Summary: Felix, Festus, and Agrippa procrastinated and it cost them eternal life in Jesus Christ.
Avoiding Costly Mistakes at All Costs - Procrastination
Pastor Don Jones
West Glendale Baptist Church
Last night I got a wild hair around 7:00 P.M. I wanted to fix a mechanical pencil that was broken and refill a ball point pen. These had been broken for the past 6 years but at that moment they were all that I had on my mind. I finished a good 45 minutes later victorious and filled with pride at my accomplishment. I even picked something off the floor with my left hand. No small feat when your hand only makes a claw on most days.
The trouble was that the message wasn’t typed. It was in my mind, outlined on paper, illustrations selected, but not typed. Deb was waiting to do the Power Point and again I had put myself under the gun and unfortunately, her. I had perfectly good reasons. I had spent hours counseling individuals this week. It is something that I don’t normally do but considering the problems were of a life and death nature, I needed to take the time.
We are going to finish the series, "Avoiding Costly Mistakes At All Costs". The final message will center on the costly mistake of procrastination. I am sure that most of us are aware of this in our own lives to some extent. I lost 45 minutes doing something I really didn’t need to do. It cost me and my wife valuable time. My concern this morning is that you not allow this costly mistake of procrastination, cost you an eternity with God.
I am also 400 years behind the Reverend Anthoney Walker who used the term for the first time in his sermon on the "sin" of procrastination. The word itself comes from the Latin word procrastinatus: pro- (forward) and crastinus (of tomorrow). It is by definition the deferment or avoidance of an action or task which requires completion by focusing on some other action or task.
For the person procrastinating this may result in stress, a sense of guilt, the loss of productivity, the creation of crisis, and the chagrin of others for not fulfilling one’s responsibilities or commitments. The psychological causes of procrastination vary greatly, but generally surround issues of anxiety, low sense of self-worth, a self-defeating mentality or laziness. Procrastination can be a persistent and debilitating disorder in some people, causing significant psychological disability and dysfunction.
Traditionally, procrastination has been associated with perfectionism. There are different types of procrastinators including the relaxed type, the tense-afraid type, and others. Today we are going to look at scriptures dealing with spiritual procrastination. Open your Bibles to Acts 26.
Cue slide - The Accusations
The apostle Paul had been accused by the Jewish leaders of spreading all kinds of sedition. He had been preaching in Jerusalem. A riot broke out and the Jews wanted to kill Paul. The centurion in charge sent Paul to Caesarea for his own protection guarded by 200 spearmen. Chapter 24 starts with,
Five days later the high priest Ananias went down to Caesarea with some of the elders and a lawyer named Tertullus, and they brought their charges against Paul before the governor. When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix:
The charges leveled against Paul are found in 24:5-8. These charges were going to follow him throughout his journey to Rome. The Jewish leaders said,
We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him.
Cue slide - Felix
Felix, who was ruler at the time heard from Paul. He was familiar with Christianity, or the "Way" as it was called, and after hearing Paul’s account he decided he wanted to hear more. Something happened to Felix in the next conversation with Paul as he and Drusilla listened. It says,
As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him.
We are not really sure what Felix thought of Paul or his message. We do know that he was a man of power, knew a little about the "Way", and even though he was fearful at one time, he continued to listen to Paul for two more years until he was replaced by Festus. All we know is he left Caesarea having rejected Christ and leaving Festus with the problem of Paul.
Cue slide - Festus (not of Gunsmoke)
Porcius Festus (not of Gunsmoke fame) takes a different approach to Paul and the predicament he brings. First, the Jewish leaders wanted Paul transferred to Jerusalem. Festus knew that this would have simply made it easier for them to kill him. Festus convenes a court and asks Paul if he would like to be transferred to Jerusalem. Paul asks Festus if he has done anything deserving of death and if so that he be put to death. He declares to Festus that no one had the right to hand a Roman citizen over to the Jews. Paul then, to the ruler’s relief, appeals to Caesar.