A Changed Heart Acts 21:37-22:22
- At this point Paul is grabbed by the people and they are beating him and accusing him of going against what they believe
- News get the commander and he ran down with soldiers and rescues Paul from the people who are trying to kill him
- The commander arrests Paul and put him in chains- Remember Paul had been shown by the Spirit that this was going to happen-Yet he chose to still go
- Paul is carried by the soldiers because the crowd kept following him shouting “Kill him”
- Paul speaks to the commander “May I say something to you” – Note his tone of voice
- The commander is astonished “You know Greek? – I thought you are a rebel that lead 400 men of assassins
- Paul says – no sir, I beg you, allow me to speak to the people
- He gets permission and he gesture to the people, and when the people were quiet, he spoke to them in Hebrew
- Am a Jew born and educated under the Gamaliel – one of the most prestigious rabbis
- He persecuted Christians – to chain and death
- He was on his way to Damascus to prosecute Christians but a great light hit him and he became blind
- This was the great transformation moment – He is rendered blind and lead to a man name Ananias
- Ananias prays for Him and there Saul is transformed to Paul
- Paul returned to Jerusalem and he has a vision that tell him to get our Jerusalem because they would not accept him
- Paul is sent out of Jerusalem because his time to preach to the Jews was not yet
- The crowd raised their voice even more so, could not have any of what Paul was trying to tell them
What compels a man who had everything to loose take what would be an opportunity to defend himself and give a testimony of a life changed.
A changed Heart!
A changed heart:
- Not Demanding
Acts 21:37 – “Then as Paul was about to be led into the barracks, he said to the commander, “May I speak to you?””
Here is a man who just faced death in the hands of a crowd, yet he has the composure to use kind words
I wonder, what our attitude looks like when we have been going through stuff?
What happens when we are squeezed?
He doesn’t stop there but when given the opportunity to speak to the crowd here what he says
Acts 22: 1-2 – Brothers and Fathers, listen to my defense before you
Paul calls these guys brothers and Fathers – WHAT???
These are the same word that Stephen used before he was stoned to death
Acts 7:2 And he said, “Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran,
Paul also uses the word “Defense” – which in Greek is apologia, – apology- a formal defense of the one’s past life or action
He also speaks as Jew to the Jews – to gain a common ground
Pastor Crystal preaching on how Paul did the customary thing, in order to be able to reach people
Do we do everything we can to lay a common ground so that maybe there can be a softening of the heart, that others may receive Christ
I fail at that in my home, I fight to win- even though I am not been sentenced to death…
How am I going to overcome what’s out there if in my own safety I can’t speak or behave in humility?
James 4:6 But He gives more grace. Therefore, He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
One group is going to put him in chains while the other ones tried to kill him
Its only a changed heart that looks at a such a situation and allows God to “Work all things good for those who are call to His purpose”
Paul did not demand an audience or have choice words for the crowd
- Some of us cannot even take ownership of a speeding ticket when caught speeding (One thing translates to another)
Do you have a changed heart?
Its one thing to remember when you are in a situation that favors you, what about when people are trying to kill you?
Do you remember Christ in the middle of your trials?
Acts 21:38 “Are you not the Egyptian who some time ago stirred up a rebellion and led the four thousand assassins out into the wilderness?”
An opportunity comes where he can be seen as a tough, a gangster, have some street cred but no, he says no…
I know who I was, I know where Christ found me, I know who I am. I remember!!!
Paul remembers that he persecuted Christians, jailing them and handing them off to be killed
Acts 22: 20 – And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting [a]to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’
A changed heart remembers the thing that they have allowed before meeting Christ
Let me ask you tonight, do you remember your “guarding the clothes” moment?
And one of two things happen: It will fuel you to speak up of Christ and His grace and mercy or you will be stuck in that place saying the same thing. – Caught up in your past.
I once gave an example of Pastor Crystal Past and what she does with it vs the gentle man who was caught in a loop of ‘let me tell you what I used to be’
Do you remember what God has saved you from? And if you do, what are you doing with it?
Ezekiel 36:26 – I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
- Speak up about Christ
Paul had an opportunity to defend himself, but he didn’t – he spoke about what Christ had done in his life
His story was simple- I was this and that – Then I met Christ
Stephen did too before being stoned to death.
There may be room to argue with theology, but not a transformed heart
Matthew 28:19-20 – Go [a]therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” [b]Amen.
Matthew 10:19-20 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
Do you speak up about Christ and what He has done in your life? What does you testimony look like?
A changed heart, speaks up of what God has done and continues to do in their lives
When I was growing up – my grandma gave her testimony to all when you first met…
Jeremiah 20:9 – Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, Nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not.
Commentary: Jeremiah had to bear a painful price to remain a faithful messenger of God. On many occasions he contemplated either giving up or changing the message.
Under the stress and strain of his sufferings, he was tempted to abandon the work, to refuse to speak any more in the name of Jehovah. But when he attempted thus to find release from suffering in silence, it was impossible; for such silence became more intolerable than suffering
We have all been called to bear testimony of what God has done in us.
And I know there is a group of us out there, who would argue that Paul had it coming
Maybe unlike Paul, you have been faithful all your life. Praise God!
Maybe you can identify with a young man in Genesis who was:
- Very loved by his father
- He got him a coat of many colors
- His brothers did not like him so after trying to kill him by pushing him into a well, they sold him as a slave
- The Lord gave him favor as a slave of a high officer in Pharaoh then made him a personal servant
- The master’s wife tries to seduce Joseph but he refuses and it ends up costing him his job and been thrown to prison
- There he is NOT DEMANDING…and is made in charge
- There he interprets a dream for Pharaoh’s cup bearer and cook
- Yet even after promising to remember him, they don’t But God remembers him when Pharaoh had a dream that only he can interpret
Genesis 41:16 – So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”
Joseph REMEMBER who has saved him all along
And at that moment He SPEAKS UP ABOUT GOD!
Folks NOT I, but Christ In Me
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