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Paul: A Man on a Mission (Outline)

Introduction:

Acts 9:13-16 – But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has the authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings of the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”

  1. The Setting (Acts 25:23-27)
    • Festus, the local Roman governor, needed to have specific charges to send with Paul to stand before Caesar in Rome, but he could not come up with any genuine charges other than the complaints of the Jews.
    • Agrippa (Antipater -> Herod the Great -> Herod Antipas I -> Herod Agrippa I -> Herod Agrippa II) was brought in to help him form the charges. He was a joke king – a figurehead and puppet.
  2. Paul’s Defense (Acts 26:1-23)
    • Agrippa invites Paul to make “his defense”. (v. 1) – So Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense….”
      • 1 Peter 3:15 – …but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect….
    • Paul begins his appeal to Agrippa – the same as was his custom in the synagogues. (vv. 2-3) – “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, especially because you are familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.
    • Paul reminds Agrippa of the hope in God’s promises and introduces the gospel. (vv. 4-6) – “My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of religion I have lived as a Pharisee. And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by the Jews, O king! Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?
      • Genesis 3:15 – I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
      • Isaiah 7:14 – Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
      • Isaiah 9:6 – For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
      • Daniel 7:14 – And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
      • Micah 5:2 – But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from old, from ancient days.
    • Paul testifies about his life as a lost person. (vv. 9-11) – “I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 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. And 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.
    • Paul shares how he was saved and presents the gospel. (vv. 12-18) – “I connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But 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, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles – to whom I am sending you 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.’
      • to open their eyes
        • 2 Corinthians 4:4 – In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
      • turn from darkness to light
        • Matthew 4:16 – …the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region of the shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”
        • 1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
      • from the power of Satan to God
        • Ephesians 2:1-2 – And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience….
        • Ephesians 2:4 – But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us….
      • forgiveness of sins
        • Matthew 1:21 – She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
        • 1 Corinthians 15:3 – For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures….
    • Paul shows how his present actions are a response to Jesus’ call on his life and specifically/personally gives an opportunity to respond to the gospel. (vv. 19-23) – “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”
  3. Festus & Agrippa’s Response (Acts 26:24-29)
    • Festus: (v. 24) – And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.
      • vv. 25-27 – But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words. For 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. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.”
    • Agrippa: (v. 28) – And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?”
      • v. 29 – 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 such as I am – except for these chains.”

CoclusionThe Mission Continues (Acts 26:30-32)

  • vv. 30-32 – Then the king rose, and the governor and Bernice and those who were sitting with them. And when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, “This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.” And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”
    • Philippians 1:12-14 – I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
    • Philippians 4:21-22 – Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.

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