I Wish You Had What I Had
Acts 26:29 And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.
Intro: The Apostle Paul stood in front of King Agrippa and said in verse 29 – I wish you were me!
I wish you had what I had.
I wish you could experience what I’ve experienced.
He wasn’t referring to:
A. His Family – we believe he had no wife (I Corinthians 7:6-8)
B. His Finances – the king no doubt had much more money; Paul made tents on the side to survive.
C. His Future plans – he was a prisoner
So, what was Paul talking about when he said, “I wish you had what I had?”
Let’s look at some of them.
I. A Providential Encounter – vs. 13-19
A. A Confrontation – vs. 13
Saul encountered a bright light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun.
The very thing that kicked off this life-changing event in Saul’s life was the day God showed up.
If you’ve never had a confrontation from God, you don’t know what you are missing.
B. A Conversation – vs. 14
It was personal.
God called him by name – twice.
What a God! That He would approach a man like Saul and call him by his name.
C. A Confirmation – vs. 16
If we never went any further in Saul’s life, this is far enough.
When he looked at Agrippa and said, I wish you had what I had, he was talking about this experience!
This right here is more than most people ever have.
These three things right here changed Paul’s life.
Until you’ve had a providential encounter, you have no idea what you’re missing out on.
I’m grateful that I’ve had more than one confrontation.
I’ve had more than one conversation.
I’ve had more than one confirmation.
God is no respect are of persons. God will do it for Saul, he will do it for you. I’ve got to do it for me, he will do it for you.
I can tell you tonight along with the apostle Paul, I wish you had what I had!
II. A Preeminent Endeavor – vs. 16-20
Paul said I wish you had what I had!
I have something to live for!
I have purpose; I have been given an assignment by the God of Heaven.
You might be a king, but I am an ambassador of the King of Kings!!
Paul said, I know your job might be important, but mine is EVEN MORE IMPORTANT.
Your job King Agrippa is temporal; mine is eternal.
Your position may have been based on your natural birth, but mine was on my new birth.
You might have the backing of your kingdom, and of Rome, but I have the backing of HEAVEN!
A. The Witness of his Endeavor – vs. 16b …to make thee a minister and a witness…
He was commissioned by God to witness of things past and pending.
Make no mistake – the highest calling – the most preeminent endeavor is to tell the world of Jesus.
B. The Wonder of his Endeavor – vs. 18a To open their eyes, to turn them from darkness…and from…Satan…
The magnitude of the task was to open the eyes of people to the truth.
To turn them away from the darkness.
To turn them from the power of Satan unto God.
To help them receive forgiveness of sins.
To inform them of their inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith.
What a joy!
What an amazing opportunity!
What a preeminent endeavor!
C. The Willingness of his Endeavor – vs. 19 – …I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision…
Paul made a lot of mistake as a lost man.
As a religious zealot, he fought God and God’s work.
But the MINUTE he got saved, he obeyed God’s word.
He became obedient IMMEDIATELY after he got saved.
How many Christians have been saved for years, and still have not engaged in this PREEMINENT ENDEAVOR??
III. A Passionate Endurance – vs. 21-32
A. He Endured the Risks – vs. 21 – for these causes the Jews…went about to kill me.
I’m sick and tired of people talking about dying all the time.
Never before in the history of Christianity have Christians been afraid of dying – until last year.
It’s embarrassing. It’s disgusting. It’s shameful.
Paul was standing in front of the king, in bonds, saying I WISH YOU HAD WHAT I HAD!
It’s nearly killed me, but I wish you had it!
They tried to kill Paul many times.
Fear of dying didn’t deter him.
He had just testified to the elders at the church of Ephesus in chapter 20 of Acts:
- 22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:
- 23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.
- 24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
He faced death every day.
He was unmoved, unshaken, unafraid, and unapologetic.
B. He Endured the Ridicule – vs. 24 – With a loud voice, Paul, (everybody heard it…)
Let’s be honest – most people would have quit right here.
He wasn’t getting mocked by a bunch of losers.
He wasn’t being made fun of by a bunch of wannabes.
He was told by Felix, the governor, in front of the whole crowd that he had lost his mind.
He was being jeered and belittled by the biggest man around.
Guess what? That didn’t intimidate Paul
That didn’t cause him to re-think his position.
That didn’t make him sit down and shut up.
He kept preaching; he kept defending; he kept testifying; he kept doing what God called him to do.
C. He Endured the Rejection – vs. 28 Almost – a preacher’s worst response
If there is anything that has discouraged me more as a preacher, it is the long lists of “almosts” that I’ve seen.
The marriage I almost salvaged.
The young person that I almost convinced to live pure.
The man I almost convinced to stand up and fight.
The lady I almost influenced to be a godly mother.
The sinner I almost persuaded to get saved.
The list of “almosts” is no doubt the most discouraging and frustrating thing Paul ever dealt with.
But he didn’t stop!
He didn’t change his message.
He didn’t adjust his method.
He didn’t reverse his mentality.
He didn’t alter his mindset.
He doubled down.
When Agrippa said ALMOST – Paul said, Would to God that you had what I had!
I wish you could see what I see.
I wish you could’ve heard what I’ve heard.
I wish you could’ve lived the life I’ve lived.
D. He Endured the Restraints – vs. 29 the bonds didn’t bind his mind; his heart; his mouth
Paul mentioned his bonds no less than 14 times in his writings.
He didn’t like being in bonds, but he never stopped because of them.
He told Agrippa – I wish you had what I had, except for these bonds.
He didn’t wish the restraints of the bonds on his worse enemy.
He hated the limitations of his bonds.
He wanted to do so much more.
However, he had a testimony that he was “set for the defense of the gospel.”
- 12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;
- 13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;
- 14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
- 15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
- 16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:
- 17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.