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Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible ® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. www.Lockman.org

 

ACTS CHAPTER 26

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1-4 Agrippa 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; 3 especially 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;

 

Act 26,1-18

(148i) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Obligation to preach the gospel >> Ambassador in chains -- These verses go with verses 24-32

Act 26,1-3

(72j) Authority >> Hierarchy of authority >> More authority the more responsibility >> The strong shall help the weak -- These verses go with verses 30-32. Paul stood before Felix and then before Festus, and now he was making his defense before King Agrippa, and they all increased in authority and in knowledge of the Scriptures regarding ancient Jewish beliefs and customs. This is uncharacteristic of our politicians today, where the higher in authority, the more they claim to be Christians but the less evidence they show in their character and the less they seem to know about the Bible. This is to suggest that the governors in Paul’s day were better than the governors in our own time, and these were Romans who were pagans, in fact the entire Roman empire collapsed under the weight of their debauchery. If they were better than us, then what does that say about our future?

Act 26,4-20

(193e) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Turn from sin to God >> Repent >> Bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance >> Testimony of Paul’s life – Paul showed how foolish the Jews were for persecuting him for teaching the fulfillment of the very Scriptures they loved and embraced and studied and taught their whole lives. When he drew a straight and definitive line from the teachings of the Old Testament to the things he now believes, it answered every question in King Agrippa’s mind, and demonstrated that the Jews should believe in Jesus with him, and in fact there were many Pharisees who did believe in Jesus, coming to Christ mostly through Peter’s ministry. This line Paul drew showed the consistency between the old and new covenants without wasting the king’s time interpreting scripture or stretching doctrines from their original meaning, but spoke emphatically about the highpoints of his faith in Christ, explaining that these Old Testament concepts literally prophesied the new covenant into existence, offering his personal testimony as a supplement to the Scriptures.

Act 26,4-15

(201e) Denying Christ >> Jesus is an offense >> Truth offends error >> The truth offends the religious establishment – King Agrippa was mostly concerned whether Paul had fabricated this new teaching; if he did, the Jews were right in persecuting him. Anyone who would advocate abandoning circumcision that God instituted as a sign of the ancient faith of Abraham and desist from the customs of Moses should be stoned to death according to the Old Testament, unless these changes came from God, and this is what the Jews didn’t believe.

Act 26,4-11

(175m) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorance >> Ignorant of God – Rational thought would normally lead one to think that the Jews who persecuted Paul didn’t personally know him, but in fact many of them grew up with him in Jerusalem, possibly going to school together from childhood to adult and attending the equivalent of seminary training together. These were some of Paul’s closest friends who were now persecuting him, and it never once entered their minds to question why he converted to Christianity. This is the epitome of close-mindedness, a way of thinking that denied the possibility that they could be wrong. They thought they were right about everything because they were an authority on the subject, spending more years studying these things than others and studying under astute professors. Their religion was not an aspect of their culture but of their very essence. Paul and the other Pharisees were leaders of their nation's faith as teachers of the doctrines that Israel believed, so they were held in high honor among the people, which added to their confidence, still they were wrong. Likewise for us, it doesn’t matter how many good reasons we have for believing what we know; we too could be wrong. There is no excuse for close-mindedness, because the possibility of being wrong always exists, no matter how strongly we believe. We should always keep an open mind and listen even to our enemies. People are afraid to do this because of the frailty of their faith. As a cover-up they claim to be convinced of the truth, so there is no need to be open-minded, but this is a pharisaical mindset.

(185b) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Mystery of lawlessness >> Having no grounds for your hate >> Hating Christ without a cause – The Jews were afflicting and terrorizing Paul, which is what he used to do to Christians before he got saved, and then he asked God to deliver him from these people, and God said, ‘No, you are going to take your own medicine.’ Despite God’s incorruptible love for Paul, and despite Paul’s willingness to go anywhere and do anything for Him, God's righteous judgment took precedence over His love. God loves us, but He also judges us. Many people don’t believe the Jews were Paul’s thorn in the flesh in 2Cor 12,7-10. They probably don’t want to believe this because it would indicate that God’s righteous judgment precedes His love for us, and they can expect this when they sin. Instead, they want God to love, love, love. We want the freedom to do whatever we want and get God's love in return, but these are not the ways of God. Rather, He judged Paul and then turned his judgment into good. Not only was God satisfied that Paul got what he deserved, but Paul was strengthened and benefited by it and more prepared to preach the gospel in times of adversity, so it was a win-win situation. Even in some of the most debauched circumstances, God can find ways to turn evil into good if we follow Him, but He can do nothing with us outside of repentance, anymore than improving a town is a good idea before repairing the dam that is upstream from it. See also: Paul's thorn; Act 26,4-7; 99c

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Act 26,4-9

(19k) Sin >> Actions that contradict your words will twist your mind

Act 26,4-7

(99c) Thy kingdom come >> Endurance (Thorn in the flesh) >> Enduring the will of God >> Enduring people (patience) – These religious fanatics who persecuted Paul followed him around trying to hinder the gospel from going forward through him. They didn't bother the other apostles as much as they bothered him, why? He was once one of them! Religious fanatics are not defined by how strongly they believe, but by what they are capable of doing. That is, fanatics would have committed their crimes whether or not they had a religious side. In other words, criminal behavior of fanatics is not the result of their beliefs but of their criminal minds, and they use their religious beliefs to excuse their behavior. Paul was once a religious terrorist of the Church, but then he got saved and upset the world for Jesus, but he wasn’t the one causing the ruckus; rather, it was the religious fanatics; it is always the fanatics. He was once the ringleader of the very people who terrorized him; he was once a thorn in the side of the Church, but now the fanatics were a thorn his side (2Cor 12,7-10). God refused to do anything about them, allowing him to receive the same treatment that he divvied to Christians in the days of his fanaticism, and as a result of attracting persecution to himself he relieved pressure on the Church. The same thing will happen in the last days with the Two Witnesses (Revelation chapter 11), whom the world will persecute, relieving pressure from the Church. God uses fanatical terrorism to judge nations who have rejected Him, using evil to judge evil, as He has done so often in the past. See also: Paul's thorn; Act 26,4-11; 185b

(142a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Old Testament bears witness to the new >> Prophesy about the dispensation >> The end times – The early church had a Bible that God had provided them in the Old Testament that was written long before any of these things took place, which was extremely persuasive, capable of creating strong faith in those who studied and believed it, capable of creating the Church in the world. Now 2000 years later these ancient manuscripts are more ancient than ever, yet they are just as true and relevant. Since then, the early founders of the Church furnished us with an updated Testament, which has become another whole battery of prophecies yet to be fulfilled relating to the last days, so now we have these things “made more sure to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts” (2Pet 1-19). When endtime prophecies are fulfilled, we will have great assurance, even as the early disciples hoped in the Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled in their time about Jesus and His required sacrifice and subsequent resurrection.

(165a) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> The world is at enmity with God >> The world rejects God

(176e) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Zeal without knowledge (Spirit w/o the word) >> Devotion without direction

Act 26-4,5

(143b) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Having a bad reputation


5-10 since 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; 7 the 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.

 

Act 26,5-8

(53i) Paradox >> Opposites >> Contradicting your own standards >> Making accusations against things you believe in

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Act 26,5-7

(151c) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> New Testament bears witness of the Old >> The Patriarchs >> The sons of Abraham

Act 26-8

(39c) Judgment >> Jesus defeated death >> Preaching the resurrection -- This verse goes with verse 23. Paul met a lot of resistance regarding the resurrection. The concept was so brand-new, no one had heard or even imagined such a thing before Paul preached it among the towns and villages that he visited. Death was such a concrete thing as it is to us, knowing that when our family members die, we will not see them again in this life. The Old Testament hinted at a resurrection, but it wasn’t a major doctrine until the New Testament made it a new covenant idea, emerging from the deep shadows of the Old Testament. Jesus went around preaching a gospel that centered on the concept of eternal life as the thrust of his ministry. Had Jesus’ message centered on anything else, it would have been a downgrade to His gospel, since you cannot top the promise of the resurrection and eternal life. There are many things against us, and in the end we will die, which candidly is the worst thing that could possibly happen to our mortal flesh. There are many things that cause us sorrow, but over time we could rise above it, get passed it and live beyond it, but we can’t live beyond death, unless there is a resurrection. So, why weren’t people more willing to believe in it? It was like Paul entering a town and promising everyone they could win the lottery if they just bought a one-dollar ticket. Our mortal flesh has all kinds of incentive to believe in the gospel of the resurrection leading to eternal life, yet the reason the teaching of the resurrection often fell on deaf ears was that the people didn't want to live by faith, so in their case the resurrection would become a curse, for there is also a resurrection of the wicked. If they refuse to believe in Jesus, then they will partake of the resurrection of the wicked, and "this is the second death, the lake of fire" (Rev 20-14). God will judge them for not believing in His Son and send them to hell forever. Ignoring these facts do not make them go away, yet it is how most people deal with skeletons in their closet, and Paul was raising these issues as though corpses they had previously buried in their earlier days, which opposed their effort to forget the past. Without Christ we have no future.

(213b) Sovereignty >> God is infinite >> God is all powerful >> All things are possible with God

Act 26,9-11

(25e) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Murder >> Persecution to the death >> Kill your neighbor for God’s sake – The Old Testament teaches in the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 13,1-5) that if anybody tries to persuade us to worship other gods or dissuade us from serving the true and living God, he was to be put to death. This is where Paul got his idea to silence the dissent of Christianity. Then after his conversion he essentially reworded Deut 13 in Gal 1-8, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” Prior to his conversion, Paul was in full conviction about the word of God in fighting to preserve his nation’s heritage according to his understanding of Scripture. However, Israel was completely lost, so that Saul was trying to preserve an idea that was utterly skewed, not even in the ballpark. Over a period of centuries Israel slowly and methodically meandered from the purity of Scripture and fell into human error, which transformed the Scriptures into arbitrary precepts and the traditions of men. He was convinced that he knew the truth and dedicated his life to what he believed, but when Jesus revealed Himself to Paul, he then dedicated his life to Christ instead.

(243f) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting the kingdom >> Persecuting the Church of God Note the word usage Paul used, “…and being furiously enraged with them.” This is Paul's self-portrait from his former manner of life as an unbeliever, and his description sounds like the Scribes and Pharisees who hounded him from city to city after he was saved, preaching the same gospel that he once hated. The words Paul used were nearly the same words that the book of Revelation uses to describe the antichrist assaulting the woman and her children (the Church) in Rev 12-17, “The dragon was enraged with the woman.” This makes Paul appear to be a very evil man prior to his conversion, but he was only doing what he thought was right. However, this will not be the case with the antichrist, who will be a man without conscience, though he and Paul once had the same sentiments about the Church. Paul said that he was furiously enraged with the saints, trying to do harm to the name of Jesus Christ, and the only way he could do that was to attack those who believed in Him. We know that the antichrist and Satan hate God and His people; though Paul did not hate God, and he didn’t know that Jesus was God’s Son. Saul loved God but hated Jesus, whereas Satan hates Christ in full knowledge that He is God's Son. Paul used the same words to describe himself that Revelation uses to describe the antichrist, but they both hated Jesus for different reasons. Although Paul acted like the devil, he had different motives, so when he came to the revelation of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, it changed his whole life. See also: Antichrist; Act 26,11-14; 1i

Act 26-9,10

(67h) Authority >> Jesus delegates authority >> Sacrificing your life for the name of Jesus

Act 26-10,11

(164b) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Entertaining demons by persecuting the Church

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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.

 

Act 26,11-14

(1i) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God >> False burden of serving God in ignorance – This is Paul’s testimony standing before King Agrippa. Jn 16-2,3 says, “They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me.” It says that Paul punished Christians in the synagogues and tried to force them to blaspheme, being “furiously enraged” with them. This sounds like the antichrist, who will behave in the same manner according to Revelation chapter 12. When we study Paul's life, whatever made him angry at Christians will also enrage the antichrist when he comes. It could be there is much confusion surrounding the antichrist because there is more than one of them. 1Jn 2-18 says, “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.” The Bible doesn’t actually talk about “the Antichrist,” though it does refer to a man of lawlessness in 2The 2-3. So there will be “a man” eventually come to deceive the world, but there will be others that will come before him, who will have the same spirit, hence the reason people can’t seem to agree about “this man” because he is many (Mk 5-9). All antichrists differ from each other, yet they all have one thing in common: they all hate God, and they all deny that Jesus came in the flesh (1Jn 4,1-3), and they all hate Christians who follow Him. This goes for Saul too, prior to his conversion, whom God apply renamed Paul. See also: Antichrist; Act 26,9-11; 243f

(2k) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God >> Get out of His way >> Do not touch the apple of His eye >> Do not oppose others – Paul before his conversion with the Lord ferociously opposed the Church. There were Jews before him who persecuted Christianity, often throwing Peter, James and John in prison, and the angels kept setting them free and commanding them to go back to the synagogues and preach the gospel to the people and prove to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ. There was a point when the Jews finally gave up their efforts and maybe even wondered if they actually were fighting against God; however when Paul came along, he did not care about such concerns, and with more rage and determination than the Jews before him, relentlessly persecuted the Church without mercy. What was God’s response to Saul? Jesus Himself met with him, and as a result he was converted to Christianity so God both stopped the persecution and used Paul's zeal to further spread the gospel. God didn’t do this for the gospel's sake only but also for judgment. Had Paul resisted, his life would have been completely ruined. Instead of scales falling off his eyes, he probably would have remained blind, which would have ended his ranting against the Church, but more than that, his soul would have been destroyed. As it was, Paul was a man of conscience and integrity; he was also deceived, being a former student and proponent of his religion without asking questions. He simply received the teachings and believed in his heritage and the interpretation of their ancient manuscripts. This move to convert Paul to Christianity acted both as a judgment and as the greatest blessing the world has ever known. The gospel of Christ simply would not have gone around the world without him. In God’s mind on the road to Damascus, He both called and chose Paul, but in Paul’s mind a decision had to be made, though a simple one that Jesus was real and that he had to admit being wrong about virtually everything.


12-17 "While so engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, 13 at 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; 17 rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you,

 

Act 26,12-20

(32a) Gift of God >> God is our Father >> Grace >> God’s grace seeks man – It is a fair assumption that God called Paul apart from all the other people and the Pharisees who persecuted Paul. Had God called anybody else, would he have become as great an evangelist as Paul? This is highly unlikely, suggesting that God’s choice of Paul was for the express purpose of harnessing his natural abilities. Paul said that he had lived his life with a clear conscience even prior to His conversion. This was his greatest strength and is what got him nominated along the road to Damascus. Who does more to instill a clear conscience in a person? His mother! This means God called Paul from his mother’s womb. He had other things going for him, such as a broad knowledge of the Old Testament and mastery of several languages, which helped him along his missionary journeys. Valuable tools as these were, they all took a backseat to his conscience that God used to fashion his relationship with Jesus and shape his love for God's people.

(117i) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Eyes of your spirit >> Seeing visions – It seems Jesus appeared to Paul more than once. Along the road to Damascus was the only recorded appearance, but Paul implied that God appeared to him on other occasions. When we think of Paul’s accomplishments, he no doubt received a lot of grace; he was given a lot and he did a lot with it. Some of the revelations that Paul received from the Lord were the things he wrote in his epistles that we read today, namely that the gentiles are included in the grace of God. Paul said that this was the greatest revelation he had ever received from the Lord, yet think of the many other revelations in Ephesians that he has intimated with us, such as that we will sit with Jesus on God’s throne. That is pretty big, but apparently it was not as big to Paul as the simple fact that God has accepted the heathen, something we often take for granted. This became the very center of his ministry.

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Act 26,12-18

(112c) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Light >> Jesus’ light overcomes darkness >> The light of His truth

Act 26,13-15

(224b) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Description of heaven >> Describing the kingdom after he makes all things new >> Description of the ascension

Act 26,14-17

(29b) Gift of God >> God delivers us from those who want to silence the word – Paul was enraged with the Christians, just like the Jews were enraged at him (namely his fellow Pharisees). Paul understood his enemies, because he once acted just like them. In fact, he was more committed to stamping out Christianity than any of those who persecuted him, so Paul couldn’t complain too much about his thorn in the flesh and what they were trying to do to him. He couldn’t complain about their false perspective, because he had the same views that they had before he met Jesus.

Act 26-14

(190d) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Masochism (Self-made martyr) >> Self-afflictions that are against the will of God – Goads are like needles on a cactus; try kicking a saguaro cactus with bare feet and you will get the point of what Paul was doing to himself while trying to destroy Christianity. Nothing happens to the cactus but needles break off in our toes and swell our feet. They get infected progressing to gangrene and possibly amputation, preventing us from walking again, which was the general mode of travel back then. This is what Paul was doing when he met the Lord on the road to Damascus; he was only hurting himself. He was there when Steven was martyred, so he was hurting other people too, but according to the analogy of goads that are not damaged when we kick them, Christianity as a whole was unaffected. He actually did more for Christianity than he did against it by persecuting the saints.

Act 26,16-18

(71j) Authority >> Ordained by God >> God ordains us through His commandments

(169e) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> The world is blind to God >> Darkness has a blinding effect

Act 26-16

(144d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> The Church bears witness of Jesus >> It bears witness of His word


18 to 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.'

 

Act 26,18-20

(88e) Thy kingdom come >> Faith produces works >> The function of works in faith >> Faith doesn’t move men until it is manifested in the spiritual realm – Paul went from city to city demonstrating the vision he received on the road to Damascus, which initiated his faith and ministry. Without His vision, Paul probably wouldn’t have been saved. When he preached the gospel, he was reproducing the vision he received directly from Christ and was essentially introducing the natural world to this spiritual realm. People don’t want someone preaching to them without spiritual motivation; they want to know what spiritual experiences the preacher has had that motivates him to preach the gospel in the first place, which answers why he is doing it. Paul’s authority to preach the gospel was driven by the vision he received from the glorified Christ in person, and his ministry flourished and his anointing grew through his experiences with God. People want to know if God has visited us in some way and if He has given us authority to preach the gospel, and if so they will be more inclined to listen to our message.

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Act 26-18

(118c) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Eyes of your spirit >> Seeing through the eyes of your spirit

(120b) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Forgiveness >> God forgives us when we become accountable to Him >> When we repent

(164d) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> The world system >> Satan rules the world >> Satan is a tyrant over the world – This statement if people really believed it would create a paradigm shift in their thinking about the world. We live in a secular reality, yet this reality is actually the work of Satan, in that man is primarily a spirit. This is what Satan doesn’t want us to know. Man focuses his understanding and wisdom on the fact that the earth belongs to him; in fact, Genesis even states this. Although secular humanists do not concede to the Bible, yet Gen 1-28 correlates with their thinking, "God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." Secular humanists don't believe in any so-called spirits, thus negating the existence of Satan in their minds. Now that Satan is eliminated as a working component of this world, he is free to do whatever he wants with no repercussions tracking to him. Of course there is nothing anyone could do about him anyway, but if people realized that Satan was the origin and perpetuator of sin, it would cause people to run to God for help and safety. Man may have dominion over the earth, but Satan has dominion over the world. That is, the earth is the physical expression of the world, and the world is the spiritual entity of the earth, similar to the hardware and software of a computer. Man can do whatever he wants on the earth that God has given him, but all our activities contribute to the formation of society and culture, which falls under Satan’s domain. Jesus said in Jn 14-30 that Satan is the ruler of the world; Paul called him the "prince of the power of the air" in Eph 2,1-3. He does his work incognito, determining for whole societies how people should think and act in a world seemingly without God. As a result, to study history is to study war. Satan would love nothing more than for us to outright worship him, but he can’t seek that without blowing his cover, so he makes the world worship him indirectly by worshipping his attributes consisting of the elementary principles of the world, namely greed, lust and pride. Satan stands behind the idol of “self” and receives the world’s adoration of self-worship, but in the last days he will replace that idol with “himself” and the world will worship him directly. We worship the pleasures that money can buy, and we sacrifice extremely valuable things for it, while Satan controls the process and outcome. Paul is calling us to come out of this perverse system and open our eyes, turn from darkness to light, “and from the dominion of Satan to God,” and live and walk by His principles that are rooted in faith and love.

(184c) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Darkness >> Hiding behind your own imagination >> Hiding from the truth – God called Paul to preach the gospel that people might turn from darkness to light, and so he pierced a very dark world entrenched in mythological superstitions and paganism with the light of the knowledge of Christ. Many people turned from vain idols of their previous beliefs and embraced the gospel, which was highly successful in His day, though it saved only a fraction of the world's population. Enlightenment comes before repentance. People seek forgiveness after they realize their sins tie them to a world that is controlled by demons. They seek forgiveness of sin and subsequent repentance and sever all ties with the world that stops the engine that drives the production of sin.

(191k) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Result of putting off the old man >> Set apart >> Set apart by faith in the truth

(237k) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Transferring the kingdom >> The Church is transferred to the kingdom >> Transferred from darkness to light – There is a difference between guilt and conviction. The world condemns Christianity for their feelings of guilt. Actually, they have a point, for we are the conscience of the world. They hate us for it, but if it weren’t for us being God's testimony in the world, it would have annihilated itself long ago. They are miserable because they have rejected the remedy of their sin, whereas we Christians readily admit we're sinners and have applied God’s remedy of forgiveness and have received the power to repent through the blood of Christ. Guilt means the world is still under condemnation, but conviction indicates we are forgiven but need to repent. This is the gospel that Paul taught, and it all begins with enlightenment, which is the heart of Christianity. Repentance without enlightenment is like a shoe without a foot. We preach the gospel to people and make them feel guilty, so they try to change their ways, yet without ever seeing the light. This doesn’t last long before they go back to their old ways and blame us for feeling guilty, as though it were our fault they were sinners. People in the word don't want to believe they're sinners but want to believe they are good without God, but if they die without Christ, they cannot go to heaven. Sin really bothers people in the world, because they have no remedy for it except to get saved, but they don’t want to believe in Jesus. If it weren’t for sin, the world would probably be happy to believe in the gospel, but if they must admit they're sinners, they refuse to hear it.

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19&20 "So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but 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.

 

Act 26,19-23

(90g) Thy kingdom come >> Keeping the law >> Law is our tutor >> Had they kept the law, they would not have persecuted the Church – Trying to kill Paul was illegal according to the Romans and it was sin according to their Old Testament law in that Paul had not committed any crimes against Caesar or Moses, and so essentially they were trying to kill an innocent man. They were not allowed to put anyone to death by their own authority, but were required to appeal to Roman courts (no doubt this played into the timing of the Father sending His Son when He did), so for the Jews to make an attempt on Paul’s life even while in the temple was both a crime and a sin. Moses made allowance for “a man [who] acts presumptuously toward his neighbor, so as to kill him craftily, you are to take him even from My altar, that he may die” (Exodus 21:14). The Jews were no doubt thinking about this verse when they tried to kill Paul when he was in the temple (Act 21,27-31), yet they were blind to their Old Testament teachings to walk humbly before their God (Micah 6-8). Had they heeded their own law, it would have led them to believe in Jesus, as it says in Jn 6-45, “It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught of God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.”

Act 26-19,20

(149b) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Three key messages in evangelism >> Repentance – We can talk about Jesus every week in church, but “repentance” has become a dirty word, and talking about it will almost certainly decrease church attendance, and for this reason it is rarely mentioned, but if we don’t preach repentance, it is the first step in agreeing with New-Age Gnosticism and so many other false religions of the world who don’t believe repentance is one of God’s expectations for mankind. People have stopped believing that "repentance" is a real subject of the Bible, because they believe in other doctrines that make repentance obsolete, such as fixating on Eph 2-8,9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Anybody who has rejected repentance for their lives has proven they don’t understand the teachings of Jesus, Paul, the other writers of the New Testament or of the Gospel as a whole.

Act 26-20

(11a) Servant >> Standard for a servant >> A changed lifestyle – Whatever Characteristics of Satan’s kingdom, we must repent of it, for his kingdom is built on sin, whereas God’s kingdom is built on faith and love. God commands us to repent of our old ways and establish a new way in Christ, where we love one another and even our enemies.

(156f) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Evidence of salvation >> You will know them by their repentance – Repentance should take on a lifestyle that is appropriate for communicating with God. Without repentance it is impossible to make a covenant with God, especially when that covenant is about forgiveness of sin. We could thank God for His forgiveness, but it would be better to let our repentance say that to Him instead. We all know the difficulty of repentance, especially regarding those sticky sins that we can’t seem to shed. Life can be so frustrating that most of us keep some sins as a means of coping with our circumstances, and in many cases God accepts that, depending on the coping skills we use, until He gives us grace to rise above our weaknesses. God paves layer upon layer of grace upon grace in our lives, which allows us to let go of sin after sin. It doesn't happen all at once. We are forgiven of every sin we have committed or will ever commit, and we begin a campaign of repentance from every temptation that seeks our attention, keeping us from a closer relationship with Christ and doing His will. Repentance is a lifelong process. When we first get saved, there are many sins that simply drop off us, like scales off Paul’s eyes. The first and foremost sin we shed is unbelief, replaced by the realization that we live in a world that is controlled by Satan and that God has just adopted us into His kingdom, so we are no longer a part of this world, though we still live in it. However, when we step into a crowd of worldly people, their secular worldview creeps back into our minds, but the moment we leave their presence, the secular mindset disappears. These mental and social environments, laced with demonic spirits that promote secular worldviews seem to hang in the air, until we step into the assembly of the righteous and suddenly remember to whom we belong. However, there are other sins that are far more difficult to evade, many becoming lifelong problems.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

21-23 "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; 23 that 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."

 

Act 26-21,22

(28c) Gift of God >> God is our advocate >> God protects the Church from the world – When we look at the story of Paul, feeling it necessary to enter the Jewish temple to worship God and the Jews extricating him (Act 21,9-29), this story should make us wonder about Paul’s motive for entering the Jewish temple in the first place. God was behind the scenes, creating the circumstances to protect him from being killed. God spared Paul’s life so he could go on “testifying both to small and great stating nothing but what the prophets and Moses said was going to take place.” God was not finished using Paul; he was slated to go to Rome, and nobody could stop God from sending him there, especially not these Jews. When God does something to spare His people from death, invariably He has a purpose in mind for them to promote His gospel in this world, which has eternal ramifications potentially for many people in the future.

Act 26,22-29

(110c) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Spirit speaks through us in times of persecution

(158i) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Divide and conquer >> Division (Cliques) >> Satan is the origin of division – We have Festus on one side and king Agrippa on the other; one thinks Paul is mad while the other is about to become a Christian. So we have two opposing perspectives, which is very common. People go to school to learn mathematics, and they all come out thinking about the same thing with very little discrepancy. Someone can do calculations and others can decide they are wrong and discus it, and they can actually go into the world and prove their theorems, go back to the drawing board and recalculate their equations, so we can see there is a right and a wrong in mathematics. When it comes to Christianity, though, everyone has their own ideas. People’s perspectives can be radically different from each other, and what makes it worse, people won’t change their views even after we have proven our point through the Scriptures. It is not because of religion that people are resistant to change; rather, people won’t change because Satan is controlling them. Satan doesn’t care about mathematics, so there is no dispute, but when it comes to Jesus and the resurrection and eternal life, we could have ten people with ten views and every one of them would be different, and no one can agree on anything, which stifles unity in the Church.

Act 26,22-28

(141g) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Old Testament bears witness to the new >> It bears witness to Jesus >> Prophesy about Jesus’ resurrection

Act 26-22,23

(149a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Three key messages in evangelism >> The resurrection

Act 26-22

(41b) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Be like Jesus >> Jesus is without sin >> He fulfilled the law

(90d) Thy kingdom come >> Keeping the law >> Law is our tutor >> It takes Jesus’ place until He arrives -- This verse goes with verses These verses go with verse 26-28

Act 26-23 

(39c) Judgment >> Jesus defeated death >> Preaching the resurrection -- This verse goes with verse 8

(112b) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Light >> Jesus’ light overcomes darkness >> The light of His power

(210ha) Salvation >> Jews and gentiles are being saved >> Salvation is from the Jews >> The Jew first >> Jesus was a Jew

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

24&25 While 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." 25 But Paul said, "I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I utter words of sober truth. 

 

Act 26,24-32

(148i) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Obligation to preach the gospel >> Ambassador in chains -- These verses go with verses 1-18

Act 26,24-29

(6k) Responsibility >> Protecting the Gospel >> Persuade men that Jesus is the Christ – Paul was making a very strategic move, being led by the spirit to convert to Christianity the leaders of the highest authorities on earth at the time, the Roman empire. He knew reaching them would make the government sympathetic toward Christianity, so instead of having a role in persecuting the Church, they would prohibit such actions, passing laws making it illegal to harm anyone who professed faith in Christ. Unfortunately, as history tells, they went too far and passed laws making it illegal to not be a Christian, and then went on crusades of murder to extinguish the infidels who didn’t believe. It took centuries for their faith to distort this far, so prior to these years of folly there was peace as Paul had hoped, which gave Christianity a reprieve and an opportunity to sink its roots deeply into the human conscience, Jesus becoming a household name with a good reputation.

(77f) Thy kingdom come >> Humility >> Refusing the glory of man >> Rejecting the worship of men – King Agrippa most likely kept his promise and became a Christian. He was a man of conscience contrary to Festus. What made the sin of Festus greater was his knowledge of the Scriptures, being better acquainted with the law and the prophets than Felix. Paul was influencing kings now, and he was on his way to Rome to meet Caesar, based on the word of the Lord that he received regarding this fact (Act 19-21; 23-11; 27-24). Although the Holy Roman Empire became the seat of faith in the days that Catholicism ruled the world as a dictator alongside the king, it doesn’t speak much about Paul, downplaying his influence. They have statues made to him and churches named after him, but he is not nearly as big a name as the apostle Peter. Paul didn't receive notoriety, because he was not a likeable person. In fact we don’t see anyone worshipping Paul, yet he was one of the greatest and most influential men who ever lived. He rubbed people the wrong way; remember he was a Pharisee.

(90c) Thy kingdom come >> Keeping the law >> Law is our tutor >> It prepares your heart to receive Christ – Note the contrast between Festus and Agrippa with respect to the Jewish Scriptures and note the word-choice that Festus used, willingly confirming a dead man (Jesus) but putting to question that he was alive (Act 25-19). This suggests that anybody who would assume Jesus died but questions He is alive again doesn’t know much about the Bible. Festus was unprepared to believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and to this day the world feels the same way. Festus had the mindset of the world, who by no means was an expert in the Law and the prophets and rejected the gospel, while king Agrippa was very knowledgeable about the Jewish faith and was about to become a Christian. Therefore, the more a person knows about the Bible, the more likely he will believe in Jesus. See also: Act 26,27-29; 86d

(122k) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Boldness in adverse circumstances >> Go in places of adversity – Paul was a fanatic and God converted him to the truth, yet his fanaticism never died, but maybe it wasn’t supposed to die; it transformed in ways that God could use him. Those in the Church who knew him best loved him most, but those who rejected the gospel that he preached brought out hatred in his enemies from the threat Paul was to the world. There was nothing that could stop him; he was like a locomotive with an engine that ran full-bore continuously. He was afraid of nothing and no one. When God told him something, he knew it would happen and he didn’t have to worry about dying, and for that reason, he was bold in Jerusalem; he took on the whole city by himself. Paul looked at all those fanatical irate hate-mongers in the face who dreamed about killing him; they wanted to wrap their fingers around his throat and squeeze the life out of him, yet he dared to come to their city; they just couldn’t believe he showed his face, and now he was influencing kings with the gospel. His boldness was based on faith, knowing the word of God and trusting whatever He said. He knew that God was capable of protecting him in any situation, that God was able to do anything and perform any miracle.

Act 26,24-26

(155d) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Witness of the believer >> Conscience >> An evil conscience keeps us from believing God >> Knowledge of evil testifies against our deeds – Paul said to Festus in Act 25-10, ‘You know I’m telling the truth,’ with no argument from him. Festus was a man with little conscience, who said, “Paul, you are out of your mind!” Festus said this because he was under conviction of the Holy Spirit, resisting Him. The tactic of virtually every lawyer is to attack the credibility of the witness, so he told Paul that he was mad. If anyone was insane it was Festus, insane with conviction and guilt for leaving Paul in prison knowing he was innocent of all charges. He figured that if he could give an answer, he could evade guilt, but it didn’t work with King Agrippa.

Act 26-24,25

(107i) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Hearing from God >> Church is of the truth >> God’s people speak the truth

(168j) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> The world has deaf ears to God >> Deaf from a hardened heart

Act 26-24

(175f) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorance >> Dodging the issue (willful ignorance) >> Evading the word of God

(200i) Denying Christ >> Excuses for rejecting Christ >> Using irresponsibility as an excuse to reject God >> Trying to talk your way out of accountability

(202h) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Running from God >> Running from the word of God >> Running from the witness of God – This is what somebody says when he starts hearing the Holy Spirit speaking in his heart about sin. Festus had absolutely no respect for Paul’s knowledge, yet instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to him, Festus open his big mouth and spoke over God’s voice in his heart. Knowledge and education doesn’t drive a person mad; a person could have three Ph.D.s and they wouldn't make him crazy. Festus was not about to admit that Paul was a highly leaned man or complement him in any way, yet he did suddenly for no apparent reason pay Paul a complement as a diversion just when God was getting His way. How interesting it is that the world thinks we’re stupid for believing in Jesus until the Holy Spirit convicts them of sin; then they think we’re crazy. They think it is just a game until God personally invites them to join His family; then they go to war with God. For Festus to accuse Paul of being “mad” was something in himself that he projected onto Paul. He finally saw that His sinful nature was insane in the eyes of God. He suddenly realized that he lived on a planet that God owned and ate food that God grew, and incarcerated a man who belonged to God, yet he made decisions exclusively for his own betterment, and multiplying that sin, he affected thousands of people as governor without thinking twice about anybody, and he lived in total disregard of his Maker. The only thing he could say in accusation against Paul was the thing he was thinking about himself, that he was insane.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

26-30 "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." 28 Agrippa replied to Paul, "In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian." 29 And 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." 30 The king stood up and the governor and Bernice, and those who were sitting with them,

 

Act 26,26-28

(70h) Authority >> Sin of familiarity >> Familiar with the truth (enemy of discernment) >> Familiar with Jesus in the Spirit

(90d) Thy kingdom come >> Keeping the law >> Law is our tutor >> It takes Jesus’ place until He arrives -- These verses go with verse 22

(97h) Thy kingdom come >> Attention >> Facing the direction of God’s will >> Focusing your attention on what matters to you

(232e) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the kingdom >> Count the cost >> Assess the property before you buy it – The gospel of Jesus Christ was not done in a corner because God is not bashful. He is not the kind who avoids attention. On the contrary, He is the kind of God that if we don’t worship Him, He wonders why; in fact, He finds fault with us if we don't. God is not timid to demonstrate His gospel in front of everybody. The gift of God was intended for all those who are willing to receive it, and for this reason they deserve to hear it, and for this reason they also deserve to be judged for rejecting it.

Act 26-26

(121l) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Confidence >> Confidence in God as you fulfill your ministry

Act 26,27-29

(86d) Thy kingdom come >> Belief demands a response – Paul spoke in his own defense, starting with the Roman council, then before Felix, then before Festus, and finally before king Agrippa. Each ruler was more familiar with the customs of Israel than the first, so that King Agrippa was the most acquainted with the Old Testament writings and teachings of the prophets. Hence, it was not from ignorance that king Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.” That was king Agrippa’s statement of faith based on knowledge, suggesting that he did become a Christian. All the other rulers were unconvinced because they were unaware. The more a person knows about the Bible, the more likely he will believe the gospel and be saved. Conversely, the more a person knows about the Bible without becoming a Christian, the more his heart is hardened. The Holy Spirit is the persuader of truth; He uses the word of God to persuade people to believe in Jesus, showcasing the relationship between the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. See also: Act 26,24-29; 90c

Act 26-28,29

(43f) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Conform to me as I conform to Christ

(53g) Paradox >> Opposites >> Preaching freedom in bondage

(90a) Thy kingdom come >> God convicts us >> Conviction leads us in the way of righteousness

(119f) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Freedom >> Fences of freedom >> Being a slave to freedom – Paul professed his freedom while bound with heavy chains. It is easy to understand freedom when we want to convert the drug addict, for we see him obviously in bondage, but what about the rest of us, why do we need freedom? Every unbeliever is in bondage to unbelief, and unbelief brings with it a suitcase of other bondages. Most people’s concept of freedom is something to be spent, rather than protected and cherished. People spend their freedom like they spend their money, fast as possible. Jesus defined freedom as free from sin. This has nothing to do with a government-sanctioned privilege. Unbelievers have no choice but to serve “the god of this world,” and there is nothing straightforward about him; his goal is to put people in bondage to sin. In contrast, Paul desired king Agrippa to come under bondage to the will of God rather than bondage to the world, because there is no benefit to serving the flesh, but the benefit of Christian service is eternal life.

(247c) Priorities >> God’s priorities >> God’s interests >> God is interested in His people >> God is interested in our freedom – God values freedom more than we do, and we value freedom more than anything else, or at least that is what we claim. We fight for it, insisting that all the wars we have fought in the past were for the cause of freedom; therefore, "freedom" is a word that people associate with war. Look what we have done in attempt to secure freedom - millions of young men have given their lives for it! God tries to make us value His freedom from the tyranny of sin, yet man prefers his own freedom that refers to being free from the tyranny of his fellow man. Our definition of freedom comes short of the true significance of freedom; for example, God values freedom so much that He had Paul imprisoned for years for the sake of setting other people free. Paul was a prisoner of Christ Jesus, though he claimed to be free while he sat in his cell, being freer than the people who put him there. King Agrippa understood the history of Israel and the Jewish people better than any of the other governors who examined Paul. He made a statement of faith proving that having a firm grasp on the Old Testament is essential for understanding the New Testament. It also indicates that Jesus did not terminate what God was doing with Israel. That is, though He was the embodiment of a new covenant, it was a covenant the Old Testament prophets foretold.

Act 26-29

(5e) Responsibility >> Advocate God’s cause >> Disciples preach the gospel – King Agrippa’s statement of faith must have sounded to Paul like the voice of an angel, being that Paul was an evangelist and the only thing that mattered to him was saving souls. Nothing gave Paul pleasure like a new convert. On so many levels this was King Agrippa saying: ‘Paul, I find no guilt in you.’ Note also that Paul had been severely abused, yet he said and did no wrong, that he might not cast a shadow on the gospel of Christ. This should be our attitude too, that no one have anything bad to say about us, that the gospel may not be hindered.

(58l) Paradox >> Two implied meanings >> The Lord is warning Paul / The Lord is promising Paul

(246b) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Literal manifestations >> Literal bondage to Christ – Paul talked about being the prisoner of the Lord and the slave of Christ. Also in his teaching he talked about being slaves of sin, that either we will serve Christ or serve the passions and desires of our flesh. So when he wished King Agrippa to be like him, “except for these chains,” he wished for the fetters of Christ to incarcerate his sinful nature that he might be free to believe and serve Christ.

Act 26,30-32

(29e) Gift of God >> God is our advocate >> Delivered from wicked rulers

(72j) Authority >> Hierarchy of authority >> More Authority The More Responsibility >> The strong shall help the weak -- These verses go with verses 1-3

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

31&32 and when they had gone aside, they began talking to one another, saying, "This man is not doing anything worthy of death or imprisonment." 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, "This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar."

 

Act 26-31,32

(1a) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God and people by respecting their authority

(18c) Sin >> False Judgment lacks evidence >> Charges not defined as crimes >> Accusing Paul without formal charges

(42b) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Be like Jesus >> Blameless before men

(42d) Judgment >> Be like Jesus >> Innocent >> No evidence against you in a court of law

(44k) Judgment >> Transformation process >> Fulfill your ministry in evangelism >> Complete your mission

(62f) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Being clever >> Lure in your prey – We have Paul’s motive; they didn’t have a prisoner; rather, Paul was using them to get to Caesar. King Agrippa was insightful and critical of Festus' lack of conscience, complaining under his breath that he should have released this man years ago, and now he was appealing to Caesar. Based on the word that God spoke to him, ‘As you have testified of My grace in Jerusalem, so you will also testify of Me in Rome’ (Act 23-11), Paul knew he was going to Rome and he knew he wouldn’t die in the process, and that these people who acted as Paul’s superiors were mere pawns in the hand of God, who were inadvertently doing His will.

(63b) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Righteous deception >> Church deceive their enemies

(152b) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> Witnesses of the father >> Apostles >> Commitment to the cause proves apostleship – Paul was trying to fulfill His calling from God (Act 27-24). Caesar was ruler of the known world, according to the saying, “All roads lead to Rome,” being the hub of all commerce, and these roads also led away from Rome. If Rome gets christianized, those who enter it would be influenced by Christianity and then take the gospel home with them to the far reaches of the earth and help spread the word, and so Christianity spread through Rome. Apparently God wanted Paul to talk to Caesar and if not convince him to become a Christian, least make him a sympathizer of Christianity, so he wouldn’t persecute the Church. The last thing God wanted was a top authority figure making it his aim to destroy the Church, and so three hundred years later Christianity became the official religion of Rome. This is why Paul appealed to Caesar, not just because he thought it was a good idea but also because God thought it was a good idea, though Scripture doesn’t say he actually spoke with Caesar. We are left to assume he did (Phi 4-22); what we do know is that Christianity had a strong impact on Rome. We should wonder why God thought is was a good idea to influence Caesar with the gospel if it didn’t turn out very well, since the Catholic Church was hardly a positive influence on the Church and the world, and neither was joining Church and State a good idea. Isn’t talking to kings about Christianity in hope that they might be converted to Christianity with their influence rippling through society the very concept of fusing church and state? There needs to be separation as God said, “Come out from their midst and be separate” (Isaiah 52-11,12). It makes us wonder if God predestined the Roman Catholic Church to come into existence, as though it were His will, or maybe He had other reasons, such as using Rome as a distributor of Christianity, or perhaps He allowed it so He would have someone to judge in the last days in order for all the endtime prophecies to occur. When it comes to predestination and the mind of God and His reasoning and His sense of justice, we have to back off and let Him do His thing, because we are not in a position to understand it, and we probably never will fully understand God. Why God wanted Paul to go to Rome is a question for the ages.

(216j) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> God’s will over man >> God Is Independent Of His Creation >> You cannot control God’s desire for you >> man is not in control of his own destiny – Paul tweaked his circumstances with a little comment he made in Act 25-11, appealing to Caesar, keeping on course with the word that he heard from God. It is okay to nudge the circumstances in order for prophecy to be fulfilled. If we can fight against God to thwart the fulfillment of prophecy, then we can also work with him to ensure it comes to pass. It’s the difference between destiny and pre-destiny; destiny can be tweaked, whereas predestination is a done-deal. It was Paul’s destiny to go to Rome and he had power to influence that fact, but we have no power in God’s predestination of the future. For example, the prophecies we read in Scripture pertaining to the last days are based on God’s predestination of things that are yet to happen; these events are written in stone; they are predestined to occur, but the prophecies that are not in the Bible but God personally speaks to us are things we can control whether they come to pass or not. According to God’s perspective the future has already happened, but the fact that we don’t know the future nullifies the significance of predestination from our limited standpoint. That is, the fact that God knows the end from the beginning is irrelevant to us. We have a destiny and we should be involved in its fulfillment, for our destiny is not something that must happen; rather, it is something that should happen, as Eph 2-10 says, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” This verse says that God has prepared a trail of good works for us, but we must walk on it before these works can become a reality. When God said to Paul, ‘You’re going to Rome,’ he was obedient and did his small part to ensure this happened, suggesting that had he not performed his small role, it might not have happened. Many people fight against the will of God, creating a destiny that is apart from the will of God, but Paul was a man that God could trust to do His will. Therefore, we must work with Him to make sure that the good He has spoken over us will come to pass, for these are the things that define us as His children.

(234h) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Sold out >> Placing no boundaries on your commitment to God >> Going to any extreme to fulfill the will of God

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