Crazy for Jesus

November 13, 2022 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Acts - The Gospel in Motion

Topic: The Gospel, Christian Living Scripture: Acts 26:19–32

This exchange in our text today, puts Festus, Agrippa, and Bernice on one side, with all of their worldly pomp and show, and Paul the prisoner for Jesus Christ on the other side, makes us think about the question, “Who really is crazy?”. Is Paul crazy to give up all that this world offers to follow Jesus Christ? Or, are those who live for all that this world offers—riches, fame, and pleasure—crazy, who die without repenting of their sins?

Agrippa, the Jewish king, was asked to help Festus, the Roman governor of Judea, to discover some concrete evidence that Paul was guilty.  Paul had appealed to Caesar when tried before Festus, and Festus had granted that appeal, but Paul was innocent.  Festus could find nothing in his life with which to charge him, and this put him in a most embarrassing situation to send Paul all the way to Rome to appear before Caesar, who was then the Emperor Nero, with no charges which would hold water.  This was also a time of entertainment for Agrippa because he wanted to tickle his fancy by hearing a little more about the Way made up of people who called themselves Christians and followers of Christ.  He also wanted to know something more about this man, Paul the pest, as he was called by the unbelieving Jews.  This was not a trial before Agrippa but merely a time of questioning Paul, for neither Festus nor Agrippa could do anything to Paul since he cried out “Apello” -- “I appeal to Caesar.”  Roman law demanded that Paul, a Roman citizen, be sent to Caesar because he made this appeal.

Our text has been divided up into 3 parts:

1. Paul Preaches the Gospel to Agrippa (v. 22-25)
2. Paul Pleads with Agrippa to Accept Christ (v. 26-29)
3. Paul Proclaimed Innocent by Agrippa (v. 30-32)

Agrippa chose against Christ and for hell because he loved pleasure, riches, power, fame, sex and self more than anything or anyone.  Agrippa was so close to the kingdom but he would not take the final step.  He made his choice and his choice damned him for all eternity. 

Paul pleads with Agrippa to put his faith in the resurrected Messiah. Agrippa felt the tug of the Holy Spirit on his heart to receive Christ but he also felt the tug of the world.  He clearly understood that if he really committed his life to Christ he would have to repent and change his ways.  He was not willing to pay the price to follow Christ.   

Getting Started

  1. People can do crazy things like changing a baby’s diaper while driving. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done? What is it you’ve done that people would say, “You’re crazy man” or “You’re crazy lady.”

Read Acts 25:23-26:23

  1. What insight, principle, or observation from Sunday’s sermon did you find to be the most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling?

 Digging Deeper

  1. The Bible is full of people who the world considered crazy. Can you identify some of these bible characters who did “crazy” things for God?
  1. In Acts 26:24, Festus interrupts Paul’s defense and says he was ‘crazy’. Festus was a rationalist. A dictionary defines rationalism as: “A system of belief regulated by reason, not authority: a disposition to apply to religious doctrines the same critical methods as to science and history, and to attribute all phenomena to natural rather than miraculous causes” (Chambers 20 century Dictionary). Based on this definition, explain why Festus thought that Paul’s ‘great learning was driving him out of his mind.
  1. Is it possible for a person to be persuaded that the Bible is the Word of God on purely rationalistic grounds, and be a Christian? Give reasons for your answer. (Read 1 Corinthians 2:4-12.)

The Heart of the Matter

  1. The Bible clearly teaches that every Christian should put Jesus Christ and His kingdom at the centre of their lives. Bethlehem Baptist Church, where John Piper used to pastor, puts it like this; “We exist to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples.” Practically, what does it mean to seek first the kingdom of God? How can a person do this and hold down a full-time job?
  1. In their day, Festus, Agrippa, and Bernice had what everyone else wanted. They lived well. They had plenty of money, the finest clothes, the best food, and the most comfortable places to live. Is it permissible to enjoy the luxuries of modern life? How can we know when we “love the things of the world”?
  1. Knowing Him and making Him known, both locally and globally, should be our passion in life. Are all Christians responsible to obey the Great Commission, or are just some called to do so? Give biblical support.

More in Acts - The Gospel in Motion

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To the End of the Earth

November 20, 2022

Weathering Tempests

November 6, 2022

Responding to the Resurrection.