Make sure your defense is sure.
SEPTEMBER 11, 2023
Make sure your defense is sure. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Key Life is all about God’s radical grace. Grace that has dirt under its fingernails and laugh lines on its face. If you want the Bible to be a book of rules, you may want to stop listening now. But if you’re hungry for the truth that’ll make you free, welcome to Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. Hope you had a great week-end and I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’re just joining us, you’re joining us at pretty close to the end of a series, that we’ve been doing for months and months on the Book of Acts in the New Testament. It’s the beginning, it’s the foundation, it’s the anchor, it’s how we started as the church. And as you go through the Book of Acts, you want to say, Jesus, do it again. Do it again. As we get into these final chapters, we’re looking at how Paul defends himself in the face of some crazy charges. And we’re reminded that we live in a crazy world. And how should we defend ourselves in a crazy world? So, we’re going to spend this week, next week, and maybe the next week talking about Paul’s defense and the reason we don’t engage in what Paul did defending himself. And you’re going to be surprised and convicted and guilty as I have been working on this material when we look at it and start talking about a crazy world and making our defense sure. It’s our practice on Mondays to go before the throne before we go before the book. Let’s do that. Father, we come into your presence and we come so surprised as always that we’re here. We’re not here because we’re good or good looking or know so much or faithful. We’re here because You invited us, and that invitation constantly is amazing grace. Father, you know the people who are listening to this broadcast, and you know the hard places and the soft places, you know the parties and the funerals, you know the laughter and the tears. Remind us always that you’re present, that you are the sovereign Creator, Ruler and Sustainer of everything, and that includes our lives, and that you are sufficient. Teach us to praise you in all things, and to trust you in all things, and to look forward to that time when we’ll be home and we’ll be sharing war stories together. Father, as always, we pray for the one who teaches on Key Life. Forgive him his sins, they call him reverend, and he’s not very much. We would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen. As I said, we’re looking at the defense of the apostle Paul in the face of some crazy charges. And I’m going to not spend a whole lot of verse on verse exposition of these final chapters in the Book of Acts. In the 24th chapter, and we’ll look at that more today, Paul is in Caesarea and he’s before Felix. And then as if that weren’t enough, you move into the 25th chapter, and Paul is defending himself in front of Festus. And then if that weren’t enough, in the end of that chapter, he’s defending himself in front of Agrippa. And we’re going to look at some things in all of those chapters, but we’re not going to spend a verse by verse kind of thing on it. And then we’re going to, this is kind of in my mind what we’re going to do. We’re going to talk about Paul’s journey to Rome and the shipwreck that he experienced there. And then we’re going to look at the 28th chapter of the Book of Acts and spend a little bit of time there. And you say, Steve, There is no 28th chapter of the Book of Acts. I know that. That’s the chapter that we write after we study the Book of Acts. But today, let’s dig back into the 24th chapter.
And after five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and the spokesman, one Tertullus.
And he’s a hired gun, by the way.
They laid before the governor their case against Paul. And when he was called, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying: “Since through you we enjoy much peace, and since by your provision, most excellent Felix, reforms are introduced on behalf of this nation, in every way and everywhere, we accept this with all gratitude. But to detain you no further, I beg you in your kindness to hear us briefly. For we have found this man
talking about Paul
a persistent fellow and agitator among the Jews throughout the world and a ringleader of a sect of the Nazarenes. He even tried to profane the temple, but we seized him. By examining him yourself you will be able to learn from him about everything of which we accuse him.” The Jews also joined in the charge, affirming that all this was true. And when the governor had motioned him to speak, Paul replied: “Realizing that for many years you’ve been a judge over the nation, I cheerfully make my defense. As you may ascertain it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship at Jerusalem, and they did not find me disputing with anyone or stirring up a crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues or in the city. Neither can they prove to you what they now bring up against me. But this I admit to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the law or written in the Prophets, having a hope in God, which these themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection both of the just and the unjust. So I always take pains to have a clear conscience before God and toward men. Now after some years I came to bring to my nation alms and offerings. As I was doing this, they found me purified in the temple, without any crowd or tumult. But some Jews from Asia– they ought to be here before you and to make an accusation, if they have anything against me. Or else let these men themselves say what wrongdoing the council, except this one thing which I cried out while standing among them: ‘With respect to the resurrection of the dead, I am on trial before you this day.'” But Felix, having rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, “When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case.” Then he gave orders to the centurion that he should be kept in custody but should have some liberty, and that none of his friends should be prevented from attending to his needs. After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak upon faith in Christ Jesus. And as he argued about justice and self-control and future judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I have an opportunity I will summon you.” at the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul. So he sent for him often and conversed with him. But when two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.
Now that’s kind of a, that’s kind of a solid place to begin when you start looking in this chapter and the next two of Paul’s defense before a very crazy world. And as we have seen when the hired lawyers stood before the court, his name was Tertullus. He did nothing but flatter Felix. Now, I don’t have time to go into it, but Felix was a very bad leader. He was protecting his posterior, he knew he was in trouble with Rome. And yet, when the hired lawyer stood before him, he said this. This is verse two through three.
Since through you we enjoy much peace, and since by your provision, most excellent Felix, reforms are introduced on behalf of this nation.
Dear friend, that is called flattery. Be very, very careful when the world says good things about you. You think about that. Amen.
Thanks Steve. That was Steve Brown guiding us through the courtroom drama we find here in Acts 24. I feel like this would make for a good TV show. Law and Order Caesarea. Can we work on that? Can we get that going? We will continue from here tomorrow. It is our fond hope that you will join us then. We see it here in Acts, and I’m sure you’ve experienced it in your own life. Religion can make us weird and that’s a problem because when we’re being religious instead of living in the grace we have, it can make it hard for unbelievers to see Jesus. Well, Steve spoke about this in a sermon called Grace in Freedom based on Matthew 12:1-14. It’s a powerful talk, one of those right messages at the right time kind of things. We would love to send it to you on a CD for free. Get your copy right now by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for the CD. To mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Again, just ask for your free copy of the CD called Grace in Freedom. And finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you consider supporting that work through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card, you can include a gift in your envelope. Or pick up the phone and text Key Life to 28950. And if you can’t give, listen, we get it, seriously. But if you would, please do pray for us, okay? Always needed and appreciated. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.