Summary: Felix heard the gospel, trembled, yet never gave his life to the Lord.
Acts 24: 24/25
“And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife, Drusilla, who was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, self-control, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.”
Felix trembled, that could be the epitaph placed upon the grave stone of the governor of Judea, before whom Paul pleaded his case. He trembled, but he did not repent. Felix trembled, but said tomorrow, when God was speaking to his conscience through the voice of the Apostle Paul saying today.
Verse twenty-four states, “That Felix came with his wife Drusilla a Jew,” the daughter of Herod Agrippa the one that put James to death. And it was her great uncle Herod Antipas who be-headed John the Baptist, and Herod the Great her great-great grandfather is the one who slew all the babies in Bethlehem.
History tells us that because of Drusilla’s curiosity to hear what Paul would say, that she arranged the interview with Felix. So the Apostle Paul meets with the governor of Judea, what a contrast!
The bible delights in striking contrasts. It gives us Abel and Cain, a type of innocence and guilt; Elijah and Jezebel, Jacob and Esau, Jesus and Pilate, Judas and John at the last supper. So, here in the palace stands Paul the preacher before Felix the governor.
On the throne sat Felix, the faded and withered pagan. He had been a slave and became a favorite of Claudius, and by the emperor was elevated to a high position. His administration was marked by injustice, extortion and violence. And sitting by his side is the lovely Jewess wife, Drusilla.
Before them, with chains on his arms and legs his body scarred with the marks of his sufferings for Christ’s sake, dressed in a garment which he had probably woven, completely different from the velvet and purple robe that Felix wore. Here is the Apostle Paul a prisoner because of testimony of Jesus Christ, ready to plead his case before Felix the governor Judea.
The responsibility of every born again believer is great, great because our sins have been forgiven, great because of the commission to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. Great because men, women, boys and girls are dying who have not heard the gospel.
Standing before Felix, Paul could have made it easy on himself if he would tone down the message, preaching in vague generalities or harmless platitudes even bestowing some flattery upon Felix. But for Paul it was “Woe is me, if I preach not the Gospel.” So Paul spoke to Felix about three things, of righteousness, temperance and of judgment to come.
You see, righteousness and judgment are the habitation of God’s throne, and when Paul began to reason about righteousness, I have no doubt that Felix and Drusilla looked at one another in stunned surprise. Felix thinking of the bribes he had been paid and of the innocent men he had cast into prison.
The bible tells us that, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” We are living in a day of unrighteous behavior, and we expect that of the unbeliever, but it has crept into the church. Giving no thought of the price one must pay for sins.
When Paul begins to talk about Self-control the finger of conscience pointed to Felix, saying, “Thou art the man.” His life was out of control, his lifestyle was wrong, and his dealing with the people was dreadful, his marriage to Drusilla was a disgrace. Self-control is so important, and especially in the life of a believer.
Sad to say, that many in the church have not learned self-control, their relationships with others show it to be a fact. As believers we must control our activities, thoughts, tongue and opinions.
As Paul continues to testify before Felix he talks about the judgment to come. Here is a subject that is left out of most sermons today, but Paul did not leave it out. Christ did not leave it out, nor does the bible leave it out. We must witness not only to the time that we are living in, but to eternity, because judgment begins at the house of prayer, for if we judge ourselves we will not be judge.
Paul made Felix see the judgment throne of God, and when he saw it, Felix trembled. Seldom, if ever has preaching revealed such a victory as this sermon. Felix is the last man that we would expect to tremble; he had not trembled until he heard Paul preach of righteousness, temperance and of judgment to come.
This kind of preaching will awaken the conscience of man to the point of making a decision. This is what the word of God will do, “For it is quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The truth will awaken the conscience; and cause us to tremble.