What do Felix, Festus, King Agrippa and Bernice all have in common with the rich man in Luke 16? They all in some way said that they were almost persuaded to accept Jesus but never did. They sealed their eternal destiny by a single word “almost.” To be almost is to be eternally lost because you have not made the most important decision of your life and this is what Paul presented to these four individuals.
Paul, by sharing, teaches us the primer of how to share one’s faith to those who have not heard and have not made any decision. Paul was “not ashamed of the gospel, for [he knew] it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” We must believe that as well. He had been waiting now for 2 full years and now with a captive audience he asked their patience as he recounts his journey from unbelief to belief and that is what you and I are to be doing.
Vs 4-19 Plant the seed through your faith story. Share who you before you met Christ. No one has your history and no one has your experiences, capitalize on those facts. Note Paul shared both his education and his religious training and then asks a question: “Why do you people think it is unbelievable that God raises the dead?” Before they could respond Paul continued.
Vs 20-26 Water the seed of their thinking just as Paul shared about his change and transformation. No one has your experience and no one has the same story. Jesus stopped him and opened his eyes to see his sin and how he had been persecuting Jesus. Your story is not the same but it is still just as powerful as Paul’s.
Vs. 27- Ask the key question that will touch their hearts just as Paul revealed the heart of Agrippa. “Do you believe the prophets, King Agrippa? I know that you believe.” In other words, where do you stand before God, as an unbeliever or a believer?
Remember that all men will respond in some way. Festus said Paul was insane which revealed that he truly did not believe that God could raise someone from the dead nor did he believe that Paul actually met Jesus on the Damascus Road and was transformed. He discounted both and thus is without excuse. Agrippa sat squirming knowing if he answered he did believe then Festus would categorize him as crazy as well and that was a place he was not willing to be…so he answered “almost.” To be almost is to be eternally lost for you have not made any decision. Bernice was silent, but was her heart pricked? The heart is God’s problem not ours.
Beloved, each of us has a story to tell, it is our story, in fact we are the expert because it is ours and ours alone! Peter said we have everything we need. It is the devil’s lie that we are not wise enough, strong enough, educated enough…we are…for God has prepared us to share. How the hearers respond is not our concern, our concern is to be obedient to share. We may not have two years to craft our story for God may bring someone today across our path. Are we ready? Can we share the Romans Road to salvation as Paul did?