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Obedience to God Acts 26:19-24


Christian Obedience

Text: Acts 26:19-23. 

Obedience to God, – your obedience and mine is not just ‘doing what you’re told.  It’s a considered deliberate wilful response to Christ’s obedience, his obedience unto death, so that we could be saved.  It is grateful obedience.  Paul met that Saviour on the road to Damascus, his life was changed, and he received a commission, to take the good news of the gospel to every nation in the world.  And, he obeyed that call!  Let’s see how he describes his obedience before the King, his consort, Bernice, and the utterly perplexed pagan governor, Festus.

1 An Example of ObedienceWhereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:

Paul obeyed.  Look at how he describes the source of the command that he is obedient to.  He calls it ‘the heavenly vision.’  Paul was an apostle, and he obtained his command to serve, his vision, from CHRIST.  We are NOT apostles!  In a few minutes we will see the source of OUR vision!  But first see…

  • The Compass of Paul’s Obedience. V20  Paul began to witness for Christ right away, – at Damascus, in Jerusalem, the place where he was so well known among his contemporaries, so that the people who had sent him to Damascus would witness his changed life, then throughout the coastal regions, among the Jews, and finally he compresses his entire missionary effort abroad, three missionary journeys, two continents, dozens of cities, and churches and conversions… all in the phrase “to the Gentiles!”  Challenges…
    • How far are we prepared to go in our service for God?  How self-sacrificial?  
    • How willing? Paul was willing to go wherever the Lord led him, wherever doors were opened.  There’s an interesting law regarding the freedom of a slave in Israel in Exodus 21:2-6 We are slaves of God.  he has bought us, and he owns us, but we are grateful willing slaves.  Having been set free by Christ, we declare that we would never want to be free, we want to stay and willingly serve our master.
    • How modest would we be, if we had a record of Christian service that was a fraction of that of Paul?  Paul deflected any possible glory for himself.
  • The Consequences of Paul’s Obedience. V21  Paul’s obedience to the heavenly vision of Christ was noticed by others though.  And it was not appreciated.  Living obediently for Christ brings us into conflict with the world.  It did for Paul.  They were totally incensed, maddened by the message that Paul was preaching.  Paul sums up his missionary message, to show what angered the Jews, V20 that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. Let’s look at them a little closer:-
    • Repentance.  Repentance is to realise our guilt before God, and to be sorrowful over our sin and to turn from it.  Genuine remorse.  2 Corinthians 7:8-10  There’s two aspects to our repentance, turning from sin, and turning to God.  That’s what Paul tells us next.
    • Turn to God.  We must turn back to God.  There is only one God, to whom we can turn, to find salvation from sin and eternal life.  Unbelievers live with their back turned to God.  They MUST TURN.  Now, before we go any further, it would be well to remind ourselves that the act of repentance, turning from sin and turning to God is impossible for us, in our own strength, or by our own decision.  We must repent, but it is the Lord himself who awakens us to our plight, calls us to repentance, convicts us of sin and by his grace turns us around.  Finally, 
    • Live the Life.  Do works, meet for repentance.  Let everyone see the change that has occurred in the Christian life, by living out our repentance, every day of life – a repentant life!  Doing good works, not to gain any favour with God but out of gratitude for what the Lord has done for us.
  • The Continuity of Paul’s Obedience. V22 Obedience to the heavenly vision is not an on-off obligation. It is a lifelong requirement of every believer. Deuteronomy 10:12-13   How will we do that?  How keep up such a long, and difficult level of obedience? Let’s look a little more closely:-
    • We need God’s help!  We cannot remain obedient in our own strength.  We need the Lord to give us strength.  To help us.  We can depend on him.  Psalm 54:4 We must ask him for his help.  Pray!
    • We don’t do favouritism!   We live for Christ and witness for him, before all classes of people!  God does not discriminate, is no respecter of persons, Christ died for sinners of every stripe, we must be obedient in that same way!  James 2:1-5  
    • We learn to love the Word of God.  Paul tells Agrippa that he is faithful to the word of God.  saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come.  A few moments ago I I advised against listening to vision-casting leaders who had supposedly heard directly from God.  Instead, get to know God’s vision by reading his word.  In there you will find everything you need to know his will and to walk in his ways. 

The point is that every believer should be living like this, in grateful obedience to God.  John 14:23  Now, how am I doing, obeying God in MY life?

2 A Gospel Nugget. V23 

Here’s the gospel, summed up in a nutshell!  Paul is determined to drive home the point, to Agrippa, that Jesus is the fulfilment of the OT prophecies about the Messiah, and that he he has come to realise the true purpose and calling of Israel.  See how he compresses the gospel into just a coule of sentences:-

  • Christ – the Messiah! John 4:25-26  Matthew 16:5  
  • The suffering Saviour!  Acts 3:18  
  • The resurrection of Christ.  That he should rise from the dead.  Matthew 28:6  
  • The resurrection of the believer.  Jesus was the first of many who will rise from the dead. 1st Corinthians 15:20  
  • The universal declaration of the gospel.  Showing the light of Christ all over the world, bringing glory to God’s people, to the spiritual Israel!  Ephesians 3:21  

Now, Paul has spoken of how God worked in his life, pre-conversion, how he apprehended him on the road to destruction, and now he has explained his mission strategy, – his obedience to the declared will of God and the message of Christ that characterised his obedient faithful work for God.  How will the dignitaries who heard him respond?

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