April 29, 2022
“King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a follower of Jesus?” And Paul said...’”
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“King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a follower of Jesus?” And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become as I am – except for these chains.” Acts 26:27-29
Paul had guts. I love the way he just lays out the gospel like he’s their rabbi! Then there is the abrupt, albeit somewhat humorous, reminder that Paul is in shackles.
Remember the game show “Truth or Consequences”? Maybe you’re too young. Contestants answered questions to win prizes. If they got the answer wrong, they were subjected to some demeaning stunt. It seems that just when Paul was convincing Agrippa of the truth, the king was reminded of the possible consequences of following Jesus. Given his pomp and political power, the consequence of dishonor and imprisonment was too much for Agrippa.
I was like Agrippa. Confronted with the truth, I chose to focus on Worldly consequences for many years and to ignore the eternal one: the certainty of Hell. I was more concerned with temporary earthly glory than the promise of permanent glory in Heaven.
The Lord persistently pursued me. He watched as time after time I made poor choices. Ultimately, I was convinced the glory of this World is nothing worth having. Even when you get earthly glory, it quickly fades. I was empty and tired, and finally, the gospel ceased to be annoying. It became my shelter.
It was because of a person like Paul that I came to believe in Jesus. I was like one of the onlookers in the Roman Governor’s palace. I overheard a guy boldly proclaiming Jesus to another guy. The guy he was sharing with just laughed at him…but I believed!
Why do we make our Church services open to the public? Because we want everyone to know the gospel of Jesus, receive it, and belong to the greater Church. For almost a decade, I have been launching Bible studies in coffeehouses, where there is a high probability that non-believers would “stumble upon” them by God’s leading and grace. They come to the coffeehouse for a latte, but they leave with a whole “latte” more: Salvation through faith in Jesus!
Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become as I am – except for these chains.”
Paul understood that God’s target audience, “all who may hear me this day,” might not contain King Agrippa, the particular person whom Paul was trying to persuade. It is not incumbent upon us believers to produce faith decisions from people. We cannot make people believe. Instead, by all means, we faithfully proclaim Messiah Jesus, trusting His Holy Spirit to convince men and women to believe, even though we may be in “chains” at the moment.