Jump Start # 3468
Acts 26:29 “I would to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.”
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Our verse today comes from that grand assembly featuring King Agrippa, his wife, Festus, the governor, the chief captains and leading men of the city. There was a lot of pomp as these prestigious people entered the room. They had gathered to hear the apostle Paul. And, flowing through our chapter today, Acts 26, Paul tells his story of how he became a Christian. Festus shouted, he is “mad.” Today, we’d say, “he’s crazy.”
It is here that Agrippa makes that statement that has been the heart of many sermons, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” Our verse is Paul’s reply. I wish you were a Christian. I wish you were like me, except for the chains.
Paul was not persuading God to accept Agrippa as he was. He was not persuading Agrippa to just go to church. He was not persuading Agrippa to start being nice. He wanted the king to be a Christian. He wanted the king to know the real King. And, this persuasion was not based upon false promises, offering the king physical gifts, nor guilting him into doing something he didn’t want to do. None of those things took place. In essence, Paul said, “I wish everyone could be like me.”
Now think about those words: I wish everyone could be like me.
First, do you wish everyone had the faith that you do? A faith that begins the day with prayer and a faith that thinks about the Lord all the time. A faith that leads one to reading the Bible. A faith that shapes our choices, our words and our attitudes. What if everyone in the congregation had a faith like yours? Would that be an improvement or would there be some serious problems?
Second, do you wish everyone was a thoughtful and generous as you are? Some like to hold that judgmental radar gun and point it at everyone except themselves. Some can act so much like the Pharisees you’d think they are related. Out to eat, some would never dream of paying for the other person’s meal. When a special need arises, some wouldn’t give a nickel. Are you like that? Do you wish everyone was like that?
Or, would you rather be like the opposite. The one who is always quick to help others out. One who is kind and praying for others. One who sends a text to someone in the middle of the week to just thank that person for leading songs on Sunday. Someone who is always seeing the best in others. Someone whose face always has a smile on it.
I wish everyone was just like me.
Third, do you wish everyone was as committed as you are? When the doors of the church house are open, you’ll be there. Are you like that? Or, do the shepherds have to work and work with you to come? Does the preacher have to spend time in a sermon convincing you to do what you already should be doing? Are you always looking for a reason not to attend? When the search is on for Bible class teachers, your name is one that is near the top of the list. You are one that can be counted on.
Fourth, do you wish everyone was as strong as you are? Beyond knowing facts, you know the Lord. You know that when the storms come, the Lord is still there. You know when there is a tragedy, the Lord is near by. You know the kindness, compassion and grace of Jesus. You know because you have spent a long time with the Lord in His word. You are a breath of fresh air in the place where you work. You are making a difference with your family. You have become one of the pillars and backbones of the congregation. It stands strong today because of people like you.
I wish everyone was just like me? Can you say that? If not, what do you need to do?