Entonces Agripa dijo a Pablo: Por poco me persuades a ser cristiano
Preached in the 1700’s this sermon is SO relevant today. Mr. Whitfield’s first point, “what is meant by an almost-Christian” is more than evident when we consider here in the U.S.A. alone that In Pew Research Center telephone surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. Again as I have stated before although that number is declining if it were true 65% of 328.2 million is a 213.33 million Christians. So why is the US in such a state of chaos right now? Because we have a whole bunch of ALMOST CHRISTIANS in the pews.
The Almost Christian
by George Whitefield (1714-1770)
THE CHAPTER, OUT OF which the text is taken, contains an admirable account which the great St. Paul gave of his wonderful conversion from Judaism to Christianity, when he was called to make his defense before Festus a Gentile governor, and king Agrippa. Our blessed Lord had long since foretold, that when the Son of man should be lifted up, “his disciples should be brought before kings and rulers, for his name’s sake, for a testimony unto them.” And very good was the design of infinite wisdom in thus ordaining it; for Christianity being, from the beginning, a doctrine of the Cross, the princes and rulers of the earth thought themselves too high to be instructed by such mean teachers, or too happy to be disturbed b such unwelcome truths; and therefore would have always continued strangers to Jesus Christ, and him crucified, had not the apostles, by being arraigned before them, gained opportunities of preaching to them “Jesus and the resurrection.” St. Paul knew full well that this was the main reason, why his blessed Master permitted his enemies at this time to arraign him at a public bar; and therefore, in compliance with the divine will, thinks it not sufficient, barely to make his defense, but endeavors at the same time to convert his judges. And this he did with such demonstration of the spirit, and of power, that Festus, unwilling to be convinced by the strongest evidence, cries out with a loud voice, “Paul, much earning doth make thee mad.” To which the brave apostle (like a true follower of the holy Jesus) meekly replies, I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.” But in all probability, seeing king Agrippa more affected with his discourse, and observing in him an inclination to know the truth, he applies himself more particularly to him. “The king knoweth of these things; before whom also I speak freely; for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him.” And then, that if possible he might complete his wished-for conversion, he with an inimitable strain of oratory, addresses himself still more closely, “King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest them.” At which the passions of the king began to work so strongly, that he was obliged in open court, to own himself affected by the prisoner’s preaching, and ingenuously to cry out, “Paul, almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”
Which words, taken with the context, afford us a lively representation of the different reception, which the doctrine of Christ’s ministers, who come in the power and spirit of St. Paul, meets with now-a-days in the minds of men. For notwithstanding they, like this great apostle, “speak forth the words of truth and soberness;” and with such energy and power, that all their adversaries cannot justly gainsay or resist; yet, too many, with the noble Festus before-mentioned, being like him, either too proud to be taught, or too sensual, too careless, or too worldly-minded to live up to the doctrine, in order to excuse themselves, cry out, that “much learning, much study, or, what is more unaccountable, much piety, hath made them mad.” And though, blessed be God! All do not thus disbelieve our report; yet amongst those who gladly receive the word, and confess that we speak the words of truth and soberness, there are so few, who arrive at any higher degree of piety than that of Agrippa, or are any farther persuaded than to be almost Christians, that I cannot but think it highly necessary to warn my dear hearers of the danger of such a state. And therefore, from the words of the text, shall endeavor to show these three things:
FIRST, What is meant by an almost-Christian.
SECONDLY, What are the chief reasons, why so many are no more than almost Christians.
THIRDLY, I shall consider the ineffectualness, danger, absurdity, and uneasiness which attends those who are but almost Christians; and then conclude with a general exhortation, to set all upon striving not only be almost, but altogether Christians.
And, FIRST, I am to consider what is meant by an almost Christians.
Continued at source: The Almost Christian
GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770)
George Whitefield was one of the most original preachers in the history of the church. With a powerful and dramatic style, this Englishman has been called the greatest preacher since the Apostle Paul and the Demosthenes of the pulpit. His preaching in the US was a main cause of the Great Awakening. A master of imagination, metaphor, and drama, it is said that his delivery was like that of a great actor. He was a protégé of the Wesleys and Methodism, but moved away from their theology toward a more Calvinist position. Though he died at 56 years old, the world is still feeling the impact of his life. His sermons are available on many internet sites and all are worthy.