Summary: 1. Keep embracing the truth (Acts 24:22-25). 2. Keep helping people escape the tragedy (Acts 24:25-27). 3. Keep expanding your trust in God (Acts 24:27-25:12).
When God's People Are Stuck with Ungodly Government
The Book of Acts - Part 83
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - May 17, 2015
*Back in Acts 21, the Apostle Paul arrived in Jerusalem to worship the Lord and deliver a generous love offering the mission churches had donated for the poor Christians in Jerusalem. About a week later, Paul was assaulted in the Temple by a mob of Christ-rejecting Jews. The Apostle was almost killed, but he was rescued and taken into custody by the Roman army.
*The situation took a terrible turn for the worse in Acts 23:12, when over 40 of the Jews took an oath that they would not eat or drink until they had killed Paul. That threat led the Roman Commander to send Paul to the safety of the governor's headquarters in Caesarea. There the Apostle was kept in custody by the Roman governor, Felix.
*Last week in Acts 24, we saw Paul on trial before his Jewish accusers and the Roman governor. Tonight, we will see what happened next. Let's begin by reading Acts 24:22-27. And as we read, think about what we should do when we are stuck with an ungodly government.
*Two thousand years ago, the Apostle Paul was stuck with an ungodly government, and our federal government seems to be growing more ungodly by the day. New examples of corruption and rebellion against God crop up every week.
*Last week there was a victory over some of the abuse carried on by the IRS. Lyndon McLellan has spent more than a decade running the L&M Convenience Mart in rural Fairmont, North Carolina. Then last year, agents from the IRS came to the store and announced that they had seized his entire bank account of over $107,000.
*They were suspicious about some cash transfers he had made, but there was no evidence that Mr. McLellan had done anything wrong. He was never even charged with a crime. But two months ago, a U.S. Attorney told Mr. McLellan that any attempt to get publicity about his forfeiture case "doesn't help. It just ratchets up feelings in the agency. My offer is to return 50 percent of the money."
*Now, after the Institute for Justice brought national attention to the case, the IRS and Department of Justice moved to voluntarily dismiss the case, and give back all of McLellan's hard-earned money. Unfortunately, Mr. McLellan had already spent $22,000 to help convince the government he had done nothing wrong. (1)
*Proverbs 29:12 says, "If a ruler pays attention to lies, all his servants become wicked." And Proverbs 29:2 says, "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan."
*As we look into God's Word tonight, we can see some of these corrupt leaders. And there are some important lessons for us, lessons for when God's people are stuck with an ungodly government, and lessons for any hard times we face in life.
1. First: Keep embracing the truth.
*In the opening verses of tonight's Scripture, Paul kept trying to get the Roman governor Felix to embrace the truth about Jesus. Verse 22 tells us that Felix had a very good knowledge of "The Way."
*That was a very common name for Christianity during the early days of the church. And "The Way" is a good name for Christianity, because John 14:6 tells us that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. "The Way" is also a good name for Christianity, because trusting in the love and mercy of the cross is the only way to be saved. Peter made this truth clear in Acts 4:12. There he spoke about Jesus and said, "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.''
*Here, Governor Felix already had a good background about the truth, and Paul tried to get him to embrace the truth. Verses 24-25 say:
24. And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.
25. Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid (The KJV says he trembled) and answered, "Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.''
*With all his heart, Paul wanted Felix to embrace the truth about Jesus Christ: The good news that God loves us and sent His only begotten Son to die on the cross for our sins; the good news that Jesus rose again from the dead; and that He will save everyone who will who put their faith in Jesus. Everybody needs to embrace the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ! It's the way of God's love and mercy. It's the only way of salvation.