In Acts 26:16-20 we understand that in his defense before King Agrippa, Paul related his encounter with Christ and the effect it had upon him – a change of life and purpose.
He went further to explain that he had received a commission from the Lord to preach repentance to the Jews at Damascus, Jerusalem and the coasts of Judea and to the Gentiles (Acts 26:20).
The brief account gives us an insight into the secret of his effectiveness and success in the ministry, which was obedience to the heavenly vision.
His prompt and wholehearted obedience should challenge everyone that has had an encounter with the Lord. True obedience never procrastinates nor questions the rational behind the commandments of God.
CONVERSION AND CONSECRATION AFTER THE HEAVENLY VISITATION
Acts 26:9-15; 9:1-20; 1 Timothy 1:12-16; Galatians 1:21-24; Philippians 3:4-15; Exodus 3:1-10; 7:1-7; Hebrews 11:24-27; Isaiah 6:1-8.
What qualifies us for the commission is not church attendance or activities but genuine conversion. A definite experience of salvation is necessary before we can effectively and convincingly witness for Christ.
As the blind cannot lead the blind otherwise they both fall into the ditch, so also the unsaved cannot lead others into the salvation experience. True conversion is the product of genuine repentance of our sins, forsaking them and receiving Christ into our hearts.
COMMISSION FROM CHRIST THROUGH THE HEAVENLY VISION
Acts 26:16-18; 9:6,15,16; 1 Corinthians 15:8-10; 1 Timothy 1:12,16; John 15:16; 20:19-23; 21:1,7-17; Isaiah 6:5-8.
Christ, through the vision, gave Paul clear details as to the content and scope of the commission. He was commissioned to preach the gospel and not to win an argument; to turn people to God and not to condemn. He was bold to make Christ known at every opportunity.
The grand design of our commission as born again Christian’s is to turn men from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto God and from sin to righteousness.
If we have genuine experience of salvation, we will be eager and bold like Paul to testify of it to all men. As we testify to sinners, Christ must be the centre of our message before there can be a positive response from them.
CHRISTLIKE COMMITMENT TO THE HEAVENLY VISION
Acts 26:19,20; 20:20-24; Galatians 1:13-16; Romans 1:14-16; 15:18-22; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23; John 4:34; 6:38; 17:4; Hebrews 10:7.
Paul became a different man after the vision. His concern and compassion for the lost was not only for the Jews (his kinsmen for whom he had great heaviness and continual sorrow in his heart) but also for the Gentiles for whom he laboured day and night.
No price was too great for him to pay, no sacrifice was too high to make and no difficulty or problem was too much to endure so that he could preach the gospel and finish his course.
What Paul did for the Jews and Gentiles of his day, God expects us to do for the sinners around us today. True followers of Christ will spend and be spent in the Father’s business of soul winning.
May God give us the Grace to undertake this mandate….In Jesus Name, Amen!