When the Holy Spirit brings conviction on people, their responses to the gospel message can be amazing. Those coming under conviction don’t want to give in, they do, however, want to save face.
The apostle Paul experienced a couple of cases like that with two political leaders.
“Suddenly, Festus shouted, “Paul, you are insane. Too much study has made you crazy!” . . . Agrippa interrupted him. “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?” Acts 26:24,28
Paul had the opportunity to share his testimony to Festus the governor and especially to King Agrippa.
I am fortunate, King Agrippa, that you are the one hearing my defense today against all these accusations made by the Jewish leaders, for I know you are an expert on all Jewish customs and controversies. Acts 26:2-3
He shared that as a zealous Jewish official he persecuted those who professed the name of Jesus. He diligently pursued them until the Lord stopped him in his tracts on the way to Damascus.
About noon, Your Majesty, as I was on the road, a light from heaven brighter than the sun shone down on me and my companions. We all fell down, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? Acts 26:13-14
Continuing his story, he told them why he stood before them in chains. Then Festus interrupted him. The scripture said it like this, “suddenly Festus shouted.”
A Response of Conviction to the Gospel Message
Festus experienced a classic example of the conviction of the Holy Spirit. He couldn’t allow a prisoner to change his life. Especially in front of Agrippa and the others in the court. So to cover up his conviction he blamed Paul for being insane.
What is even more interesting, Paul only mentioned the name of Jesus once in this talk. And nobody used the word Christian except for Agrippa.
The king also covered his conviction by asking Paul this question. Do you think you can persuade me this quickly? Paul’s answer was classic.
“Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that both you and everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am, except for these chains.” Acts 26:29
Do you think Paul failed that day? How often have you felt like a failure when you have shared your testimony or the gospel message? Or maybe you don’t share either one because you seldom see results.
When Paul said “I pray to God that you might become the same as I am,” he was saying this isn’t over yet. He understood how the Holy Spirit worked because he told the Corinthian church this principle.
I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. 1 Corinthians 3:6-7
That day before Festus and Agrippa, Paul planted the seed. We don’t know what happened in their lives after that. The results of what Paul did belong to God.
How confident are You?
Paul was confident in who he was in Christ and when he shared the gospel message. How about you when you make a stand for your faith? How confident are you?
Do you shy away or do you stand firm? Let Paul’s life be an example for you. Stand firm as the Holy Spirit gives you holy boldness. Let God take care of the results and don’t be surprised by the responses you get to the gospel message.
Check out this related post called How to Respond When Rejected for Sharing the Gospel.
Lord, open doors of opportunity for us to share our testimony and the gospel message. Continually remind us that you will take care of the results.
Read the entire story of Paul’s experience in Acts 26.
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