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The Gospel is Our Hope for Transformation

Ted VinatieriTed Vinatieri, February 5, 2017
Part of the Acts: You are My Witnesses series, preached at a Sunday Morning service

New Life Community Church, Stafford VA

Acts 25:13-26:23

13Now when certain days were passed, Agrippa the King and Bernice arrived at Caesarea, and saluted Festus. 14And as they tarried there many days, Festus laid Paul's case before the King, saying, There is a certain man left a prisoner by Felix; 15about whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed [me], asking for sentence against him. 16To whom I answered, that it is not the custom of the Romans to give up any man, before that the accused have the accusers face to face, and have had opportunity to make his defense concerning the matter laid against him. 17When therefore they were come together here, I made no delay, but on the next day sat on the judgment-seat, and commanded the man to be brought. 18Concerning whom, when the accusers stood up, they brought no charge of such evil things as I supposed; 19but had certain questions against him of their own religion, and of one Jesus, who was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. 20And I, being perplexed how to inquire concerning these things, asked whether he would go to Jerusalem and there be judged of these matters. 21But when Paul had appealed to be kept for the decision of the emperor, I commanded him to be kept till I should send him to Caesar. 22And Agrippa [said] unto Festus, I also could wish to hear the man myself. To-morrow, saith he, thou shalt hear him. 23So on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp, and they were entered into the place of hearing with the chief captains and principal men of the city, at the command of Festus Paul was brought in. 24And Festus saith, King Agrippa, and all men who are here present with us, ye behold this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews made suit to me, both at Jerusalem and here, crying that he ought not to live any longer. 25But I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death: and as he himself appealed to the emperor I determined to send him. 26Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee, king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I may have somewhat to write. 27For it seemeth to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not withal to signify the charges against him. 26:1 And Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth his hand, and made his defence: 2I think myself happy, king Agrippa, that I am to make my defense before thee this day touching all the things whereof I am accused by the Jews: 3especially because thou art expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently. 4My manner of life then from my youth up, which was from the beginning among mine own nation and at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; 5having knowledge of me from the first, if they be willing to testify, that after the straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. 6And now I stand [here] to be judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers; 7unto which [promise] our twelve tribes, earnestly serving [God] night and day, hope to attain. And concerning this hope I am accused by the Jews, O king! 8Why is it judged incredible with you, if God doth raise the dead? 9I verily thought with myself that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10And this I also did in Jerusalem: and I both shut up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, and when they were put to death I gave my vote against them. 11And punishing them oftentimes in all the synagogues, I strove to make them blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto foreign cities. 12Whereupon as I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, 13at midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them that journeyed with me. 14And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice saying unto me in the Hebrew language, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the goad. 15And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. 16But arise, and stand upon thy feet: for to this end have I appeared unto thee, to appoint thee a minister and a witness both of the things wherein thou hast seen me, and of the things wherein I will appear unto thee; 17delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom I send thee, 18to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith in me. 19Wherefore, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: 20but declared both to them of Damascus first and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the country of Judaea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance. 21For this cause the Jews seized me in the temple, and assayed to kill me. 22Having therefore obtained the help that is from God, I stand unto this day testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses did say should come; 23how that the Christ must suffer, [and] how that he first by the resurrection of the dead should proclaim light both to the people and to the Gentiles. (ASV)

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