Acts 26 Surrender is not losing
Surrender is not losing Acts 26:12-26:18
Believing things ’on authority’ only means believing them because you have been told them by someone you think trustworthy. Ninety-nine percent of the things you believe are believed on authority. I believe there is such a place as New York. I could not prove by abstract reasoning that there is such a place. I believe it because reliable people have told me so. The ordinary person believes in the solar system, atoms, and the circulation of the blood on authority--because the scientists say so. Every historical statement is believed on authority. None of us has seen the Norman Conquest or the defeat of the Spanish Armada. But we believe them simply because people who did see them have left writings that tell us about them; in fact, on authority. A person who balked at authority in other things, as some people do in religion, would have to be content to know nothing all his life.
How many gallons of water are in the ocean?
Answer: 3.612 x 10²º gallons of sea water in the ocean. That is 3.612 x 1 with 21 zeros.
How many stars are in the known universe?
Answer: 70 sextillion (7 followed by 22 zeros) was calculated by a team of stargazers based at the Australian National University.
How many grains of sand are in the world?
Answer: seven quintillion five hundred quadrillion grains of sand.
Even if these answers are incorrect, here is my point: God’s grace is bigger than all these numbers!
Read: Acts 26:12-18
- \\ The all purpose lubricant/cleaner/polisher WD-40 gets its name from “Water Displacement” and the number of experiments needed to get it right. In other words, there were 39 tries that did not work. Imagine if the inventor of WD 40 had given up at 38 tries, we’d never have WD 40....*
- \\ CONTRADICTION: TO EXPRESS OR ASSERT THE OPPOSITE OF . . .*
PARADOX: a statement, proposition, or situation that seems to be absurd or contradictory, but in fact is or may be true
ONLY IN AMERICA DO PEOPLE ORDER DOUBLE CHEESEBURGERS, LARGE FRIES . . . AND A DIET COKE.
ROMANS 6 TELL US THAT TRUE FREEDOM COMES BY BECOMING A SLAVE.
FREEDOM FROM SIN IS SLAVERY TO CHRIST – WHAT A GREAT TRADE.
MATTHEW 20 TELLS US IN ORDER TO BE FIRST I MUST LEARN TO SERVE OTHERS.
Universal principle---in COMMON IN ALL HUMAN BEINGS.
EVERY HUMAN BEING IS BORN WITH A CONSCIENCE.
----IT’S TRUE THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO DEVELOP A SEARED CONSCIENCE, BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN THEY WERE NOT BORN WITH ONE.
----WHEN I SAY “CONSCIENCE” I’M REFERRING TO THAT INNER SENSE OF WHAT IS RIGHT OR WRONG.
YOU KNOW WHAT THAT IS.
IT’S THAT INNER VOICE THAT DRIVES YOU NUTS WHEN YOU DO SOMETHING WRONG AND YOU KNOW YOU NEED TO MAKE IT RIGHT.
MAYBE WE STOLE SOMETHING OR LIED ABOUT SOMETHING OR MISREPRESENTED SOMETHING AND KNOTS START FORMING IN OUR STOMACH BECAUSE WE KNOW WE’RE WRONG.
AGAIN, I KNOW SOME PEOPLE HAVE LEARNED TO IGNORE THEIR CONSCIENCE AND OTHERS APPEAR TO HAVE COMPLETELY SHUT IT OFF, BUT IT’S STILL SOMETHING HUMANITY IS BORN WITH.
THE CONTEXT IS THIS . . .
PAUL IS STANDING BEFORE KING AGRIPPA AND THE GOVERNOR FESTUS.
…PAUL HAS BEEN ARRESTED FOR DISTURBING THE PEACE BY PREACHING THE GOSPEL.
…AS HE STANDS BEFORE THESE MEN IN AUTHORITY PAUL RELAYS THE STORY OF HIS CONVERSION TO CHRIST.
…HE TALKS ABOUT HOW HE PERSECUTED THE CHURCH BUT THEN BECAME A FOLLOWER OF JESUS HIMSELF.
THE ACTUAL EVENT TAKES PLACE BACK IN CHAPTER 9.
“I saw a light” (vv. 12–13).
Paul considered himself an enlightened man; for, after all, he was a Jew (Rom. 9:4–5), a scholar (Acts 22:3), and a Pharisee.
In reality, Paul had lived in gross spiritual darkness.
…He knew the Law in his preconversion days, but he had not realized that the purpose of the Law was to bring him to Christ (Gal. 3:24).
…He had been a self-righteous Pharisee who needed to discover that his good works and respectable character could never save him and take him to heaven (Phil. 3:1–11).
The light that Paul saw was supernatural, for it was the glory of God revealed from heaven.
It actually had blinded Paul for three days (Acts 9:8–9), but his spiritual eyes had been opened to behold the living Christ
(2 Cor. 4:3–6).
**But seeing a light was not enough; he also had to hear the Word of God.
“I heard a voice” (vv. 14–18).
Paul’s companions had seen the light, but not the Lord; and they had heard a sound, but they could not understand the words. They all fell to the earth, but only Paul remained there (Acts 9:7). Jesus Christ spoke to Paul in the familiar Aramaic tongue of the Jews, called him by name, and told him it was futile for him to continue fighting the Lord
Paul had made two surprising discoveries: (1) Jesus of Nazareth was alive, and (2) He was so united to His people that their suffering was His suffering!
Paul was persecuting not only the church, but also his own Messiah!
- \\ WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS VERSION OF THE STORY IS THAT THE APOSTLE PAUL ADDS A PIECE TO THE PUZZLE THAT WE DON’T HAVE IN CHAPTER 9.
SAUL, (PAUL) “IT IS HARD FOR YOU TO KICK AGAINST THE GOADS.”
FIRST OF ALL, WHAT IS A GOAD?
A GOAD IS A LONG STICK WITH A POINTED END.
IT’S USED TO DRIVE CATTLE AND OTHER LIVESTOCK.
ACTUALLY, TODAY IT’S AN ELECTRONIC CATTLE PROD.
IT’S A MOTIVATOR. IT’S A TOOL TO GET LIVESTOCK FROM POINT “A” TO POINT “B.” ---IT’S SOMETHING THAT PRICKS, STINGS, EVEN POTENTIALLY BREAKS THE SKIN AND DRAWS BLOOD AS IT’S POKED.
26:14 kick against the goads: A young ox, when it was first yoked, usually resented the burden and tried kicking its way out. If the ox was yoked to a single-handed plow, the plowman would hold a long staff with a sharpened end close to the heels of the ox. Every time the ox kicked, it struck the spike. If the ox was yoked to a wagon, a studded bar with wooden spikes served the same purpose. *
The point was that the ox had to learn submission to the yoke the hard way.
Before his encounter with Jesus on the Damascus road, Paul was resisting God in a similar manner
JESUS SAYS TO PAUL, Man, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? IT HURTS TO KICK AGAINST A SHARP STICK.”
PAUL, I SEE THE PRICKS IN THE SKIN OF YOUR CONSCIENCE, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”
FOLKS, THIS WHOLE THING FASCINATES ME – HERE’S WHY.
**EXTERNALLY PAUL WAS CONFIDENT, DETERMINED, UNWAVERING.
HE WAS FULL BLOWN AGAINST THE CHURCH. HE WAS PUTTING PEOPLE IN JAIL AND KILLING THEM FOR BEING FOLLOWERS OF JESUS.
**EXTERNALLY HE WAS ZEALOUS FOR THE PURITY OF OLD TESTAMENT LAW AND THE JEWISH TRADITIONS.
**EXTERNALLY HE WAS FULFILLING THE DESIRES OF HIS SUPERIORS, THE JEWISH COUNCIL IN JERUSALEM.
****BUT INSIDE . . . INSIDE THE FEET AND LEGS OF HIS CONSCIENCE WAS FULL OF BLOODY DOTS BECAUSE HE WAS KICKING AGAINST A SHARP STICK.
EVERY TIME HE PUT SOMEONE IN JAIL HE KICKED THE STICK OF HIS CONSCIENCE.
EVERY TIME SOMEONE DIED HIS CONSCIENCE GAVE HIM ANOTHER TWINGE OF PAIN.
***BUT I WOULD LIKE TO FIRST ADDRESS THOSE HERE TODAY WHO HAVE FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES WHO SEEM SO HARD AND CALLOUSED AGAINST GOD.
PLEASE HEAR THIS . . . EXTERNAL CONFIDENCE AND HARDNESS IS NOT AN INDICATION OF WHAT IS GOING ON INSIDE THAT PERSON.
…THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE LOST OR ARE LOSING HOPE YOUR LOVED ONES WILL EVER COME TO CHRIST, JUST REMEMBER WHAT YOU SEE ON THE OUTSIDE DOES NOT ALWAYS REVEAL WHAT’S ON THE INSIDE.
THAT PERSON WAS BORN WITH A CONSCIENCE AND THE HOLY SPIRIT DOES NOT LEAVE PEOPLE ALONE.
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS ALWAYS CALLING, ALWAYS PRODDING, ALWAYS BRINGING BACK TO THEIR MIND THE TRUTH.
IF YOU HAD THE ABILITY TO LOOK AT THE FEET AND LEGS OF THEIR CONSCIENCE YOU WOULD SEE DOTS OF BLOOD.
LOOK AT PAUL, A WICKED PERSECUTOR OF THE CHURCH WITH A CONSCIENCE THAT DROVE HIM NUTS.
THE EXTERNAL LOOKS DISCOURAGING. JUST DON’T FORGET THERE IS MORE GOING ON THAN WHAT YOU SEE.
AND IF YOU NEED FURTHER EXAMPLES TAKE A LOOK AROUND YOU.
ALL OF US WERE PRICKED UNTIL WE FINALLY SURRENDERED.
THE WORD SURRENDER FINALLY GETS ME TO THE APPARENT CONTRADICTION.
TO ALL OF US I SAY,
SURRENDER IS NOT LOSING.
NOT ONLY ARE WE BORN WITH A CONSCIENCE, BUT WE ARE ALSO BORN WITH A STUBBORN FREE WILL.
OUR CONSCIENCE TELLS US RIGHT FROM WRONG, BUT OUR FREE WILL DOESN’T LIKE TO BE TOLD WE’RE WRONG.
I’LL TELL YOU SOMETHING . . . ALL PEOPLE, DON’T LIKE TO BE TOLD WHAT TO DO.
THE MEEKEST PERSON WILL GROW FANGS IF THEY’RE TOLD YOU HAVE TO DO THIS OR THAT.
THE STRONG WILLED WILL BLOW UP LIKE A PUFFER FISH AND STING YOU WITH THEIR POISON BARBS IF YOU TELL THEM THEY HAVE TO DO THIS OR THAT.
IT’S IN ALL HUMAN BEINGS.
WE DON’T SURRENDER, WE FIGHT.
DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO. AS A MATTER OF FACT, I’LL DO THE OPPOSITE OR MAYBE I JUST WON’T DO ANYTHING AT ALL – EITHER WAY I’LL SHOW YOU.
YOU SEE, TO US SURRENDER IS LOSING.
GIVING IN IS NOT ACCEPTABLE BECAUSE IT MEANS I DON’T WIN.
WHEN IT COMES TO SUBMISSION TO WHAT GOD IS CALLING US TO DO SURRENDER IS TOTAL VICTORY.
THE VERY DEFINITION OF SURRENDER CONTRADICTS THIS POINT.
SURRENDER: TO YIELD, TO GIVE UP, TO ABANDON.
IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS THE PAIN OF SURRENDER IS FAR LESS THAN THE PAIN OF RESISTENCE.
WHY? BECAUSE THE PAIN OF SURRENDER WILL BRING WITH IT HEALING OF THE CONSCIENCE AND PEACE OF MIND.
A HEALED CONSCIENCE AND PEACE OF MIND ALLOWS US TO SLEEP AT NIGHT REGARDLESS OF WHAT IS HAPPENING ON THE OUTSIDE.
I LIKE WHAT PS. 143:10 SAYS.
TEACH ME TO DO YOUR WILL, FOR YOU ARE MY GOD; MAY YOUR GOOD SPIRIT LEAD ME ON LEVEL GROUND.
LORD, I WANT TO WALK ON LEVEL GROUND.
LORD, I WANT YOUR WILL IN MY LIFE SO I DON’T HAVE TO STRUGGLE WITH THE STEEP INCLINE OF NOT BEING IN YOUR WILL.
NOT SURRENDERING IS LIKE CLIMBING THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN, BUT NEVER REACHING THE TOP.
LORD, LEVEL GROUND, LET ME WALK ON LEVEL GROUND WITHOUT MY LEGS HURTING FROM ALL THE PRICKS FROM KICKING AGAINST THE GOAD.
SURRENDER IS NOT LOSING.
To open their eyes, . . . . that they may receive . . . Acts 26:18.
This verse is the grandest concentration of the teaching of a disciple of Jesus Christ in the whole of the New Testament.
The first sovereign work of grace is summed up in the words— “that they may receive remission of sins.” When a man fails in personal Christian experience, it is nearly always because he has never received anything. The only sign that a man is saved is that he has received something from Jesus Christ. Our part as workers for God is to open men’s eyes that they may turn themselves from darkness to light; but that is not salvation, that is conversion—the effort of a roused human being. I do not think it is too sweeping to say that the majority of nominal Christians are of this order; their eyes are opened, but they have received nothing. Conversion is not regeneration. This is one of the neglected factors in our preaching today. When a man is born again, he knows that it is because he has received something as a gift from Almighty God and not because of his own decision. People register their vows, and sign their pledges, and determine to go through, but none of this is salvation. Salvation means that we are brought to the place where we are able to receive something from God on the authority of Jesus Christ, viz., remission of sins.
Then there follows the second mighty work of grace—“and inheritance among them which are sanctified.” In sanctification the regenerated soul deliberately gives up his right to himself to Jesus Christ, and identifies himself entirely with God’s interest in other men.