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19 “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. 21 For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come—23 that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”  

 

From verse 19, Paul related to King Agrippa how God used him to reach Jews and Gentiles for Christ; that is, how he executed his commission from Christ.  

26:19 

“Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 

Paul testified to King Agrippa that he never strayed from the heavenly commission he received on the Damascus Road. He ceased kicking against the goads of resistance to God’s will for him.  

26:20 

but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles,  

Continuing to describe his testimony before Agrippa, Paul said that, upon arriving in Damascus, he ministered the gospel in that city and then continued to Jerusalem. Not stopping his commission in Jerusalem, he went through the province of Judea preaching. He reached Gentiles as well as Jews. The apostle’s method was to go to the Jew first and then to the Gentiles (Ro 1:16).  

that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. 

Both Jews and Gentiles need to “repent,” “turn to God,” and “do works befitting repentance.” To “repent” is to change one’s mind about a belief categorically. To “turn” is to go in a radically different direction; it is an about-face from what one was to what God makes that person. A person cannot have a genuine salvation experience without behavior change.  

The idea of “works befitting repentance” has nothing to do with repentance coming through an individual’s work. No one needs to prove he or she is worthy of salvation because no one is. Since salvation comes by faith alone, that dynamic produces change in one’s life. That way God and not the individual gets the glory in working.  

26:21 

For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 

The Jews tried to kill Paul in the Jerusalem Temple because of the mission and message Jesus gave him. His commission about the truths of grace put him in peril with the Jews. The issue of Paul’s inquisition in Caesarea was a matter of what he believed.  

26:22 

Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand,  

It was through God’s help that Paul continued to preach under persecution; he could not do it without divine intervention. Through it all, God kept His promise to deliver Paul from his enemies.  

witnessing both to small and great,  

Paul’s witness to both “small and great” indicates that there was no social bias on his part; he witnessed to whomever he found, whether kings or slaves. God does not discriminate in saving people; they can come to Christ just as they are.  

saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come— 

Paul’s only message was scriptural and not concocted by his thoughts. God gave Paul the same commission found in the five books of Moses and the prophetic books of the Old Testament (Acts 24:14; 26:22; 28:23). The rationale for what he represented to the world was found in Scripture 

26:23 

that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”  

Those very Scriptures (v. 22) prophesied that Jesus would die and be the first to rise from the dead permanently. Paul would preach the truth to both Jews and Gentiles while still on earth. The death and Resurrection of Christ were central to Paul’s commission; it was the core message he delivered to the world.  

PRINCIPLE: 

Paul’s testimony before Agrippa was a partial fulfillment of Jesus’ commission by the apostle. 

APPLICATION: 

Paul’s commission was not self-imposed but a response to God’s initiative. He needed to see that he was in darkness and sin and that the entire world was in the same state. If Christians are to be motivated to witness, they need to see the need and the solution to that need; otherwise, they will remain indifferent to evangelism. 

Jesus’ commission to Paul at his salvation was that he would be a witness before kings (Acts 9:15). His appointment was a sweeping mandate for this man who became an apostle. He influenced both worlds of Jew and Gentile. Paul’s obedience to God’s vision for him changed the world. He did not construct the vision, God did. The apostle’s goals, strategies, and tactics rested on the vision God laid out for him. To put priority on anything, a person must have a priority of values. This will allow people to divest themselves of lesser values. Nothing daunted Paul’s witness, whether kings or riffraff. His priorities did not allow him to blunt his message. He was not disobedient to the “heavenly vision.”  

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