In this blog post I am going to pick up from where I left off in my series on the Book of Acts. Looking back at the previous chapter. The people conform a conspiracy that they will not eat until Paul is put to death and Paul is taken to Caesarea, and he is placed in Herods Praetorium while they wait for his accusers to arrive. We see that Paul is constantly facing persecution, yet through it all he finds his strength in Jesus Christ. Finding strength in Jesus Christ is not so we can live an abundant lifestyle, it is to simply bring glory to God.
The Case is Made Against Paul
In the first portion of Acts 24 we see five days after Paul arrives his accusers come. We see Ananias along with the other Jewish elders arrive to bring evidence to the governor against Paul. The lawyer bringing forth the case, Tertullus, first gives complements to the governor Felix for bringing peace to their land. In Acts 24:5-8 (ESV) we see the accusations against Paul , “For we have found this man a plague, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world and is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. He even tried to profane the temple, but we seized him. By examining him yourself you will be able to find out from him about everything of which we accuse him.”. The accusations are that Paul is a plague, the Greek word for this is loimos which means a pest. Some translations write it as ‘a troublemaker’. They also accuse Paul of being a creator of conflict, a ringleader for the cult of the Nazarenes, and attempting to desecrate the temple.
Paul Pleads His Case
Paul defends himself from the accusations. Unlike Tertullus, Paul does not complement Felix, he simply pleads his case. Paul mentions how what they call a sect or cult, Paul refers to it as the Way. Paul also makes mention of the resurrection of the dead, which is something that is very controversial between different groups of the Jews. The resurrection of the dead is not only mentioned in the New Testament, but also in the Old Testament, Daniel 12:2 (ESV) says, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”.
More Discussion Between Paul and Felix
We see Paul also mentions about striving spiritually in verse 16. (AMP) “In view of this, I also do my best and strive always to have a clear conscience before God and before men.”. In the ESV this is written as “So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.”. We need to be striving spiritually. We need to be striving in our personal discipleship, we need to be striving towards a holy and sanctified lifestyle. John Piper says it best “the world does not need cool Christians who are culturally saturated. It needs exiles with the scent of heaven and the aroma of Christ.”. I would like to challenge every Christian to the question, are you culturally saturated right now, or do you have the aroma of Christ? With all that is going on in 2020, it is easy for us Christians to become culturally saturated. We have a particularly important election coming up in just a matter of weeks. Everyone of us has our own opinions that we are vocal about regarding what is going on. Christians should vote according to our Biblical convictions. However, what should our message be this time of year? Are we supposed to be trying to shove a particular candidate down people’s throats? Or are we to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and make disciples? No politician will save this country! Yes, God can appoint people to carry out certain tasks, but no politician is this nations savior. One day every President in this nation whether genuinely saved or not will have to bow down to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
We see that while Felix waits for Lysias to come and testify that he becomes troubled when Paul discusses self-control righteousness, and the Last Judgement. Felix sends Paul away but continually calls him back to have conversation with him. He does this to have favor with the Jews. We see that Festus takes over after and Paul will now have to testify for him. Self-control is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. If we lack any of the fruits of the Spirit, then we need to spend time in prayer and lean on Christ in our weakness. We must fight the good fight of faith and fight against all the lusts of the flesh!
Romans 6:12, “Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires.”. With the sexual immorality that is in our ‘entertainment’ system it can become so easy for us to fall into the many traps of sin. When temptation comes our way, we must acknowledge it and respond Biblically. We need to be well-grounded in the Word of God. Jesus responded to the devil when tempted with Scripture. If you are being tempted realize it right away, pick up your Bible, begin to pray, put some worship music on. We need to make war when it comes to temptation. Not every sinful habit immediately falls off when we are born again, that is why we need to develop a good lifestyle of discipleship.
Temple of Holy Spirit
1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us our physical body is the temple of the Holy Spirit indwelling in us. When we are genuinely born again, the Holy Spirit enters us. We need to treat our bodies as temples. Imagine if you owned a million-dollar mansion, you would not let it turn into a dump, you would properly maintain it. We are to treat our bodies with care. That includes what we allow ourselves to see and hear, be incredibly careful of what you entertain yourself with. We also must take good care of our bodies in a physical sense. We must eat healthy and not let ourselves live an unhealthy lifestyle.
Paul also talked about righteousness. Romans 3:21-26 tells us how by using the Law we see how unrighteous and guilty we were. However, because of God loved us so much He laid our punishment out on Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. Blood was shed for our sins; the wrath of God was poured out on Jesus Christ to pay the price for our sins. We must all repent of our sins and put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone. We are unable to be righteous by our own strength, it is not possible. Righteousness is only achievable through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. You will not be more righteous because of doing good works or saying the Rosary. Genuine Salvation will of course bring forth good works as a result, Jesus tells us that they will know us by our fruits.
There are many important points in Acts 24, I encourage you to study and meditate on this chapter in your own private time with the Lord. With all that is going on in the world right now, we must realize how important it is for us to be students of Gods Word. We must take time with it each and every single day. Before you read it each day, pray that God grants your spiritual knowledge and revelation, and also keep your mind clear and focused as your read His Word.