Empty Cross Ministries
February 9, 2021
Daily Devotion in Acts 26
Is Your Past as Evil as the Apostles Past Was, God Still Used Paul!
In Acts 9, we read of Saul, later named Paul, and how he became a changed man when he was saved and allowed Jesus to become his life’s master. Paul never forgot his past.
In Acts 26, while Paul gave his testimony to King Agrippa, he gave more detail of how he persecuted Christians and how he was an enemy of God and His people. Paul recalls that:
- He did many things to oppose Jesus Christ and His testimony (Acts 26:9).
- He had Christians imprisoned for their beliefs (Acts 26:10).
- He had them killed for their beliefs (Acts 26:10)
- He testified against them in legal proceedings (Acts 26:10).
- He punished them (Acts 26:11).
- He caused some to blaspheme against God (Acts 26:11).
- He was very angry at them and what they were teaching (Acts 26:11).
- He traveled to different cities to make their lives miserable and to persecute them (Acts 26:11-12).
What an evil man Paul was before he was saved. How vehemently he opposed Jesus and those that trusted Him as Saviour, but he got saved! He was a new, changed-on-the-inside man.
To those that think to themselves, “I have done so wickedly. There is no hope for me ever to go to Heaven”; there is hope. Know you are a sinner. Confess your sins honestly to the Lord, and trust that Jesus died for your sins. Ask Him to save you and He will.
God forgave wicked Paul and used him to spread the Gospel and even write part of the Bible. If God forgave Paul, He could forgive, save, and use anyone.
“… Whosoever will come …” Mark 8:34
Words to Understand:
Beseech: sincere request
Blaspheme: to speak irreverently about God; to speak profanely against God
Oft: often; many times
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?
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.
19 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:
20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
21 For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me.
22 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:
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.
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.
25 But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.
26 For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.
27 King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.
28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be 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.
30 And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them:
31 And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds.
32 Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar.