Today is Wednesday, November 15th, 2017, Good Wednesday morning to you!  In this passage, we see Paul again giving his testimony, but this time to a King, as the Jews accuse him of actions against the Laws of the Lord and the laws of the land. Pay attention to how Paul is consistently ready to give his testimony, and the response of the King following. Please join us at our Gatherings, Sundays @ 9:00 and 10:15am - Max

CONNECT
(Take time to write down responses to these questions or discuss in your group)
_ Have you ever told your testimony to a nonbeliever? Do you view your testimony as an empowering expression of the Gospel? Why or why not?
_ How is the Lord impacting someone you are walking with (to help grow in or discover Jesus)?

PRAY
Take some time to thank and praise God for who He is, to pray for those you are walking with, for the needs you/group are facing, and for the Spirit to open your heart and eyes as you read the passage, which has been completely inspired by God.

DISCOVER  [Acts 26:1-32]
+ WHAT is this passage saying and what do we learn?
(Use these questions below each portion of text to clarify the main point)

So Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense:

2 “I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am going to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 especially because you are familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.

4 “My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. 5 They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee. 6 And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, 7 to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this
hope I am accused by Jews, O king! 8 Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?


9 “I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. 11 And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities.

Paul Tells of His Conversion

12 “In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. 14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language,‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, 17 delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

19 “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. 21 For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: 23 that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”

24 And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.” 25 But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words. 26 For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” 28 And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?”29 And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.”

30 Then the king rose, and the governor and Bernice and those who were sitting with them. 31 And when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, “This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.” 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”

_ V9-V23 We see Paul retell his testimony (his story of Conversion, and becoming a disciple). Throughout Acts we are told of his conversion multiple times, most of the time through Paul proclaiming the Gospel through his testimony.

+What is the importance of Paul continually telling his testimony?
+ How does Paul view his own Testimony in relation to spreading the Gospel?
+How does King Agrippa respond to the testimony of Paul? V28-32. After answering this question, readdress the above 2 questions.

+ HOW am I compelled to confess sin and how does the gospel compel me to respond with a simple step of action/obedience?  (Here are some thoughts to discuss in break-outs)
_ From the scripture reading above and after analysis of the questions following the text, how are you to view your own testimony?
_ Are you spending time in the Word and in prayer, to hear the Lord speak to you? It is these two actions that lead us to repentance, as well as our daily callings to God’s will.

+ WHO are you walking with to discover or grow in Jesus and what is your next step with them, how can we help?
_Who can you tell your testimony to, that you believe would be open to hearing it?