The Apostle Paul has been falsely accused of stirring up trouble among the Jews by preaching against Moses, against God, and against the law. His case has been bouncing back and forth in the Jewish and Roman legal systems for quite a while. Paul has been taking advantage of this process by using it as an opportunity to preach the gospel and share his testimony.
When we left off last time, as Paul was witnessing to King Agrippa, Governor Festus interrupted him and accused Paul of being crazy. Paul is about to show Governor Festus that he is not the one who is crazy.
Acts 26:25 “’I am not insane, most excellent Festus,’ Paul replied, ‘What I am saying is true and reasonable.’”
I’m not going to apologize for my testimony. I have become what I am because of Jesus. My life is a result of God’s divine mercy, love, and grace.
Acts 26:26-27 “The King is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.’”
If not Festus, when you’re sharing your testimony or telling your story, you might find yourself talking to someone like King Agrippa; someone who’s curious but comfortable; someone who knows a lot of doctrine but doesn’t want God to get too close; someone who believes that not too close is close enough for them. Someone who says, “I’ll believe what I want to believe, what I’ve always believed because what I believe is right for me.”
Acts 26:28“The King Agrippa said to Paul, ‘Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?’”
“Are you trying to make a Christian out of me, Paul?” You must think I’m crazy if you think I’m going to believe what you’re telling me.
I have an answer, King Agrippa. I have a defense. I have a hope and I have a story. No matter where I’ve been, King Agrippa; regardless of what I may be struggling with; whatever battles I may be fighting; The Lord has always been with me.
“I have had God’s help to this very day.”(Acts 26:22) The Lord has never ignored me; never abandoned me; never given up on me; never failed to provide everything I’ve needed.
Acts 26:29 “Paul replied, ‘Short time or long time – I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.’”
If you never get another thing out of what I’ve just said to you King Agrippa, I hope you can tell how much I care about you and I want you to have the same hope and the same joy in your life that I’ve found
When the Lord provides an opportunity, tell them your story. Tell them even if it looks like they were sorry they asked. Tell them what you used to be. Tell them what happened. Tell them how your life has changed because of Jesus; and tell them what Jesus is doing in your life right now. Tell them your story even if it seems to fall on deaf ears; even if it seems like you’ve been wasting your breath.
We don’t really know the impact Paul’s story had on Festus or Agrippa, but when Paul was done talking, neither of them could claim they had never heard the Gospel. And Paul told his story in a gentle and respectful way. His conscience was clear. Anyone who spoke evil about him now would be ashamed when they saw the good life he was living because he belonged to Jesus. Paul had definitely given them both a lot to think about.
People are wandering around through life with a lot of emptiness inside them; desperately trying to find some meaning, some direction; some answers; some hope. Their lives are very superficial, very materialistic and very temporary. They need to hear our stories. They may not be quick to receive them, but they definitely need to hear them.
We can’t be stumbling around looking for the right words to say when someone puts us on the spot. We can’t keep beating ourselves up thinking back over the things we could have said or should have said. Be ready. Have an answer. Prepare your story. Use Paul’s outline if it will make it easier for you. Prepare your defense. I guarantee you, if you’re committed to Christ as the Lord of your life, you’re going to have to explain it to somebody someday.
Acts 26:30-31 “The king rose and with him, the governor, and Bernice and those sitting with them. They left the room and while talking with one another, they said, ’This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.’”
I’m thankful that I wasn’t called for jury duty in this trial because it would have driven me crazy. The non-believing world stands back and sees Christian religious people arguing and bickering over their personal doctrines and they can’t understand what all the fuss is about. They just know they don’t want anything to do with it.
Acts 26:32 “Agrippa said to Festus, ‘This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.’”
Festus is back to square one. He was hoping that King Agrippa would settle this matter for him so he wouldn’t have to deal with it. Since Festus can’t seem to make a decision and King Agrippa wasn’t able to do anything, Festus now plans to pass this all off to Caesar.
Next time, Lord willing, will sail along with Paul as he makes his way to Rome. Plan to stay in God’s Word with Pastor Buj.