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  • May 12 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Paul’s Defense before King Agrippa (Acts 26:1-32)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Paul’s Defense before King Agrippa (Acts 26:1-32)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Acts 26:1-32 (Pastor Heo)

1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: 2 “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.

4 “The Jews all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that according to the strictest sect of our religion, I lived as a Pharisee. 6 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our fathers that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. O king, it is because of this hope that the Jews are accusing me. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?

9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them.

12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’

16 ” ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen– 23 that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”

24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”

25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”

28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

29 Paul replied, “Short time or long–I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

30 The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. 31 They left the room, and while talking with one another, they said, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.”

32 Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”


Felix kept Paul in prison for 2 years – not because Paul was guilty, but because he wanted bribes from Paul and favor from the Jewish people. He was not courageous to release him.

Festus, the next governor, also did not release him – as a favor to the Jews.

  • He said, “Do you want to stand trial before me in Jerusalem?”
  • Paul, “No, I’ve done nothing wrong. I appeal to Caesar!”

He decided to send Paul to Rome, but needed an “official” reason and documentation to send him.

At this moment, King Agrippa and Bernice (his sister) visited. He was great grandson of Herod who was afraid of baby Jesus a long time ago. Festus explained the situation and Agrippa expressed interest in hearing Paul. So, once again, Paul stood on trial.

Paul’s defense before King Agrippa

In this chapter, this is the longest of Paul’s speeches found in the book of Acts. He had to stop his speech because governor Festus stopped him. If Festus had not interrupted him, he may have gone on speaking more.

This chp is much more than a defense of himself and a review of his own personal religious experience. It is a statement of the Christian experience, and it explains his experience of conversion on the way to Damascus. (repeated also in chp 9, 22, 26 – here).

Paul received permission to speak for himself, but he spoke for Christ. v 2-23 = Paul’s defense. v. 24 = Festus’ interruption

5 Part Summary

of Paul’s defense

  1. v. 2-3 = Introductory remarks
  2. v. 4-11 = His early life (who / what he was before Christ)
  3. v. 12-18 = His conversion and call by Christ (main body)
  4. v. 19-21 = His confession of obedience to the vision and ministry
  5. v. 22-23 = Key message of the gospel (Jesus’ death and resurrection)

When Paul preached the key message of the gospel, Festus hindered him from going on.

1. Introductory remarks

v. 2-3

“2 “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.”

He hinted that his speech would be long and that he would appreciate patience.

2. His early life

(I also used to be anti-Christian.)

v. 4-11

“4 “The Jews all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that according to the strictest sect of our religion, I lived as a Pharisee. 6 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our fathers that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. O king, it is because of this hope that the Jews are accusing me. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?

9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them.”

3. His conversion & call

“I saw a light (from heaven)! I heard a voice (from heaven). Christ called me and spoke to me from heaven.”

v. 12-18

“12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’

16 ” ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ “

Once Paul considered himself an “enlightened” man. He was a Jew, Pharisee, doctor, scholar – with great enthusiasm for God. He thought he was in the light when he was totally in darkness. But he saw the light on the road to Damascus. What / who is this light? Jesus

  • Jesus: “I am the Light of the World…”
  • Also, the Bible says “God is light; in him there is no darkness.”
  • (Eph 5:8) “Once you were in darkness, now you are in the light of the Lord, so live in the light.”
  • Genesis 1 “In the beginning, there was God… and God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light. He saw that it was good. And he separated the Light from the darkness.”
    • This light that God created first was not the sun and stars (he created that on the 4th day). This Light was Life – the energy of life – all coming from God, from Jesus Christ.
  • John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God and the Word was with God… all things were made by him and through him… In him was Light, the light of Man. The light has shined in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”

All kinds of light comes from God.

Paul saw the light, and heard a voice, “Paul!” (he heard his own name)

Paul was shocked.

  • He thought Jesus was dead! – but here he was alive!
  • He also knew Paul BY NAME

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever – and he knows your name and he is calling you (by name).

Jesus called Paul, then sent him again. (v. 17 “…I am sending you…”)

We must know that Jesus’ calling and sending go hand-in-hand.

  • Jesus calls us from this world toward SALVATION.
  • But at the same time, he is sending us for SERVICE.

Outside Christ, people are in darkness.

2 Cor 4:4 “Our enemy Satan has blinded the mind of unbelievers so that they cannot see the Light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.”

Jesus sends us to help them, to open their eyes.

1 Peter 2:9 “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation belonging to God – so that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness and into his wonderful light.”

The same Jesus who says, “I am the light of the world” also says to us, “YOU are the light of the world.” What does this mean? Are we the same as Jesus?

No, we are the reflection of the real light in this world. Outsiders can find real light through us because we are the reflection of real light.

  • “I’m the light of the world.”
  • “I’m a reflection of the REAL light.”
  • “A city on a hill, a lamp on a stand… gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men so that they may glorify God in heaven.”
v. 17-18 The Perfect Summary of what God has done for us

“17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ “

This is a perfect summary of what Jesus has done for you. If you believe, it will be yours, if you don’t believe, it will not. Jesus says, “It will be done to you as you believe.”

What Christ does for us

  1. He opens our eyes to things we’ve never seen before
  2. He turns us from darkness to Light (He himself is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life”)
  3. Transforms us from the power of Satan to the power of God
  4. Gives us forgiveness of sins
  5. Sanctifies us

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new Creation; the old has gone, the New has come.”

4. His confession to obedience of Christ’s calling

v. 19-21

“19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me.”

I call Jesus my Lord.

Do you call him your Lord?

How can you prove it?

By obedience.

God does not make us obey him (like robots) – but he wants us to obey him willingly, joyfully, thankfully. God is a person, we are persons – so God wants a personal relationship. God created us as people with personalities – he also has a personality – so he wants a personal, intimate relationship. God bless us all to prove his lordship over our lives through obedience.

5. Key message of the gospel

This is the highlight of the defense

v. 22-23

“22 But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen– 23 that the Christ would suffer [die] and, as the first to rise from the dead [resurrect], would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” “

He introduced Jesus as the first person to rise from the dead. But actually, Jesus was NOT the first person to rise from the dead. There were at least 5 more before him.

  1. OT – Elijah – one boy
  2. OT – Elisha – one boy
  3. Paul raised one
  4. Jesus raised a boy (Lazarus)
  5. and girl (Tabitha)

But all of them died again. Yet, Jesus STILL lives. He exists still in the same body. And some day he will come again – in the same body. Believe this now to enjoy abundant, eternal, heavenly life in Christ. If you wait, it may be too late.

At this point, the governor STOPPED Paul.

Shall I stop? Soon. But let us finish.

v. 24-25

“24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”

25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable.”

Yes, Jesus was once called insane. People pointed at him and said, “He is out of his mind and demon-possessed.”

What is the purpose of Jesus in this world? To destroy the works of the devil. Yet, they called him “demon-possessed.”

We are followers of Christ.

Have you ever been called “crazy” because of Jesus? “Jesus freak.”

What is your answer?

Don’t ask me, I’m asking you.

Today, it’s the same. Think about it honestly. Which is more important? Football or salvation? Climbing mountain or salvation? Your name in lights or in the Book of Life? Temporary physical pleasure or eternal joy? Temporary reputation and popularity or glory, reward crown from God in eternity?

Be honest in giving answers to these simple, basic questions.

IF you risk your life for football, or mountains, or pop songs, this world will respect you and honor you and call you, “hero” and “icon.”

But if you risk your life for Jesus, this world will call you “crazy.”

If this is true, I want to be called “crazy” in this world. I want to challenge you with this.

v. 26-32

“26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”

28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

29 Paul replied, “Short time or long–I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

30 The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. 31 They left the room, and while talking with one another, they said, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.”

32 Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.” “

At this last part, Paul became the judge, and the King became the defendant. He witnessed about the difference Jesus makes in someone’s life. Can you witness even in court like this? Yes, with Christ, you can.

Rather than complain about your present circumstances, look for ways to use EVERY circumstance to share God with others.

Unfortunately, all of them rejected the message of the gospel – Felix, Festus, Agrippa. “No thank you.” They all had excuses.

  • Felix: “I’m too busy.”
  • Festus: “I’m too smart.”
  • Agrippa: “I’m too important.”

Today, these excuses (and many more) are still common. What excuses do you use to avoid Jesus’ word, ministry, mission, evangelism?

On THAT day, when we stand before God face-to-face, you are without excuse.

Please, say to God, “Forgive me” but never say, “Excuse me.”

On THAT day, you have no excuse.

What a wonderful thing is the opportunity to trust Christ and be saved. But what a terrible thing is missing that opportunity and not getting another.

God bless you.

Let’s pray.

  • May 05 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Waiting is a Test of Patience and Faith (Acts 25:1-22)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Waiting is a Test of Patience and Faith (Acts 25:1-22)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Acts 25:1-22 (Pastor Heo)

The Trial Before Festus

1 Three days after arriving in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, 2 where the chief priests and Jewish leaders appeared before him and presented the charges against Paul. 3 They urgently requested Festus, as a favor to them, to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem, for they were preparing an ambush to kill him along the way. 4 Festus answered, “Paul is being held at Caesarea, and I myself am going there soon. 5 Let some of your leaders come with me and press charges against the man there, if he has done anything wrong.”

6 After spending eight or ten days with them, he went down to Caesarea, and the next day he convened the court and ordered that Paul be brought before him. 7 When Paul appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove.

8 Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.”

9 Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?”

10 Paul answered: “I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. 11 If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!”

12 After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!”

Festus Consults King Agrippa

13 A few days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus. 14 Since they were spending many days there, Festus discussed Paul’s case with the king. He said: “There is a man here whom Felix left as a prisoner. 15 When I went to Jerusalem, the chief priests and elders of the Jews brought charges against him and asked that he be condemned.

16 “I told them that it is not the Roman custom to hand over any man before he has faced his accusers and has had an opportunity to defend himself against their charges. 17 When they came here with me, I did not delay the case, but convened the court the next day and ordered the man to be brought in. 18 When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. 19 Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive. 20 I was at a loss how to investigate such matters; so I asked if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial there on these charges. 21 When Paul made his appeal to be held over for the Emperor’s decision, I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar.”

22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear this man myself.” He replied, “Tomorrow you will hear him.”


Paul has been in prison for 2 years. He had returned to Jerusalem after his 3rd missionary journey, but the leaders had arrested him. Even 40 Jewish men took an oath to not eat or drink anything until they’d killed him. So, the commander of the Roman army there sent him away to Governor Felix (about 60 miles away). Felix knew that he was innocent after hearing the case, but to receive bribes from Paul and favor from the Jews, he kept Paul in prison for 2 years. This is after that story – now the new governor Festus has become governor.

There are 2 sections today:

  1. v. 1-12 Conciliation between Festus the new governor and the Jewish leaders
  2. v. 13-22 Consultation between Festus and King Agrippa

Part 1

v. 1-12

“1 Three days after arriving in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, 2 where the chief priests and Jewish leaders appeared before him and presented the charges against Paul. 3 They urgently requested Festus, as a favor to them, to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem, for they were preparing an ambush to kill him along the way. 4 Festus answered, “Paul is being held at Caesarea, and I myself am going there soon. 5 Let some of your leaders come with me and press charges against the man there, if he has done anything wrong.”

6 After spending eight or ten days with them, he went down to Caesarea, and the next day he convened the court and ordered that Paul be brought before him. 7 When Paul appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove.

8 Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.”

9 Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?”

10 Paul answered: “I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. 11 If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!”

12 After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!” “

Only three days after his new appointment as Governor, Festus visited Jerusalem to find favor with the Jewish leaders – and the Jewish leaders (2 years later) were still the same in their hatred of Paul and moral abasement.

Once again, the Jewish people had formed a plot to kill Paul in ambush on the way. They asked the new governor to send Paul again to Jerusalem so they might kill Paul on the way. In secular history, this governor was governor from AD 58-62 after Felix.

Paul was a Jew whose countrymen wanted to kill him.

At the same time, a Roman whose government didn’t know what to do with him.

If the new governor were to release him, the Jews would hate him. But if he kept him in prison, he would have to explain why a Roman citizen was being held in prison without charge.

In this situation, the Jewish leaders urged Festus to send Paul to them again (so they could kill him). He urged them to come to Caesarea to reopen their charges against him. 8-10 days later, he left and they followed to do as he said.

Festus opened the court, the Jews accused him, Paul defended himself. But there was nothing new – nothing different from 2 years ago. But the governor Festus didn’t want to be against the Jewish people, so he asked Paul – “Do you want to go to Jerusalem?”

Paul: “No! I appeal to Caesar!”

This was the key answer to solve ALL the problems at once. He appealed to the emperor. At that time, every Roman citizen had the right to appeal to Caesar. This did not mean that Caesar himself would hear the case, but the Supreme Court would. Who was the emperor at that time? Nero. (AD 60) He had not yet started the persecution of Christians. But when he appealed to Caesar, Festus had no choice but to send Paul to Rome.

What made Paul make this wise decision?

  1. He knew his final destination (Rome)
  2. He knew the fastest way to go was to appeal to Caesar
  3. He knew the Jews would never give up their hope of killing him

v. 12

“After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!” “

Paul knew that because the Jews still wanted to kill him, it was wise to stay under the protection of Rome (they would have to guard him). But even though he appealed to Rome, Festus’ problems were not over.

Part 2

v. 13-22

“13 A few days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus. 14 Since they were spending many days there, Festus discussed Paul’s case with the king. He said: “There is a man here whom Felix left as a prisoner. 15 When I went to Jerusalem, the chief priests and elders of the Jews brought charges against him and asked that he be condemned.

16 “I told them that it is not the Roman custom to hand over any man before he has faced his accusers and has had an opportunity to defend himself against their charges. 17 When they came here with me, I did not delay the case, but convened the court the next day and ordered the man to be brought in. 18 When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. 19 Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive. 20 I was at a loss how to investigate such matters; so I asked if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial there on these charges. 21 When Paul made his appeal to be held over for the Emperor’s decision, I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar.”

22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear this man myself.” He replied, “Tomorrow you will hear him.” “

Next Sunday, we will also hear him – what Paul said to Agrippa.

Festus’ problems were not over. He hadn’t hurt the Jews, but he also hadn’t formally charged Paul. He couldn’t send Paul to Rome without documentation. This was the official course of action.

Then, King Agrippa visited him to say, “Congratulations on your new position.”

Who is this Agrippa?

  • Herod Agrippa II.
  • Son of Herod Agrippa I who killed the apostle James and imprisoned Peter.
  • He was the grand nephew of Herod who killed John the Baptist.
  • He was great grandson of Herod the Great who killed all the boys 2 years and under in Bethlehem just to kill Jesus.
  • This is the last of Herod’s dynasty that ruled Palestine from 40BC – 100AD.

Just like a father to son, Agrippa received a flawed personality passed down from his father. Each son received mistakes and missed opportunities from his father. Each generation had a direct or indirect connection with Jesus but missed the opportunity. This is in the line of Esau (half-Jews). They were eager to please the Roman government who appointed them as the kings of the Jews.

From this story we can get many lessons.

From the family of Herod:

They had a great opportunity – a long history of encountering Christ – but each time they rejected forgiveness and eternal life.

One of the most sobering lessons form this family is: Families tend to pass on both positive and negative traits to the next generation.

Today’s is Children’s Day. My question: What kind of spiritual example are you setting? What will be your legacy you leave to the next generation?

Second, Paul is still in prison, but his main purpose was not his own defense but being a witness of Jesus.

v. 19

“Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive.”

Paul was defending much more than religion in general. He was defending and declaring the resurrection of Christ. We also are witnesses of Christ’s resurrection.

We know there are famous graves in this world.

  • The Pyramids (mummified bodies of Egyptian kings)
  • Westminster in UK (bodies of nobles)
  • Wellington Nat. Cemetery in Washington DC (bodies of dead soldiers)
  • Mohammed’s Tomb (beautiful decorations)
  • Jesus’ Tomb is also very famous – because it is EMPTY – there is no landmark

Jesus’ resurrection is the basis and foundation that all that is necessary for our lives and ministries is available to us – and also a guarantee that our bodies will also be resurrected very soon.

  • Romans 11 “If the one who raised Christ is living in you, he will also give life to your bodies…”
  • Jesus “If anyone believes in me, he will have eternal life and I will raise him up at the Last Day.”
  • Jesus “I am the Resurrection and the Life, whoever believes in me will live though he dies.”

If we are children of God, we also are not only defenders of ourselves, but of Christ’s resurrection. Yet, we will not escape false accusations – because Satan is “the god of this age.”

v. 7

“When Paul appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove. “

Paul, simply because he was a witness of Jesus’ resurrection, was surrounded by false witnesses and accusations. He had to listen to these false accusations for more than 2 years.

Have you ever been accused, condemned, criticized wrongly for doing nothing wrong? Remember, if we are really born-again Christians, we are not free from false accusations. “Satan” means “Accuser” – The Bible says, when we suffer false accusations and criticisms, the first thing we must do is consider Christ.

Heb 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes upon Christ, the author and perfector of our faith… he endured the cross…”

1 Peter 2:19 “It is commendable if a man bears the pain of unjust sufferings because he remembers Christ. What credit is it to you if you receive a beating for doing evil? But it is credited to you if you receive such for doing good. To this you are called… No lie or cheating was found in Christ’s mouth. When he suffered, he did not make threats, but entrusted himself to God who judges justly. He bore our sins on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live righteously. By his wounds, we are healed.” He is our healer.

Our enemy, Satan, never gives up his job/ministry against us: Accusing us. Condemning, criticizing.

You must know that Satan is never gonna give you up…

  • Satan can see what you did (not what you will do), and he accuses you because of it, “Look at you. You’re such a ….”
  • We reply, “Yes, I know!” (And we should reply, “I know I’m not worthy of salvation, but I’m not saved by my deeds, but by my faith in Christ.”)

Do not be defeated by the false accusation of Satan. Our spiritual lives are a spiritual war.

Finally,

We must WAIT.

We are studying chp 25. Remember, in chp 23, God had promised that Paul would go to Rome and preach the gospel. But for two years, nothing has happened. Is God sleeping? No, he is working and waiting for the BEST time.

  • Our time is not the best time.
  • We should not be impatient when we need to be patient.

Paul waited for 2 years, but remember Joseph as well – the stories are similar.

Joseph’s story

Joseph was in prison, unjustly, for 2 years (like Paul). But Joseph continued to trust in God and God was with him and God gave him success in whatever he did.

One day the king’s cupbearer and baker were put in the same cell. They both had a dream – very meaningful – so they were upset and troubled. So Joseph explained the dreams and just as he interpreted, one man was hanged 3 days later, the other (cupbearer) was restored to his original job. In this situation, Joseph asked, “Remember me” when you are restored and work with Pharaoh again. But when he was set free, he forgot Joseph – for 2 years.

Question: When we wait for a LONG time, when the issue of waiting for God to act for us, when we have little to do but trust God and wait for him to act – are you angry? Troubled? Upset? Disappointed? Discouraged? Anxious? That time is very important and serious. A crucial time.

Being forced to wait is a good test for our patience and faith.

Then, when 2 full years had passed, the king of Egypt also had a meaningful dream. The king called all the magicians and wisemen but nobody could interpret this dream. It was JUST THEN when God made the cupbearer remember Joseph. Then (eventually) Joseph became made Prime Minister of the greatest country of that time.

God never sleeps. Remember!

  • Jesus “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.”
  • Paul “Give thanks in ALL circumstances – for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you…. God is working all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.”

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 14 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Righteousness, Self-control, and the Judgment to Come (Acts 24:1-27)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Righteousness, Self-control, and the Judgment to Come (Acts 24:1-27)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Acts 24:1-27 (Pastor Heo)

The Trial Before Felix

1 Five days later the high priest Ananias went down to Caesarea with some of the elders and a lawyer named Tertullus, and they brought their charges against Paul before the governor. 2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. 3 Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude. 4 But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly.

5 “We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect 6 and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. 8 By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.”

9 The Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true.

10 When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: “I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense. 11 You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. 13 And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me. 14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, 15 and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.

17 “After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings. 18 I was ceremonially clean when they found me in the temple courts doing this. There was no crowd with me, nor was I involved in any disturbance. 19 But there are some Jews from the province of Asia, who ought to be here before you and bring charges if they have anything against me. 20 Or these who are here should state what crime they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin– 21 unless it was this one thing I shouted as I stood in their presence: ‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.’ ”

22 Then Felix, who was well acquainted with the Way, adjourned the proceedings. “When Lysias the commander comes,” he said, “I will decide your case.” 23 He ordered the centurion to keep Paul under guard but to give him some freedom and permit his friends to take care of his needs.

24 Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” 26 At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him.

27 When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.


In Jerusalem, 40 men? took a vow to never eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. Paul’s nephew heard of this and told the commander. The commander sent him to his higher-up Felix, the governor, guided by 470 soldiers. Felix received Paul and said, “I will hear you when your accusers come here” and put him under guard. Five days later, the accusers (the high priest and some elders) arrived. This is the same high priest who ordered Paul to be stricken on the mouth in the Sanhedrin. They also employed a professional lawyer (Tertullus).

Three parts in today’s sermon:

  1. Paul’s accusers’ (false) accusations (v. 1-9)
  2. Paul’s (faithful) answers to his charges (v. 10-21)
  3. The governor Felix’s (foolish) response to this case (v. 22-27)

Tertullus begins (v. 2-3) with nauseating flattery.

v. 2-3

“2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. 3 Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude.”

This is untrue – blatant flattery.

v. 4-9 = Accusations

“4 But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly.

5 “We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect 6 and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. 8 By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.”

9 The Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true. “

Tertullus declared Paul a man of evil character, guilty of three things:

  1. Troublemaker (sedition)
  2. Ringleader of the Nazarene sect (heresy)
  3. Desecrate the temple

v. 10-21 Paul’s answer

“10 When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: “I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense. 11 You can easily verify that *no more than twelve days ago* [Paul had been in Jerusalem less than 7 days] I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. 13 And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me. 14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, 15 and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.

17 “After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings. 18 I was ceremonially clean when they found me in the temple courts doing this. There was no crowd with me, nor was I involved in any disturbance. 19 But there are some Jews from the province of Asia, who ought to be here before you and bring charges if they have anything against me. 20 Or these who are here should state what crime they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin– 21 unless it was this one thing I shouted as I stood in their presence: ‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.’ ” “

In his speech, Paul did not flattery Felix, he merely recognized his experience and knowledge. Then he began his defense in the order in which the charges had been made.

  1. Troublemaker (sedition)
    • “I had been there less than 7 days. I gathered no assembly nor crowd.”
  2. Ringleader of a cult (heresy)
    • “I believe in the same God they do. I’m a Christian, but accept the whole Old Testament. Just because I’m a Christian doesn’t mean I worship a different God. I worship the same God in a new, living, acceptable way (through Christ).”
  3. Desecrator / defiler of the temple
    • “I came to Jerusalem with 2 purposes: to bring alms to the poor; to offer sacrifices in the temple (to honor my Nazarite vow).”

In the temple, he was performing this Nazarite offering to God, but he was falsely arrested and accused by the crowd. But no one from that crowd is present now. So those who are there now had no right / privilege to accuse Paul now. None of them were there at that moment.

After listening to Paul’s answer, his accusers could not refute Paul anymore, so court was adjourned.

v. 22-23

“22 Then Felix, who was well acquainted with the Way, adjourned the proceedings. “When Lysias the commander comes,” he said, “I will decide your case.” 23 He ordered the centurion to keep Paul under guard but to give him some freedom and permit his friends to take care of his needs. “

Felix said he would wait for the commander who sent him to come. But the commander never came – so Paul remained in prison for 2 years.

v. 24

“24 Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus.”

  • Druscilla was Felix’s 3rd wife.
  • She was Herod’s daughter
  • Her grandfather tried to kill Jesus in Bethlehem);
  • her great uncle killed John the Baptist;
  • her father Herod Agrippa I killed the apostle James.

Now we can see the foolish attitude of this couple.

v. 25-27

“25 As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” 26 At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him. 27 When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison. “

In the next chapter, 25, Paul will stand before Festus.

Felix put Paul in prison for at least 2 years until he finished his governorship, then handed Paul over to his successor.

There are two reasons for this:

(Felix knew Paul was not guilty – he should have been set free)

  1. To get a bribe from Paul (wait, he’s rich enough – but he still wants dirty money from the poor prisoner)
  2. To gain popularity from the Jews

He was a judge, but his concern was not justice, it was fame and popularity and money. So, Paul preached the gospel to this couple in three points – and it made them uncomfortable:

  1. Righteousness
  2. Self-control
  3. Judgment to come

These three points are so relevant to this couple. Not only to them, but also to us today in this church building – these three topics are so important and necessary.

Today’s sermon topic:

Righteousness, Self-control, the Judgment to Come

Let us ponder these things again under the guidance and illumination of the HS.

Righteousness

  • We must do something about yesterday’s sin.

God is righteous and holy. Because he is, he demands righteousness / holiness from us.

“Be holy; be righteous” – the Bible commands this. But it is impossible. But the good news: the same God who demands this provides his own righteousness for those who put their trust in Jesus Christ.

  • Romans 3 “Therefore, no one will become declared righteous through observing the Law. Rather, we will become aware of sin. But a new righteousness has been made known and comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe in him.” There is no different “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
  • “God gave his one and only Son as a sacrifice of atonement to give his own blood as atonement.” (John) We are only made righteous through his righteousness.
  • “There is no more condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

We are not sinless, but we are free from the power of sin when we trust Christ as personal Savior and Lord. This is good news!

Self-Control

  • We must do something about today’s temptation / challenge.

Mankind can control almost EVERYTHING in nature – except themselves.

Christian messages are not merely platitudes, but they contain hard-hitting behaviors. That’s why one of the fruit of the HS is self-control.

  • Others: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control – against these things there is no Law. (Gal 5)

The Christian life is not an easy life – it is a fighting life against temptation and against the sinful nature. You (me) are fighting against our old selves.

  • Gal 5:24-26 “Those who belong to Jesus Christ have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

Self-control is so important in the Christian life.

Judgment

  • We must do something about the future’s judgment.
  • 2 Cor 5:1 “We know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, not built by human hands.”

Our physical lives in this world are like tents – so our lives after this world are like buildings. While in our earthly lives, we are offered so many choices (jobs, careers, hobbies, countries); but eternity offers only two options (heaven, hell).

In this earth, so many countries, but in eternity, only two. Our relationship with God on earth will determine our relationship with him in eternity.

So we must live in light of eternity.

When we live like this, so many of our problems and worries will appear small and trivial; our values will change; our priorities will be rearranged. The more precious Jesus becomes to us, the less precious everything else becomes.

  • Paul “I consider everything LOSS compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord. I consider all things rubbish so that I may gain Christ and be found in him.”

“Hosanna” = “You are my Savior”

Is Jesus your Savior? Even kindergarteners can answer. But we must remember –

  • He MUST be our Savior,
    • otherwise he will be our Judge.
  • He must be Lord and King,
    • otherwise we will become slaves to something that will become nothing.
  • He must be our God,
    • otherwise we will worship something else as god = idolatry.

v. 25

“25 As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, *Felix was afraid* [Holy Spirit conviction – but he rejected / delayed] and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient [delay], I will send for you.” 26 At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently [with wrong motives] and talked with him.

27 When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison. “

Yes, we know Paul was a champion in sharing the message of the gospel. Felix had 2 years opportunity to be saved through the message of Paul – but he missed it because he continuously delayed. “When I find it convenient…”

Procrastination = a thief of time / our souls

  • Proverbs 27:1 “Do not boast about tomorrow because you do not know what a day may bring forth…”

Past is past; present is present (gift); tomorrow is not ours – it belongs to God.

— Story —

One day in Hell, there was a meeting of Satan and his living demons. He commanded them to think up a good lie to bring more souls to Hell. (Satan is the Father of Lies). The demons gathered and tried to create lies to bring more souls to Hell.

  1. “People of earth! There’s no God!” Satan said, “It will never work – everyone will look around at Creation and know there is a God.”
  2. “There’s no heaven!” – Satan “No good. Everybody knows there is life after physical death. And they all want to go to heaven.”
  3. “There’s no Hell!” – Satan “No good. Their conscience knows their sins will be judged. Their spirits already know there is Hell, that’s why they are afraid of death.”
  4. “There’s no hurry!” – Satan “Good idea!”
  • Prov “Do not boast about tomorrow”
  • 2 Cor 2:6 “NOW (x5) is the time of God’s grace! Now is the day of salvation!”
  • The best time to believe in Christ is NOW!
  • The best time to trust him is NOW!
  • The best time to confess him as King and Savior and Lord is NOW!
  • The best time to tell others the gospel message is NOW!

NOW is the time of God’s favor / grace / mercy / salvation.

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 28 / 2013
  • Comments Off on Paul Before Festus (Acts 25:1-27)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Paul Before Festus (Acts 25:1-27)

04.28

04.28.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Paul’s Trial Before Festus

25 Three days after arriving in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, 2 where the chief priests and the Jewish leaders appeared before him and presented the charges against Paul.3 They requested Festus, as a favor to them, to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem, for they were preparing an ambush to kill him along the way. 4 Festus answered, “Paul is being held at Caesarea,and I myself am going there soon. 5 Let some of your leaders come with me, and if the man has done anything wrong, they can press charges against him there.”

6 After spending eight or ten days with them, Festus went down to Caesarea. The next day he convened the court and ordered that Paul be brought before him. 7 When Paul came in, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him. They brought many serious charges against him,but they could not prove them.

8 Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar.”

9 Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?”

10 Paul answered: “I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. 11 If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!”

12 After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!”

Festus Consults King Agrippa

13 A few days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus.14 Since they were spending many days there, Festus discussed Paul’s case with the king. He said: “There is a man here whom Felix left as a prisoner. 15 When I went to Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews brought charges against him and asked that he be condemned.

16 “I told them that it is not the Roman custom to hand over anyone before they have faced their accusers and have had an opportunity to defend themselves against the charges. 17 When they came here with me, I did not delay the case, but convened the court the next day and ordered the man to be brought in. 18 When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. 19 Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive. 20 I was at a loss how to investigate such matters; so I asked if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial there on these charges. 21 But when Paul made his appeal to be held over for the Emperor’s decision, I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar.”

22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear this man myself.”

He replied, “Tomorrow you will hear him.”

Paul Before Agrippa

23 The next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp and entered the audience room with the high-ranking military officers and the prominent men of the city. At the command of Festus, Paul was brought in. 24 Festus said: “King Agrippa, and all who are present with us, you see this man! The whole Jewish community has petitioned me about him in Jerusalem and here in Caesarea, shouting that he ought not to live any longer. 25 I found he had done nothing deserving of death, but because he made his appeal to the Emperor I decided to send him to Rome. 26 But I have nothing definite to write to His Majesty about him. Therefore I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that as a result of this investigation I may have something to write. 27 For I think it is unreasonable to send a prisoner on to Rome without specifying the charges against him.”


New governor in Jerusalem to take the place of Felix. “Hey, hey, here’s a new guy – let’s try to get Paul in trouble again.” So, they asked him to bring Paul to Caesarea to try him again. They wanted this to happen as a favor. The favor was probably loaded.

Festus knew Felix had been recalled for doing a bad job. Festus thought, hmmm, if I DON’T do this, maybe they’ll “report” me to Rome. The Jews pretty much pressured him to do so.

Later, James the half brother of Jesus would be killed by the then present high priest, it would be when Festus had released his office and there was a gap between governmental leaders. That would be when Jesus’ brother James was killed – between leaders.

Now, the Jews’ plot was to ambush and kill Paul. Now, they’re trying again. This is probably why Paul appeals to Caesar – he knew he would never survive a trip to Jerusalem.

The Jews now had given up on getting the Romans to convict him. They were trying to murder him – but wanted to get Festus to allow them to charge him for profaining the temple.

It would be in Festus’s best interests to get the trust of the Jews – but he foiled their attempt to ambush Paul by inviting the leaders to come to Caesarea with him to charge Paul there. That’s where he was going and where Paul already was – so he figured, “hey guys, just come with me.”

Paul was brought in, and the Jewish leaders ganged up around him – but couldn’t prove their false charges. Luke, the author of Acts summarizes Paul’s defense in one sentence: “I’ve done nothing wrong against the Jews, against the temple, nor against Caesar.” Festus was probably confused by the charges, just as Felix had been. There were no criminal charges here at all. But he wanted to please the people (crowd pleaser).

Now, he thought that he had a way out by asking him to come back to Jerusalem to be charged. But Paul knew he’d pretty much been cleared of any political charges – he knew he wouldn’t get justice in Jerusalem and probably suspected there was a plot to kill him. Festus couldn’t turn him over to the Jews because he was a Roman citizen. So, Paul decided to appeal to Caesar.

So the right of a Roman citizen was an old, ancient right “provocati ….” (an appeal to the Emperor). It was granted to him. The ironic thing was that the Emperor at that time was the infamous Nero (until AD 68). Why would he put his life in Nero’s hands? He needed to stay away from the Jews. And he likely remembered his vision in Acts 23 that he would testify in Rome. Maybe this way his idea to get to Rome.

Another thing, at this time, Nero had not yet become the evil ruler we know. He was under the influence of a Stoic philosopher in his early reign – so these years were considered almost a Golden Age. It was only later (AD 62) that the Imperial policy toward the Christians became malicious. (At that time, his mentors from earlier were dead or retired). “There was little evidence to say in AD 60 why he would change so drastically against the Christians.” He blamed the fire of Rome (AD 65?) on the Christians.

Now, Paul is appealing to Caesar, and Festus breathes a sigh of relief to release him to Caesar and say “It’s out of my hands.”

But, the charade wasn’t yet over. A few days later, King Herod Agrippa and Bernice arrived to see the new governor – Festus and Agrippa (the great grandson of Herod the Great) had been brought up in the court of the Emperor Claudius. Both Claudius and Nero had appointed him the ruler of a number of places in the Holy Land. At this time, he was King over some areas in the northeast. He was the custodian of the Treasury – he was from a Jewish-kind of family and knew about Jewish affairs. He was seen as a balance between the Jews and the Romans. He was an authority on the Jews – an expert.

So, Festus, talks with the expert about this case and wanted to get a letter written about this. Bernice was a Jewish Cleopatra – Agrippa’s sister – but she was probably living incest with her brother.

Because of Agrippa’s role in Judaism, he’s been described as the secular “head” of the Jewish faith. So, Festus was eager to get his insights on Paul’s case.

Now, they are working on Paul’s case – one an expert on Judaism, one an expert on Rome. Festus admitted, “They didn’t charge him on anything normal – just some MINOR differences in their religion and a dead dude named Jesus. What should I do?” He hoped Agrippa would help. So, Agrippa wanted to talk to Paul himself.

Now, Paul could witness to both a governor and king at once (as Jesus had said in Matt 10:18). This meeting with Herod had parallels with the life of Jesus and his meeting before another Herod (Luke 23:6-12). Both Jesus and Paul were tried before a Roman governor and witnessed before a king.

Luke begins to narrate Paul’s longest and final major speech. But, first he explains how Agrippa and Bernice came with a parade, basically. So, now Paul’s testimony of the gospel would be heard before the VIPs of the land. This wasn’t a trial, not an inquiry – he would go before Caesar anyway – this was like a “drama” and Paul as the star performer.

“One can hardly avoid the impression that Paul should provide entertainment to this crowd.”

Festus made a general declaration of Paul’s innocence before the crowd, saying, “The Jews’ petitioned me and shouted, ‘Kill him! Kill him!’ But I found him innocent.” (Hmm, sounds JUST like the crowd before Jesus and Pilate). There will even be one more declaration of his innocence in Acts 26 – cleared of blame THREE times. Wow – that shows that the Jews really mean business when they try to get someone killed – persistent.

Festus wants something to write to Rome “specifying the charges against him.” So…….. why not set Paul free. There was no crime – but he’d been in prison for two years…

He was a prisoner only because the Jews (the crowd) had been able to intimidate the governors. They weren’t courageous enough to do the right thing.

Even if Festus couldn’t figure this all out, at least he could write on the note, “Well, Agrippa, the Jewish-expert, helped me out with this and…”

In the next chapter, we’ll see the continuation of Paul’s “trial.”

Paul has maintained his innocence MANY times and wouldn’t allow unjust condemnation to affect him (this is the point).

Sometimes we also feel unjustly condemned by the Enemy. Satan tries to condemn us. Paul wrote against this: Romans 8:1 “There is now no longer any condemnation for those in Christ…” We should learn like Paul not to accept false condemnation from the Enemy or others.

Have you accepted Christ into your life? To experience the freedom from false condemnation?

Jesus is the way to God (the one way) – he restores relationship with Man and God.

When I was lost in sin (personally), someone told me about Jesus and I was able to be freed from sin and shame and false condemnation.

Let’s pray together.

  • Apr 14 / 2013
  • Comments Off on Paul Before Felix
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Paul Before Felix

04.14

04.14.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Previously, Paul had been taken by the Jews after they’d seen him walking around town with a Gentile – they assumed he’d taken the Gentile to the temple – so they would punish him with death for that. 

Then, Paul spoke to them, and talked about everything he believed and his history, and said, “it is because of my hope in the resurrection that I’m here.” This divided the Pharisees and Saducees.

Also, there were 40 Jewish conspirators who’d vowed not to eat or drink until Paul was killed. Whatever happened to them?

They got off the hook – escape clause. If a vow had been taken, there were circumstances where they could get out of their vows. For example, one vowed to have a meal with someone else, but he got sick, so couldn’t – it was a limiting factor.

So, these dudes got off the hook too. The limiting factor was an army of Romans…

Now Paul is in the capital of the Romans – Caesarea.

The Jewish prosecutors showed up to state their case against him. The lawyer was probably a Greek Jew, versed in Roman law, and a good public speaker (thus he was hired). He began with customary “buttering up” (flattery). “Wow! You’re an awesome ruler! It’s sooooo peaceful here.” (Not, it was riotous – but he’s flattering him).

Eventually, he realized he might be overdoing it…so he got on with it. (There were (are) many long-winded lawyers).

“Trouble-maker” “riots” “ring-leader” “Nazarene sect” “all over the world”

That’s some political fiery rhetoric. Slight overkill…

He’s basically trying to say that Paul is a rebel and revolutionary trying to disrupt the “Roman Peace.” (Actually it was the Jews who were causing the trouble – not Paul. This whole case, as with Jesus’ case, was based on false testimony and lies – so that they could put him to death.)

After the political portion, he moves onto the theological.

“Paul TRIED desecrate the temple, but we stopped him.” Well, he didn’t and there were no charges of bringing Gentiles into the temple – which were the original charges. He puts his own spin on the event (and there were no first-hand eyewitnesses from the event). This is pretty shady lawyer-ing…

Previously, some Asian Jews had recognized him and stirred up the crowd (mob) against him.

In our Bibles, there’s a footnote for verse 7. Ancient manuscripts (Western) add this.

“…with much violence…” ha!

They wanted to judge Paul in the Sanhedrin to put him to death for a capital offense.

Felix then wanted to examine Paul himself.

Tertullus probably thought “oh! examine him well! *wink *wink – scourge and beat him! hehe”

But that didn’t happen, Paul went on the defense, challenging the charges. Paul acknowledged Felix’s position – the judge over this nation – he was acquainted with the Christians, the Jews, the riots, etc. Paul explained that he’d only just arrived and that he’d been a prisoner for the majority of that time. He’d come to worship, not begin a revolution.

“My accusers didn’t find me doing any of these things anywhere.”

But he did confess “I do worship our ancestral God – the Way – they call it a sect.”

This was a familiar term to his accusers (The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). “I believe all the Law and the Prophets (all the books of the OT).” He believed all the prophecies were concentrated and fulfilled in Jesus. He and other Christians worshiped the same God as the Jews. They believed in the Scriptures and the resurrection.

In this way, Paul cleverly shifts the accusations from political to purely theological – “the resurrection.” They didn’t agree with his theology – not political, theological.

For the Pharisees, the resurrection of the righteous was a future event based on the good works.

For Paul, the resurrection had already occurred – the first-fruits of which were Jesus. And keeping the Law wasn’t relevant. Something was lacking apart from good works alone and keeping the points of the Law. The missing element = Jesus.

The Christians and Pharisees have different approaches to salvation.

Christians = called by Christ, receive him, justified and sanctified by Christ – they asked for forgiveness when they sinned – only Christ is sinless. We always look to Jesus for forgiveness, cleansing, healing.

Another difference = Paul speaks of a resurrection of the just and the unjust (good and bad). The Pharisees might not have believed in that. But the Bible is clear – Daniel 12 speaks of the end times “at that time, your people, everyone found written in the book. and those in the ground will be raised to everlasting life and those not in the book to everlasting death.”

Revelation 12:20? “I saw the dead, and the books were opened and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, and death and Hades gave up the dead. And they were judged, according to their deeds. And the bad were thrown into the Lake of Fire (the second death). Those not written in the Book of Life were thrown into the Lake of Fire.”

So, how can we get in the Book of Life?

Accept Jesus, ask forgiveness, repent, let him guide you daily.

John writes, “A day is coming when all will hear his voice. Those who did good to life, those who did bad to judgment.”

Matthew writes of those who will be granted and denied entrance to heaven.

Paul also writes of this.

Paul said, “because of this, I tried to live my life free of guilt (i.e. ask forgiveness)”

He wanted his conscience to be free from guilt against God and man.

Basically, these guys didn’t like his religion.

So, after setting the record straight, he explained why he went to Jerusalem “I’ve come back after many years to bring gifts and an offering for the poor.” This was a good way to cement union between the Jews and Christians in Jerusalem.

They said he’d disgraced the temple.

He said he was ceremonially clean.

And his original accusers aren’t even there!

This is all hearsay.

Paul says, “those who are here should state what they have against me other than the resurrection.”

According to Roman law, if the accusers aren’t present, the trial should be thrown out. However, at this point, Felix abruptly stops the trial – this is a political situation (because of the rowdy Jews), and he can see these guys are trying to slam Paul with a death sentence. So, he cuts is short to wait for the Roman commander to come down.

He had a Jewish wife and decided to meet with Paul.

Felix’s wife was his third, he’d seduced her away from her husband when she was 16. And when they met, he wanted Paul to give him a bribe. But, Paul spoke of righteousness and judgment – he didn’t like it, so he left Paul in prison for 2 years until the next guy took over.

The thing is, Paul spoke of righteousness, self-control, and judgment to come. These things are important for everyone – Christians and non-Christians alike.

Story:

There was a dog who kept stealing stuff and hiding them – no matter how much he tried to get it to stop, it never did.

Many Christians are like that. They steal something, go off on their own, indulge in sin, and feel that since no one has seen them, it doesn’t matter. But, the Lord has seen ALL things – even our hearts.

Jealous of a guy who makes tons of money? God knows your heart. God knows his as well. Should you repent of your attitude? We aren’t the only ones. Everyone does some sinful things and has sinful thoughts.

Let’s conclude with a prayer.

If you’ve ever stolen, lied, had evil thoughts, you need to repent.
“Root them out, push them aside, four little foxes that will spoil the vine: envy, jealousy, malice, pride; all the others in our hearts abide?”

Do we have bad habits? Addictions? Regular evil thoughts? Humble yourselves, allow God to search your hearts. Let’s pray.

God, minister to our hearts, help us confess our sins. Help us overcome, gain the victory, release us from the inward shame, bring us into the Joy of the Lord which is our strength. We confess our sins, repent, receive your cleansing.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Listen