Summary: How should a believer respond when falsely accused? Paul's response to false accusations gives us a template for how to respond to such situations in our lives.
What to Do When Falsely Accused
February 18, 2018
NOTE: A PowerPoint presentation is available for this sermon by request at email@example.com.
TEXT: Turn to Acts 24
Have you ever been falsely accused? If so, I bet it was one of the hardest experiences you have ever gone through. We naturally shrink from criticism-even if justified or if an accusation is true. But when the charge is false, our natural sense of justice makes it almost unbearable.
In those situations, we can learn a lot from the Paul here in Acts 24. Here was one of God's choicest servants. He had been misunderstood and unappreciated by the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem. He was falsely accused by some unbelieving Jews as he exited the Temple. He was even the object of a case of mistaken identity with a notorious criminal. Everywhere Paul went in Jerusalem, he was misunderstood and falsely accused. Now, in Acts 24, he finds himself in a Roman court, defending himself from false charges made by the leaders of what amounted to the Jewish Supreme Court.
What should we do when we face a situation like Paul? Should we defend ourselves, or just lie down and take it? Or is there an even better way than these two extremes?
By examining Paul's response to these false charges against him, let's see three things we should do when falsely accused:
I. FIRST, LISTEN CAREFULLY TO YOUR ACCUSERS - Verses 1-8 - "And after five days Ananias the high priest descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the governor against Paul. 2 And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, 'Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence, 3 We accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness. 4 Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious unto thee, I pray thee that thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words. 5 For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes: 6 Who also hath gone about to profane the temple: whom we took, and would have judged according to our law. 7 But the chief captain, Lysias, came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands, 8 Commanding his accusers to come unto thee: by examining of whom thyself mayest take knowledge of all these things, whereof we accuse him.'"
Verse 1 says that the high priest, Ananias, came with the leaders of the Jewish Supreme Court to prosecute Paul before Felix, the governor of the region encompassing Israel.
They also brought along a man named Tertullus, what is called in the King James Version an "orator"-basically what we would call a prosecuting attorney today. And like many lawyers in his day, Tertullus was unscrupulous and open to the highest bidder, not caring if the charges he brought against Paul were true or not. He was also a Roman. Since the Jerusalem leaders wouldn't know Roman law well enough to argue their case themselves in a Roman court of law, Tertullus was hired to do it.