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1Agrippa said to Paul, "You are permitted to speak for yourself." Then Paul stretched out his hand and proceeded to make his defense: 2"In regard to all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, that I am about to make my defense before you today; 3especially because you are an expert in all customs and questions among the Jews; therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently. 4"So then, all Jews know my manner of life from my youth up, which from the beginning was spent among my own nation and at Jerusalem; 5since they have known about me for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that I lived as a Pharisee according to the strictest sect of our religion. 6"And now I am standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers; 7the promise to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly serve God night and day And for this hope, O King, I am being accused by Jews.
8"Why is it considered incredible among you people if God does raise the dead? 9"So then, I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10"And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being put to death I cast my vote against them. 11"And as I punished them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and being furiously enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to foreign cities.
12"While so engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, 13at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me. 14"And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' 15"And I said, 'Who are You, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16'But get up 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 you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; 17rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.'
19"So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance. 21"For this reason some Jews seized me in the temple and tried to put me to death. 22"So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place; 23that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles."
24While Paul was saying this in his defense, Festus said in a loud voice, "Paul, you are out of your mind! Your great learning is driving you mad." 25But Paul said, "I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I utter words of sober truth. 26"For the king knows about these matters, and I speak to him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner. 27"King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know that you do." 28Agrippa replied to Paul, "In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian."
29And Paul said, "I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains."
30The king stood up and the governor and Bernice, and those who were sitting with them, 31and when they had gone aside, they began talking to one another, saying, "This man is not doing anything worthy of death or imprisonment." 32And Agrippa said to Festus, "This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar."
How else would Jesus be lifted up before the governors and the kings? This is how it works, isn’t it? We are caught up in a horrendous predicament from our vantage point, but God uses this predicament for a much greater good. Maybe the governors, Felix and Festus, would not have heard the message of Jesus were it not for Paul being in this difficult situation. Maybe King Agrippa would not have heard the message either!
What is needed from us when the door opens is a personal testimony—your personal story. Your personal story includes three ingredients…
What your life was like prior to meeting up with Jesus.
How Jesus apprehended your life.
What has happened since meeting Jesus.
Your story is really His story through you. Try writing out your personal story and then share it first with some trusted friends. Then you will find yourself more comfortable sharing your story with those who need to hear it. Remember, your story is all you’ve got to share. To do more than this is to preach and no one is asking you to preach; otherwise they would be asking you to start up a church. Your personal story is your highest credibility. No one can argue with it, because it’s YOUR STORY. TRY IT OUT!
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
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