Paul and the Procrastinating Governor Acts 24:24-26
If there was a club for procrastinator’s I would most likely be elected president. But honestly, how many of us actually have a problem with procrastination? We’ve got that project we started several months ago that is still waiting for us to, not only finish it, but to actually get started.
In our text we find Paul in Herod’s palace in Caesarea, standing before the procrastinating Governor Felix. These palace walls and floors have witnesses the bloodshed of many, who were brutally murdered in this palace and the screams of believers were often heard echoing down the halls, before they were suddenly silenced.
But today will be different, in that there will be no bloodshed or screams of pain. Today these walls will hear a sermon as the Apostle Paul stands before Felix, the Governor of all Judea.
If we look at Felix from a secular worldview perspective, Felix’ life is a success story. He was born a slave and later freed and eventually he worked his way up to Governor of Judea. From slave to Governor, sitting in judgment over Judea, he was also known to be a very cruel and greedy man.
In our text, Felix, with all the noise of a dramatic entrance, walks in with his entourage and sits on the judgment seat. He is followed close behind by his wife Drusilla, who comes from a very wicked bloodline. Her father, Herod Agrippa I, had the Apostle James put to death and her great grandfather was the same Herod who attempted to kill the baby Jesus by having all the infant males in Bethlehem murdered.
After all the dignitaries enter the court room, in walks the Apostle Paul. He too has his own entourage. Paul is followed closely by Roman soldiers and, instead of trumpets, the chains that bind him rattle as he moves across the stone floor.
But there is something I want you to see.
Paul is standing before Felix bound by chains so, by human standards, Paul is the prisoner and Felix is the free man. But in reality Felix’ soul is in chains waiting for his death sentence, while Paul, who is physically chained, is inwardly free for all eternity!
As a child of God you may be chained by some outward bondage, something physical, yet because of Jesus you are free for all eternity?
In our text, Paul stands before the one man who had the power to remove his chains and, physically, set him free but he didn’t beg for his life or his freedom.
He made no deals but, instead, used the opportunity to share Jesus with the Governor of all Judea because Paul knew the only thing that mattered was whether Felix was a believer in Christ!
Maybe we need more preachers like Paul willing, in spite of the possible consequences, to speak the truth.
Our text says that Paul “reasoned” with Felix.
Paul reasoned with Felix about 3 things, according to verse 25.
1. Felix needed a righteousness not of his own making. Look at verse 25.
Man often thinks of himself as righteous but what appears as righteousness to man is nothing more than filthy rags, when compared to the righteousness of God.
[Isa 64:6 NKJV] “But we are all like an unclean [thing], And all our righteousnesses [are] like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.”
Isaiah is not talking about the bad that we do but the best we can do, in our own wisdom and strength. AS good as I can be, I’ll never scratch the surface of God’s goodness.
I am so thankful that Paul didn’t try to pull God down to Felix’ level but instead preached a righteous God who hates sin…today it’s about God’s love & none of His righteousness…
Grandma Bessie used to tell me, when I would tell her that I hated a person. She would say, “Now son you can hate the sin but you can’t hate the sinner.”
And we know that God loves sinners…BUT understand…He is a righteous God who hates sin.
In the 21st century we may call sin a weakness, but God still calls it wickedness…
We call it an accident but God still calls it an abomination.
We call it chance but God still calls it choice
So Paul showed Felix a righteousness unlike his own self-righteousness…
2. He needed a self-control which he did not practice.
The idea of “self-control” is something very foreign to Felix.
He was also a politician who took bribes and if we look at verse 26 we’ll that he was holding Paul, hoping for a bribe.
He was a corrupt man and I have a feeling Paul called him an adulterer, a thief, and a murderer, and the Bible says these, in their unrepentant condition, cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Maybe he looked at Drusilla and pointed out a few of her sins as well.
These days, many people have never been confronted with the truth about how God feels about their lifestyle and we need to preach the truth that it’s not a credibility gap, but a lie.
It’s not an affair, but adultery.
It’s not just pre-marital carelessness, but fornication!
It’s not a disease but an addiction!
Did you know that the number one drug of choice, these days, is prescription pain meds and those who are addicted to or abusing these drugs will tell you that they are not drug addicts? There are those who get pain meds for the sole purpose of selling them for profit…OH but don’t call them a drug dealer because they’ll get mad!
Ladies and gentlemen it is narcotics and narcotics are DRUGS and I call it like I see it. You can change the label all you want and call it a weakness or a chemical dependence. We can make all the excuses we want for what we do but God still calls it sin.
When we point out the sin, however, we must do as Paul and share the other side. The other side is the side of hope, and what Paul was saying to Felix is, “you may not be able to control your passions, but God can empower you to overcome whatever sin is in your life! And if you are here today struggling with some sin that seems to control you HE will empower you, through the blood of Jesus to overcome it.
Paul said, in nutshell; “You need godly righteousness, and you don’t have it, but you can receive it as a gift. Your conduct is out of control, you’re a sinner by birth, by nature, and by choice, but God your creator can bring you out of it.”
Paul needed Felix to understand something and I beg you who are here today not to miss it. The final thing Paul reasoned was:
3. There is a Judgment coming that you will not avoid.
Paul told Felix, it does not matter who you think you are or how much you control, you will not be able to avoid nor stop the coming judgment. Friends, I’m telling you that you don’t want to stand before that Judgment seat without Jesus standing by you.
In verse 25 Paul says to Felix, “Here’s what God demands [righteousness], here’s what you are [wicked], and therefore, judgment is coming…”
You may be able to hide it for a time but it will rise to the surface, in the end. “A few decades ago, several American companies authorized by the U.S. government attempted to bury toxic waste products underground. They filled large metal containers with chemical waste and other life-threatening products, sealed the drums tightly, and buried them deep down below the topsoil. They thought that was the end of it. Within a short time, however, many of the containers began to leak and the toxic waste started seeping to the surface, causing all sorts of problems. In some locations, it killed off the vegetation and ruined the water supply. People had to move out of their homes. In one section near Niagara Falls, known as the Love Canal, an excessive number of people began dying of cancer and other devastating diseases. Many communities are still suffering the effects of toxic-waste burials to this day”
See you can cover up your sin as deep as you want but it will come back to haunt you, in the end.
Paul knew that Felix needed to understand this. Here is a man who sits on the throne, as Governor. A man with a boat load of money, power, a beautiful wife, food…everything a man could want and it’s real easy to feel untouchable.
So, Paul tells him that judgment may not be today, but it is coming!
Maybe you, like Felix, are not ready to surrender your life to Jesus Christ today. Let me show you some of the dangers of waiting to be saved:
• Not now, maybe later is still saying no to God’s offer of salvation.
“But preacher I didn’t say I wouldn’t, I just said not right now.”
Can I tell you that 99% convinced is still 100% lost?
What if you leave here today saying, not today maybe tomorrow and you die before you get home? Today you will lose everything.
What did Felix gain by procrastinating? History tells us he died a miserable man, a few years after his meeting with Paul and rejecting salvation, we are told he committed suicide, by drowning himself in a lake.
It is so important that we urge our loved ones and our friends not to wait! Please don’t assume you can wait for a deathbed conversion. Don’t live for Satan for years thinking you’ll be able to call on your creator at the end of your life because you’re not promised tomorrow.
[Pro 27:1 NIV] “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.”
How many of you have a clock that you can hear ticking? Did you know that every tick is a second and with every tick, somebody dies? The truth is that one of those ticks is reserved for me. But listen…one of those ticks is reserved for you!
•Another danger of procrastination is Jesus could return at any moment.
[Mat 24:42 NIV] “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”
You may not believe today is that day but can you be sure? If Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart right now, you might want to answer the door, before it’s too late.
He says in, [Rev 3:20 NKJV] “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” [describe the painting…missing the doorknob] BUT finally
• God could stop knocking at any moment.
According to our text, Felix is under conviction. We have a record of his procrastination but we have no record of him being convicted again. It is possible to reject God’s voice until you get to a point that you can’t hear His voice anymore and suddenly you realize, He just stopped knocking.