verses for this week: 1 Tim 5:17 Let the
elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially
they who labour in the word and doctrine.
Introduction: In Chapter 25, Paul presented his case to Festus
who came to rule after Felix. After
hearing the case, he asks Paul if he would like to be sent back to
Jerusalem to stand trial there for the accusations of the Jews.
Knowing they intended to kill him, Paul wisely appealed unto
Caesar. At the
end of last week’s lesson, Festus had Paul brought before King
Agrippa so that me might make some ruling on the case to write about
when sending Paul to Caesar. In
all of Festus’ findings, nothing proved worthy of death like the
Jews had claimed.
week we hear what Paul had to say to King Agrippa.
Paul’s Defense before King Agrippa
Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for
thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for
I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer
for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am
accused of the Jews:
Especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs
and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to
hear me patiently.
we have no greater record of Paul rising to the occasion the way
that he does before King Agrippa.
His presentation is tremendous, and he truly uses compelling
words as he presents his case before the large assembly.
Jesus had warned the apostles in His personal ministry that
they would be taken before Kings to give an account of the gospel,
and God promised to give them the words to speak in that day.
But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and
persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into
prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.
And it shall turn to you for a testimony.
Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before
what ye shall answer:
For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your
adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and
kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.
But there shall not an hair of your head perish.
things Paul says are exactly the right things to say under the
circumstances, and no doubt God gave him those words that day. We may lose our ability to keep focused when before
people of nobility, but it did not seem to bother Paul the least
knew he was in the right, and he kept on hanging on to the truth.
And when we do that, and our truth is based upon God’s
Word, we will be ultimately victorious, even if we were to lose our
life down here. As
Paul began his speech, he acknowledges how happy is to have the
privilege to speak before King Agrippa, since he was knowledgeable
and familiar with the customs of the Jews.
Festus did not have this same knowledge.
While Festus was qualified to try the legal questions of the
case, he did not know anything about the people’s customs, their
laws or traditions. And
he certainly was not aware of what fanatics they were concerning the
Mosaic law and Judaism.
Paul was thrilled to bring this defense before someone who
knew about the people, and he felt Agrippa was an expert in the
matters that were involved and would be able to detect any false
My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among
mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;
Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that
after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
declares that he was well known among the Jews, especially among
those that were accusing him of his acts.
They had known the manner of his life, and he had been
brought up according to the strictest sect of the religion as he
lived as a Pharisee.
II. The Three Accusations of the Jew
And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise
made of God unto our fathers:
Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God
day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I
am accused of the Jews.
Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that
God should raise the dead?
first thing Paul was being accused of was the hope of the
resurrection. We know
the Pharisees believed in the resurrection while Saducees denied the
resurrection. But the vast majority of the Pharisees denied the
resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is our basis for all of our hope
beyond the grave. Paul
shows that this doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, as King
Agrippa undoubtedly knew, was the thing which all the Jews were
looking. The Jews
who stand before the wailing wall in Jerusalem today are still
praying for the promised Messiah to come, while they overlooked the
one God sent nearly 2,000 years ago according to scripture.
Paul explains that his first crime was that he testified of
the resurrection of the dead.
I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things
contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints
did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief
priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against
And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled
them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I
persecuted them even unto strange cities.
explains how he had earlier thought like the others, and had done
many things contrary to the name of Jesus Christ.
And this Jesus was the one who God had sent to die for our
sins, and was the first to be resurrected from the dead.
1 Cor 15:17
And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet
in your sins.
1 Cor 15:18
Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are
1 Cor 15:19
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all
men most miserable.
1 Cor 15:20
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the
firstfruits of them that slept.
1 Cor 15:21
For since by man came death, by man came also the
resurrection of the dead.
1 Cor 15:22
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made
1 Cor 15:23
But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits;
afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
verse 10, Paul declares how that he had not believe in Jesus at all,
but rather had persecuted any and all who named the name of Christ.
All through his life, Paul seemed to never forgive himself
for persecuting the church prior to his conversion there on the road
1 Cor 15:3
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also
received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the
1 Cor 15:4
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day
according to the scriptures:
1 Cor 15:5
And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
1 Cor 15:6
After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at
once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some
are fallen asleep.
1 Cor 15:7
After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
1 Cor 15:8
And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of
1 Cor 15:9
For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be
called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
1 Cor 15:10
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which
was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly
than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
1 Cor 15:11
Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye
Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission
from the chief priests,
At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven,
above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them
which journeyed with me.
And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice
speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why
persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom
always went back to the road to Damascus when he told of his
salvation experience. You
and I who know the Lord can point to a day and a time when Jesus
came into our hearts and put our feet on a solid rock.
My day came in the third week of August in 1964 that Sunday
morning when I realized my condition before God and realized that I
was condemned and guilty before the Lord.
I was 13 years old, and I didn’t believe I would live long
enough to get from my seat near the back of the center section of
the church there in Munday, Texas. But God did let me live, and has blessed me for 35 more years
at this date in 1999. As
most every one, I’ve had a lot of dark days, but God has been
there through the darkest of those days.
But most of the days have been in the sunshine and rejoicing
on the mountaintop. Like
Paul, I’ve never been the same since the day I was saved in 1964.
I’ve never been called upon to suffer like Paul, but I hope
if that day comes one day that I might show the same courage that
led Paul through his days there in those prisons.
An earthly prison is nothing compared to the prison of sin
that binds every lost man and woman.
When you know Jesus as Savior, you are free indeed.
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;
Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto
whom now I send thee,
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.
Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the
But showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and
throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that
they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for
had gone to Damascus with intentions of binding Christians to be
brought back to Jerusalem. Rather,
he met Jesus and was saved himself.
And after that, Paul turned from persecutor to preacher of
the Gospel. He tells King Agrippa in verse 19 that he was not disobedient
unto the heavenly vision. He
now declares the second of his three accusations by the Jews.
The second was that he preached unto the Gentiles.
We know that this was a direct command given to Paul from
God. Just as
Peter was taught a lesson with the blanket being let down from
heaven with all the various animals on it, God taught Paul that all
men were worthy of salvation.
This was foreign to the Jews, and they did not view the
Gentiles as good in any way. They
referred to them as dogs. All
of us can learn from their mistakes that God can use all people, all
races, all nations and kindreds in His work.
Jesus died for all men on the cross, and desires that all
will come unto Him.
2 Pet 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men
count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that
any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if
through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God,
and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath
abounded unto many.
And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the
judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many
offences unto justification.
For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more
they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of
righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men
to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift
came upon all men unto justification of life.
For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so
by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But
where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace
reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our
For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went
about to kill me.
Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this
day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things
than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:
That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first
that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the
people, and to the Gentiles.
see the third accusation of the Jews in these verses. This was the one that probably made them the most upset, and
that was that Jesus was the Messiah of the Jews.
Calvin made this observation in his commentary on Acts concerning
verse 22 where it says I continue witnessing both to small and
said this so Agrippa might realize that this even applied to him.
Offering the Gospel to ordinary people does not stop it from
reaching kings. Christ
gathers everyone in the same embrace, so that those who used to lie
in the gutter and are now raised to such honor may rejoice in his
unmerited goodness, and so those who are in high places may
willingly humble themselves and not think their brothers beneath
them—so that they be made God’s Children.
In Romans 1:14 , Paul stated that “Both to the wise and the
foolish” lest the Romans’ confidence in their wisdom should
prevent them from submitting to his teaching.
Let us learn from this that a teacher cannot choose his
hearers. If we limit
our efforts to the great, whom God joins with the small, we hurt God
and deprive the people of their rights. “
claims that he said none other things than those which the prophets
and Moses had promised that should come.
This was the truth, and we know that Jesus came exactly at
the time God had appointed and lived a perfect and sinless life, and
died exactly on the day chosen in eternity years before man was ever
explained how that Christ was to come according to the prophets and
to suffer, and then be raised from the dead after three days and
three nights according to the scriptures.
And he would be a light both to the Jews and the Gentiles.
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his
Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive
the adoption of sons.
And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of
his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a
son, then an heir of God through Christ.
what Simeon said when they brought Jesus to the temple.
Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according
to thy word:
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people
And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud
voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee
But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth
the words of truth and soberness.
interrupts and speaks out in a loud voice declaring that the much
learning Paul had bestowed upon him and caused him to become mad. Paul quickly and calmly answers him that he is not mad, but
was speaking forth the words of truth and soberness. When the truth we speak includes the gospels, it cuts
the sinner to the heart.
And as we have found, the sinner has two choices.
Accept the truth and be saved, or lash out against the one
who has preached the truth to them.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than
any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul
and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the
thoughts and intents of the heart.
Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his
sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with
whom we have to do.
For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I
speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are
hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.
King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou
turns to King Agrippa, and declares how that he was certain that he
knew all of these things. Christ’s
death on the cross was not done in a corner hidden, but was done
before all. Paul
asks him “Believest though the prophets?”
And before he can say a word, Paul said “I know that thou
stand against God’s divine words of prophecy requires a fool, and
Paul did not relate King Agrippa to be one who would not trust God.
Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be
And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also
all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as
I am, except these bonds.
answers Paul, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”
I wonder how many I have witnessed to that have had a similar
close, but yet still lost and undone before God.
Vernon McGee said this about these 2 verses in his commentary on
was an intelligent man. “Almost
thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”
Friend, do you know that you can almost be a Christian and
then be lost for time and eternity?
How tragic that is! “Almost”
will not do. It must be
all or nothing. Either
you accept Christ or you don’t accept Christ.
No theologian can probe the depths of salvation and its
meaning. Yet it is
simple enough for ordinary folk like most of us to understand.
Either you have Christ or you don’t have Christ.
Either you trust Christ or you don’t trust Christ.
Either He is your Savior or He is not your Savior.
It is one of the two. There
is not middle ground. It
cannot be almost. It
must be all. Paul answered “I would to God, that not only thou, but also
all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as
I am, except these bonds.” Paul
is saying that he longs for them to have a relationship to Christ
and be like he is—except for the chains.
He wouldn’t want chains on anyone.
This is the man who had been a proud and zealous Pharisee,
the same who had a few years before bound Christians in chains and
put them to death. Now
his attitude is different. He
wants all people to become Christians and to have a vital and
personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”
wonder if someone reading this lesson might be in the same position
as King Agrippa. You
recognize the truth of the gospel, you are convicted of your sins,
and you almost want to be saved.
Don’t let Satan keep you bound another day.
Bow your head, repent of your sins, and ask Jesus to come
into your heart. It
will be the most important thing you ever do in this life.
After this life, we have an eternity to live.
It is our choice, heaven with Christ, or eternal punishment
in hell with Satan. Our sin has a price, and some one has to pay it.
Jesus took all the sins of all mankind on himself there on
the cross of Calvary. But
God will not force his gift upon anyone. Jesus is there for all who desire to come.
And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and the
governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them:
And when they were gone aside, they talked between
themselves, saying, This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of
Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set
at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar.
know King Agrippa was deeply convicted, but like Felix, we have no
record that he ever came to Christ for salvation.
Agrippa rises up and walks out with the others.
They get together and Agrippa tells Festus that he finds
nothing worthy of death or bonds in Paul.
He says that if he had not appealed to Caesar, he would have
let the man go free. God
had told Paul he would testify of Christ in Rome, so Paul was soon
to be on his way to Caesar.
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But the path of the just is as the shining light, that
shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
Random Acts of Kindness. Each
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