Summary: In this sermon, we review the times Paul was on trial and how he was a good witness during those opportunities.
A. One day a small town prosecuting attorney called his first witness to the stand in a trial.
1. The witness was a grandmotherly, elderly woman.
2. He approached her and asked, “Mrs. Jones, do you know me?”
3. The elderly woman responded, “Why, yes, I do know you Mr. Williams. I’ve known you since you were a young boy. And frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat, you manipulate people and you talk about them behind their backs. Yes, I know you.”
4. The lawyer was stunned and there was whispering among the courtroom audience.
5. Not knowing what else to do he pointed across the room and asked, “Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?”
6. The woman answered, “Why, yes I do. I’ve known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. I used to baby-sit him for his parents. And he, too, has been a real disappointment to me. He's lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. Yes, I know him.”
7. Again the courtroom was alive with chatter.
8. At this point, the judge pounded his gavel until the courtroom came to silence and he called both lawyers to the bench.
9. In a very quiet voice, the judge said, “If either of you asks her if she knows me, I’ll throw you in jail for contempt in a flash!”
B. That woman was certainly an interesting witness.
1. I’m guessing that she was a truthful witness, but she was one without a filter or a sense of what is appropriate or inappropriate.
2. What kind of witness are you? I’m not asking about what kind of courtroom witness you are, but what kind of Christian witness are you?
C. Someone has said that the Gospel in the first century was carried by a good system – it was called the “teleperson system.”
1. It was a system where one person tells another person about Jesus.
2. That system is still the best system for sharing the good news.
3. Even in our modern world of mass communication and slick marketing, few things are more compelling than the simple truths of Jesus relayed from one person to another.
D. In Acts chapters 24 through 26, we see that Paul was called to witness for Jesus as he was put on trial before several government officials.
1. Let’s try to get a sense of the power of the faithful testimony of Paul, and then let’s take what we can learn and apply it to our own lives.
I. Paul’s Witness
A. Last week, we watched as Paul had to be transferred from Jerusalem to Caesarea by 470 of the Roman Empires finest soldiers to ensure Paul’s safety.
1. After waiting five days for his accusers to arrive, a hearing took place before governor Felix.
B. The Bible says: 1 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. 8 By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.”
9 The Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true. (Acts 24:1-9)
1. So we see that Tertullus, a lawyer, presented the case against Paul on behalf of the high priest and elders.
2. He began his speech with a passage of almost nauseating flattery, every word of which both he and Felix knew was quite untrue.
a. Some people might say that Tertullus was just “blowing smoke.”
b. The truth of the matter was, since Felix had been appointed to this leadership post in Judea in A.D. 52, Judea had suffered widespread bloodshed, and that Felix’s greed was notorious.
c. Felix had been born a slave, but had risen to power on the shoulders of his brother a freedman, who was a favorite of Claudius.
3. Tertullus went on to state things that were equally untrue about Paul.
4. He claimed that the Jews had arrested Paul, but the scene in the Temple was more like a lynching than an arrest, and it was actually the Roman commander who had arrested Paul.