November 12, 2019
Acts 26:25-29 (NIV)
“I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”
Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”
Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”
I marvel at Paul’s faith. His faith went far beyond mere “belief.” It went beyond conviction. Paul’s faith rose to the level of a knowing that went beyond certainty. Think of it this way. We don’t “believe” the sky is blue. We know it is blue. Paul didn’t “believe” the power of the gospel. He knew it. Because he knew it as an irrefutable verity, he felt an urgency to share it with everyone he possibly could. He understood the immediate and eternal consequences of life without Jesus. As a result he wanted everyone in the room, from King Agrippa to the lowest servant in the chamber, to hear and believe the gospel.
Here’s the hard question I ask myself: Do I believe that people who do not know and follow Jesus Christ are eternally doomed? I mean, do I really believe it? Yes, I believe that. But if you looked at my actions, would you see evidence that I believed it? Would you see an unswerving passion and boldness to share this message with every person I possibly could? I fear not.
It reminds me of a story I first heard from my friend, Bill Kierce, almost twenty five years ago. It’s the story of Charlie Peace, one of the most notorious criminals in England in the latter part of the 19th century. Leonard Ravenhill in his book, Why Revival Tarries, recounts the last moments of Charlie Peace’s life:
He was taken on the death-walk. Before him went the prison chaplain, routinely and sleepily reading some Bible verses. The criminal touched the preacher and asked what he was reading. “The Consolations of Religion,” was the reply.
Charlie Peace was shocked at the way he professionally read about hell. Could a man be so unmoved under the very shadow of the scaffold as to lead a fellow-human there and yet, dry-eyed, read of a pit that has no bottom into which this fellow must fall? Could this preacher believe the words that there is an eternal fire that never consumes its victims, and yet slide over the phrase without a tremor? Is a man human at all who can say with no tears, “You will be eternally dying and yet never know the relief that death brings”?
All this was too much for Charlie Peace. “Sir”, he addressed the preacher, “if I believed what you and the church of God say that you believe, even if England were covered with broken glass from coast to coast, I would walk over it, if need be, on hands and knees and think it worth-while living, just to save one soul from an eternal hell like that!”
Do we really believe it? Let’s invite the Holy Spirit to search us on that question. The time may be short.
COME HOLY SPIRIT!
O.K., so do you believe it? When is the last time you shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with another person?
For the Awakening,
P. S. – Remember The Protagonist series last year by Matt and Josh LeRoy? We’re pleased to have it in book form, ready for Advent reading groups! Get your copy from our store here. For this first batch or orders, we’re also including a free journal!
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