Apostolic Ministry
Acts 26:16-18
But rise, and stand on your feet: for I have appeared to you for this purpose…

I. ITS THEME. What had he to testify?

1. All that he had seen of Christ. He had seen and heard great things amidst the bright light which struck him to the ground.

2. All that he should see of Christ. He would receive many more communications. A true minister will be always receiving fresh communications of truth, and he must proclaim the new as well as the old.

II. ITS BENEFICENCE. He had to effect —

1. The highest good.

(1) Spiritual illumination: "Open their eyes." An expression this implying —

(a)  The moral blindness of the sinner.

(b)  The restorative character of Christianity — it does not give new eyes, but opens the old ones.

(c)  The genuineness of Christ as a reformer — the design of impostors is to close eyes.

(2) Soul emancipation: "From the power of Satan unto God." Satan enslaves men by lust, worldliness, prejudice, superstition, etc. The minister's work is to manumit the slave.

(3) Divine forgiveness: "That they may receive forgiveness of sins." This act is represented in the Bible as cancelling, forgetting, drowning sin; separating the sinner from his sin.

(4) Eternal blessedness: "Inheritance amongst them which are sanctified," etc.

(a)  Legitimate possession — having a kind of right to it.

(b)  Social intercourse "among them," not a scene of isolation.

(c)  Moral purity "sanctified." The Christian circle is holy.

2. The highest good by a simple method. By no onerous labour or costly sacrifices, but by "faith that is in Me"; not in priests, not in human creeds, not in the opinions of men about Me. Faith in Christ is not a mere thing of the intellect; it involves the deepest sympathies of the heart. Nor is it even a thing of thought and feeling combined; it takes the form of living acts; it moulds the life.

(1) Faith is in itself one of the easiest acts a man can perform. A child can believe; the propensity to believe is one of the strongest in human nature. Credulity has ruined the world.

(2) Faith in itself is one of the most influential acts. What a man really believes sways his thoughts, controls his passions, and regulates his life.

III. ITS FULFILMENT. "I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision." He discharged this commission.

1. Self-denyingly.

2. Continuously. He began when he was converted, and went on. This is the true order. Begin with those nearest at hand.

3. Reformatively. His grand aim was spiritually to reform men, which includes two things —

(1) A renewed mind. "Repent" — a thorough change — and turn.

(2) A renewed life. "Works meet for repentance": the conduct answering the new state of the soul.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;

WEB: But arise, and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose: to appoint you a servant and a witness both of the things which you have seen, and of the things which I will reveal to you;

The Conversion of Saul of Tarsus
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