Summary: Paul’s powerful 3 point outline he preached to Felix was inspired of God for us today as well. God is knocking...and we must answer! Link included to formatted text, handout, and PowerPoint Presentation.
The Procrastinating Governor
Be honest now, how many have a problem w/ procrastination? Me too, and I’m gonna work on that starting tomorrow [hey, that’s the same day my new exercise regimen begins!]
The governor of our state is under scrutiny as he seems to be scrambling to get things done suddenly now that it’s re-election time. Some people don’t work hard unless the situation grows desperate and the pressure is on!
The setting here in our text is Herod’s palace in Caesarea. The walls of this palace have witnessed many bloody scenes. It was here that Herod passed the sentence of death upon his own 2 sons. And many other Jews were brutalized in this place and the screams of believers have echoed often, only to be suddenly silenced.
Now these walls are about to hear a sermon like very few ears have ever heard. Let’s use our mind’s eye and picture this scene from inside as the front gates swing open, and in walks a man named Felix, the Governor of Judaea. He’s wearing a royal red robe, and he can be best characterized by the words “cruel” and “covetous.”
From a worldly perspective his life is a success story: born a slave, later freed, and eventually worked his way up to Governor of Judaea. The Roman historian Tacitus said, “He exercised the authority of a king, with the spirit of a slave.” He was cruel and covetous.
He takes his place on the judgment seat. Walking in behind him is his wife Drusilla. She comes from a very wicked bloodline: daughter of Herod Agrippa I, the one who had the Apostle James put to death. It was her great grandfather, another Herod, who attempted to kill the baby Jesus by having all the infants in Bethlehem slain in cold blood. She was said to be the most beautiful woman on earth in the 1 C. She was married first at the age of 14, and then one day the Governor Felix laid his eyes on her and had to have her…so he plotted, planned, and schemed to steal her away from her husband, whom she eventually divorced. As she walks into the courtroom, all eyes are on her.
Then, in walks the Apostle Paul, surrounded by Roman soldiers. His body is stopped from all the beatings, whippings, and being stoned. His face must show a hard life lived. Chains bind him, and rattle as he moves across the stone floor. He knows what it is to suffer for Christ.
An irony: Paul stands bound before Felix, who appears free, but has chains on his soul. Paul may be in bonds, but inwardly he is free indeed! And on this day Paul reasoned w/ Felix about faith in Christ. And our faith is quite reasonable! Isaiah says, “Come, let us reason together…”
Paul stands before the man who had the power to set him free, yet he didn’t beg for his life or freedom. He made no deals. He stood bold and tall and used the opportunity to preach to the Governor. The world would say, you’d better tone it down, Paul, or slip him some money!
But Paul knew that the central issue that day was whether Felix was a believer in Christ!
Ill.—court case in England, a family traveled down a wrong road that was unfinished, and had an accident. The prosecution said the road was clearly marked with a bright red flag, but their defendant said no it wasn’t. He claimed that if they would go retrieve the flag they would see. They did, and it was pale pink, from being out in the weather so long.
Too many pulpits today are waving a flag alright, but it’s so weathered and watered down it doesn’t really get the right warning across! It’s a pale pink flag, weak and sissified, and ineffective!
Paul raised the red flag this day. We aren’t told everything that Paul said, but just the basic outline, and it’s powerful. Like a good Baptist preacher Paul had 3 points:
v. 25 Righteousness, Temperance, and Judgment
What would Paul have said? He reasoned with Felix of:
1. A Righteousness he did not possess
God is righteous. Man is not. What appears as righteousness in human view is truly filthy rags compared to God.
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
[That’s not God talking about our bad but our good!]
The world has become very disrespectful of the Lord. He’s not “the man upstairs”, but the thrice holy God! Young people are calling his Son “J.C.”, and it’s blasphemous. God help us! We should reverence His name. We should fear Him!