Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Lesson - Paul Before Agrippa

VERSES:  Acts 25:13-26:32

MEMORY VERSE:  Acts 26:28  "Then Agrippa said unto Paul, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:  Review the New Testament books from Matthew to Third John.

PRAYER:  Pray that we might have hearts that might be pliable or changeable to God's Ways.

SPECIAL SONG:   No, Not One (see June 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #6 on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tune.)

VISUAL AID:  White board or chalk board:  Draw Paul and King Agrippa facing each other with words on each man's side. (See Activity below.)

  • Because Festus was the new governor, King Agrippa and his wife, Bernice, arrived in Caesarea to greet Festus and to congratulate him on his new position. King Agrippa and Bernice had been visiting many days when Paul's name came up in conversation. Festus explained how Paul had been left in prison by Felix when Felix had left office. He also talked about how the important Jews came to him and demanded that he pronounce judgment on Paul.  Festus had informed the Jews that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had the right to meet his accusers face to face, defending himself against the crimes which they accused him. Festus told King Agrippa that he was surprised that the Jews did not have strong crimes against Paul, and in Festus' judgment, the accusations were weak. Festus told King Agrippa that he had asked Paul if he would go to Jerusalem and be judged, but Paul had appealed to Caesar. Festus had said that he would honor Paul's request. All the information that Festus told King Agrippa peaked his interest. King Agrippa wanted to meet Paul and talk to him the next day.
  • When King Agrippa and Bernice came to meet with Festus the next day, it was not done quietly. There was a huge ceremony for the King and many important men of the city were there as Festus told them that the Jews wanted Paul to die, but he could not find anything wrong that Paul had done. Festus had a problem. Before he could send Paul to Rome as he had requested, Festus had to find something bad to write in a letter about Paul, so the people in Rome would know what terrible things he had done. Festus could find no wrong in Paul.  Festus hoped that as King Agrippa questioned Paul, he could find something that he could write in his letter.
  • As Paul was standing before them all, King Agrippa told Paul that he was free to speak for himself.Paul then stretched out his hand and began to speak. He said, "King Agrippa, I am happy because I am able to answer all of the things that the Jews have accused me of." Paul said that he knew that King Agrippa was an expert in the customs of the Jews and he asked that the king be patient as he listened to him.
  • Paul then began to tell King Agrippa about how when he was a youth, he was taught from the strictest part of the Jewish faith which was of the Pharisees. He told the king how he used to persecute Christians in the synagogues.. But, he said, one day he was traveling on the road to Damascus to persecute even more Christians, when a bright light shone around him and he heard a voice speaking to him. The voice was Jesus! Jesus was the one Paul was persecuting. Jesus told him to go preach to the Gentiles. Paul told King Agrippa that he obediently preached to everyone that they should repent and turn to God. Paul said that it was for that reason the Jews sought to kill him.
  • In the middle of Paul's speech to the King, Festus interrupted Paul saying that much education had made him crazy, but Paul said that he was not crazy, but he spoke words of truth and seriousness. Paul said the king knew these things were true because they were not done in a corner, but before all the people. Then, Paul asked King Agrippa, "King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you believe!" Then King Agrippa said to Paul, "You are almost persuading me to become a Christian." Paul said that he prayed to God that everyone should be like him except for the chains he was wearing. 
  • When Paul had finished speaking, the king,  the governor, Bernice, and all those who were sitting with him stood up.When they were a little ways away, they talked between themselves and said, "This man has done nothing worthy of death or even prison." King Agrippa told Festus, "This man might have been set free, if he had not appealed to Caesar in Rome."
"Older Student" Tips:
  • There are only three times the word, "Christian," is used in the Bible. The first time it is used is in Acts 11:26 when the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. In this lesson, King Agrippa identified those who became followers of Christ as Christians in Acts 26:38. The third time is in 1 Peter 4:16 when Peter said if any man suffered as a Christian, he should not be ashamed, but glorify God.
  • In Acts 26, we learn more of what happened on the road to Damascus and Paul's conversion (see Lesson - The Conversion of Saul - May 2015 on this blog).
  • Paul was not afraid of his captors. He bravely, with confidence and boldness, stood before, not only his accusers, but before royalty and people of prominence and taught about Jesus. His confidence was found in the power of the Gospel. Today, we can have that same confidence.
  • "Almost" is not enough. If a person is traveling to a city and is "almost" there, he is not in that city. If someone is "almost" 10 years old, he is not yet ten years old. If a person has not obeyed the Gospel of Christ, he is not yet a Christian.  One must hear the Gospel, believe the Gospel, be willing to repent of their sins, to verbally confess Christ as Lord, and then be baptized into Christ for their remission of their sins. "Almost" is not enough. Just to believe is not enough. Just to believe and repent is not enough. Just to believe, repent, and confess is not enough, but when one has done all of these things, then they have become a Christian. (Romans 10:17; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; Romans 10:9, 10; Romans 6:3, 4.)
ACTIVITY:  Paul And King Agrippa
Materials needed:  9" x 12" tan construction paper, crayons, marker.

  1. Hand out tan paper.
  2. Fold paper in half.
  3. Fold paper in half again.
  4. Unfold paper.
  5. Fold back one panel the opposite way it is folded. (see picture in step #7).
  6. Find middle line. 
  7. Trace middle line with black crayon.
  8. Bring one fold to middle line and crease.
  9. Bring other fold to middle line and crease.
  10. On one outside panel, draw Paul and write his name above him.
  11. On the other outside panel, draw King Agrippa and write his name above him. (When paper is completely folded, the two men should be facing each other.)
  12. Unfold paper.
  13. On the blank panel closest to Paul, write "King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets. I know that thou believest." and "Acts 26:27."
  14. On the blank panel closest to King Agrippa, write "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." and "Acts 26:28."
  15. Students may practice what each man said to the other, if time permits.
  16. Before leaving class, fold papers so that Paul and King Agrippa are facing each other.