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The Trial Before Felix

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
September 25, 2020 8:00 am

The Trial Before Felix

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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September 25, 2020 8:00 am

How would you like it if you went to court to defend yourself against a false charge, and presented your case, and then got sent to jail to wait for a verdict? And two years later, the judge retired without delivering a verdict? And youre still in jail!

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How would you like it if you went to court to defend yourself against a false charge and presented your case, then got sent to jail to wait for a verdict. Two years later, the judge retires without delivering a verdict and you're still in jail and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet program with Dr. James Bortz preparing you to think and act biblically in next 24 Paul stands trial before a Roman governor named Felix on trumped up charges of making trouble in desecrating the Temple, but by the end of the chapter were wondering who's really on trial here. Let's listen now to Dr. Boyce regarding today to the 24th chapter of acts, and they count their the appearance of the apostle Paul before Gov. Felix accusation made against him.

His defense and a response of this Roman Gov. Paul's presentation of the gospel. It's interesting that Paul has finally come to the position where he is now to testify before the distinguished rulers of this world. If you think back to his conversion on the road to Damascus. The revelation that was given to them at that time. You'll recall that Jesus said he was going to send him to be an ambassador to the Gentiles to speak of Jesus himself before kings and the bear witness to his own people or three parts that all had already fulfilled two of them. He had carried the gospel to the Gentiles. He had testified before the Jews now he was to speak before kings here in this chapter he speaks before Gov. Felix the next chapter we find him wearing a witness before the successor of Felix governor, Festus, and then finally further on we find them before King Agrippa. In every case telling what Jesus had done for him and would do for these other distinguished men and women as well what he was afraid he was a great witness for Jesus. But when he was imprisoned he was no less a witness. And God blessed no less. Beginning with this man Felix who was Felix.

Well Felix was a governor he had status, but he wasn't much been a slave became a free man under Claudius pandered to the depravity of the Emperor and rose up in the court until finally he was awarded the governorship of Judah. He was corrupt in his administration he was hated by the Jews. His time there was filled with graft the wife he married was a teenager whom he stole from another king and finally the corruption of his rule became so great that Nero, even Nero, who was no model of morality recall them, and no doubt he would have been executed of his brother was in Rome at the time and I pleaded on his behalf. This was the Lamb landing, for whom Paul now appears to give an account of the story is an interesting one. Five days past averring that time, the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem got their case together and then responded to the invitation to come down to Caesarea and press charges against Paul about a lawyer with them. His name is given to Catullus it's a Roman name.

That's all we know about people who know the Greek language thoroughly.

People like FF Bruce say they detect in this little speech that he gives here verses five and following certain Latin-isms. I confess that kind of subtle detection is beyond me. If I can read it in Greek and understand that I'm satisfied without detecting that the Greek is a translation of something that was said in Latin, but at any rate, FF Bruce thinks that's the case, we just don't know. He was certainly a professional orator, which is what the lawyers of the day tended to be the came down with the Sanhedrin at their request. Their official representative to plead the case against Paul and indeed he was very eloquent.

Luke probably in these accounts gives what was said in a very condensed form, but if his condensation of photolysis speech reflects in any way the proportion about this man actually said on that occasion half of his address was given over to the flattery of the governor said we can read it here. We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you. Your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation every where and in every way.

Most excellent Felix. We acknowledge this with profound gratitude. Of course I was sheer hypocrisy.

Sanhedrin didn't think that all they hated this man and I suppose corrupt as he must've been, he was at least shrewd enough to be a governor that he must've heard this with the tongue in his cheek. What was it that these Jewish leaders were after that they would come down here all the way from Caesarea and flatter him whom they hated in this fashion and that it became very clear was this man Paul and they wanted to do away with them.

I had several charges against him and this lawyer develop some verses that he was a troublemaker. Interesting word that you stare a literal translation would be passed BEST, but it has the original sense of that word, even in English, pestilence, but they really meant was this guy Paul is a plague of mammoth proportions. Everywhere he goes.

See spreads contagion. What Catullus was trying to do in this accusation was suggests that this was the kind of person who if left at large would bring large major of turmoil, contention, and perhaps eventually even insurrection in the Empire was the same charge that was originally brought against the Lord Jesus Christ.

They knew when they brought that charge the pilot who heard the case would not be at all interested in the matters that concern them. That is, religious matters, but he certainly would be concerned Jesus was about to start up and insurrection, so this is the first charge this man Catullus brought second charge is that he was a ringleader of the Nazarene site about each of those words is loaded as I'm sure you're aware he was a follower of Jesus, but even at this early dates. The Jews didn't want to use the name I didn't even refer to them being a follower of the Nazarene, it was just the Nazarene site. Moreover, they called it a select that word has overtones of the heresy. Sometimes we use the word sect and we just mean well, it's a deviant set of opinions, but here it means Sahara site and, moreover, is a ringleader I could've said that noble leader, but they didn't say that the word had the same overtones that has for us. He was one that was the head of this troublesome heresy that for some unknown reason the grown up within Judaism and then I had 1/3 charge of the third charges that he was trying to desecrate the temple ballet distorted the story at that point Catullus either mistakenly intentionally said we sees them really is saying we arrested it because I wasn't true.

Mom fell upon them and they were trying to kill them and the people that actually arrested Paul with the Romans and they did. In order to save his life to establish justice, but he puts things into good light for himself in the Sanhedrin and about is the later on.

Does cast aspersions against Manno and arrested him. So I was the charge here is this man Paul troublemaker and we don't need any of those we had enough already. Ringleader of this despised heresy of the Nazarenes and a man who tried to desecrate our temple. Perhaps he thought he could score a point with that last accusation because Roman law recognizes the sacred nature of the Jewish Temple and even prescribe the death penalty for those who would violate it so he made his accusation. He sat down Felix must have lauded to Paul and Paul now according to the procedures of Roman law had a chance to stand and argue his case begins in a very polite way with an address of the governor, but it is restraint, especially when we contrasted with what this paid order. Catullus said Catullus flatter the governor. Paul will do no such thing, but he does point out that he knew that he had been a judge over the nation for a number of years, long enough to know something about the kind of nation over which he was presiding and because he was a judge to see all these words are chosen very carefully because he was a judge should undoubtedly add rules in court over cases blocks like this, so he was well aware, Paul pointed out of the kind of charges that were being brought in the substance of them actually the fact that they were very insubstantial in any began to answer the charges that Catullus had made a dozen in order to read it carefully, you can understand how we does first charge of been that Paul was a troublemaker and his response back charges that it is not so. Moreover, he said. I can prove my surgeon and they are unable to prove players how can I prove it so I can prove it. In this way. First, he said it has only been 12 days since I first arrived in Jerusalem while Felix was well aware that he had already been five days in Caesarea and he had been one day in prison in Jerusalem.

So there are six of the 12 days of the most Paul had six days. That is less than a week to stir up the kind of trouble that they're accusing him of doing it might well be the case if they had a rebuttal that these men could've replied were not concerned about the trouble he was stirring up in Jerusalem where concerned about the trouble he's been creating all around the world. But you see they work in a position to testify to what was happening in other places. This wasn't a spot where gossip could be spread where secondhand testimony good. The taken this was a court of law. They had to testify to what they know and of Paul and only been six days since their capital quite obviously that was bought enough time to start up the kind of insurrection. They were implying he had come to the country to cause and then he said in second place. I obviously know troublemaker because during those six days when I was there in Jerusalem and they found me they found me not even debating with the crowds. I wasn't even lecturing, said Paul, I've done that in other places as my mission in Jerusalem. I wasn't even entering into dispute with anybody, and certainly there were no crowds around me. As a matter of fact, as the story goes on to show I was simply there in the temple, trying to worship the very God. They profess to worship because I also am a Jew so he said you can check it out. I obviously bought a troublemaker that he deals with the second accusation, and that had to do with him being a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. Now he does say in response to this accusation, although we would phrase it differently, is nevertheless true. Paul doesn't say I'm a ringleader doesn't even change it to say I am one of the distinguished leaders of the movement that he doesn't refer to it as the sect of the Nazarenes.

He calls it rather that way and he says I am a follower of that way, but with all those qualifications. See nevertheless is agreeing to the substance of the accusation. The question you see was whether that was a sufficient accusation for a judgment.

Was it not the case that he could practice his religion according to his own understanding.

Under Roman law. He was a follower of the way it was away within Judaism was Judaism not protected by the Roman government. If the governor was to move against him for his practice. He would have to would he not move against these very leaders of the Sanhedrin who had come down to the press. The case against him. See, that's a very wise very clever response to the accusation that has been made.

He says moreover that what I believe is up to a certain point exactly what they believe or at least what they want to believe because he said this matter of following Jesus the Nazarene is matter of the way is not, you must understand some deviant form of Judaism, but Judaism itself. I believe as they profess to believe in all the lawn all the prophets. Matter fact that's the sort of thing the Christians can well say today when you're witnessing to a Jewish person is possible to claim especially if you're witnessing to Jewish person that hardly practices his or her Judaism. The Jew more Jewish than they are because unlike so many of the synagogues today. The rabbis who, in many cases are his liberal where then Judaism as Protestant professors are within Christianity. We, by contrast, really do believe it. We believe everything that's written therein, the Old Testament and the new and moreover, we believe that those Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, who is called Christ. Moreover, said Paul. I also believe in the resurrection. That's the issue that he had raised when the Roman commander in Jerusalem had brought them before the Sanhedrin the first time he raised it because the bulk of the Sanhedrin, also believed in it, though the Sadducees did not.

I believe in the resurrection. He said that if he had opportunity which he didn't on the earlier occasion, but which he certainly did hear at least. Later in his conversations as private conversations with the governor. He testified that he believed in the resurrection, not only as a matter of doctrine but as a matter of personal experience because the Lord Jesus Christ, who was raised from the dead had appeared to him call them to the task was given was 1/3 charge of the third charge was that he had tried to desecrate the temple.

The first case all pleaded innocence.

He was no troublemaker in the second case, he admitted the accusation, but with rephrasing of what it was all about this case. He emphatically denies the accusation. He said he had come to desecrate the temple. Paul says, in effect, that is the last thing on earth, but I would ever want to do. He said I came to Jerusalem bought to desecrate the temple, but and it was clearly true on an errand of mercy.

I have been out all these Gentile areas along all these Gentile cities establishing these churches and from these churches I received an offering and I have brought that offering up to Jerusalem for my people because it's a bad time in Jerusalem that you yourself know. The famine people are hungry so I came in an errand of mercy to bring this money. Moreover, he said.

When they found me in the temple, but only was I not causing trouble.

I was there in full accordance with all of the laws of the religion. I was ceremonially clean and you can verify that people in Jerusalem know that the testify to it.

I gone through all the rights of this purification and when they fell upon me. It was not a high who created the disturbance they themselves lets his defense. He says one other thing he says this trouble that has erupted and is brought me to this point was caused.

As I said, not by me but by certain Jews that came from Asia and of course a stroke. That's exactly what Luke tells us earlier they recognize them the newest teaching they were upset at what he was doing and so they follow bottom of the false accusation that he brought for FEMA's from Ephesus in the Jewish Temple area that is defiling the temple was not true, but it was something that had been stirred up by these Jews from Asia and what Paul is really saying you say is that if this is something that is bad, then it is those Jews from Asia who have to come here and testify to it because you say it's a court of law Sanhedrin themselves were not there when this happened in the temple I got into the matter later.

If anybody is to bear witness here. It must be Jews from Asia or if for some reason the Jews from Asia are unable to, and it's a Sanhedrin that wants to press the charges, then the Sanhedrin have to testified not want the Jews from Asia said they saw about the Sanhedrin itself saw Geer bear witness of balls is the only thing I know that they can possibly testify to on the basis of their own experiences of when I was brought before them by the commander of the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. I did cry out in the midst of the Council I stand here for my faith in the hope of the resurrection and what did Felix do well. Felix did what many governors similar situations tried to do. Caught between what they knew to be right.

He knew that Paul was innocence and the pressure of the people that were calling for his condemnation. He said well I just can't make a decision now I'll postpone the judgment and I'll do it until governor Lucius is able to come down here and tell me what happened in itself isn't so bad.

Certainly, he had the right is the governor to here with us commander from the Jerusalem garrison might say there was a man he could trust a man who had no vested interest in the outcome of man who witnessed the facts but the difficulty is Luke tells us the story is not the Felix son perfectly legitimate grounds postpone making a judgment until he could at the earliest possible moment render judgment rather that this was a characteristic of this man. The postpone doing what he knew he needed to do in the tragedy of his life was not that he postpone making a judgment upon Paul so far as the accusations of the Sanhedrin were concerned that he postpone the far more serious matter of making a decision where the claims of Jesus Christ were concerned. That's why Luke ends the story as he does. Felix told Paul and heard him on more than one occasion he was interested in what he had to say and is Paul appeared before him on these various occasions Paul were told testified to them about Jesus, certainly, but what Luke says is any testified about righteousness and self-control and about the judgment to come. What were told Felix as he heard these things trembled is interesting when we think about Felix that he knew so much. Luke says he was well acquainted with the way that is, he already knew something about Christianity, so he had that much going for them in the second position.

He knew the ball was innocence because the accusation simply had not been able to stand up and thirdly and most important of all, he knew he was a sinner because when Paul spoke about righteousness and self-control and the judgment he no that he stood in danger of judgment because of the kind of man he was. Yet, in spite of all those things were going for them is knowledge of Christianity's awareness of the innocence of Paul. The fact that therefore Paul was testifying honestly about Jesus Christ and in spite of the fact that he was a Saturday postpone making a decision. He said I'll call for here when I find it convenient. So those words. He passes from pages of the book of acts from history and from life. Well, this is a story but it's a story that has great bearing upon, where many people find themselves today.

Many people today aren't exactly the position in which this Roman governor found himself there in the first Christian century they know something about Christianity.

I don't know how they learned that some of them abundance in their family and their childhood.

They had godly parents who taught them about Jesus. Some of learned it from a friend. They know someone who is a Christian who is able to articulate these things and explain them well.

Some of Redbook. Some of heard it on the radio. Some of organ on television, live in an age of mass communication.

Literally millions upon millions of people are in this position. They have heard it, they they know something about Christianity. Moreover, they have no real reason to doubt the character of those who testified to them about Christ. I want other people in prominent positions.

Representatives of Christianity whose character is doubtful. Sometimes I use that as an excuse, but generally it's not true. I know people good character, strong faith and belief even say to them, things like that so I'm so glad that you have a strong faith that is just wonderful and I'm happy for you. I know people like that and maybe also like Felix, they know that their centers and that they stand in danger of the judgment layer troubled in their soul. They are bothered they say what will become of me. I am an ungodly man.

I am a sinful woman. What ever will happen to me if I stand before God and the final judgment in yellow. The gospel is known in the way of salvation is presented. They say those who testify not now, not now little later, perhaps I'll think about it later. I'll search out a more convenient time and then I'll call for you and then I'll make my decision and so they perish, and they pass from history and outer darkness now if you're one of those people. I want to ask the question say to yourself, I'll put it off until a little later. How much later. What's going to happen in the meantime, you say well later.

If you are too young.

Now I want to go on and live my life a little bit before I consider these things. What are you going to be doing in the interim going to be sitting. Of course, you can't stop from sitting is your sin and accumulation of it day by day, week by week year-by-year going to make you more open to the gospel will be many times harder in your heart a year from now on.

Many times more than that hard in your heart year after that year. After that I'm going to become more open to the gospel by delaying see that's why the Bible says so clearly that now is the accepted time. There is never, never, never, ever a better time to turn from sin and receive the Lord Jesus Christ in the present moment, Harry Ironside, in his study of acts at this point tells of something that happened to him when he was very young. He was 12 years old he went to hear DL Moody in Chicago and a great big old theater there held about 10,000 people building which has since been torn down and because the theater was jammed with people and he was just a boy. He managed to climb up on a laughter way up above where Moody was speaking and from there he looked down on his vast last most of people was a point in Moody's address where he turned to the people and said I want everybody here who knows the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, everybody here was a Christian to stand and had them stand in Ironside, looking down from the rafters saw that it was five or six or 7000 out of the great hosts of 10 then Moody went on and he said something like this. Now I want everybody from this large number who are Christians, who became a Christian before the age of 15 to be seated at Ironside said as he looked down he saw that about half of those who had stood resume their seats about 3000 now were standing. He said I want everybody from this number, who became a Christian before the age of 20, to sit down at about half again sat down another only 1500 he raised it by 1030 4050 by the time he got the 50 there were only 20 people standing on their feet, and that last auditorium and the point was made to see the Bible says, remember now by creator in the days of thy youth, never easier to believe on Jesus Christ.

And when you're young and you say the years of gone by. It's hard for me. I don't know how I can change my life. Now that may be true but it will not be easier.

Tomorrow not say, as Felix did.

When I find more convenience, I believe, because you will never find it more convenient and right now Felix was a judge, but he died and he appeared before that one who does not postpone his judgments, and who accepts no bribes and Felix so far as we know from the testimony of Scripture is in hell tonight come to Jesus all this time. Now is the time. Let us pray father. These are solemn words, solemn not only because they describe the fate Felix solemn because they will determine the fate of others. Even now, father let it not be the case that anyone hearing these words might repeat the error of this corrupt and wicked man, and so perish, but rather recognizing their sin, and understanding the gospel might have grace to turn from it and find salvation where loan may be found in Jesus the Savior. Amen and amen. You are listening to the Bible study hours with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals.

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