Answering Critics - Acts 26:19-29

Answering Critics

Acts 26:19-29

 

1.      What is required to make an intelligent decision about a particular issue? (We must have all of the information that is available on the issue. As an officer in the army serving on a staff there were numerous times I had to brief the commander on various issues that required him to make a decision. It was my responsibility to provide him with all available information on the issue to give a high probability that the right decision would be made.)

2.      What is important in witnessing to others about Jesus? (Present the facts as they are in the Word of God.)

Conversations that require decisions can be stressful, and when the other person is the one making the choice a certain amount of risk is involved. The outcome remains in the balance until someone makes a decision.

Paul shared his testimony as a prisoner with people in authority. While Paul did not know how they would respond, he extended an invitation to consider the claims of Christ. He wanted to give them an opportunity to respond to the gospel.

Last week we saw that Paul had been taken into the custody of the Roman officials and transported to Caesarea. I was shocked to learn that the time between the events we studied last week and this week’s focus passage is two years! The Jewish leaders were still looking for an opportunity to kill him. Paul finally appealed to Caesar so the Romans were getting ready to send Paul to Rome. Before that happened King Agrippa comes to visit Festus, the governor of the area were Paul was located. King Agrippa was the grandson of King Herod, who was in power when Jesus was born. Being a Jew, he was familiar with the Old Testament, so Paul used that to his advantage.

 

The Gospel Told! Read Acts 26:19-23

 

Paul had given testimony of his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus in verses 12-18.

1.      What did Paul say he had done that caused the Jews to want to kill him? (Simply shared the gospel about Jesus with them.)

2.      Read Acts 1:8. How did Paul’s testimony line up with the commands of Jesus to share the gospel?

3.      To whom was Paul willing to share the gospel?

4.      Why did Paul appear to say that repentance and turning to God were one action?

5.      How did Paul use his own life as an example of repentance and a change in behavior?

6.      How would you define “repentance”? (Turn and go in the opposite direction.)

7.      What did Paul say true repentance would lead to in verse 20?

8.      Why does Paul talk about repentance connected with works?

9.      How are repentance and faith connected? (See James 2:17-18.)

No one secures his or her salvation through works, but works are a natural response to repentance. See Eph. 2:8-10

10.  In verse 22 Paul admitted his human need for God’s help. How does sharing our struggles help encourage and engage others in their walk with God? (The Christian life is not an easy one, but God has promised to be with us. He will redirect our steps to follow Him when we seek His guidance and repent from sin.)

Notice that Paul said he preached nothing other than what the prophets and Moses (The Law) proclaimed concerning the Messiah! This would resonate with King Agrippa, being a Jew.

 

Paul gets a response!

Objection Rebuffed! Read Acts 26:24-26

 

1.      How did Paul respond to objections from critics? (Paul deflected criticism from Festus by refuting him with the truth.)

Paul mentioned that the events surrounding the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus were “not done in a corner” because they had not escaped Agrippa’s notice. Paul also insisted that his message was reasonable because it was supported by Scripture.

2.      Why is appealing to Scripture so convincing? (The best way to respond to objections concerning the gospel is to appeal to the truth proclaimed in Scripture. The Bible has endured the test of time and scrutiny. See Hebrews 4:12.

The thought of a resurrection was too much for Festus. Paul remained respectful of Festus, but he did not change his message!

 

Invitation Given! Read Acts 26:27-29

 

1.      How did Paul appeal to Agrippa to make a decision about Jesus? (Paul began with Agrippa’s belief in the Old Testament prophecies. Once we have established belief in Scripture’s truthfulness we can consider Christ’s claims and invite unbelievers to make decisions.)

2.      How were Paul’s words demonstrated by his actions? (Paul expressed his desire for all people to hear the gospel and accept God’s offer of salvation through Christ.)

When we present the gospel to others, it is important for them to know we care about them and are not trying to win a persuasion contest!

3.      What roadblock might a person encounter when trying to give another person the opportunity to respond to the gospel? (Interruptions. Different standing in the community economically. Close friendship. Different backgrounds. Etc.)

4.      How do those roadblocks compare to what Paul faced?

 

Paul stayed firm in his convictions and ardently shared the gospel despite remaining in prison. Even Agrippa recognized that the charges against Paul were false and would have recommended his release had Paul not already appealed to Caesar!

 

Summarize and Challenge!

 

What have we learned from Paul’s example of sharing the gospel today?

 

Consider these truths from Paul’s example today:

·         Believers can and should point to the Scriptures when presenting the gospel. God’s Word can penetrate the heart!

·         Believers must be prepared to respond to objections with love and directness. Many times objections are voiced in a way that is not respectful, maybe even hateful. But we must respond in love! Sometimes that can be the difference that wins a person over to Christ.

·         Everyone who hears the gospel must be given the opportunity to make a decision about Jesus! We must be bold in asking people to make a decision when the gospel has been presented!

Sometimes we may share the gospel but stop before offering an invitation. Paul made sure that Agrippa heard the invitation that was open to him. Paul’s desire was for all to know Christ as he did. Our desire should be the same.

 

Prayer: Thank God for the privilege of sharing Christ. Pray for boldness in offering invitations to accept Christ!