Beloved, the account of Paul’s testimony is narrated three times in the Book of Acts, first as a matter of history and twice in addresses by Paul. Each time some special facts were told as the occasion demanded. Paul probably told the story often as he went from place to place bearing the message of the Gospel and endeavoring to convince men of its truth. An experience like that would always be so clear in his memory that he could, without time for preparation, tell any part of it which seemed to be needed to enforce the truth which he was presenting.
Beloved, Your personal testimony is one of the most powerful tools you have to share the Gospel. No one can really argue with your testimony because it is subjective! It is your experience! When you tie your subjective experience with the objective truth of Scripture…it is an unbeatable combination!
Like Paul there are three parts to our testimony. The first part is about our life before we became a Christian. How was our life before knowing Christ? What were the desires of our heart? The second part of our testimony would be how we became a Christian. What was the situation? How did we come to know God? Did we pray and ask Christ to come into our life. The third part of sharing our testimony is after we became a Christian. What difference has knowing Christ made in our life? Beloved, your testimony is powerful. Use it
Beloved, the Apostle Paul knew what was awaiting him in Jerusalem. He had been warned again and again that trouble was waiting for him.
Previously it was the prophet Agabus who had prophesied that Paul would be bound. Acts 21:10-11 says, “While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’”
Paul was not surprised at his imprisonment and suffering and when we suffer, we should not be surprised as well. 1 Peter 4:12-13 says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”
Beloved, remember this truth that even in the midst of tribulation we can have a peace which passes understanding. John 16:33 says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Prophecy is sometimes very difficult to understand. For example, what is the Day of the Lord and when will it occur? Obadiah 1:15 says, “For the day of the LORD is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head.”
The Day of the Lord occurs at the Second Coming of Christ when He comes in judgment on the nations for their rebellion against God and mistreatment of God's people. It is a little confusing as your read the prophets to determine which part of their prophecy is going to be fulfilled in the near future and which will be fulfilled during the tribulation or the millennium. Chrysostom first set this concept forth in the 4th Century.
As we study this portion of the Gospel let us remember that part of this prophecy has been fulfilled but other parts remain unfulfilled until the Day of Lord, when Jesus Christ returns to earth physically and visibly.
Jesus seems to indicate to us that the destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem are separate in time from his own coming. In the first section of our passage Jesus tells his disciples what to do when Jerusalem is besieged. Then he explains how his Second Coming will be observed. Beloved, the end is near, therefore, “straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:2
Beloved, what are you willing to do to bring someone to Christ? The Apostle Paul was faced with this dilemma when he returned to Jerusalem. Should he attempt to keep the peace and thus humble himself or should he allow his pride to shield others from the Gospel of Peace?
Despite being a man full of worldly credentials Paul was also a humble man. Paul wrote this to the Corinthians as found in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.”
Beloved, may we also lay aside our pride as we reach forward with the glorious Gospel of Grace. Our world desperately needs Jesus. May He use us for His glory to bring many to Himself! May we be willing to “become all things to all men so that by all possible means I (Christ) might save some!”
Question: In a bacon-and-egg breakfast, what's the difference between the Chicken and the Pig? Answer: The Chicken is involved, but the Pig is committed!
Beloved, have you heard of the word, commitment? When we make a commitment, we are making a pledge that we are going to do what we have promised. One definition is: an obligation, promise, etc. that restricts one's freedom of action.
Commitment is the state of being bound--emotionally, intellectually, or both--to a particular person or course of action. Commitment starts with a choice (ideally thoughtfully made and aligned with virtuous purpose) and is sustained by dedication and perseverance. Commitment is active – it is expressed and realized in our thoughts and actions.
Commitment is more than just obligation – it is a giving of ourselves, sometimes at high personal cost or risk, to a person or purpose that we find worthy of that gift. Like other forms of giving, commitment can produce some of life's greatest satisfactions.
The Apostle Paul was committed to His Savior Jesus Christ. He had set his face as stone and was committed to fulfill his call. Paul had made a commitment to Jesus Christ…but remember…Jesus Christ had first made a commitment to Paul…and to you…so will you now renew your commitment to Christ