Date: 28 March, 2018
Text: Acts 26:22-28
Title: We Declare a Risen Lord
I enjoyed going to Israel last January. Tonight I will show some slides from Israel as we read the story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
One of my favorite regions was the Sea of Galilee.
One of my favorite cities was Jerusalem.
One of my favorite places was the Garden Tomb. (Very sweet sense of God's presence in that place.) Mat 28:6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
Another place I visited which I will show tonight - Caesarea on the Sea.
It was there Paul was imprisoned in Herod's palace.
It was from that harbor he left on his voyage to Rome.
It was there Paul stood trial before King Agrippa
exp. Today is Resurrection Sunday - when we celebrate our Lord's taking back life and walking out of the tomb. Paul's message at his trial was a message affirming the truth of the resurrection.
1 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself:
2 I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews:
3 Especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently.
4 My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;
5 Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers:
7 Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.
8 Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?
Christians - DECLARE THAT GOD HAS THE ABILITY TO GIVE EVERLASTING LIFE. Do you believe that God can give life eternal to those who die physically? Do you believe the truth of the resurrection?
Rev 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
Joh 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
ill. Some in our world trust science and cyrogenics but won't trust the Saviour and Christ.
THEY think THEY CAN STOP AGING AND DEATH - BUT THEY WON'T TURN TO GOD WHO CAN START EVERLASTING LIFE.
Christians - DECLARE THAT GOD HAS THE ABILITY TO GIVE EVERLASTING LIFE.
text: Paul's testimony before King Agrippa testifying to his declaration of that same message.
I. How should we declare the Gospel of the risen Lord?
exp. The book of Acts is the story of how the early church carried the Gospel to the World. We do well to learn from their examples. Paul is a wonderful example for us this morning.
A. Declare it dependently.
22 Having therefore obtained help of God,
exp. There is no way Paul could have done what he did without Divine enablement and sustaining grace.
2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
question: Paul - how could you endure so much as you declared the Gospel? "Having therefore obtained help of God...."
ill. The disciples were commanded to obtain help from God.
Luk 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
ill. Cameron Townsend - end of life - a friend was skeptical of their ability to get into communist or soviet countries - He just said - "I'll just trust the God of all power" and quoted - Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
app. Do you trust the God of all power as you declare the Gospel of the Resurrection? (Declare it dependently.)
B. Declare it consistently.
(22) I continue unto this day,
exp. Paul had not stopped declaring the Gospel.
Acts 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
exp. Is giving the Gospel part of who you are?
Ill. Paul - 1Co 9:16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
note: A christian who does not evangelize is like a fisherman who doesn't fish - but likes to talk about fishing.
App. If we aren't going to promote the Gospel - OUR CHURCH HAS LOST IT'S PURPOSE AND OUR CHRISTIANITY IS ALL BUT POINTLESS!
question: Aren't we supposed to be the salt of the earth?
Mat 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
question: Aren't we supposed to be the light of the world?
thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
app. Evangelism is not something to be picked up and to be put down. It is something to have on at all times. Eph 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; DECLARE IT CONSISTENTLY.
C. Declare it faithfully.
(22) ...witnessing both to small and great,
exp. Paul's Gospel was an ALL NATIONS/ ALL PEOPLE/ ALL AGES GOSPEL. He was faithful whether in Children's SS or Morning Service.
ill. D. L. Moody - "Why God Used Him" by R. A. Torry - On one occasion in Chicag Mr. Moody saw a little girl standing on the street with a pail in her hand. He went up to her and invited her to his Sunday school, telling her what a pleasant place it was. She promised to go the following Sunday, but she did not do so. Mr. Moody watched for her for weeks, and then one day he saw her on the street again, at some distance from him. He started towards her, but she saw him too and started to run away. Mr. Moody followed her. Down she went one street, Mr. Moody after her; up she went another street, Mr. Moody after her, through an alley, Mr. Moody still following; out on another street, Mr. Moody after her; then she dashed into a saloon and mr. Moody dashed after her. She ran out the back door and up a flight of satairs, Mr. Moody still following; she dashed into a room, Mr. Moody following; she threw herself under the bed and Mr. Moody reached under the bed and pulled her out by the foot and led her to Christ.
He found that her mother was a widow who had once seen better circumstances, but had gone down until now she was living over this saloon. She ahd several children. Mr. Moody led the mother and all the family to Christ. Several of the children were prominent members of the Moody Church until they moved away, and afterwards became prominent in churches elsewhere. This particular child, whom he pulled from underneath the bed, was, when I was the pastor of the Moody Church, the weife of one of the most prominent officers in the church."
note: Abraham Lincoln visited Moody's Sunday school, and President Grant attended one of his revival services
exp. Is it any wonder D. L. Moody was so greatly used of God when he had such a big heart for all people?
app. Declare the Gospel faithfully - whether to a homeless person, business man or MSP.
II. What should we declare when sharing the Gospel of the Resurrection?
exp. Paul has a great description of the message which God had entrusted to Him.
A. Declare the old truth.
(22) ...saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:
exp. The death of Jesus was not unexpected nor was his resurrection.
The animal slain for a blood sacrifice. (Adam and Eve, Cain and Able)
The blood on the door post delivering those within from the wrath of God.
The stone struck that was cleft and water flowed out.
The sacrificial system and blood offering
ill. Jesus himself had declared His resurrection.
Mar 8:31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
ill. The people knew of the eternality of the Son of Man. Joh 12:34 The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?
ill. Even the false teachers who hated Jesus and who raised their voices saying, "Crucify Him" knew that he taught his death and resurrection.
Matthew 27:63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.
66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
ill. Witnessing to atheists - The Bible is about one man beginning to end and it is the most famous person in human history - JESUS CHRIST.
app. We don't declare a new truth today - but an old one.
B. Declare the compelling truth.
23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.
hymn "Wounded for me, wounded for me, there on the cross, he was wounded for me, gone my transgressions and now I am free, All because Jesus was wounded for me."
exp. Jesus suffered for you to rise again to BRING YOU FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT.
ill. In Paul's message he has already said, "Act 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me."
app. He who proved His power of an endless life offers to you the same if you will repent of your sin and put your faith in Him. THAT IS COMPELLING.
C. Declare the remarkable truth.
24 And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.
exp. Festus mocks Paul's Gospel message with ridicule saying that Paul is crazy. Why? Because the truth that has been shared is a remarkable truth. Remember Paul began by saying, "Why should it be thought an impossible thing with you that God should raise the dead.
1.) Why can't God create in 6 days?
2.) Why can't the blood of Jesus cleanse from sin?
3.) Why can't Jesus rise from the dead and give you the power to do the same.
exp. IT IS REMARKABLE - BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE.
ill. If 100 years ago I had told you....
1). You will be able to talk with someon on the other side of the world and see them at the same time as you speak to them. THEY WOULD HAVE SAID THERE WAS NO WAY!
2.) That Doctors would be able to do surgery inside you without opening up and incision and they could see what they were doing - YOU WOULD HAVE SAID NO WAY!
exp. If human's have accomplished the remarkable - WHY WOULD YOU LET YOUR UNBELIEF KEEP YOU FROM BELIEVING THAT GOD CAN DO THE SAME!
App. Don't let people who say you are crazy keep you from preaching the remarkable truth!
D. Declare the sobering truth.
25 But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.
ill. It is incredibly sobering truth. STEPHEN'S MESSAGE TO THE CRUCIFIERS OF JESUS.
Acts 7:48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
50 Hath not my hand made all these things?
51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.
exp. King Agrippa was an earthly king - JESUS IS THE KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. He was mocking the truth about his redemptive work on the cross for the saving of men's souls. His own soul was in need of redemption. He will either HUMBLE HIMSELF AND ADMIT THAT HE IS WRONG ACCEPTING CHRIST AS HIS SAVIOUR. Or he will be cast into Hell eternally. 1Co 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
app. Declare the sobering truth.
E. Declare the exposed truth.
26 For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely:
ill. Secret societies bother me - Masons - Jesuits - order of the Thistle. Part of the reason they are concerning is because they are secret - no one knows (although much has been exposed) as to what they are really about.
THAT HAS NEVER BEEN THE CASE WITH BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY.
exp. If you are the average person living in Britain - can you claim ignorance regarding the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection?
note: When anyone can easily buy a Bible or download it to their smart phone - then the truth is not SECRET BUT EXPOSED.
App. Our world can "feign ignorance" but the Great White Throne Judgment of Jesus Christ will strip away all professed ignorance for what it really is - Rom 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. DECLARE THE EXPOSED TRUTH.
F. Declare the pronounced truth.
(26) ....for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.
exp. Newspaper - "Jesus - incredibly popular itenerant preacher believed by many to be the Messiah has been crucified in the large city of Jerusalem with thousands of people in attendance. His death was attested to by the soldiers who put him to death. However, the grave where Jesus was buried is open and many notable people have publicly declared that they have seen Jesus."
fact: King Agrippa was not ignorant of the story of the resurrection which had occurred in his lifetime.
note: A man who hated Jesus as much as anyone who crucified him is standing before him telling him with authority that he saw Jesus after his death.
Acts 26:9 I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
10 Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.
11 And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.
12 Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,
13 At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.
14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
exp. Paul "pronounced" the Gospel of the resurrection because he knew it was true by experience.
app. The Gospel has been pronounced (declared by mouth) since the first century and originally by those who knew by sight the truth of what they shared. Are you declaring the pronounced Gospel? It is good to give literature but it is far better to share how the resurrected Jesus has impacted your life.
III. Why do we declare the Gospel of the resurrection?
A. Because God is working in men's hearts.
27 King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.
exp. Paul is dealing with his faith - BECAUSE IF HE WOULD COME TO FAITH HE WOULD DISCOVER THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL.
ill. Eating Hagis - many of our guests who come from the US have a critical view of Haggis. They have heard things and it is amazing what a bias they have against it - however, many who try it find out that they like it.
exp. The Gospel is enjoyed by all who receive it - but THE HEART OF MAN IS BIASED AGAINST IT - But one act of the will can silence that bias forever as THAT SOUL TASTES FOR THEMSELVES THE GOODNESS OF JESUS.
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
App. Do you believe this morning - we declare this truth because God is working in the hearts of men to bring them to saving faith!
B. Because men can be persuaded by God's Spirit.
28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
ill. Witnessing to athlete in the Meadows - his hand on my shoulder as I told him while looking in his eyes that if he didn't have Jesus Christ he would go to hell for all of eternity. He said, "You will never convince me and I said, "I can't convince you but the Spirit of God can."
2 Timothy 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
ill. Here the words of the half brother of Jesus - Jude - 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire;
app. Christian don't give up! Keep declaring - God is able to bring them to saving faith by the power of His precious Spirit!
C. Because there is nothing better than being a Christian.
29 And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.
exp. Paul didn't regret obeying God and taking the Gospel to the world. He didn't want them to experience his bondage which he was happy enough to endure for them - BUT HE WANTED THEM TO KNOW THE JOY OF KNOWING JESUS!
Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Ill. Almost 45 years ago on Easter Weekend (Easter Monday) - my dad was involved in the worst car accident of that easter weekend. Although it happened in Wisconsin his wife's family heard about it on the news in California before they were notified by the authorities that their daughter had died. Dad lost his wife and 3 children. HOWEVER BECAUSE OF THE TRUTH OF THE RESURRECTION (His wife's salvation and the age of those boys) HE WILL SEE THEM AGAIN IN GLORY!
Question: Do you know any truth better than that this weekend? JESUS GIVES LIFE ETERNAL TO REPENTANT MEN WHO BELIEVE IN HIM.
Do you realize this morning your need to depend upon God to consistently and faithfully tell others the Gospel of the Resurrection. Won't you ask God's forgiveness and commit to being that witness for him?
Do you know what message you preach - the old story, the message of his suffering for sinners, the glory of His eternal life, a message sobering because man's need is so great.
Are you struggling to believe, are you nearly persuaded, won't you accept the best gift God has ever given to mankind - his Son for your sins?
THE GREATEST THING YOU COULD DO THIS EASTER SUNDAY IS TO RECEIVE THE EVERLASTING LIFE WHICH JESUS POSSESSED AS HE WALKED OUT OF THE TOMB!