Summary: Paul was always in trouble in the book of Acts. And here we find a great example of how he handled it.
Passage: Acts 21:37-22:22
Intro: We have a foosball table in our house
1. I’m very good when I play by myself.
2. but when I play against Caroyl Johnson, or my son-in-law Brycen, “The stonewall”, things are different.
3. in the Christian life, persecution either snuffs out our life or makes it shine more brightly.
4. and there is no doubt that what Paul was experiencing in this passage was great persecution, alone
5. he was misunderstood, criticized, and vilified, even by those who claimed Jesus Christ as their Messiah.
6. but in Paul’s case, this persecution had just the opposite effect than was intended.
7. our struggle may not be so intense, but we can take the same steps that Paul took in this passage.
8. Jesus promised us trouble, but our response to it is critical if we are to be effective witnesses to His life-changing power.
9. Paul did not avoid or run from trouble, but used it to glorify the Lord Jesus
I. State the Truth Clearly
1. earlier in this chapter, it was made clear that the Jews had a skewed view of Paul’s theology. V21
2. and it was that view that caused a riot when they caught sight of Paul in the temple.
3. he was rescued by the Romans, and could have been content to be carried off to safety.
4. but he was compelled to stay by two things:
5. one was his obvious love for the Jewish people, which brought him to Jerusalem
6. second, they needed to know the truth, and not base decisions on rumors.
Il) this last election, more half-truths and rumors floating around than I have ever seen. A well-placed rumor can torpedo a candidate.
7. but the stakes were too high for Paul
8. asked commander if he could talk, then with permission, addressed the crowd.
9. statement full of cultural sensitivity to his audience.
10. spoke in the Hebrew dialect of Aramaic instead of Greek.
11. 22:1 “brothers and fathers”, same way Stephen addressed Sanhedrin in 7:2
12. established commonality by giving Jewish pedigree: v3
13. throughout this address, spoke “Jewish” not only in language, but also in culture.
14. without compromising the truth, Paul spoke in a way that would be understood, because his purpose was not to lessen his trouble, but to communicate the gospel.
Il) when a person goes to speak to prisoners, he uses different images and language than if speaking to a Christian college chapel service.
15. the goal is to clear up misconceptions and make the truth plain.
16. this is close to God’s heart.
17. this is not defensiveness. It is clarity.
II. Let Your Life-Light Shine
1. you would think that Paul would do more than give his life story.
2. but that’s exactly what he did, and in doing so connected with every Jew there.
3. he had been where they were, with a deep nationalistic pride and all the prejudices that went along with it.
4. the change that God had made in his life was deep, completely reversing his murderous hatred of everyone who followed Jesus.
5. the change had been so powerful that he had immediately been baptized in the name of Jesus, becoming his follower instead of his persecutor. V16