: It’s easy to compare ourselves to the Apostle Paul and feel inferior.
1. in sheer determination and self- sacrifice, his example seems unattainable.
2. so we sigh, our shoulders slump, and we continue living with the vague thought that there should be more.
3. I want to challenge that self-image this morning by looking at these two chapters in Acts.
4. this is the record of Paul’s longest personal testimony, given before audiences who demonstrated their hostility in different ways.
5. brothers and sisters, with variations in details, there is nothing in this testimony that could not be said by each of us who have put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
6. Paul’s testimony here is the testimony of every believer.
7. we need to believe it, proclaim it, live in it’s power.
8. Let’s look at the parts of his testimony before a Roman governor and a Jewish king.
I. “I Was Blind to God’s Truth”
1. it had been 2 years since Paul’s original arrest.
2. in jail in Caesarea, next governor, Porcius Festus, a Roman
3. visit to Jerusalem in 25:1-3 gave Jews a chance to renew charges; they had not forgotten!
4. got back, quick trial. The two years had not improved their pathetic case.
5. invitation to go to Jerusalem in v9 meant quick death, (v3) so Paul appealed to Caesar, as was his right.
6. King Agrippa and sister came for a visit, gave Festus a chance to get their input. Agrippa was a Jew, great-grandson of Herod the Great, king when Jesus was born.
7. set up a meeting where Paul could address Agrippa, and so give his testimony before Jew and Roman together.
8. testimony starts in 26:4, with life before Christ.
9. his blindness took shape as opposition 10. to everything about Jesus Christ.
so blind to the truth that he hated those who believed in him, tortured and killed them.
11. this was also true of each of us, my friends.
12. because of the universality of sin, each of us lived for some time in spiritual death and darkness.
13. religious Jew that Paul was, he was blind to the truth revealed so clearly in Jesus Christ.
II. “God Spoke to Me”
1. Paul’s experience was more dramatic than most.
2. not everyone gets knocked to the ground by a blazing light and hears the audible voice of God.
3. it could have been that Paul was an especially hard case, or it may have had something to do with the nature of his call.
4. but in the end, God spoke to Paul, and Paul listened.
5. don’t think for a moment that because you have never heard an audible voice, that God has not spoken to you.
6. God speaks in a number of ways.
7. certainly through His creation,
PP Psalm 19:1-2
8. God expects to be heard.
PP Romans 1:20
8. He has spoken to us through His written word.
9. and finally, He has spoken to us through His own Son.
PP Hebrews 1:2
10. and if you today believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, then God has spoken to you and you have heard.
11. God continually speaks to us, declaring His glory, declaring his love for us. Keep listening!
III. “I Was Given the Task to Rescue the World”
Il) in seminary, all of us were given the MMPI. Normal, except for having religious psychosis, from a few answers like “I am a special servant of God”
1. Paul states in v16 that he was called to ministry to both Jew and Gentile.
2. vv17-18 are a beautiful summary of what he was to do.
3. open eyes, turn from darkness and Satan’s power, so they receive forgiveness and be transformed.
4. he was to rescue the world by proclaiming salvation through Jesus Christ.
5. this was Paul’s private “great commission”, but it is really no different than the one to the disciples and to us.
6. this is our task, and we can say with Paul that our task is to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the end of the earth, by whatever means God calls us to do it.
7. God did not leave us here on earth to make money or be comfortable or to get old and have a healthy and prosperous retirement.
8. we are here to rescue the world from the evil clutches of Satan.
9. if you have a hard time with that, read the Bible.
PP Matthew 5:14, 16
IV. “I Believe That Jesus Christ is the One and Only Risen Savior of the World”
1. was no more PC then than it is now.