Before a King

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PAUL STANDS BEFORE A KING 

Scripture: Psalm 119:46; Acts 25:13–27, 26:1–32

Memory verse: Psalm 119:46
"I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame."

Lead—In

Before class write various Scripture references on separate slips of paper. The passages should refer to incidents in which someone witnessed to others about Jesus. In class write these questions on the chalkboard: (a) Who witnessed for Jesus? (b) To whom did he or she witness? (c) How did he or she witness? Instruct each student to draw a slip of paper, locate and read the Scripture passage, and decide on the answers to the questions written on the chalkboard. If you want, the students can work together in pairs.

Suggested Scripture passages are given below. The answers to the questions are in parentheses.

  1. Luke 18:35–43 (a) Blind beggar; (b) the people around him; (c) following Jesus and glorifying God for his healing.)
  2. Luke 19:1–10 (a) Zacchaeus; (b) the people of Jericho; (c) following Jesus and offering to repay those he had cheated.

Discuss the different ways of witnessing depicted by the passages. Then tell the students they will learn in this study how someone witnessed to a king.

Hearing God's Word

After Paul’s nephew revealed the plot against Paul’s life, the Roman commander sent Paul from Jerusalem to Caesarea. Paul was in prison there for two years, awaiting a decision by Felix, the Governor. Felix kept hoping Paul would offer him a bribe for his release, but this never happened. Paul must have fought feelings of discouragement and frustration. Yet he did not complain. Paul was a witness to others even while he was in prison!

Governor Felix left office without making a decision concerning Paul. A man named Festus took Felix’s place as governor. When Festus heard the accusations against Paul, he was not sure what to do either. Paul had committed no crime, yet Festus did not want to make some of the Jews angry by letting Paul go. When Paul requested an appeal to Caesar, Festus quickly agreed. In this way he would not have to decide what to do with Paul. If he did not make a decision, the Jews would have no reason to get angry with him.

King Agrippa Comes to Caesarea

A few days later, Festus was visited by King Agrippa. Festus took the opportunity to discuss Paul’s case with the king. It seems Festus needed advice on what reasons to tell Caesar for sending Paul to Rome.

(Ask volunteers to read Acts 25:13–17.) Festus was telling King Agrippa how he had handled Paul’s case thus far. Festus had visited Jerusalem and told the chief priests and leaders of the Jews it was not Roman custom to hand a man over to his accusers until he had a chance to defend himself against their charges. About 10 days later, he brought some of Paul’s accusers back to Caesarea with him and had Paul brought before the court.

Festus expected the men to accuse Paul of some crimes. Instead they accused Paul of disagreeing with the Jewish law and claiming Jesus is the Messiah. Acts 25:18–21 tells how Festus felt about these charges. (Ask a student to read these verses.)

King Agrippa was well-informed about the beliefs of the Jews. This case interested him greatly. Agrippa asked to see Paul and hear him speak, so Festus arranged for a meeting.

Paul Appears Before Agrippa

The next day Paul was brought in before King Agrippa and his sister, Bernice. (Ask a student to read Acts 25:24–27.) Festus made it clear that he felt Paul was innocent of any wrongdoing.

Ask: “Would you be afraid to stand before a king and tell of your belief in Jesus?” (Allow responses.)

Many of us probably would have been at least a little frightened to stand before a king and witness. Paul, however, stood boldly before a king and witness. Paul, however, stood boldly before King Agrippa and gave his testimony. Like Paul, we should witness boldly whenever we can—to classmates, teachers, and even our principal. The Holy Spirit will give us the words to say if we are not ashamed to tell what Jesus has done for us.

(Recite the memory verse, Psalm 119:46, with the students.) This verse accurately describes Paul’s attitude. He was not at all ashamed of his faith in Jesus.

Paul testified before King Agrippa, Bernice, Festus, and the leading officials of the city. He told them first about his childhood—how he had been reared in a strict Jewish home as a Pharisee.

Paul went on to tell the king and the listening crowd about his works against Christianity. (Read Acts 26:9–11.) Paul was not trying to excuse the bad things he had done; rather he was trying to get the people to understand that he had been a devout Jew.

Paul continued by telling about his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. He told King Agrippa that God had called him to be a witness to all men, Jews and Gentiles alike. (Read Acts 26:20, 21.) This is why Paul had been put on trial, just because he preached and taught about Jesus.

Paul told about some of the persecution he had suffered, but he was careful to give glory to God. He said, “I have had God’s help to this very day” (Acts 26:22). Paul had learned that when you serve God with your whole heart, He gives you the strength you need.

Festus Shouts at Paul

Finally Governor Festus could stand Paul’s testimony no longer. He shouted at Paul, calling him an insane man.

Ask: “Why do you think Festus considered Paul to be insane?” (Allow discussion.)

It seems Festus thought Paul’s message was too unbelievable. After all, this man Jesus had been killed on a cross, yet Paul said he had talked to Him.  Let us see Paul’s reply to Festus’ outburst. (Ask one of the students to read Acts 26:25–27.)

Paul was not frightened by Festus’ outcry. We can always have confidence in what we say when we are completely honest with people. Paul knew all he had said was true. He then addressed the king directly by saying, “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”

Ask: “How did the king respond?” (Allow response.)

Ask a student to read Acts 26:28–29.) King Agrippa tried to side-step the issue. He was a man of great importance. He did not want to say Paul’s words were true; if he did, people might think he was crazy too. Like King Agrippa, many of your friends might be afraid to accept Jesus because of what other people might think. As Christians, it is important that we live as proof that being a Christian does not mean being “weak” or “cowardly.” It simply means we have made Him our Lord and want to please God in all that we do.

Paul ended the meeting by stating his desire for those attending. He said he hoped all of them would one day have a personal relationship with Jesus. That is the goal of all who witness for Jesus.

The king and his company rose to leave the room. As they talked to one another, King Agrippa said to Festus, “Paul has done nothing to deserve death or imprisonment. In fact, if he had not appealed to Caesar, he could have been set free.” Paul had appealed to Caesar, in accordance with God’s plan, so that he might witness in Rome also.

Accepting God’s Word

Paul was never hesitant to tell others what he believed; he shared with everyone he could—from a king to the common people, Paul was bold. That is a quality we should desire when we witness. If we keep close to God, and are willing to tell others about Jesus, He will provide the courage we need to speak with boldness.

Think about all Jesus has done for you. Your testimony may not include healing from a life–threatening illness or deliverance from a life-controlling problem; it may simply be protection from those things. It may also include gratitude for good Christian training by your family.

Ask: “Can you give some examples?” (Allow responses.)

One thing Jesus did for all of us is paying the penalty for our sin. (Ask the students to turn to Romans 6:23.) This is the greatest deliverance of all time! Jesus died on the cross. What a painful death He suffered! He not only died for our sins; He rose again that we might live eternally with Him.

Jesus Heals

Following the service, the pastor invited us to go with him to visit an elderly woman whom the Lord had marvellously healed. The village was Islamic but still practiced animistic customs, such as taking a sick person to a particular tree in which a healing spirit dwells. Sacrifices were offered and the spirit petitioned to come out of the tree and heal the person.

The healing spirit in the tree had nothing to offer the old woman. When the pastor visited her, he prayed for her in the name of Jesus and healing came. With the evidence of that miracle, the elderly woman accepted Jesus as her Saviour. However, her sons who provided for her would not permit her to attend the church.

REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for Courage to Witness

1. Young believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit,
2. Pastors and elders given wisdom in dealing with the Muslim community,
3. Zalamo believers find ways to give their testimonies in public places.

Prayer Promise

"Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God...hear the prayer your servant is praying before you" (Nehemiah 1:5, 6).

Remember: PAUL STANDS BEFORE A KING 

Memory verse: Psalm 119:46
"I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame."

1. I believe God will give me courage to share the gospel with anyone.
2. May I have the wisdom to know when to speak and when to be silent.
3. My circumstances—home, school, work, play—provide opportunities to witness.

Pray for courage to witness.
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Study 14 | Eternity— Apostle Paul | africaatts.org/go-teach

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