Acts 26:19 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:
20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
21 For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me.
22 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:
23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.
24 And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.
25 But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.
Paul reminded king Agrippa that it would have been foolish for him to disobey Jesus’ Words to him on the road to Damascus. King Agrippa demanded loyalty to his rule. Of much greater importance is obedience to God.
In verse 20 we are told that Paul immediately began to preach the Gospel. His salvation was genuine. It was not a feeling. It was not something he did in an emotional low. He had been intent on stopping Christians. He was stopped by the Lord. He was impacted in a very clear and forceful way with his wickedness. He responded in the only appropriate manner. He was not forced to be saved. He was stopped from his evil plans. He was blinded by that light and he was a helpless man. He was left blind for 3 days. He had time to think about his life and what he had been doing. He did not eat or drink during that time. God sent Ananias to pray for Saul and restore sight to him. Ananias was afraid to do that at first, but he was assured that Saul was a different man.
It is impossible to support the New Evangelical view of salvation, from the Bible. A person must ignore or distort what the Bible says to believe that lie. God points out many times, the change that takes place when a person is truly saved.
God changed Saul’s name to Paul as a further indicator of the change that had been wrought in his heart. Paul immediately began to preach the Gospel. He was trained as a Pharisee and thus had some understanding of the law. Now, as a saved man Jesus Christ would teach him the right understanding of the law and the Gospel. In the book of Galatians, God directed Paul to give further information regarding the training he received directly from the Lord after his salvation.
In verse 21, Paul pointed out that his zeal for the truth was what caused the Jews to come after him. Paul had been in the temple, but it was not for the reasons the Jews accused him of. The Jews had defiled the temple and they sought to kill Paul for entering that defiled place. Jesus did not kill the Jews when He entered the temple and found them making merchandise of His Father’s house. He cast them out and taught the importance of keeping the temple as a house of prayer.
When Jesus died on the cross, God the Father tore the vail of the temple in two from the top down, indicating the way to God was now open through Jesus Christ. The Holy place within the vail was no longer needed. The temple would soon be destroyed. The Jews had their own ideas for the temple, but God would destroy it anyway.
In verse 22 Paul acknowledged God’s protection in his life. The Roman chief captain had intervened when the Jews tried to kill Paul. However, the chief captain wanted to have Paul whipped without cause to try to gain a confession from him. It was God that protected Paul and granted him favour with the Romans guards. It was God that also granted him favour with Felix and then with Festus and even before king Agrippa.
Paul stated further that he was not intimidated into becoming silent by the opposition and death threats against him. He had the true Gospel and he knew that Gospel needed to be proclaimed faithfully. He knew the Jews had a distorted teaching, and he was trained by the Lord Jesus Christ to preach the truth.
Paul also stated that the message he was preaching was in accordance with what God had directed Moses and the prophets to speak and write about. Paul’s message was not some strange doctrine. It was the truth.
In verse 23 Paul stated that Moses and the prophets had prophesied that Christ should suffer and that He would be the first to rise from the dead and He would give light to the Jews and to the Gentiles.
John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the Saviour and He fulfilled Old Testament prophecy regarding His first coming and He will fulfill Old Testament prophecy regarding His second coming.
In verse 24 we see that Festus could not handle the truth. The Gospel of Christ was pricking his heart and his conscience. He did not want to deal with that reality. Thus he interrupted Paul and accused him of being mad. Festus knew that Paul was speaking with conviction. His message was different than that of the Jews. His demeanour was different even from that of Festus and king Agrippa. God was blessing his message and it penetrated to the hearts of the people.
In verse 25 Paul insisted that he was not mad. He showed respect for Festus’ office, but he did not allow him to deter him from the message that God had given him. He reminded Festus that he spoke the truth. His message was a very sober message. He was not joking around. He was not speaking as a politician. He was speaking the truth with the hope that people would receive it and be saved.
That is the way any true believer needs to speak. We do not put our finger to the wind and try to determine what people want to hear. We understand that God’s Word is offensive to those who do not want to hear it. We understand the devil is behind the opposition to the truth. We need to pray for boldness and for God to open the hearts and minds of the lost. We want people to be saved. We understand there is a spiritual warfare taking place. The victory has been won. All can be saved. Hard hearts need to be broken. Only God can do that. He commands His children to preach His Word faithfully and leave the results in His hands.