Summary: God's Word gives us 4 pieces of evidence: 1. Being rejected by those who hate Jesus (vs. 1-9). 2. Living with great hope (vs. 10-15). 3. Striving for the highest standards (vs. 16; 18-21). 4. Giving with a generous heart (vs. 17).
Let’s Be Guilty of Godliness
The Book of Acts - Part 82
Acts 24:1-21 (Read vs. 1-10)
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - May 10, 2015
*In tonight's Scripture Paul the Apostle has become Paul the prisoner of Rome. It happened within days after Paul returned to Jerusalem to give a large offering to help the impoverished Christians in the city. But Paul was attacked by a murderous mob of Christ-rejecting Jews.
*Acts 21:30-36 gives this background:
30. . . All the city was disturbed; and the people ran together, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the temple; and immediately the doors were shut.
31. Now as they were seeking to kill him, news came to the commander of the garrison that all Jerusalem was in an uproar.
32. He immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down to them. And when they saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.
33. Then the commander came near and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and he asked who he was and what he had done.
34. And some among the multitude cried one thing and some another. And when he could not ascertain the truth because of the tumult, he commanded him to be taken into the barracks.
35. And when he reached the stairs, he had to be carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob.
36. For the multitude of the people followed after, crying out, "Away with him!''
*From that time on in the Book of Acts, Paul was under both the protection and the custody of Roman soldiers. The situation took a dangerous turn for the worse in Acts 23:12-13. There God's Word says:
12. And when it was day, some of the Jews banded together and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.
13. Now there were more than forty who had formed this conspiracy.
*Paul's courageous nephew got word to the apostle, and to the Roman Commander, Lysias, who then sent Paul to the safety of Caesarea under the protection of almost 500 Roman soldiers. There the Apostle was kept in custody by the Roman governor, Felix.
*Author David Fuller asked an old but very good question: "If it were against the law to be a Christian, and you were arrested, would there be enough evidence to convict you?" (1)
*When Paul was on trial before the Roman governor, Felix, the only thing Paul pled guilty to was being a Christian. Paul was guilty of godliness, and that's the way God wants us to be. Paul's trial shows us how with four pieces of evidence that can prove we are Christians.
1. The first piece of evidence is being rejected by people who hate Jesus.
*One day every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. But until that day there will be people in the world who hate Jesus, people who hate all that the Lord stands for, people who hate everyone who belongs to the Lord.
*We see an example of these hate-filled people in vs. 1: "Now after five days Ananias the high priest came down with the elders and a certain orator named Tertullus. These gave evidence to the governor against Paul."
*Think about the people who hate Jesus today. Just as we see in tonight's Scripture, many of them are religious; many of them have power and prestige; many have great gifts and abilities. They could be super-stars in the entertainment business, and many of them are.
*After buttering-up the governor, the Christ-haters in Acts 24 brought some terrible accusations against Paul. In vs. 5-6, Tertullus said:
5. "For we have found this man a plague, a creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.
6. He even tried to profane the temple, and we seized him, and wanted to judge him according to our law."
*In vs. 5, Tertullus called Paul a "plague," or "pestilent fellow." In other words: "Paul, you're a disease! You are causing strife and rebellion all over the world! You are profaning everything holy and good. And all our problems are your fault!"
*What horrible things to say, and much of the world feels the same way about believers today. Jesus told us that it would be this way. In John 15:17-25, the Lord said:
17. "These things I command you, that you love one another.
18. If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.