Summary: When trying to decide on what to preach, remember Paul’s advice to Timothy.
WHAT MADE FELIX TREMBLE?
INTRO: This text involves three people. Drusilla, a Jewish woman, and the great-granddaughter of Herod the Great. Her uncle Herod Antipas was the one who beheaded John the Baptist. She had previously been married, and it was questionable as to whether she was now married to Felix.
Felix who was the procurator of Judea, appointed by Claudius the emperor. He had once been a slave in the home of Antonia, daughter of Mark Anthony and Octavia. It was said that he exercised the powers of a king with the mind of a slave.
Then there was Paul, a convert to Christianity. He had spent the last 25 years of his life as a missionary for Jesus, the Christ. He came to Jerusalem, where he was arrested and brought to Caesarea as a prisoner.
He was summoned before Drusilla and Felix for questioning. They were curious to see and hear about the faith in Christ. The Roman government didn’t have much interest in religion. It had been chased out of the political world.
Paul was given an opportunity. For him the question was, What shall I preach? Perhaps he remembered writing, “Preach the Word” to Timothy (2 Tim 4:2) or the word he had said, “Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (1 Cor 9:16).
The subject requested was Christ! The invitation was for Paul to speak on faith in Christ.
I. FAITH IN CHRIST AND RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Paul had said before, “There is none righteous” (Rom 3:10). Whatever virtue or self glory there was living in the hearts of Felix and Drusilla quickly died with the words of Paul.
Even if Felix defended himself by thinking of his kind deeds, generous gifts, or benevolent heart, he saw all of these fade.
Jesus is the righteousness of God. We have fallen short of God’s righteousness, yet God sent His Son to make us righteous. There is no boasting save by our faith in Jesus.
Felix and Drusilla had hardly recovered from such blows when Paul launched out with the second message of his sermon.
II. FAITH IN CHRIST AND TEMPERANCE.
Was Paul losing his train of thought by shifting to temperance (self-control)? Hardly. His audience was guilty of loose immorality. There were rumors about Drusilla and her brother. Felix was her third husband.
Paul knew that self-control was related to athletics (1 Cor 9:25) and also to sex (1 Cor 7:9). Just as Jesus had spoken of adultery at the point of lust, so Paul knew that promiscuous sex raged because self-control was missing.
Like an iron hammer falling on an almond nut and breaking it asunder, Paul dropped the word: This gospel is the “power of God unto salvation” (Rom 1:16). The weak become strong through Christ.
Just as the risen Christ has power over death, so He has power over man.
Drusilla probably looked at Felix as if to ask, “Why don’t you stop this fool?” Paul saw the look and went to another subject.
III. FAITH IN CHRIST AND JUDGMENT.
Paul would not let them escape without a decision. We are confronted now with this Christ, and we shall always be confronted with Him. Just as Paul was standing before Felix, Felix would stand before Christ. Felix trembled. The truth shook him. He responded with a decision, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” What a tragedy.