You have a story. Be sure and tell it.
SEPTEMBER 14, 2023
You have a story, be sure and tell it. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
It’s for freedom that Christ set us free and Key Life is here to bring you Biblical teaching that encourages you to never give into slavery again. Our teacher on Key Life is Steve Brown. He’s an author, broadcaster, and seminary professor who’s sick of phony religion.
Thank you Matthew. If you’ve been with us, we’ve been looking at Paul and his defense before a crazy world. And if you were listening yesterday, we saw his shrewdness, the way he brought up the resurrection and divided the people who had accused him so he could be free. Now, we’re going to move from this 24th chapter to some of the other chapters in the end of this particular book of the Bible. And I’m not going to spend a lot of time because a lot of things I’ve taught you about Paul’s defense have been a part of that. And I’ve got some more that I want to say about our reason, that we don’t have the same kind of defense that the apostle Paul has. But in that 24th chapter, we looked at what Paul said before Felix. He refused to flatter, and he was shrewd. And then in the 25th chapter, you began to look at Paul before Festus, and then before Agrippa. And then if you look closely at the 26th chapter, it is mostly a testimony by the apostle Paul about his own absolute existential experience with Jesus Christ. In the fourth verse of that 26th chapter and I don’t have time to read that entire chapter to you, I trust that you will sometime over the next day or two sit down and go through the last chapters of the Book of Acts because they will bless your soul. At any rate, before Agrippa in the 26th chapter, Paul gives his testimony.
“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 were willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee. And now I stand here on trial for hope in the promise of God made to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, so they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by them, O king! Why is it incredible by any of them that God raises the dead?”
He’s doing it again. Remember we talked about how shrewd Paul was when he keeps bringing this issue? Every time he brings up the issue, the spotlight moves from him to his accusers, who begin to fight over that issue. And then he goes on.
“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 shut up many of the saints in prison by 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 I tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them. I persecuted them, even to foreign cities.”
This is his testimony, and it is so cool, then he continues.
“Thus I journeyed to Damascus with the authority of the commission of the chief priests. At midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining 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 do you persecute me? It hurts 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 to serve and bear witness to the things in which you have seen in me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from the people, from the Gentiles– to whom I sent you to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from power of Satan to God and that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'”
And I could go on and on. What’s the apostle Paul doing? God has given him a story and by God and by God’s grace, he was going to tell the story. You know, God has given you a story too. And it’s not like the story that anybody else has. It’s your personal story. My friend Dan Allender, in a book called Truth Be Told says.
That your story is the place where God particularly speaks to you.
And so, if you want to hear God’s voice, one of the significant ways to do that is to sit down with blank sheets of paper or a new file on your computer and begin to write your story. And say to God, as I write these memories of my life, speak to me and show me the places where you were there, even when I didn’t know your name, God makes you special and he’s giving you a story, but it doesn’t stop there. Once you’ve examined your story and you’ve seen God’s place in your story, make sure that you tell that story to others, and especially the place where God made a difference in your life. Recently on our talk show, we interviewed a friend of mine. He has a spinal injury and he’s in a wheelchair, and he has caregivers that look after him 24 7. When he was 17 years old, he was drunk and in a major automobile accident. And he, and he was totally paralyzed. It was an incredible story as he told us about it. We ask him because you don’t get to ask questions like that of people who are severely disabled. What did he feel at that time? He said, I was angry, and I was bitter. And then as he talked, he talked about the time when Jesus found him, and the difference that made in his life. Now, he and his friends have a course that they teach online to people who have had spinal injuries, and they’re making a major impact. But when we asked him about his faith, he said, the day I was baptized made all of the difference in the world. And it really does. And as we ask him to tell his story, Jesus was glorified. It was a horrible story. It was a story of bitterness and anger and darkness. But it was a story where Jesus found him, and everything changed. That’s what Paul did. Bitter, angry, persecuting the church, going after Christians. And Jesus found him, and everything changed. Tell your story. When you get your story together, tell it, because it is a gift that God has given you, and it is designed for the world to hear. Now, in the 26th chapter of Acts, you’ll find a full account of the defense of Paul made before Agrippa. Read some of it to you. All of it’s important, but let me read some verses again, this is 26: verses 24 through 32.
And thus made his defense. Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, are you mad: your great learning is turning you mad.” But Paul said, “I’m not mad, most excellent Festus, but I’m speaking the sober truth. For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak freely, for I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice. For this was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time you think to make me a Christian?” 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.” 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 should have been set free.”
And, he was, well, he was later and we’ll get into it, but notice that Paul wasn’t defending, he was presenting Jesus. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. That will wrap it up for this week. Don’t forget to listen to any of these episodes again, just go to keylife.org and tomorrow do join us again for Friday Q&A. That’s when Steve and our friend Pete Alwinson join us to answer the challenging questions that you’ve sent in. So, there’s a great line in one of the Marvel movies. It’s said by Bruce Banner, AKA the incredible Hulk. He says, “That’s my secret. I’m always angry.” I don’t know about you that hits a nerve for me, anger kind of always being present, more specifically righteous anger. Well, author Brant Hansen wrote a book about this phenomenon and we recently spoke with him about it on Steve Brown Etc. Can we send you that CD for free so that you can hear it yourself? If so, call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD, to mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Again, just ask for the free CD featuring Brant Hansen. And finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you support that work through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card, you can include a gift in your envelope. Or simply pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Just text that to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.