Sunday, May 5, 2013

From Acts to Revelation Part 73 – Paul's Defense, and then I met Jesus

From Acts to Revelation
Part 73  – Paul's Defense, and then I met Jesus
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |


Last week we read about Festus taking Paul to King Agrippa, in hopes of sorting this issue out.  Festus was at a loss as to what he is to charge Paul with, or what he will send to Rome as charges to Caesar with Paul. Festus hopes King Agrippa may clear things up for him.

Paul has the opportunity to speak in his own defense to King Agrippa, asking the King be patient with him, because he has a lot to say.

We begin with Paul explaining how he was raised, and who he was before he met Jesus of Nazareth.

Acts 26:1-12
Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.”
So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.
“The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee. And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. King Agrippa, it is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me. Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?
“I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.
12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
“ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 

In today's scripture we will look at;
1.      How we may have been raised
2.      How we too may have been taught to oppose Jesus of Nazareth
3.      Who we can become after we meet Jesus

a.      The Jewish people all know the way I have lived my life
i.       Paul was born and raised in Jerusalem

ii.    Taught in the strictest of religious sects, as a pharisee

iii. Though Paul was not sure any of the Jews would testify to this truth in court, simply because of their hate or him

b.     It is because of my hope in what God promised our ancestors
i.       ...that I am on trial here today

ii.    Paul preached the resurrected Christ, which should not have offended the Sanhedrin, yet caused much debate. God promised resurrection, and when He fulfilled His promise, there should have been celebration, not persecution.

iii. Paul says as much, “Why should we consider it incredible, God raising the dead?”

c.      I too was convinced to do all that was possible to oppose Jesus of Nazareth
i.       with the authority of the Chief Priests, I did

ii.    many of the Lord's people were put in prison, and to death and I had cast my vote against them.

iii. I even tried to force them to blaspheme

iv.   I was so obsessed with persecuting them, I hunted them down outside Jerusalem.

d.     And then I met Jesus

a.      Though you may not (or may have) been raised in a strict religious sect from early childhood, many of us have been raised in a manner of opposition to Jesus.

b.     Like Paul, we too may have been taught to oppose the Name of Jesus directly, or even in-directly.

c.      Or perhaps we may have been taught to oppose church, faith, God, when at all possible.

d.     By the way we lived, in the way we acted, in the things we spoke, and how we thought or believed, we opposed Jesus.

III.                        AND THEN WE MET JESUS
a.      He may not have appeared before us as He did to Saul, however, there is a time in each of our lives where He did come, and call each of us to Him.
i.       For myself, it was many days before I realized I had submitted myself to the Lord and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

ii.    Now, I consciously ask for forgiveness and submit to Him almost daily.

iii. Committing myself to Him and the Way as a daily practice.

b.     When we meet the Lord, things change
i.       He calls us

ii.    We submit, and confess

iii. We are forgiven

iv.   He begins a work inside of us, slowly repairing the damage that sin has done to the way we think, and act...our hearts change.

v.      Each passing day we belong to the Lord, we become more like who He created us to be, and less like what this world has made us.

c.      Paul begins his defense by telling a story
i.       Paul explains who he was before Jesus

ii.    Paul then explains how he met Jesus

iii. Next week we will hear Paul explain how Jesus changed him


1.       How were you raised...were you taught things that are opposing to Christ and the Kingdom were OK?
2.       Were you taught to oppose Jesus of Nazareth in the way you lived, spoke, acted or thought?
3.       Have you met Jesus yet?

If not, we need to remember,
ñ We are already condemned to face judgment because of sin.
ñ The sentence will be the everlasting fire of hell.
ñ However, if you accept Jesus as your Lord and savior, the perfect Lamb's sacrifice on the cross allows Jesus to pay your debt, saving you from eternal damnation.
ñ This is the New Covenant Jesus makes with us, we acknowledge this New Covenant, and show we have accepted it by partaking in communion.

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!

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