Acts 24:20 Or else let these same here say, if they have found any evil doing in me, while I stood before the council,
21 Except it be for this one voice, that I cried standing among them, Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day.
22 And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter.
23 And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him.
Paul was not a criminal. The Roman Empire was better off with Paul alive and free to preach than it was with the false teachers free to spread their heresies. However, the Roman government was in darkness and they did not realize where true value was to be found. We know this was not a unique problem with the Roman government.
The Pharaoh of Egypt knew he had a good thing going with the Israelites as his slaves. He decided to treat them harshly rather than fairly. Eventually he lost much wealth in Egypt and then his own firstborn son and finally even his own life and that of his army. He never turned to the true God even though he was given much evidence of His reality.
Nebuchadnezzar was introduced to some wise young men among the captives of Judah. He learned of their wisdom early on in their captivity, yet he still ignored the value of that wisdom on several occasions. He was so angry with Daniel’s three friends that he wanted to destroy them in a fiery furnace. He did not like it that they would not bow to his evil image. He already had occasion to know that their God was great and wise, yet he tried to force these men to bow to his pagan deities. King Darius allowed himself to be duped into signing a decree that would put Daniel’s life in jeopardy. He knew he had made a mistake after he signed the decree, but he could have known that before he signed it. God protected Daniel and no harm came to him.
The Jews of Jesus’ time on earth rejected Him even though He did so many wonderful things and taught the truth. They would have accepted the wonderful things, if He would just have endorsed the false teaching of that time. To this day, the nation of Israel is still rejecting the true God.
In our text, Paul had been protected from the false religious leaders by the Roman government. They did not know what the fuss was about. They were not interested in yielding to the truth themselves. They were also not interested in following the false teachers. They thought they had a fairly good thing going. Thus Paul was kept in prison.
In verse 20 Paul continued his defence before Felix. He challenged those who were accusing him to bring some evidence before the council. Paul was not complaining, but he was encouraging Felix to insist on dealing with the facts, not with assumptions.
In verse 21 Paul again reminded those who were in attendance that he believed in the resurrection of the dead. That is an important doctrine. God directed Paul to write I Corinthians 15 to deal with the importance of the resurrection of the dead. He taught on the importance of Jesus Christ’s resurrection as the firstfruits of all resurrections. If Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, then those who put their faith in Jesus Christ have believed in vain. A dead Saviour is no Saviour at all. The Roman gods were vain gods. The Judaizers’ gods were vain gods. However, the apostle Paul had a living and true hope because he believed in the risen Lord Jesus Christ. The resurrection of the dead was a threat to the lost. Lost people do not want to be accountable to anyone. They want to live as they please and yet in the end they want to be in a good place. The resurrection of the dead challenges their false belief and reminds them that there is an accountability and a judgment they will face.
In verse 22 we see that Felix understood some of the facts of “that way”. That terminology was the way the saints were identified for a time. Felix did not have his head in the sand. In some ways, he was not like many modern day politicians. He actually took an interest in the various aspects of his jurisdiction. He resisted the drawing of God in his life, which was a shame, but he had some understanding of those who believed in the true God. God was drawing him to Himself, but Felix was resisting the truth.
Felix was a typical politician in that he did not want to do anything that would not be popular. His “job” was more important than truth. He stated that he would wait for Lysias the chief captain to come and give a verbal account of the events in question. We see here again the time and effort that was being invested in this one man, Paul. It is obvious that God was working in the hearts of these lost people to keep them from just getting rid of Paul and going on with life. God wanted Felix to not just have head knowledge of the truth, but to actually repent toward God and be saved. We know that God also wanted the people in Rome to have further opportunity to hear the truth.
Paul would need to be patient and trust God to continue to work this situation out for His glory. Paul was content to do that. He had much opportunity to speak the truth to those who were around him at this time.
In verse 25 we see that Felix did not cater much to the false teachers. He ordered a centurion to keep Paul but to give him liberty to visit with any of his acquaintances that would come unto him. Prison life was no picnic at that time but Paul was being looked after by Roman soldiers and he was being protected from the Judaizers at the same time. They could not drag him out of town and stone him. They could not attack him in any meaningful way. God was looking after His child.
Faithfulness is so important. Paul could be a blessing to many because he was a faithful servant of the Lord. He could continue to learn from the Lord and he could also witness to the soldiers and be a blessing to all that came to see him. He could also receive a blessing from any saints that came to see him.
It is important for us today to walk closely with the Lord so that we can know what He is doing. This is always important. It has been particularly important during the past two years and will continue to be important in the future. We are not done with the government overreach. They keep bringing up new strains and they keep trying to scare people with the “danger” of these strains. People are becoming very frustrated with the situation at the airports in this country. The government is intent on flexing its power and so far will not listen to any opposition voices, even from within its own party.
They do not want to give any room for anyone to think that this “monkeypox” is the result of the shots. Yet there is evidence coming out that suggests this very thing. They are finding that this “monkeypox” is a strain of herpes and there has already been mention of herpes being one of the many adverse effects of the shots.
There is much going on right now. We do not need to be prophets to see what is going on. We need to be saved and faithful students of God’s Word and listen to the facts that He is bringing out regarding what is taking place. He is not giving visions and dreams. He is directing individuals to reveal what is happening. There is a lot of lying taking place, but in the midst of that, there is truth being brought out as well. Those who are saved do not need to live in fear. We can trust God to guide us safely through this life, and into eternity, just as Paul could trust Him in his day.
Today is the Lord’s Day. I would encourage each reader to go to a good church today. Go where your soul can be fed.
Isaiah 55:6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.