May 02, 2022 – Monday
Acts 26:20 NIV
20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.
Once again this is Paul speaking, this time in Caesarea while in jail or detention waiting to appear before Caesar. He is speaking to Festus the governor and King Agrippa II along with his sister Bernice. Paul presented a defense of his actions from verse 2 to verse 23.
Verse 20, our verse of the day, First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. The underlined was the shortest summary of Paul’s message that he preached. Notice the clarity, first repent in turning to God, then second their deeds would demonstrate their repentance. No works could earn God’s forgiveness and salvation, only repentance and believing on Jesus and what He did on the cross and then rising on the third day showing He had defeated death. However, while works could not and would not earn forgiveness and salvation, works were expected afterwards.
John the Baptist knew this well and when, Matthew 3:7-8 NET, 7 he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You offspring of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Therefore produce fruit that proves your repentance. John knew they would not repent and thus would not be able to produce fruit proving their repentance. They were too proud to repent, even in prayer. As Pastor Luke Stephens preached last Sunday at Calvary Chapel of Dayton on Luke 18:9-14, in Jesus’ parable the Pharisee prayed, 12 God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get. At the same time a 13 tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ Clearly one was repenting, and the other was not. Jesus had something very telling say about the two, 14 I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Repenting is humbling yourself, humbling yourself before God, throwing yourself on His mercy knowing you cannot earn His forgiveness or your salvation. That all comes together in believing in God’s awesome love expressed through His Son on the cross paying the ransom for my, your, and everyone’s sins. So repenting and believing leads to salvation with deeds following to show the results of our faith. Paul wrote in Galatians 5:6b, The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Let our deeds be an expression of our faith expressed in love.
Bottom Line: Repent and believe, then in faith let your deeds be expressed through love. Be not self-righteous in your salvation, but humble knowing you did not earn it, could not earn it. Share with others out of love so they might also receive God’s incredible mercy.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, All of my works, all of my efforts before You granted me salvation were as dirty rags. Only afterwards could my works and efforts count for anything. Thank You for Your amazing mercy – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton
Short Note: We have come to the last instance of repent/repentance in the book of Acts, it had more than any other book in the Bible.