Summary: What is often passed off as indecisiveness or propriety or procrastination is a dishonest attempt to keep from honoring what is right and fair. We can see Felix’s motives as an example. We can also see how God can use such red tape.
1. So today we honor our graduates, and we honor our fathers.
2. I will honor our graduates with a joke:
Why did Mary want to work at a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet even though she'd received her B.A. degree? Because it had been on her bucket list for a long time.
3. For dads, I will tell a hear-warming story, emphasizing that being a good dad is often seen in life’s small events.
4. JACK WALDEN writes, “About 10 years ago, my brother and I found work nights during Christmas break with a buddy who had practically lived at our house when we were in high school. Johnny Johnny set us up with a very small factory that was trying to fill a large order for wooden pallets before the end of the year. Even though it was a ragtag operation, discipline was severe according to a strict point system. If you were a second late, you got a point. Texting was another source of points. I got a point for going to the doctor for strep throat. My dad hates all of this. He missed us being away at school. It was very cold the night of December 23. We were looking forward to being away from the plant for the next two days. Then I heard my name over the intercom. I was filled with dread. I really needed to work the next two weeks and I had been texting again. When the office door opened, I saw my dad chatting the supervisor up and holding a small box full of Mickey D bags. Two McRibs apiece and he didn’t forget Johnny Johnny either. It may have been the best holiday meal I have ever had.” [source: ozy.com].
5. Most graduates and most dads have on thing in common: they usually hate red tape.
6. Red tape is often a way to discourage others from claiming their rights or benefits.
7.My parents bought me a watch with a lifetime guarantee, supposedly. A friend I knew had the same watch, but he was given it earlier. Sure, they repaired it for free, but you had to mail it in and cover return postage. Oh, they wouldn’t fix it without oiling and cleaning it, and there was a $15 service charge for that (about like $50 in current money). Then, three months later, it would break again. They were eventually sued and charged with fraud.
8. Government agencies, insurance companies – all kinds of organizations use this technique. The technique is as old as the Bible.
9. Another technique to avoid responsibility is procrastination. People may procrastinate for a variety of reasons, often a perfectionist attitude, waiting for an ideal time.
Ecclesiastes 11:4, “He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.”
10. Felix kept Paul in custody for two years for a variety of self-serving reasons. He used red tape and procrastination to do it.
Main Idea: What is often passed off as indecisiveness or propriety or procrastination is a dishonest attempt to keep from honoring what is right and fair. We can see Felix’s motives as an example. We can also see how God can use such red tape.
I. The Events of Acts 24: Paul Is in LIMBO for Two Years (1-27).
A. The CHARGES against Paul (1-9)
1. Tertullus schmoozes Felix and accuses Paul of being a troublemaker.
• This schmoozing was part of typical protocol
• It was true that the high priests depended upon Roman support.
2. Felix was aware of the “way,” the Christian movement (Nazarenes).
3. His accusers offer nebulous statements, but no real evidence of wrong.
• A Roman judge could consider a situation extra ordinem, and condemn someone without specifics, just for being an obvious trouble maker (see Witherington)
B. Paul ANSWERS these charges (10-13).
• Read these verses
C. Paul takes the issue to a THEOLOGICAL level (14-21).
D. Felix’s decision is INDECISION (22-27).
• Felix was a dastardly man, and here he plays both ends against the middle.
• As we shall see, it was all about his own personal benefit.
II. The MOTIVES Behind Felix and His Attempt to Trap Paul in Red Tape.
A. It would take a lot of EFFORT for Felix to examine these accusations carefully.
1. When people do not really care about something, they take the path of least resistance.
2. I can understand the concept; there are many things I don’t care to get into.
3. We all have to be selective based upon what we rule out beforehand.
4. Felix did not want to get involved in religious strife and disputes.
5. Jesus, on the other hand, was an engager; so we too must sometimes engage.
B. Felix wanted to do the Jews a FAVOR (27) for political advantage.