The book of Acts contains some of the most compelling accounts of real-life Christianity in the entire Word of God. In the twenty sixth chapter of that book there is an account of the Jewish apostle Paul testifying before a King, of how he met the true and living God. Here is a portion of Paul’s testimony before King Agrippa:
Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself: I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews: Especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently. My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. (Acts 26:1-5)
Paul was absolutely delighted that he was allowed to speak to the King, and he tell him that he grew up as an EXPERT in all the customs of the Jews, in fact he was a Pharisee.
And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. (Acts 26:6-7)
Here Paul told the King that he was being judged for the very hope of the promise that God made unto the “fathers” and the twelve tribes (of Israel). It is obvious that Paul was referring to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, when he was speaking about that hope. This was the very center of the argument that was going on there. Paul had his life transformed by the power of Almighty God, and he made no bones about testifying about Jesus Christ. He told the King that the Jews were accusing him for that very reason.
Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things CONTRARY to the name of JESUS of Nazareth. (Acts 26:8-9)
Paul was speaking about the resurrection of Jesus Christ here, and then he went on to tell the King that he also was in opposition to Christ at one point in his life. The testimony here of Paul becomes so very powerful because he had been converted by the power of the true and living God, and nothing would hold him back. Paul did not care what the King or any other political person thought about that either, because he had a mandate from the Lord Himself and the true fire of the Holy Spirit was burning within his heart. As a Christian myself, I find it difficult to listen to the Pastors and preachers of this modern day, as they fudge the precious Gospel, and pander to the politicians, and other “religious leaders.”.
Which thing I also did in JERUSALEM: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received AUTHORITY from the CHIEF PRIESTS; and when they were put to DEATH, I gave MY VOICE against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities. Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the CHIEF PRIESTS, (Acts 26:10-12)
The apostle Paul did not let up in his testimony, as he went on to tell the King, that the (Jewish) Chief Priests gave him the authority to persecute the saints (true living Christians), and many of them were put in prison and were put to death! Paul told the King that he was involved in all those things and gave his full consent to it. It is very clear through the testimony of Paul that he was an absolute tyrant against true Christians.
At midday, O king, I saw in the way a LIGHT from HEAVEN, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, LORD? And he said, I AM JESUS whom thou persecutest. (Acts 26:13-15)
What a day that must have been when this man Saul (Paul) had his life rocked by the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul observed a light that was brighter than the midday Sun (extremely bright), and then a voice which spoke in the Hebrew language and asked him why he was persecuting him. What would you have thought if you were in Saul’s (Paul’s) shoes? I don’t know about you, but I would have wondered why I was not cooked already. So, what happened next? This is what Jesus Christ said to Paul when he spoke to him from HEAVEN!
But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for THIS PURPOSE, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from DARKNESS to LIGHT, and from the power of SATAN unto GOD, that they may receive FORGIVENESS of SINS, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by FAITH that is in ME. (Acts 26:16-18)
What? How can this possibly be? This absolute tyrant of a man, who dragged Christians off into jail, for no good reason, and gave his consent to the death of many of them? What? Are you kidding me? Are you telling me that a Holy and Righteous God can use this guy for His glory? What about this man’s past, and the wicked things he did against the Christians? Yup, that is exactly what happened to Saul (Paul), and it even ended up in the scriptures, the very Word of God. The true and living God called this man Saul (Paul), and He put His Spirit in him, and he told him that he would be preaching (primarily) to the Gentiles, but he preached to the Jewish people also. So, what was the message that the Lord gave this man Saul (Paul) to preach? If this message came directly out of Heaven, then all of us need to listen up for sure:
Paul Would be a MINISTER and a WITNESS to Turn the People:
1] From Darkness to Light
The Lord knows all things, and he also knows that most people are still living in a spiritual darkness.
2] From the Power of Satan unto God
The Lord also knows that most people that are in darkness, are therefore under the power of Satan himself. This would include people from every part of the entire world. This would include the rich and the poor, the famous and the unknown.
3] That They May Receive Forgiveness of Sins
When a person comes out from the darkness, and the power of Satan (the DEVIL) they are reconciled back to God and forgiven of their sins.
4] That They Receive Their Inheritance Through Faith in Me (Jesus Christ)
The inheritance that the Lord is talking about, is the inheritance of eternal life which is found in the Lord Jesus Christ himself.
That message which Paul received from the Lord Jesus Christ remains the SAME today!
That message is for every JEWISH person and every GENTILE person in the entire world!
None Are Exempt from That Message
Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple and went about to kill me. Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: (Acts 26:19-22)
Paul told the King that he obeyed that heavenly vision, and began to preach to people, that they needed to repent and turn to God. Paul preached first to the Jewish people, and they wanted to KILL him. Paul was now on the other side in this spiritual war. He went from consenting to the death of Christians, to becoming a hunted Christian himself! The one thing that you need to see here is that the apostle Paul told the King that he was speaking nothing different than what the prophets and Moses declared should come. Nothing has changed since the time of Paul, and the message which the true Christian speaks is not a drop different than what Paul himself preached! If you are preaching a different message than that of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, then you are preaching a BOGUS GOSPEL that is not from the Lord at all.
The apostle Paul was so different than the modern-day Pastors and preachers who seek to please man, (and get rich) to advance their own “legacy” and “ministry” even if it means pandering to politicians and other compromising preachers. Paul would have none of that. It is almost incredible when a person compares the preaching of Paul, to what is being mostly preached today. It is almost as if it is a different Gospel. That is because it is a different Gospel, and it is a FALSE Gospel which Paul warned us about.
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:8-10)