Writings on Christianity

Acts 26 Sermon

Here’s my sermon on Acts 26, preached at Cross of Christ Fellowship in Naperville, IL on 3.10.24.


“Paul Before Agrippa” Acts 26
Dune II hype; we share about what we care about; when we find something beautiful/true/good
There is NO greater news than the news of the gospel.
      When we grasp the gospel, we proclaim the gospel.

-Near the end of the book and the focus is on the apostle Paul and journey to Rome
      -Paul has returned to Jerusalem and faced multiple attempts on his life and stood trial before Jews and governor
           -While in custody, Jesus appeared to Paul: encouraged him and promised that he would be a witness in Rome (23:11)
                -After 2 years in jail, Paul made an ‘appeal to Caesar’ that he might not be delivered to Jerusalem and go to Rome
                              -Before Paul is sent off to Rome, he will be examined before King Agrippa for further questioning.

Today: Paul is before king Agrippa and high officials in Caesarea.
      -We see that he utilized this opportunity to proclaim the gospel.
                  -Paul is a MODEL for us learn from and encouragement to share the gospel ourselves.
                              -I pray we would learn from Paul, and make the best use of the opportunities to proclaim Christ
                              -I pray that we would see afresh how wonderful and amazing the gospel is: motived to proclaim
                                                      When we grasp the gospel, we proclaim the gospel!

I. Paul Before King Agrippa (1-3)
-Paul is before King Agrippa and the high officials(1-3)
      –4 Herods! 1 Herod the Great (Matt 2), 2 Herod Antipas (beheaded John Baptist) 3 Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12)
                  -Herod Agrippa II (Acts 26).
      -Herod Agrippa II was Jewish and “familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews”

OBSERVE: Jesus promised that Paul would be a witness to kings (Acts 9:15), and here it is.
      -God sovereignly brings opportunities for us to share the gospel (Col 4:3-5)
                  -Often come in times and ways we don’t expect or plan!
APP: May God grant us the grace to ‘make the best use of the time’ and share the gospel

II. Paul’s Speech (4-29)

Dog fans? Dog with a bone
      -Paul was ‘like a dog with a bone’ with the gospel.
                  -Paul possessed a ‘dogged’ commitment to proclaiming Christ.
-Paul’s Former Life (4-11)
      -Formerly, a very religious strict Jew (4-8)
-Resurrection of the dead and its fulfillment in Jesus (8)—1 Cor 15:20 “Christ the firstfruits
            Formerly a persecutor of Christians (9-11)
-Very active (and aggressive) in trying to stop the spread of Christianity

OBSERVATION: Jesus changes lives!
      -If your life is no different than before you were a Christian or no different now than unbelievers: not a Christian.
                  -To be a Christian is to have Jesus as the Lord and Savior of your life, your God and king.
                              -Paul experienced this remarkable change, and if you are a Christian than you have too.
                                          -This happened to me when I was 18: I want Jesus to be FIRST in my life now.

-Paul’s Conversion and Calling to Ministry (12-18)
      -Paul’s Damascus Road CONVERSION (12-15)
-Recorded first in Acts 9
                      -“light from heaven, brighter than the sun”=the light of the glorified, resurrected Christ (remember transfig)
                  -Paul fell to the ground and confronted with words of Jesus: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?
                              -To persecute Christians is to persecute Jesus
                                          -Jesus’ words to Saul: It is hard for you to kick against the goads
-These words show the futility of fighting against Jesus
                  -Jesus reveals himself to Paul (15)
                              -Paul now see the truth of who Jesus REALLY is!

*OBSERVE: Who took the initiative for Paul to become a Christian? GOD!
      -God’s sovereign grace, calling Paul to Himself.
                  -If anyone becomes a Christian, it is only because of God “effectually calling” him to Himself.

      -God’s Calling on Paul’s Life (16-18)
                  -Jesus appoints Paul for a specific purpose—to be his witness (16)
                  -Jesus will deliver Paul as he engaging in gospel ministry (17)
                  –GOSPEL MINISTRY (18)
                              -“to open their eyes”: to recognize the truth of who Jesus really is!
                              -“turn from darkness to lightJohn 3:19-21; Col 1:13-14
                              –“turn from…power of Satan to God” Eph 2:1-3
                              -“may receive forgiveness of sinsCol 1:14
                              -“may receive… a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” Eph 2:12-13

1 This understanding of the gospel, REFRAMES how we VIEW OURSELVES
-If I am a Christian, God has brought about these changes in my life!
                  -Even in my failures and battle with sin, THIS IS TRUE FOR ME!
                              -Ray Ortlund “CHEERFUL DEFIANCE”
2 This understanding of the gospel REFRAMES how we VIEW THOSE NOT CHRISTIANS YET
-Those around who are not Christians have not experienced these things.
                  -Their greatest need is to become right with God!
                              -If we are to see others in truth, it must be informed by this
3 This understanding of the gospel REFRAMES how we VIEW EVANGELISM
-Gospel is the power of God for salvation (Rom 1:16-17)
                  -The GOSPEL is GOOD NEWS!
                              -God is far more wonderful than all the trinkets of this world.
                                          -The gospel is far more relevant than all other news!

                                                      *When we grasp the gospel, we proclaim the gospel!

-Paul’s Heart: to Proclaim Christ (19-23)
      -Paul’s past gospel ministry (19-20)
                  –NOTE: preaching of “repentance” (20)
      -Paul experienced God’s HELP (22a)
                  –We too can experience God’s daily help in our lives.
                              -God’s Help: Rom 8:26à1 TEMPTATION, 2 HOLINESS, 3 EVANGELISM
      -Paul wanted EVERYONE to hear the gospel (22b)
      -Paul’s message was centered on Christ’s death and resurrection (23)

-Paul’s Unashamed Evangelistic Hope (24-29)
      -Paul interrupted by Festus (24)
                  -Paul responds and redirects his speech to Agrippa (25-27)
      -Agrippa interrupts Paul (28)
                   -Paul’s unashamed evangelistic hope (29)

*QUESTION: Is Paul’s heart our heart? Is Paul’s approach our approach?
-We too are called to faithful proclaim the gospel
      –Let’s CONFESS together: Idols of Comfort and Ease and influence of the world can cool us in our affections.
                  -May God grant us grace to repent of sin and hold fast to Christ
                              -May a fresh glimpse of the gospel lead to bold witness of the gospel.

III. The King’s Response (30-32)
-Paul is innocent (30-31)
      -He did not do anything deserving ‘death or imprisonment’
-Paul is headed to Rome (32)
-The ‘appeal to Caesar’ of Acts 25:11 now leads to this.

APP: Integrity in a Christian’s life is vital to the witness of the gospel
      -May God grant us grace to pursue holiness in our own lives.

When we grasp the gospel, we proclaim the gospel.

By Tom Schmidt

Christian, husband of Rach, Church Planter,musician,

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