Acts 26 Lesson

A Purpose-driven Life

LIVING WITH PURPOSE

The average life expectancy in the world today is just over 72 years of age.   This equates to 26,000 days or 624,000 hours that the average person will live.   Approximately one-third of those hours will be spent sleeping.   That leaves roughly 418,000 waking hours in the average lifespan of a person. As humans, we have long been asking ourselves two questions:

  1. “Why am I here?”
  2. “What am I supposed to be doing with my time on earth?”  

THE BIBLE DEFINES OUR PURPOSE

One can spend a lifetime thinking about these questions.   However, as Christians, we do not need to waste our time wondering what the answers are to these questions. The answers are found in the Bible.     

PAUL’S PURPOSE IS DEFINED ON THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS

The Apostle Paul found out what his purpose was on the road to Damascus.   He retells the story in Acts 26.   For our study today, we will divide Paul’s life into two categories:

  1. His life before the road to Damascus,
  2. His life after the road to Damascus.  

Before Jesus spoke to Paul on the road to Damascus, Paul had this to say about what he thought was important:

  • “So then, I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being put to death I cast my vote against them. And as I punished them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and being furiously enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to foreign cities.” – Acts 26:9-11.

However, everything changed for Paul on the road to Damascus.   Jesus came to Paul and communicated to him what he was to do.   Luke writes of this life-changing encounter in Acts 9:

  • As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.” – Acts 9:3-6.

PAUL LISTENED TO JESUS AND SO SHOULD WE!

Paul went on to become one of the most important people in the history of the world.   He listened to Jesus and followed His commands.   That is exactly what we are to do!

We may not hear spoken words directly from Jesus as Paul did, but we will hear from Jesus if we choose to listen and study our Bibles.   The Bible is the same today as it was yesterday, and as it will be tomorrow. It is the only source for determining right from wrong that is inspired by God, and as Christians, it is our moral compass, our true north.    

The Hebrew writer said:

  • “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12.

CONCLUSION

When we read God’s Word and look for purpose and instruction, God will speak to us, just as He did to Paul.   God has a plan for each of us, it is up to us to follow it. The Prophet Jeremiah wrote:

  • “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11.

There are many scriptures that talk about our purpose in life. Two of the most famous are listed below:

  1. “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.” – Ecclesiastes 12:13,  
  2. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.   Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Mathew 28:18-20.

As Christians, we can wake up every morning with a sense of purpose, knowing what God wants us to do with our lives.   Every day, every minute, every year.   As Christians, our purpose is to fear God, keep His commandments, love our neighbor, and share the Gospel.

And while the Bible tells us WHAT to do, it is up to us to determine HOW we do it.   With God’s help and the help of the Holy Spirit, we can all live meaningful and purposeful lives.  

We will end today’s lesson with the following scripture:

  • “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. ” - 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

Comments

Michael

Why do I have the hope that I do?

Because of what I have read (in the Bible), and what I have seen.

God is real. I believe in God and His Son Jesus.

I was baptized into Christ for the remission of my sins.

I believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

And because of this, and by God's grace, I have hope that I am saved and will be in eternity with God and Jesus and my brothers and sisters.

Reply
John

Because somebody took the time to share the Gospel with me. I tested what I was reading, and found it to be the inspired word of God. That gives me hope to someday be with God and Jesus in heaven.

Reply
Pat Dermody
John

As you quoted from Matthew 28 in your comments on today’s reading,God is with us until “the end of age”. So even in dark times we must quietly remind ourselves that God is with us and Romans8:31 If God is for us, who can be against us?

Reply