Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | December 27, 2019

“I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner.” – “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks”

Today’s devotion comes from Acts 26:24-32.

“24 While Paul was saying this in his defense, Festus *said in a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind!  Your great learning is driving you mad.”  25 But Paul *said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I utter words of sober truth.  26 For the king knows about these matters, and I speak to him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice;  for this has not been done in a corner.  27 King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets?  I know that you do.”  28 Agrippa replied to Paul, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.”  29 And Paul said, “I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.”

30 The king stood up and the governor and Bernice, and those who were sitting with them, 31 and when they had gone aside, they began talking to one another, saying, “This man is not doing anything worthy of death or imprisonment.”  32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”  Acts 26:24-32.

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There will be those (like Festus) who try to distract or dissuade those who hear our preaching and teaching.  Verse 24.

But, there are those in our audience (like King Agrippa) who have heard enough of preaching and teaching from others, so that what we preach and teach can be understood by them.  “For the king knows about these matters, and I speak to him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice;  for this has not been done in a corner.  King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets?  I know that you do.”  Verses 26-27.

Our preaching and teaching may be received favorably like it was by King Agrippa who said:  “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.”   Verse 28.

But, in the language of the Canons of Dordt, it does not “make a lasting impression on their heart” or “perplexing cares, and the pleasures of this world” choke out the word.

For example, King Agrippa was more focused on his own agenda, rather than pursuing his own salvation:  “and when they had gone aside, they began talking to one another, saying, “This man is not doing anything worthy of death or imprisonment.”  And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”  Verses 31-32.

Article 9.  It is not the fault of the gospel, nor of Christ, offered therein, nor of God, who calls men by the gospel, and confers upon them various gifts, that those who are called by the ministry of the word, refuse to come, and be converted:  the fault lies in themselves;  some of whom when called, regardless of their danger, reject the word of life;  others, though they receive it, suffer it not to make a lasting impression on their heart;  therefore, their joy, arising only from a temporary faith, soon vanishes, and they fall away;  while others choke the seed of the word by perplexing cares, and the pleasures of this world, and produce no fruit. – This our Savior teaches in the parable of the sower.  Matthew 13.  THIRD AND FOURTH HEADS OF DOCTRINE Of the Corruption of Man, His Conversion to God, and the Manner Thereof.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them;  for God made it evident to them.  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.  For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”  Romans 1:18-21.

But, there is hope! 

Paul repeatedly gave his testimony, including to King Agrippa and Festus, that despite his zeal for persecuting Christians, God overwhelmed him and turned his life around to the extent that he even became a minister.  Acts 26:12-18.

Consider more from the Canons of Dordt.

Article 11.  But when God accomplishes his good pleasure in the elect, or works in them true conversion, he not only causes the gospel to be externally preached to them, and powerfully illumines their minds by his Holy Spirit, that they may rightly understand and discern the things of the Spirit of God;  but by the efficacy of the same regenerating Spirit, pervades the inmost recesses of the man;  he opens the closed, and softens the hardened heart, and circumcises that which was uncircumcised, infuses new qualities into the will, which though heretofore dead, he quickens;  from being evil, disobedient and refractory, he renders it good, obedient, and pliable;  actuates and strengthens it, that like a good tree, it may bring forth the fruits of good actions.  THIRD AND FOURTH HEADS OF DOCTRINE Of the Corruption of Man, His Conversion to God, and the Manner Thereof. 

“A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening;  and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.”  Acts 16:14.


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