Almost Being Saved Is Not Good Enough
"Almost Being Saved Is Not Good Enough"
Acts 26:24-32 (ESV) Says:
24 And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.” 25 But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words. 26 For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” 28 And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” 29 And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.”
30 Then the king rose, and the governor and Bernice and those who were sitting with them. 31 And when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, “This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.” 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”
The Apostle Paul was persuaded by a heavenly vision. It was a vision that converted his life. It was a vision that changed him from a persecutor and murderer of the Christians to a minister of the gospel. Before his conversion and born again experience he persecuted the church and everyone who he came into contact with who stood up for Christianity.
His cruelty toward the Christians was known throughout the land. People would tremble at the sound of the name Saul of Tarsus. Saul religiously persecuted and burned to the stake, professing Christians. He burned out the eyes of others in an effort to make them denounce Christ and all that he stood for.
But one day Paul met the Captain of Salvation while he was on his way to Damascus with the authority and commission from the chief priest to suppress Christianity by persecuting the Christians.
As he traveled down the Damascus Road he met a Persuading Force that he could not ignore or reject. It was a force that brought about a change in his whole life, for He saw a heavenly vision that could not be mistaken as a mirage.
He saw a great light, a light from heaven, such as could not have been produced by a vision, for it was not night, but it was midday. It was not in a house where trickery might have been played with him, but it was on the Damascus Road, in the open air. The light was such a bright light that it out shined the noon day sun.
This new heavenly vision was not produced by Paul’s imagination, for it shined all around and about the others that traveled with him. The force and power of the light was so great that it caused them all to fall from their horses onto the ground. I can imagine that they wondered, “What great and strange act is this that shines before us brighter than the noon day sun?”
In the Old Testament times God spoke and manifested himself in the thick darkness and made His pavilion there. He spoke to Abraham in the great darkness, for there was a special consideration of darkness. But now that life and immortality has been brought to the light by the Gospel, Christ appeared in a great light.
Christ is the light of the world, but those who traveled with Paul saw the light only, they did not see Christ in the light. Paul not only saw the light, but he heard a heavenly voice coming from the light, speaking to him in the Hebrew tongue, the native language of his religion. Yes, the voice called him by his name twice saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Paul asked who the voice belonged to and Jesus responded by saying, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.
The Lord told Paul to stand on his feet, for He appeared to Paul in this Heavenly vision for one purpose, to make him a minister of the Gospel. The Lord told Paul to preach the Gospel and witness to both the Jews and the Gentiles that their eyes might be opened and that they might turn from the darkness unto the light.
He told Paul to preach to them that they may turn from the power of Satan unto the power of God, that they may receive forgiveness of sin. He spoke these very same Words of deliverance to King Agrippa.
He told the King that he had to obey the Heavenly vision. He preached the suffering, the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He spoke of how Jesus suffered and how He was the first to rise from the dead and how He would shine as a great light among both the Jews and the Gentiles.
Paul magnified Jesus so much that the Governor Festus, said, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.” But Paul was not crazy nor insane, he only spoke the truth with soberness. The words that he spoke to the King moved and inspired Him, but he was only “Almost” Persuaded to Become a Christian.
So I ask you today…
1. WHAT IS THE VALUE OF BEING “ALMOST” PERSUADED TO BE SOMETHING?
This is a question that must be asked, because I think you need to know, there is no value in almost doing anything! Almost will not give you any security what so ever.
Being almost a Christian is like being nothing at all. My God did not make anything half way. He did not make a half creation, a half man or half woman and He will not make a half Christian
You are either altogether a Christian or not a Christian at all. When God blesses, He blesses altogether, not half way. When God loves, He loves altogether, not just half way. When God calls us out of darkness, He calls us all the way, not just half way.
· God could call us all today and show us all a Heavenly vision as he did with Saul.
· He could show us what we should believe and he could also show us what we should do on His program.
· God could speak to us by dreams and visions, as He did with Abraham and Isaac.
· God could speak to us by a voice, as He did with Samuel.
· God could send a special messenger to us, as He did with David and Hezekiah.
· God could direct an angel to convey a message, as He did with Daniel, Zacharias, and the Virgin Mary.
· God could have called us to His service by an internal voice, as He did with Jeremiah and Ezekiel.
· Yes, God could have spoken to us in his glory, as He did with Isaiah, Saul, and John.
But there are reasons why God does not use these methods usually to speak to mankind. You see we cannot rely on dreams and vision, to guide us as they did in the days of old. However, God has given us a method to follow where we can know His perfect will.
And the method is obeying His Holy Word. You see if we follow His Word and let His Word be high in our hearts as King David did, we can be persuaded altogether to be a Christian. For in His Word we will find the Truth, the Way, and the Life.
2. THERE IS NO VALUE IN BEING ALMOST PERSUADED.
Let’s look at some of the people in Biblical history who were almost persuaded, but lost out on the blessings of God, because they were not altogether persuaded.
· Many men and women were moved by Noah’s faithful appeal to build an ark, but many half finished arks were washed away by the rising waters of the flood, because they almost believed that a great flood was coming.
· Lot’s wife escaped the fire and brimstone as it destroyed the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, but because she was only almost persuaded to not look back upon its ruins and destruction, she looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt.
· Pharaoh, was almost persuaded by Moses to free the Children of Israel from bondage, but he and the Egyptian Army pursued them and was drowned in the Red Sea
· King Herod almost let John the Baptist go free, but he had him beheaded.
· Judas, who betrayed Christ, almost changed his minded, but instead he betrayed Him for 30 pieces of silver.
· Pilate confessed that Jesus was innocent and he almost set Him free, but instead he turned Him over to the angry mob to be crucified.
· The five foolish virgins were almost persuaded to keep their lamps trimmed and burning bright, but they let them go out.
Yes, these are but a few of the army of the “Almost Persuaded.” My brothers and sisters, I need to tell you that being Almost Persuaded is the same thing as being lost.
So let me ask another question…
3. WHY DO PEOPLE HEAR THE WORD OF GOD PREACHED AND ARE ONLY ALMOST PERSUADED?
Is it because the preachers have failed to do their job? No, the preachers are not at fault, because God’s WORD never goes out and comes back in void.
Well, where then does the fault lie? Just look with me for a moment at King Agrippa. On his right hand side there was an excellent reason why he was not persuaded to become a Christian. For on his right hand side there sat Bernice a woman of the world.
The reason why sinners are not persuaded is, because in 99 cases out of 100, they are caught up in the LUST OF THEIR EYE, LUST OF THEIR FLESH, AND THE PRIDES OF LIFE!
Don’t hear me wrong, it was not because Bernice was a woman who sat on King Agrippa’s right hand, but Bernice was beyond a doubt a shameless and sinful woman. King Agrippa’s relationship with Bernice was proven beyond all doubt to be the reason he rejected Paul’s message to become a Christian.
I need to tell you that Evil Company is one of Satan’s greatest snares and nets in which he holds sinners like birds in a cage until he’s ready to destroy them.
4. WHAT ARE THE EVILS AND DANGERS THAT WILL FOLLOW BEING ALMOST PERSUADED?
A drowning man was almost persuaded to trust his life in a rescue life boat, but instead he stayed on board the leaky, sinking ship and perished.
A sick man was almost persuaded to use the medicine he had heard about that could cure him of his sickness, but instead he refused, and therefore his disease grew worse and he died.
My Brothers and Sisters…
· You cannot receive a blessing by Being Almost Persuaded to have it.
· Your hunger cannot be appeased by Almost Eating. Nor, can your thirst be quenched by Almost Drinking.
· You cannot be blessed by Almost Loving your enemies, you have to Love them Altogether.
· You cannot be blessed by Almost Forgiving someone who did you wrong, you have to Forgive them Altogether.
· You cannot be blessed for Almost Giving your tithes, you have to Tithe Altogether.
· You cannot make it to Heaven by Almost Being Born Again, you have to be Altogether Born Again.
· You cannot be Almost Sanctified, you must be Altogether Sanctified.
· You cannot be Almost Holy, you have to be Altogether Holy.
· You cannot be Almost Redeemed, you have to be Altogether Redeemed.
· You cannot be Almost Saved, you have to be Altogether saved.
· When the Old Ship of Zion pulls away from the muddy banks of the Jordan, you cannot be Almost on Board the ship.
· If you want to make Heaven your home, you have to be Altogether on Board the Old Ship of Zion.
· You cannot be Almost Ready For Heaven you have to be Altogether Ready For Heaven if you want to get there.
Jesus said that He would come back after a clean Church, not a half clean Church, but a Church without spot, blemish, or wrinkle.
In the third chapter of the Book of Revelations Jesus commanded the Church at Laodicea to be either hot or cold, because he hates luke-warmness and anything that is Almost Hot or Almost Cold He would spit out of His mouth.
Are you Altogether Persuaded to serve God with all you heart and soul today? If you’re not saved and have only Almost come to Jesus, then come to Jesus Altogether Today. Seek Him while he can be found.