Friday, June 5, 2020

Friday - Acts 24 - Paul before Felix



HEN Paul stood for his trial in Felix's court, he faced a strange set of accusations from the prosecuting attorney, Tertullus. Acts 24:5-6 records the meat of Tertullus' case, "We have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes: who also has gone about to profane the temple..." No specific accusation there, just general slurs.


Paul did use specifics in his defensive rebuttal. And, as we would expect from Paul, he carefully made it clear to Felix that the real reason he was standing in Felix's court was because he (Paul) was a loyal follower of Christ. Paul identified himself with the Scriptures, with God's power to raise the dead, and with his own clear conscience as a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:14-16).


To Paul's advantage, Felix did understand what was going on (Acts 24:22). To Paul's disadvantage, Felix also knew what it took to keep the Jews happy. Also, Felix was a crook (Acts 24:26-27). So, Paul remained a prisoner, the trial was put on hold, Paul was given some leeway, and time began to elapse. Interestingly, Felix called for Paul to return to his court later as well (more than once), and he listened (at first intently) to Paul give more detailed explanations of his faith in Christ (Acts 24:24-25). He didn’t convert, but he listened.


Are we willing to endure false accusations & unjust hardships for the sake of Christ? If we stand for Christ, we will also be considered pestilential like Paul. If we declare the gospel without apology, there will be many who will call us troublemakers. We will also encounter spiteful statements about our Lord. Will we stand our ground if we face similar opposition? Contrary to what we wish, America is moving steadily away from Biblical morality, & rapidly away from the exclusivity of Jesus Christ. Pluralism, hedonism, materialism, secular humanism, moral relativism, liberal tolerance & selfish individualism is mushrooming & eclipsing truth. How much longer will evangelical believers be tolerated in our society?

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