ACTS CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE


PAUL BEFORE FESTUS

SUGGESTED TEACHING OBJECTIVES:

Introduction: Felix had trembled at God's message delivered by Paul but he rebelled against truth and God. He thought by imprisoning Paul that someone would try to bribe him to release him. "lso, he didn't want to stir up anymore disfavor with the Jews who would be unhappy if Paul were released. After two years, Felix was recalled to Rome and the last we hear of him, he was dying in the mountains, in exile. It's a dangerous thing to rebel against truth. Hebrews 3:7,8.

Now a new governor is sent to the province to replace Felix and he, too, will have to make a decision about Paul's message. Let's see today his reaction.

The Accusation -- Vs. 1-9

Vs. 1 -- Festus was a conscientious ruler. Three days after he began his duties, he went up to Jerusalem to examine the situation.

Vs. 2-3 -- He found the high priest and the leaders of the Jews still filled with intense hate for Paul. Here is an example of people who never give up their hatreds. Sometimes a person for some reason will begin to dislike someone; they are soon hating them and although the years come and go that hate never dies. They can never be happy. They are certainly to be pitied. CF. Proverbs 26:24; Matthew 5:43,44; 6:15; Ephesians 4:31; I John 2:9.

Vs. 4 -- This was a wise answer on the part of Festus. He knew the dangers involved for Paul on the trip to Jerusalem. It is always wise to protect and help God's people. Ezekiel 25:12-14.

Vs. 5-8 -- The Jews couldn't prove a single charge. Paul's defense was a denial of the charge. For a Roman citizen, "a man is innocent until proven guilty."

The Appeal -- Vs. 9-12

Vs. 9 -- Felix, who reigned before Festus, was a tyrant. Now Festus wanted to please the Jews but this proposition was unfair to Paul. He was safer at Caesarea than at Jerusalem. Festus had previously said that the trial ought to be held in Caesarea but now he reverses his position. Why? He had come to the place where he wanted to gain favor with the Jews. He was willing to go against his own conscience for personal gain. Today, many men are willing to stifle their convictions in order to gain wealth, power or position.  cf. Job 31:24,25,28; Psalm 119:36; Proverbs 23:4,5; Matthew 6:19-33.

Vs. 10-12 -- Paul's answer was that he had done no wrong, the charges were unproved and, therefore, he appealed to a higher court. There he would get justice and he knew he would not in Jerusalem.

The Announcement -- Vs. 13-21

Vs. 13 -- This was King Agrippa II, son of the Herod Agrippa I of Acts 12:1, and a great grandson of Herod the Great. Bernice was Herod's sister with whom he was living as his wife.

Vs. 14-21 -- Festus had a problem. He had to now send Paul to be judged by Augustus Caesar and he had no substantial charges against Paul to send to Caesar. This would be embarrassing and would really show Caesar that Festus wasn't too competent a ruler for this province. Note: When you attempt to ride the fence and be a compromiser as Festus was, you can count on finding yourself in some difficult and trying circumstances. Galatians 6:7-8.

The Deferment - Vs. 22-23

Felix knew something of Christianity. He knew it didn't stir up trouble, so Tertullus' speech didn't fool him. He decided to go deeper into the case when Lysias could come and be heard. He deferred the case until a later date and let Paul, though kept and guarded, have many liberties.

There seem to be two reasons for his not letting Paul go. One was that he didn't want to further antagonize these influential Jews. They could cause him to be recalled to Rome. Another reason was the love of money. Felix thought that by keeping Paul someone would bribe him to let him go free. cf. vs. 26 and 27. Both are poor reasons.

The Doctrines - Vs. 24-25a

Drusilla had been married to another man and Felix had taken her; from him. He had stolen another man's wife. One day they wanted to hear the great apostle Paul preach. They had heard of his power in preaching so they sent for him.

Paul preached. Note the theme! (1) Righteousness of life which Felix did not have.

(2) Temperance which he did not practice. (3.) Judgment to come which he rightly feared. He preached what preachers ought to preach. He said, "Here is your sin and here is what you ought to do about it!

The Delay - Vs. 25b.

Felix trembled as well he might. Here the position is reversed and Felix, the judge, becomes Felix, the prisoner: while Paul the prisoner, becomes Paul, the judge. We never read

that this "convenient season" ever came. God says "Now is the accepted time."

II Corinthians 6:2; Proverbs 1:24-31. What a fool Felix was to reject Christ.

The Detention - Vs. 26 & 27.

For two years Paul was kept a prisoner. No, God wasn't through with him but paul needed a rest and now God gave it to him. God always looks out after our needs.

Conclusion:  Paul's trial before Felix was one of the most outstanding ever held. From it we learn that God will see that the truth and righteousness will prevail. God will win out in the end. Let's get on God's side, as Pau1 was, in this great struggle of right against wrong! Let's get on the winning side!