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GOD IS USING YOUR STORY

Acts 25:1-22 | Part 49


 


 

2 Corinthians 2:14-16a (CSB) 14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in Christ’s triumphal procession and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of him in every place. 15 For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life.

TAKEAWAY

When we speak up…

When we share our story…

We might suffer…

But God will make us shine.

 

RECAP

Acts 24:27 27 After two years had passed, Porcius Festus succeeded Felix, and because Felix wanted to do the Jews a favor, he left Paul in prison.
  • Let’s catch up…

  • Chapter 24 starts with high priest & elders accusing Paul

  • Paul gives his defense before Felix.

  • Felix decides to postpone Paul’s hearing until the commander Lysias can join them

  • Claudius Lysias is the commander who protected Paul from those 40+ assassins

Acts 23:25-26 (CSB) 25 He wrote the following letter:[e] 26 Claudius Lysias, To the most excellent governor Felix: Greetings.
  • Commander Claudius Lysius was the one who wrote the letter to governor Felix at the end of Chapter 23, & sent Paul to Caesarea in the first place

  • This is the guy that governor Felix wants to wait for in order to continue Paul’s hearing

Acts 24:27 27 After two years had passed, Porcius Festus succeeded Felix, and because Felix wanted to do the Jews a favor, he left Paul in prison.
  • So Paul has been under centurion guard for 2 years!

  • “Felix wanted to do the Jews a favor”…so he leaves Paul in prison

  • He waits to pass on the problem to the next governor…Porcius Festus

  • It was Felix. Now it’s Festus.

  • The passing of the baton. New administration. New governor.

 

ENCOURAGEMENT

  • What do you think that Paul was doing for 2 years?

  • Lemme ask you…

  • How does Paul respond to his suffering?

  • How does he respond to all of the accusations & the adversity?

  • Lemme encourage you to begin praying:

  • “God, how should I respond to my suffering?”

  • How do I respond in a way that pleases You?”

 

Acts 25:1-22 (CSB) 1 Three days after Festus arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea.
  • So Festus takes over for Felix as governor, & quickly goes to Jerusalem

2 The chief priests and the leaders of the Jews presented their case against Paul to [governor Festus]; and they appealed, 3 asking for a favor against Paul, that Festus summon him to Jerusalem. They were, in fact, preparing an ambush along the road to kill him.
  • This is demonic rage.

  • These are Israel’s leaders!

  • They are lying.

  • They are attempting to manipulate Festus so that they can murder Paul

  • Sound familiar?

  • Should remind us of another man from the gospel of Luke (same author as Acts)...

  • Jesus was wrongfully accused.

  • Jesus was lied about.

  • Jesus was put before Pilate for no good reason & His death demanded.

  • This story about Paul in Acts is intended to remind us of the story of Jesus.

  • Luke (the writer) is using Paul as an example…a post-resurrection, post-ascension example of what a life might be like for those who decide to be disciples of Jesus.

4 Festus, however, answered that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself was about to go there shortly. 5 “Therefore,” he said, “let those of you who have authority go down with me and accuse him, if he has done anything wrong.”
  • I want us to pay attention to 2 words here: authority & accuse

  • Who now has all authority in heaven & on earth? JESUS

  • Who, in the Scriptures, is called the “Accuser of the Brethren?” SATAN

  • The Satan literally means “The Accuser”

6 When he [governor Festus] had spent not more than eight or ten days among them [in Jerusalem], he went down to Caesarea. The next day, seated at the tribunal, he commanded Paul to be brought in. 7 When [Paul] arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him and brought many serious charges that they were not able to prove.
  • We have a very real, spiritual enemy.

  • Our spiritual enemy hates freedom…hates grace…& hates Jesus most of all.

  • & our spiritual enemy hates all of us who are disciples of Jesus.

8 Then Paul made his defense: “Neither against the Jewish law, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I sinned in any way.”
  • Do we live our lives in this way?

  • Doing our best to not sin against anyone?

  • Living above reproach?

  • Following the laws of the land?

  • Pursuing peace?

  • quick to admit wrong?

  • Quick to ask for forgiveness?

  • Does this sound like you?

  • Do you even desire to live in such a way?

  • Or have you become numb to a sinful habit? Besetting sin? Addiction?

  • Confess it! Tell the truth!


Proverbs 16:6-7 (CSB) 6 Iniquity is atoned for by loyalty and faithfulness, and one turns from evil by the fear of the Lord. 7 When a person’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
  • Jesus wants us to be able to stand before anyone & everyone (even our enemies) with confidence & courage because we are living in Him.

    • …We are walking by the Spirit.

    • …We are turning from evil because we know that God sees (fear of the Lord)

    • …We are living our lives in a way that is pleasing to God.


9 But Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favor, replied to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem to be tried before me there on these charges?”
  • In the Gospel of Luke, we saw Pilate accommodating the Jews by giving them Barrabas, & crucifying Jesus

  • At the end of Chapter 24, we saw Felix “wanted to do the Jews a favor” & so he left Paul in prison.

  • Here we see Festus “wanting to do the Jews a favor” yet again.

10 Paul replied, “I am standing at Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as even you yourself know very well. 11 If then I did anything wrong and am deserving of death, I am not trying to escape death; but if there is nothing to what these men accuse me of, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar!” 12 Then after Festus conferred with his council, he replied, “You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar you will go.”
  • Paul appeals to the highest court…& God grants Him favor with Festus

  • We find out later in chapter 27 that God needs Him to appear before Caesar.

  • This is Paul’s story. This is God’s purpose for Paul.

  • What story does God want to tell with your life?

13 Several days later, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea and paid a courtesy call on Festus.
  • This visit from the king is most likely a formality

  • New governor of a province…King over that region pays him a visit

  • FUN FACT:

    • Bernice is King Agrippa’s sister.

    • Many historians believe this was an incestuous relationship


14 Since they were staying there several days, Festus presented Paul’s case to the king, saying, “There’s a man who was left as a prisoner by Felix. 15 When I was in Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews presented their case and asked that he be condemned. 16 I answered them that it is not the Roman custom to give someone up [to destruction] before the accused faces the accusers and has an opportunity for a defense against the charges. 17 So when they had assembled here, I did not delay. The next day I took my seat at the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought in. 18 The accusers stood up but brought no charge against him of the evils I was expecting. 19 Instead they had some disagreements with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, a dead man Paul claimed to be alive.
  • This is the essence of Christianity…of Paul’s message…of the gospel.

  • Everything hinges on the fact that Jesus is the ONLY person in history to have defeated death.

[Festus continues] 20 Since I was at a loss in a dispute over such things, I asked him if he wanted to go to Jerusalem and be tried there regarding these matters. 21 But when Paul appealed to be held for trial by the Emperor, I ordered him to be kept in custody until I could send him to Caesar.” 22 Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow you will hear him,” he replied.
  • Again! Paul is given the opportunity to share His story!

  • The story of what Jesus has done in Paul’s life is spreading throughout the Roman empire.


 

TAKEAWAY

When we speak up…

When we share our story…

We might suffer…

But God will make us shine.

2 Corinthians 2:14-16a (CSB) 14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in Christ’s triumphal procession and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of him in every place. 15 For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life.
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