it should be noted that I skipped about three chapters in this sermon series because of time and at this point my target is to be done at the end of September with this series and start something else for October and November. Most of what I skipped is the Apostle Paul being tried by various individuals and escaping death. At this point Paul is in for his last trial before he is packed off to Rome by ship for his trial before the Emperor. It has some interesting moments that I think shows us some things we need to understand about sharing the gospel. Paul in my mind does a couple of things that we should note for our efforts when we talk to people about Christ.
Firstly, Paul is genuine in his compliments of King Agrippa. Many people think Paul is blowing smoke here but I don’t think so as King Agrippa was very versed in Jewish customs and the events surrounding Paul and Jesus. The fact is Paul probably would have done a fuller explanation had King Agrippa not known these things. It is interesting though that Paul compliments the king about what he does know. I think we make a dangerous assumption that people are not aware of our faith or what it believes. It is also dangerous to assume that people do not have Biblical knowledge. When you discover that people have this knowledge they should be respected for it and not treated as stupid. Always be respectful when talking to someone about Christ as you are his ambassador.
Secondly, the majority of Paul’s efforts are centered on two things which are his own testimony of what happened to him that lad him to salvation but also he focuses on the resurrection of Jesus as the contention point. Agrippa knew the differences between the Sadducees and the Pharisees so he would have understood that the problem was not political but theological and at this point he could have rendered judgment that Paul was innocent. The problem was Paul had appealed to Caesar. The one thing to note here is it does not require a great deal of effort to present one’s testimony or belief in the resurrection. Evangelism does not require complicated messages. Paul may have needed proper etiquette and to speak well but his message was not complicated.
Finally, when Paul is confronted that King Agrippa is not going to be persuaded to be Christian quickly, Paul simple states his desires for everyone and that this is his ultimate motivation. He does not press King Agrippa and seems to respect that King Agrippa is thinking deeply about the issue. Too often I see people rush people to salvation and often with disastrous consequences. People who embrace faith because they are pressured often fail down the line because they were pressured into it without full consideration of what they are doing.
The point is that Paul does not disrespect King Agrippa or the others on the throne nor would he do the same to the pauper on the street. His issue is to present his faith and then let the people decide for themselves what they need to do. It is not good to become ‘Quickly Christian’ in many cases. We need to remember the idea of the MIRACLE of Salvation and not look at it as a formula for proselytizing. They may not be our brothers and sisters in Christ yet but we need to love and respect them like they are.