Sermons

Summary: Trial at Caesarea - Acts 24 - sermon by Gordon Curley. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

SERMON OUTLINE:

(A). The charges against Paul (vs 1-9)

(B). Paul’s defence (vs 10-21)

(C). Felix’s (in)decision (vs 22-23)

(D). Felix’s dialogues with Paul (vs 24-27)

SERMON BODY:

Ill:

Some stupid questions or answers that were actually given in court.

• ◦Lawyer: "Now, Mrs. Johnson, how was your first marriage terminated?"

• ◦Witness: "By death."

• ◦Lawyer: "And by whose death was it terminated?"

• ◦Lawyer: "What is your date of birth?"

• ◦Witness: "July 15th."

• ◦Lawyer: "What year?"

• ◦Witness: "Every year."

• ◦Lawyer: "What gear were you in when the car crashed?"

• ◦Witness: "Nike T-shirt & Reebok trainers."

• ◦Lawyer: "What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke that morning?"

• ◦Witness: "He said, 'Where am I, Cathy?'"

• ◦Lawyer: "And why did that upset you?"

• ◦Witness: "My name is Susan."

• ◦Lawyer: "Sir, what is your IQ?"

• ◦Witness: "Well, I can see pretty well, I think."

• ◦Lawyer: "What happened then?"

• ◦Witness: "He told me, he says, 'I have to kill you because you can identify me.'"

• ◦Lawyer: "Did he kill you?"

• ◦Witness: "No."

• ◦Lawyer: "Now sir, I'm sure you are an intelligent and honest man--"

• ◦Witness: "Thank you. If I weren't under oath, I'd return the compliment."

• ◦Lawyer: "You say that the stairs went down to the basement?"

• ◦Witness: "Yes."

• ◦Lawyer: "And these stairs, did they go up also?"

• ◦Lawyer: "Have you lived in this town all your life?"

• ◦Witness: "Not yet."

• ◦Lawyer: "Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?"

• ◦Witness: "All my autopsies have been performed on dead people."

• ◦Lawyer: "And lastly, Gary, all your responses must be oral. Ok?

• What school do you go to?"

• ◦Witness: "Oral."

• ◦Lawyer: "How old are you?"

• ◦Witness: "Oral."

TRANSITION:

• Once again the apostle Paul is on trial for the faith;

• And you can bet he will not be giving stupid answers.

At the end of the book of Acts Paul will give six defences of the faith:

• (First):

• Scripture: Acts chapter 22 verses 1-30.

• Location: Jerusalem.

• Audience: Jewish public and Roman commander.

• (Second):

• Scripture: Acts chapter 23 verses 1-10

• Location: Jerusalem.

• Audience: Sanhedrin.

• (Third):

• Scripture: Acts chapter 24 verses 10-23

• Location: Caesarea (Herod’s Praetorium - this was the residence of a city's governor)

• Audience: Felix Governor of Judea.

• (Fourth):

• Scripture: Acts chapter 24 verses 24-27.

• Location: Caesarea.

• Audience: Felix and Drusilla.

• (Fifth):

• Scripture: Acts chapter 25 verses 8-12.

• Location: Caesarea (The court of law)

• Audience: Porcius Festus Governor of Judea.

• (Sixth):

• Scripture: Acts chapter 26 verses 1-32

• Location: Caesarea (The auditorium)

• Audience: Festus, Bernice, Agrippa II and also a large audience)

This morning we are looking at defences three and four:

(A). The Charges Against Paul (vs 1-9)

“Five days later the high priest Ananias went down to Caesarea with some of the elders and a lawyer named Tertullus, and they brought their charges against Paul before the governor. 2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. 3 Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude. 4 But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly.

5 “We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect 6 and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. [7] 8 By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.”

9 The other Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true”.

• Five days after his escape from Jerusalem;

• Where his life was very much under threat from Jewish leaders in Asia;

• A dusty and travel worn Paul, chained hand and foot stands before Felix to stand trial.

Question: What kind of man was Felix the governor?

Answer: Others commentators and historians describe this colourful character.

Quote: William Barclay:

“He had begun life as a slave. His brother, Pallas, was the favourite of Nero. Through the influence of Pallas, Felix had risen first to be a freedman and then to be a governor.

He was the first slave in history ever to become the governor of a Roman province…

He was completely unscrupulous and was capable of hiring thugs to murder his own closet supporters. It was to face a man like that that Paul went to Caesarea.”

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