The Message is Always the Message

“Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You have permission to speak for yourself.’ Then Paul stretched out his hand..:

“’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…

“’In this 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… And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me.., ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?..’ 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… 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.’

“’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… 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…’

“And Agrippa said to Paul, ‘In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?’ And Paul said,’Whether short or long, I would love to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am – except for these chains.’” Acts 26:1-3,12-20,22,28-29

Paul was giving his defense before King Agrippa for false accusations that he’d been inciting violence. What seemed on the surface simply a personal defense for baseless allegations was actually the gospel. He sought and seized every opportunity to proclaim it. (Acts 25:7-25)

Into every morning, every work day, every encounter with another person and every interaction in commerce or friendship, we carry the hope we have in Christ. Is the gospel at the forefront of heart and mind and passion? What can we do to know it so well that in peace or conflict, when asked or when bumped into, we spill over with the truth of the gospel?

Do we pray for opportunities to spell out the hope of Christ, to exhibit His mercy, forgiveness, justice, and love? Do we speak against Satan’s power and in confidence of God’s? Do we exhibit a life of steady faith, choices made depending on the promises of God, present and future?

Gracious Lord, please help me tuck the light and freedom of your gospel into every part of my day. May your excellencies and the beauties of your heavenly gifts adorn my speech and actions so that others may turn to you and be saved.

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