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July 27, 2021 12:00 am
This is not been doing the corner is Christianity's other hidden things of the secret subversive thing down the open King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets, I know that you do while perhaps it was that he had a little trace of Jewish blood coursing through his veins will not. I know you respect the prophets who spoke of the coming Messiah.Niners duties changed my life as if he says he can change yours to see Paul in effect says King Agrippa, would you now like to become a Christian. The opportunity before two really important man of his day, a ruler named Festus and a ruler named Agrippa when Paul spoke. It was not so much a defense as it was a testimony of the power and gospel of God.
The two men responded in very different ways. Welcome to wisdom for the heart. Stephen David continues through his series from the book of acts with this lesson called the last. Herod, if you're able to please open your Bible to ask. 25.
As we look into God's word together.
I want to read a list of names to you and while I read through the names I want you to try and figure out what these men had in common. James Burns peer Lavalle Johnson more than likely you don't work for you to recognize the names of any of these men probably couldn't tell me what they did or how they made the list get each of these men were at some point in their lives. Time magazines man of the year. In other words, sometime in the past 50 years that I went back to the library and read the biographies of each of these men.
They were perceived to have had in their given year. The greatest impact on the rest of humanity, and some 30 or 40 years later we probably don't even remember who they were, as I've been studying the last few chapters of the book of action. It has struck me that the apostle Paul is standing on trial before his civilizations greatest leaders amended. Paul is going to be addressing and has been addressing where the movers and shakers in the Middle East.
These were the power players. These would've been the man most likely to land on the front cover of time as a Times man of the year in acts chapter 24 Paul stood before Felix. One of those movers and shakers in chapter 25 he will stand again before the great power players of his generation and if it were not for Scripture, not of us would even know their names.
I want to pick up what we left off. By noticing the subtle reference from Luke to the fact of their influence in chapter 25 verse five. Therefore, he that is, Festus said, let the influential man among you go there with me that is.
This next proceeding or trial, and if there is anything wrong about the man, Paul, that is, let them prosecute him basically in acts chapter 25 Festus the new governor of Caesarea is really a repeat performer of Felix's predecessor Festus like Felix wanted to do the Jews a favor and so they bought left Paul hanging without ever rendering a final verdict in verses 1 to 12 of chapter 25 Paul gives his defense before Festus that he repeated. Now for some two years before Felix and prior to that, before the Jewish Sanhedrin.
Prior to that, before the Jewish mob that when it seemed that Festus was going to do something. Felix wasn't, that is hand palm back to the Jewish Sanhedrin and allow them to take him back to Jerusalem. Nine. That would be death, without any doubt. Paul in verse 11 of chapter 25 appealed to Caesar Nero as a Roman citizen. Paul exercise the right that he had to what he considered a fair trial and so he is asked to take this to the Roman High Court so Festus in a way I guess has his hands tied buddies about the play host to another mover and shaker King Agrippa.
The second and I want you to understand the chapter 25 is simply an introduction to warm up to the trial that will take place in chapter 26.
Let's go set the stage in chapter 25 with verse 13 now when several days had elapsed, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea and paid their respects to Festus, he just been appointed to office to coming to congratulate him. And while they were spending many days there.
Festus laid Paul's case before the king, saying there is a certain man left the prisoner by Felix when I was a Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews brought charges against him asking for a sentence of condemnation upon them, and I answered them that it is not the custom of the Romans to hand over any man before the accused meets his accusers faced is that a fair trial, and as an opportunity to make his defense against the charges and so after they had assembled here.
I made no delay, but on the next day took my seat on the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought and when the accusers stood up to begin bringing charges against them, not of such crimes as I was expecting, but they simply had some points of disagreement with them about their written own religion and note this in about a certain dead man. Jesus, whom Paul asserted to be alive and being a loss how to investigate such matters. I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem and their stand trial on these matters. But when Paul appealed to be held in custody for the Emperor's decision.
I ordered him to be kept in custody until I sent them to Caesar, and Agrippa said to Festus, will I also would like to hear the man myself tomorrow. He said you shall hear him before we enter the courtroom.
I want you to understand that what begins in chapter 25 and ends in chapter 26 is nothing less then the collision of an ordinary Christian testimony given by a former pharisaic former Rabbi and the movers and shakers of his generation.
Verse 23 and so on. The next day, when Agrippa had come together with Bernice amid great popular kings do that, they don't go anywhere without it, and it entered the auditorium, accompanied by the commanders and the prominent men of the city of Cmdr. Festus.
Paul was was brought on now before we go any further.
Here, the scene is being said I want to understand what kind of crowd.
Paul stood before and try to slip into his sandals as best you can. If you think you've tried to present your testimony to a rough crowd. Take courage from this moment. To be greatly encouraged King Agrippa here was was none other than Herod Agrippa second. The text tells us in verse 23 that he arrived with pomp and ceremony with Bernice until was anything that we learn from Jewish historians that Bernice was Agrippa's full-blooded sister and that their incestuous relationship was the scandal of Rome interesting also to learn as I have that Bernice's full-blooded sister was Drusilla the equally immoral life of Felix. They're all related. This is like a little Baptist Church in the woods in North Carolina will somehow belong to the same family for this second was appointed by Rome as a political leader to be the guardian of the Jewish faith, and what that meant was that he had the power to appoint the high priestess tells you where the religion of the Jews and digressed to this corrupt man could appoint whomever he wished to this high seed of Jewish religious systems and also the power to administrate the temple treasury, and yet this man was as corrupt as a man could be and would back for generations.
His father, Herod Agrippa the first had executed Jamie and ordered Peter to be thrown in jail and had it not been for the angel Peter would've died as well. The angel delivered this man's great uncle was Herod and took this who had stolen his sister-in-law away from his brother and whose terribly immoral relationship became the subject of a sermon preached by John the Baptist because John the Baptist dared preach against it.
He was beheaded the great-grandfather of this man is about to try Paul was Herod the great was the one who ordered the massacre of the babies and the children in Bethlehem two years and under. In order to stamp out this one who supposedly was born the King of the family tree of the Herod's draft with the blood of the church call is on trial here before the last Herod with the death of this man. The line will pass away. No one will hold that high name of royalty.
Do you think Paul knew the history of the Herod's teeth think Paul knew before whom he would stand on this day. How can Paul stand before him, knowing the history knowing the hatred for Christ and the church knowing the immoral state of this man at all those around.
How can he enter the courtroom and stand there without fainting from fear and intimidation. See, we skip to the to the other parts of the end of the story and forget what he's going through at this moment is every reason to believe he, like John and James will be put to death. How does he stand before them. I think he stands before them knowing at least theologically, and maybe it comforted that while Herod ruled God overrule chapter 26 verse one and Agrippa said to Paul, you are permitted to speak for yourself. Then Paul stretched out his hand and proceeded to make his defense. The first two verses here, by the way could be divided into a statement of his past. He could divide his testimony into these three sections. The key phrase of his past life is found in verse five I lived as a Pharisee, according to the strictest sect of our religion.
In other words, he says, can you need to understand something when it came to religion and my past. I was serious if the king and asked Paul sometime during calls passed Paul how to use stand with God. Paul could have said God and I are very close were tight. He was a Pharisee kept all the rules sprayed on the right times. Never miss the synagogue services probably volunteered to teach where rocksolid. John and I could've said the second point of Paul's testimony is his conversion and by the way, the deception of religion today is that you could say as a Paul in your past that I am dotting all the eyes and crossing all the teas I'm praying at all the right times and I'm going all the right places, and I come here church on Sunday.
Our guy got and I must be close and if you could just simply be speeding on your way to hell. Paul will tell us in his conversion experience that every person must exchange eventually the moldy crust of religion and and and works for the fresh bread of life that comes by faith in Christ and in some point in life along your path, there must be an intersection between you and this awesome revelation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ that this dead man is indeed alive and he is the son of God, and I am now submitted to him is nothing to do with the religion of works. It has everything to do with the relationship by faith in Christ.
He tells the story. Verse nine that I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus to be good religious men in a day. This is just what I did in Jerusalem.
Not only did I lock up many of the saints in prison having received authority from the chief priest but also when they were being put to death.
I cast my vote against them.
That's the indication he was a member of the Sanhedrin only Sanhedrin guests were allowed to vote and he voted here against in verse 11, and as I punish them often and all the synagogues I tried to force them to blaspheme and being seriously enraged at them. I kept pursuing them even to foreign cities while thus engaged, as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests admit Dale King I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun shining all around me and those were journeying with me and when we had all fallen to the ground.
I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialects all all, why are you persecuting me it is hard for you to kick against the go or the pricks.
Those pointed sticks that drove oxen elongated, only worse for the oxen, should they kick against them and I said, who are now more and the Lord said, I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.
In other words call you been kicking against the truth about me Jesus of Nazareth ever since you first felt that when when Paula first felt that had been pricked by it been dotted along the believe it had to of gone back in that time. When Paul stood before those who were stoning Stephen and they laid their garments. It Paul's feed and Paul heard Stephen as he died saying that he's all this Jesus resurrected the live, it was the truth that had bothered him ever sense now between this verse and the next verse. As we've already studied from chapter 22 Paul submitted his life to this resurrected Nazarene, the Lord of lords and King of Kings, verse 16. But arise and stand on your feet for this purpose I have appeared to you to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which are seen, but also that the things in which I will appear to you, delivering you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you now verse 18.
By the way, Japan's ready pencils is the sum and substance of the gospel message. It is in one verse.
The truth of the gospel.
It does what is what Paul is telling King Agrippa you want them to hear it. It opens their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those of been sanctified by faith in me see the Lord views us prior to salvation as spiritually blind.
It isn't that we can see a little bit is that we can see nothing and we are satanically bound. The gospel opens your eyes. He says here. First Peter 29.
We know that it brings you out of darkness into a marvelous light. It delivers you from the domain of darkness and enters you into the kingdom of this time. Colossians 112 people out there don't realize there are two kingdoms in the universe. The kingdom of darkness in the kingdom of light and we are telling people to please leave the kingdom of darkness and enter the kingdom of the side before it's too late gospel message. He says also brings a forgiven heart: leader right to the Romans. Blessed happy are those sins have been forgiven of yours been forgiven. Finally, the gospel deliverance secures your future. Peter wrote the there is for us who believe in imperishable and undefiled inheritance that will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you-all of this belonged to someone. Collins is gospel at a glance, by stating the words of Christ. In verse 18.
This is what happens to those who have been sanctified underlying this by faith in the soul of the day. Faith alone in Christ. Salvation is not a religion based upon works. It is a relationship based upon faith in him as the resurrected one verse 19. Consequently, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision. The Declaring both of those of Damascus first and also Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judeo and even to the Gentiles that they should repent and turn to God performing deeds appropriate to repentance that is revealing the repentance by virtue of their deeds. For this reason, some Jews seized me in the temple and try to put me to death, and so having obtain help from God. I stand this day, testifying both to the small and great, stating nothing but what the prophets and Moses said was going to take place that the Christ was to suffer in the by reason of his resurrection from the dead he should be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.
And while Paul was saying this in his defense, Festus said in a loud voice, Paul, you're out of your mind, your great learning is driving you mad when interruption been interrupted before. While preaching kids going to go to the bathroom all sorts of nonsense like that but but I've never had anybody interrupt the sermon by hollering you to tell me that afterward. Please note during call, you're out of your mind. The Greek word gives us the word maniac Paul, the belief in the resurrection of the dead man pros. You are a maniac.
How would you respond. Paul lost his cool earlier that he learned verse 25. Paul said, I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I other words of sober truth for the king knows about these matters and I speak them also with confidence since I persuaded that none of these things escape his notice. He ignores this is a go to back to the king. This is not been done in a corner is Christianity is not a hidden thing is not a secret subversive thing. Tell me open King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets, I know that you do while perhaps it was that he had a little trace of Jewish blood coursing through his veins will know I know the respect the prophets who spoke of the coming Messiah which I've now entered his duties changed my life and it's as if he says he can change yours to see Paul in effect says King Agrippa, would you now like to become a Christian at the Everest anybody that question.
If we shared the gospel with someone in her giving her testimony and and you've reached the point where he for you or you say to them in a based on what I've said about who Christ is and what he's done for my life and I told you about my past and in my conversion and I came to faith in him and now would you like to receive him to. If you've been there.
By the way. That's why your left on planet Earth to say that the people and you say would you like to receive Christ to if you have you know that at that moment to sorta hold your breath and you wait because you know that there are two kingdoms and this person is on the block, the soul is being bartered. I think Paul held his breath, and there probably wasn't a sound in the courtroom and the response verse 28 in a short time, you will persuade me to become a Christian and some believe here that Agrippa is jeering at Paul interpreting the phrase to read something like this. Paul, do you really think that in such a short time, you can persuade me to become a Christian. Others interpreted as I do to mean something like this.
Paul, in such a short time.
You have almost persuaded me to become a Christian, like you almost but not quite in the king arose.
Verse 30 and the governor, and Bernice and those who were sitting with them and when they drawn aside to begin talking to one another saying this man is not doing anything worthy of death or imprisonment and Agrippa said to Festus, this man might've been set free. If he did not appeal to Caesar. Nevis isn't exactly true. According to Roman law and appeal to Caesar was only necessary if the lower court rendered a guilty verdict and they are proving by their private conversation.
Nonetheless, his readers that he is what innocent they just simply play a political move that keeps the Jewish leaders happy and Paul continuing to hang, as it were, without a verdict.
He wants to see Caesar how here's how we can get around all this problem. Let's just let him go to the row and see him let the highest Supreme Court justice in the land.
Make a decision to responses men and women come from this passage by way of application. In closing, number one, the response of derision. Anybody who believes in Jesus Christ is a fool.
Furthermore, anybody would ever give their lives to serve a dead man. They claim to be alive is even a bigger fool. The apostle Paul said for me to live is Christ and to die is gain. Only a fool would think that. Don't ever expect the world to understand.
There is also the response of delay almost but not yet see ladies and gentlemen hearing the truth of the gospel. Even this morning for those of you who do not believe just hearing about it does not automatically bring conversion of the soul.
It may only harden your heart more against. Swindoll wrote some interesting words.
He says the truths of Christ are like the rays of the sun, they can on one hand, bring growth in life. But on the other hand, they can also harden hearts made of clay.
Sunlight can do either one King Agrippa the second, the last of the Harrods heard the gospel that have been ignored by his great-grandfather on down to his father and his heart now is further hardened in unbelief. All was black. Spurgeon, a man I quoted earlier said, commenting on this passage almost persuaded to be a Christian is like a man who was almost pardoned, but he was having is like the man who was almost rescued, but he died in the fire command that is almost say is lost. There's an old hymn texted expected of him.
That doesn't even appear in our hymnal that comes from this text of Scripture almost persuaded now to believe almost persuaded Christ to receive seems now. Some sold the Saco spirit, go thy way, some more convenient day on the alcohol hymn ends with the words sad sad that these are my mouse lost for this man. The last of the Harrods almost would mean never for this man who would have been featured on death and as a time man of the year the things that really matter the most famous almost lost. I trust that this time in God's word has incurred you've been listening to wisdom for the heart.
This is the Bible teaching ministry of Stephen Davey Stephen is the pastor of the shepherd's church in Cary, North Carolina. I want to make sure you're aware that Stephen has a Bible study that goes along with this series. It's called ask volume 3 of course there is volume 1 and volume 2 as well. But this current series is asked volume 3. This book is a great tool for your personal study and reflection on God's word. It also works well if you teach or lead a group Bible study we can give you information about the ask volume 3 study guide if you call us today.
It's also available on the website and our online store.
By the way there's so much more on that website as well. The archive of Stephen's teaching is available on that site free of charge and you can access it email@example.com and as I mentioned the Bible study guide for this series is there as well. Our phone number here in the office is 86 648 Bible again. That's 86 648 Bible or 866482425. Join us next time. For more