Almost Isn’t Good Enough: Retell Your Conversion Experience Part 11

Almost Isn’t Good Enough       Part 11: Retell Your Conversion Experience  Acts 26:29-32
 
Today concludes a previous blog series involving ten principles derived from a review of Acts 26 which gives a stunning account of Paul’s defense of the Gospel and King Agrippa’s defiant rejection, epitomizing the notion of “Almost isn’t good enough.”  I conclude with a conversation about Acts:29-32 and Principle 11:  Retell Your Conversion Experience.
 
After hearing King Agrippa’s evasive statement in Acts 26:28, Paul circles back to a topic I discussed in an earlier blog–Principle 5:  Retell Your Conversion Experience based on Acts 26:18. The implications seem clear: an apologetic defense must include a personal account of how salvation has impacted our lives:  otherwise, it may be considered an intellectual conversation to pass the time of day. We must be careful, however, not to provide an imbalance of this defense: it doesn’t center on our experience.  It’s living proof of how Christ lives within us and reigns as our Lord and Personal Savior.
 
Today we’ll focus on how the wish, welcome, and walk exemplify final steps of our apologetic defense. We see the wish in the first part of Acts 26:29–“And Paul said, ‘I would wish to God’” (NASB).  In this context, “wish” doesn’t infer a whimsical desire but rather a fervent prayer for spiritual deliverance (2 Corinthians 13:7-9 and James 5:16).  Paul may have had several reasons for publicly voicing his sincere prayer to God. On the one hand, this statement points to the veracity of the Old Testament Prophet’s message Paul mentioned earlier (Acts 26:27). On the other hand, Paul’s prayer points to God–the First Person Holy Trinity-to remind Agrippa about the hierarchy of The Creator and His creation. We, too, must not lose sight of the importance of prayer throughout each phrase of our apologetic defense.  It seems simple but our point of reference for evangelizing begins with Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (emphasis added).   
 
The latter part of Acts 26:29 addresses the welcome which consists of two aspects.  First, Paul recognizes that some unbelievers’ may not make a decision to accept Christ at that moment.  While this is every believers’ desire, we should not bombard or guilt-trip people: our job is to present the Gospel and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work (1 Corinthians 3:1-9).
 
Next, Paul openly and repeatedly extends the invitation for salvation.  Although Paul’s conversation in this chapter alternated between Festus and Agrippa, he is keenly aware of the need to address everyone present.  This shouldn’t surprise us. People in the audience may have entered and left at different times and not heard the entire conversation. They may also have benefited from a reminder that Paul’s message benefited everyone, not just royalty. Although the Bible is silent about this, we should realize the presence and curiosity of people who may overhear our conversations with unbelievers.
 

Acts 26:30-32 reveal the walk.  At the conclusion of Paul’s apologetic defense, both Festus and Agrippa leave having rejected the call to salvation.  Although they acknowledge Paul’s innocence of charges brought by chief priests and religious leaders (Acts 25), the final decision was out of their hands.  Simply put, Festus and Agrippa walk away with a sense of completing their duty to hear Paul’s defense without realizing the eternal and spiritual implications.  

 
Their rejection, however, shouldn’t be viewed as an exercise of futility.  Paul’s apologetic defense included a clear, logical, historical, and Biblical approach to addressing the solution to man’s sinful condition. What more could he have said?  Nothing. Was he supposed to rely on his intellect to trick them into believing? No. Should he have berated them and provided his credentials as an Apostle exempted from imprisonment?  No.
 
While it’s true that “almost isn’t good enough” applies to unbelievers who hedge their spiritual bets by rejecting the Gospel message, we are equally reminded that our half-hearted apologetic defense of the Gospel shouldn’t be reason. Souls hang in the balance!

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