Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I know that you believe.

Reading from Acts 26 this morning, finding Paul standing before Agrippa.

One of the most important people in that age, King Agrippa was deserving of respect. And Paul treats him that way. After receiving permission to state his defense, he begins this way:
2"I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am going to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews, 3especially because you are familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.
Paul lists his credentials - people know who he is. They've known him since he was little, a Jew living among Jews. In fact...he became a Pharisee. But he is on trial because he believes in God! He believes indeed in Christ crucified. And he asks....

8Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?

That's a good question don't you think? Why is it so incredible to think that the God of the Old Testament who can do so many marvelous things, can raise the dead? God who created the earth, God who can take men to heaven without then dying first, God who can help his people win improbable battles etc. Why is it so incredible to think that he can raise people from the dead?

Paul preached Christ crucified and raised from the dead!

Paul somewhat understands the mindset of those persecuting him, afterall, he used to be one of them. He was very zealous for the cause.

9 "I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. 11And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities.

But then he learned differently, and Paul told the story of his conversion, wherein he states he purpose for which he now lives.
And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, 17 delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you 18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'
So Paul is doing what he is supposed to be doing ... told by the Lord himself! And that is precisely what he has been doing since then.

Festus who was there with them, hearing Paul testimony, interrupted Paul's discourse saying :

"Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind."
Which leads to my heading ... Paul's rebuttal is that is he not out of his mind...and that he is speaking

true and rational words. 26For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner. 27King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe."
Agrippa knows this stuff. He knows it to be true. At least that is what Paul tells us.I read those words, and I often am I bold enough to use that argument. You know this is true, so why don't you believe it?

To be bold enough to say like Paul

I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am

I have a friend who is a lapsed catholic....reading this emboldens me to be able to say... ______, you know the bible is true, so what's stopping you from really believing it? Ah, to have the forthrightness to do so. Pray for me will you?

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