Summary: Three things are important to remember in the life of a Christian: truth is to be lived, truth is to be spoken, and truth is to be demonstrated.
The Impact of Truth
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
Paul understood that Grace was the key to life; for it had been shown to him
-- Jesus is not to be ‘used’ or consulted only when we need something
-- APP: It’s not right to want the blessings without the relationship/commitment
LAST WEEK: We examined guilt and how even when we make the WRONG decisions … but our God is bigger than that and can STILL use us!
IMP: One of Satan’s most effective methods of wrecking the lives of Christians is the use of guilt to paralyze them from accepting God’s grace
BIG APP: Your past does NOT determine your worth or your future with Him!
Let’s unpack this chapter in sections for easy application and understanding …
Read Acts 24:1-9
Point 1 – Truth is Lived (v1-9)
Happiness really does come and go with some folks; nothing you can do about it
-- Let me just say, it is NOT your job to make other people happy
-- It is also not your job to ensure that everyone around you feels good
-- APP: Let’s face it … You have enough issues with you, right?
So what we are about to see is (again) more complaining and whining about Paul
-- Why? Because they don’t like the way he’s been talking and acting
-- EX: Preachers get this every day; “I don’t like …; he didn’t shake my hand”
There are two things to see in how these men handle themselves in front of power
First comes the sucking up (v2-4) …
-- Evil doers love to be praised and have their egos stroked
-- It gives value and makes them feel important in their shame and wickedness
-- Misery loves company … Face it, when we’re wrong we don’t LIKE to admit it
-- APP: What we do is get others to agree with us to silence the Spirit inside us
Then comes the accusation and what they don’t like (v5-9) …
-- EX: “Hello? Is this the complaint department? Yes I’d like to whine …”
-- This man has perverted “our god” and is stirring things up with this Jesus talk
-- So much to see here … let’s just be obvious: THEY MISSED SEEING GOD!
I want you to see something that is critical here; not only can’t you fix others
-- (PAUSE) … others will get their own answering time with God so let them be!
-- Deut 32:35, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.”
-- Rom 12:19, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.”
I love v9: It’s as if they were all going, “yeah … that’s the guy … blah/blah”
-- No integrity, no credibility, let’s just have a mob mentality – MISSED GOD!
-- We must be sure that how we live is how God is telling us; not our own “needs”
-- Selfishness is a deadly trait; humility is our calling to walk in
-- APP: Living in the truth is required … always!
Read Acts 24:10-21
Point 2 – Truth is Spoken (v10-21)
Now, after learning a lesson (remember his bad reaction last week) …
-- Paul begins to calmly explain who he is and what he is standing on
-- Paul states that he lives his life “strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man” (v16); but he is not living for man’s approval (see Gal 1:10)
-- APP: Your testimony matters – do your actions MATCH your words?
Rev Matthew Henry (1662-1714) wrote, “How many in the world would rather be accused of any weakness, nay, even of wickedness, than of an earnest, fervent feeling of love to the Lord Jesus Christ, and of devotedness to his service! Can such think that He will confess them when he comes in his glory, and before the angels of God? If there is any sight pleasing to the God of our salvation, and a sight at which the angels rejoice, it is, to behold a devoted follower of the Lord, here upon earth, acknowledging that he is guilty, if it be a crime, of loving the Lord who died for him, with all his heart, and soul, and mind, and strength. And that he will not in silence see God's word despised, or hear his name profaned; he will rather risk the ridicule and the hatred of the world, than one frown from that gracious Being whose love is better than life.”