Summary: If we are following Jesus Christ, we have NOTHING to fear!! Paul demonstrates this clearly for us, and the challenge is: will we follow our Savior in proclaiming His grace to everyone we encounter?
Have No Fear
We are called to have a common purpose in what we do
-- The purpose is to worship, to love, and to celebrate Christ and share Him always
-- That is our challenge, mission, and it is STILL where we find ourselves today
-- Are you living what you speak because you want others to share in Jesus?
-- We cannot live in ways that bring glory to ourselves because we are temporary!
Today, we are going to discuss one of the greatest, and MOST crippling thing
-- The topic of fear brings lots of images to our mind: films, events, uncertainty
-- However, fear when applied to our lives by the enemy all too often silences us
-- This is where we find ourselves today and what we WILL work on together
Paul is currently on trial after spending 2 years in prison consistently delayed
-- Felix had no interest in really trying him; nor in hearing him (Acts 24:26)
-- So after 2 years Felix is replaced and now Paul is tried before Festus
What we start with is the usual trial of these times: accusation, hearing, judgment
-- However, something interesting happens here in the accusation stage
Let’s start with some background before diving into this topic of fear
Read Acts 25:13-27
Point 1 – Setting Up Paul (Acts 25:13-22)
King Agrippa and his sister Bernice have come to pay respect to Festus
-- Festus has an unusual situation here in that he doesn't really know how to act
-- He knows there is a problem … but what is he to do about it?
V14, Felix left this go for me to deal with and well … what would YOU do?
-- the Jews want him condemned (killed), but I cannot find out why?
V17, so I convened the trial immediately to get it out of the way – but now what?
-- The accusation is simply not there, the facts don’t match it, but no one’s happy
Festus knew that sending Paul to Jerusalem would mean his death, recommended it
-- v20 shows us that he didn't want to judge him, so let’s move it down the road
-- APP: Matters not how often you move something around, have to deal with it
-- A: Kids cleaning by stuffing under the bed? One day that has to be cleaned out!
So, in v22 we see Agrippa (a king) ask to hear from this man himself
-- Now don’t miss this, something very interesting is about to happen here
All the pomp & circumstance sets this up to be a great event; a spectacle to behold
-- The room is full, the people are all there, and face it: Let the show begin!!
-- If you were in this room probably be very excited; very anxious to witness it
-- I dare suggest that you would be a little sweaty; leaning forward to see this scene
APP: Now, consider Paul’s position: jailed for years, weak from illness, waiting
-- He’s not hanging out at the spa relaxing … he’s on trial for his life
-- If I had to speculate, even with his boldness there had to be fear within him
-- Fear of uncertainty, trusting in God of course – but weary from the run-around
Read Acts 26:12-23
Point 2 – Speak without Fear (Acts 26:12-23)
Paul first admits that he was blind to the truth about who God really is
-- In his opposition to God he was blind and then physically BY Jesus
-- Paul understood at that point that his sin had made him this way
-- Eph 2:1-2, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.”
Then, Paul admits that it was the one true God who spoke to him honestly
Now, this is very important for us so I want to ensure that we see this …
QUESTION: How does God speak to us?
Through His creation: Psalm 19:1-2, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.”
God expects to be heard: Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
Through His Word: Psalm 119:98-99, “Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.”