Summary: When we are criticized it is essential to stick with the facts rather than to conjecture about matters that we are unfamiliar with

Sticking With the Facts

(Acts 24:1-27)

Illustration:Two men who lived in a small village got into a terrible dispute that they could not resolve. So they decided to talk to the town sage. The first man went to the sage’s home and told his version of what happened. When he finished, the sage said, "You’re absolutely right." The next night, the second man called on the sage and told his side of the story. The sage responded, "You’re absolutely right." Afterward, the sage’s wife scolded her husband. "Those men told you two different stories and you told them they were absolutely right. That’s impossible -- they can’t both be absolutely right." The sage turned to his wife and said, "You’re absolutely right."

David Moore in Vital Speeches of the Day.

1. Many people become flustered when they are criticized and forget to stay focused on the truth. Paul weathered the storm of criticism before the Jews and governor Felix by sticking to the facts.

The great apostle refused to be sidetracked because he knew that he was primarily responsible to speak the truth in love. Paul clarified how particular values were important to Christ’s purpose and to his own without trying to appear to be haughty, insensitive or disrespectful to Felix.

It is not necessary to have to agree about all things in order to have a decent relationship with people. Refuse to accept that you have to surrender your beliefs on essentials just to stay in the good graces with those who have authority over you.

Ask the Lord to help you balance your love and truth as you communicate Christ to all people.

2. Stay calm using the power of prayer, thankfulness and praise. Paul approached his trials in an attitude of trust knowing that the Lord is greater than any problem, person or situation.

Quote:I would define true courage to be a perfect sensibility of the measure of danger, and a mental willingness to endure it.

W.T. Sherman.

Ask the Lord to help you keep your positive approach to everything. Be confident that God is able to deliver you from all things in all situations.

3. Paul came into the court of Felix with plenty of mental and spiritual preparation. The great apostle planned his defense based on the truth in Christ and his commitment to eternal purposes.

While remaining modest and respectful of authority, Paul gave Felix solid reasons for his innocence and Christ’s truthfulness.

Whenever you communicate do the necessary research, homework and study for a solid defense.

Be ready for any eventuality by being over prepared to defend your convictions on a wide range of issues.

4. Paul did research on Felix to tailor his defense and strategy. The wise apostle knew that Felix was a political leader who was cruel, licentious, unrighteous, steeped in blood, rich by oppression, and profligate in conduct.

History tells us that Felix rose to power by corrupt, shameful and sinister means. Felix was a man that abused his powers by severely dealing with any dissenters.

Paul knew that he would need to exhibit great skill or he could be immediately executed.

Trust the Lord to give you the political, social, and contextual wisdom to know the best ways to approach each person with the truth.

5. Paul knew that God had helped him develop into a man who was known for his self-discipline, intelligence, political skillfulness, uprightness, truthfulness, eloquence, generosity, consistency, hard work, faith, hope and love.

Do not sell yourself short, but believe that the Lord will help you appropriate the good things He has given to you.

6. Paul thanked Felix and spoke to him with the greatest respect, diffidence and honor. Many people are more interested in how much you care for them than how much you know.

Ask the Lord to give you a genuine sense of love for the people you are associating with so that your truth is always couched in a generous amount of love.

As far as it is possible, speak well of those around you. Model your approach after I Cor. 13:4-7.

7. Paul was an exception to the rule, but most people usually need advocates, intercessors and aids during times of difficulty.

Do not be shy about asking other people to help you pray. Solicit their help in your attempt to defend your credibility, actions and ideals.

Many people are actually honored when you ask for their help. Remember to trust the Lord for other members of Christ’s body to come to your aid.

Even Felix gave orders not to prevent any of Paul’s friends from ministering to him.” (Acts 24:23)

Trust and obey the Lord by cooperating with other gifted Christians.

8. Paul endured two terrible years in prison at the hands of Felix since the governor sought to squeeze bribes from the apostle and his friends.

Many times the righteous have to suffer injustices. Remember that Christ suffered terrible injustices for us as He said, “So send I you.” (Jn 20:21)

Ask the Lord to help you to be willing to endure adversity, hardship and injustice as a part of taking up your cross daily and identifying with our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Conclusion:There was a test conducted by a university where 10 students were placed in a room. 3 lines of varying length were drawn on a card. The students were told to raise their hands when the instructor pointed to the longest line. But 9 of the students had been instructed beforehand to raise their hands when the instructor pointed to the second longest line. 1 student was the stooge. The usual reaction of the stooge was to put his hand up, look around, and realizing he was all alone, pull it back down. This happened 75% of the time, with students from grade school through high school. The researchers concluded that many would rather be president than be right.

C. Swindoll, March 27, 1984

Things do not have to be fair in order for us to do God’s will.