A few weeks ago, I took a break from working around the house with my father and we set up a spontaneous horseshoe game. This was both a needed break from the heavy lifting of the required tasks and was also a trip down memory lane. This backyard game was a common family activity in my childhood. The game is one of the few situations in life where “close” actually earns a credit. Outside of horseshoes, “almost” doesn’t cut it.
Almost hitting a home run doesn’t put a point on the board. Almost being picked still means you were second. Almost being a Christian still means you are eternally separated from God.
Acts 26:24-32 tells the story of Paul’s courage during trials and his commitment to boldly and openly point others to Jesus. He was courageous to speak of the resurrection of Jesus because he knew that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). His openness to seize every opportunity to tell others of Jesus was a faithful commitment to be obedient to the call God had placed on his life.
That being said, he could not control how the message was received. This account in Acts 26 informs us that King Agrippa admitted that he was “almost persuaded”, but ultimately rejected Paul’s message. This sad reminder is applicable to us today.
Almost believing means Agrippa was completely lost. Our actions, knowledge, volunteerism, and conduct do not gain us a right relationship with God. It is the work of Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection, that make this relationship possible. This is reinforced by Ephesians 2:8-9.
We must commit to boldly share this message. We must follow Paul’s example to boldly tell the story while realizing that it is the role of the Holy Spirit to convict and open the hearts of men. Be encouraged to remain faithful every day to carry the hope of Jesus to the world. Be a storyteller. Be open. Be bold. Be faithful. Be encouraged.
Dedication to Count Mansfeld
The New American Commentary: Acts © Copyright 1992 Broadman & Holman Publishers.
About Acts: An Introduction and Commentary Copyright 1980 I. Howard Marshall.
About A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, Volume 2 Copyright © 1998 T & T Clark. All rights reserved
About The Pillar New Testament Commentary: The Acts of the Apostles Copyright 2009 David Peterson.
Acts: New Testament, Volume 6Copyright 2014 Esther Chung-Kim, Todd R. Hains, Timothy George, Scott M. Manetsch and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA.