“‘King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.’ Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You almost persuade me to become a Christian.’ And Paul said, ‘I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.’” Acts 26:27ff

The excuses given for not accepting Christ are legion. When someone tells you they just do not understand, you know you have to work a little harder to make the salvation story plain. But when someone tells you they do understand but that it is just too simple, what do you do then?

Witnessing is an awe-inspiring privilege but it is also a fruitless work unless the Holy Spirit gives ears to the sinner and opens his heart. We are totally at the mercy of God to do the saving. Our part in the partnership is to give voice to the Word of God in pursuit of souls to grow His body, the church. It is a glorious privilege to see the light of salvation in the eye of a new convert.

To that end, you should make a plan for witnessing. You may follow a system of some kind. Perhaps you have written out yourtestimony of how God saved you and coupled the events with verses which explain what God was doing in order to help a person grasp saving grace. Perhaps you have studied on the many plans for outreach that are taught in churches. Perhaps you have found a favorite tract that is just the ticket to formally illustrate what God did when He gloriously saved you. Maybe you have a favorite passage you like to turn to like John 3:1–18 or Ephesians 2:1–10, and simply share the principles of grace in God’s dealing with sin. Or, perhaps you enjoy following the “Romans Road.” Whatever you do, have a plan for the occasions that present themselves to be a witness for Christ.

In Acts 26 Paul has been giving his testimony in a very difficult circumstance. He was standing before King Agrippa and before the Roman Governor Festus and defending himself and his faith. King Agrippa was schooled in the Hebrew Scriptures and customs and so Paul’s defense is such that he explains Christ’s messiahship out of the Law and the Prophets.

As he brings his testimony to a conclusion, he challenges the King to affirm his belief in what the prophets had foretold as fulfilled in Jesus. The King knew that to acquiesce—and in so doing express belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ—would be to put himself at odds with the Jewish religious establishment and make him seem strange to his Roman friends. He also knew that to deny the prophets’ words would set him at odds with the Jews in general. Therefore, he dodged the question.

King Agrippa basically said, “You somewhat persuade me to play the part of a Christian.” It is almost as if the king looked at his watch and said, “Oh my, look at the time, we have to come back to this another day.” There is no movement of Holy Spirit engendered faith in Agrippa, instead there is a deflection, claiming brevity of time to allow Paul’s words to sink in. Paul’s closing words display his great heart of compassion for all the lost in his audience. He did not want anyone to be “almost” but “altogether” a Christian.

Even Paul, specially gifted by God as an evangelist/missionary, ran into excuses to refrain from trusting Christ. We should not be surprised when we hear similar excuses. Let us look at a few verses that God gives us to share, in order to give the Holy Spirit more tools to prompt the unsaved heart.

King Agrippa was essentially saying, “I do not need a Savior.” This excuse betrays the fact that the hearer does not believe his personal spiritual jeopardy. Jonathan Edwards’ great message “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” is a dramatic illustration of souls in danger of the fires of Hell. Here are several verses which may be of use in awakening a sinner to the judgment of God hanging over hm.i

Romans 3:23 tells us “all have sinned.” Psalm 130:3 asks “If Thou…should mark iniquities” who shall stand? John 3:18 tells us that the unsaved are “condemned already.” Later in verse 36, Jesus teaches that “the wrath of God abides on him.” It is not just physical death that is stalking the sinner, but Romans 6:23 explains “the wages of sin is death.” Not just any death but a death of punishment as 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff says: “Punished with everlasting destruction.” Revelation 21:8 calls it “the second death.” This is why Galatians 3:10 says the unsaved are “under the curse.” Without a Savior you are doomed to “die in your sins,” as John 8:24 teaches. Your soul is lost.

There is only one hope for the lost. John 3:3 declares: “Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Plainly speaking, no man can make himself born again; new birth is a God-sized task. Every man surely does need a Savior if he has any hope of being saved. By the same token he does not want a Savior until he feels the panic of his lostness without Christ. Tuck these verses away for the day you hear the excuse “I do not need a Savior.” Thank God He opened your eyes and you saw your need of a Savior! Trust and obey.