Book of Acts Chapter Twenty-Three (Part One)

Introduction: A key idea in the book of Acts is that believers should be witness for the Lord, everywhere we go. Today, we hope to discuss Paul’s defending himself before the Sanhedrin and then his being escorted to Caesarea

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Introduction: A key idea in the book of Acts is that believers should be witness for the Lord, everywhere we go. Today, we hope to discuss Paul’s defending himself before the Sanhedrin and then his being escorted to Caesarea.

Body:

Read Acts 23:1-11

2. Paul brought before the Sanhedrin (continued). In this section of the book of Acts Paul is defending himself before the Sanhedrin. He was assaulted for his courageous comments.

Seeing that things were not moving in the right direction, Paul appears to play the crowd against itself, with the mention of the resurrection. The Roman officials take Paul from the chaotic crowd by force.

Applications –

- A satisfied godly conscious. Notice in vs. 1 the importance of carrying out one’s duties and having a satisfied conscious. Whenever we deal with people, we can expect that sometimes they will be happy and sometimes they will not.

There will be times when others will be happy with how we have treated others, and there will be times that they are not. Instead of trying to satisfy people, we should strive to have a satisfied conscious that is often the product of our doing what we believe God is calling us to do – our duty.

Let’s work on pursuing a godly clear conscious by performing our duties. Think about how this applies to family and friends, to job, to community, and to church.

- Controlling our mouths. Notice in vss. 2-5 of the book of Acts that Paul is struck for not giving the high priest the respect that was deemed appropriate.

First, there are times when you can be courageous in doing the right thing and bad things still happen to you. We ought not to think that courage exempts us from trouble.

Second, there is a danger in speaking evil of the ruler. Even when the ruler is wrong, sometimes the best thing to do is to pray, instead of making a bad situation worse.

Let’s seek the wisdom and courage to know when to speak, what to speak, and how to speak. Someone reading these notes can look back over his/her life and testify that each of these issues are important in their own rights.

- Situational stewardship. Notice in vss. 6-10 that Paul exercises a stewardship of his situation. He essentially plays the crowd against one another and ends up getting escorted out of the hostile crowd.

There are times in life, when we have to apply Matthew 10:16, which teaches us to be as shrewd as snakes. Life is not always as black and white, cut and dry, and nice and neat as we want it.

Let’s seek God’s wisdom to know how to deal with the issues that are before us. Since wisdom is the proper application of knowledge, a precursor to wisdom is to learn about the various options in a given a situation.

- Resurrection and spirits. Notice in vs. 8 of this section of the book of Acts that Paul lifts the ideas of resurrection and spirits. As believers, we surely believe in resurrection and spirits.

Baptism is a symbolic identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (see Rom. 6:3-4). We believe that the third part of the Holy Trinity is the Holy Spirit. Now, the fact that we believe doesn’t mean we can fully explain.

For example, the timing of the resurrection seems a little fuzzy in scripture, and what is resurrected seems to be much more the spirit than the body, which would have been severely decayed. Whatever the details may be, we should thank God that this world is not the end of our journey with the Lord.

Let’s live like we believe that we shall be with the Lord, when this earthly life is over. Such living should be known for loving God and others, as we love ourselves.

Read Acts 23:12-22

3. Paul escorted to Caesarea. In this section of the book of Acts the Lord encourages Paul in the night with a message. A group of over 40 men have agreed by oath to kill Paul. Paul’s nephew happens to hear about it and ended up telling the commander of the Roman soldiers.

Applications –

- God’s timing. Notice in vs. 11 that the Lord knows when and how to show up and what to say when He gets there. To wonder was Jesus physically there or was it a vision of some sort misses the point of the text.

In some fashion, Paul was reassured that all of the trouble that he had endured was not in vain. God still has a plan for his life. It is good to know that God knows how to show up at the right time, in the right way, and with the right word.

Let’s be faithful in our assignments and trust God to do what is best for His people. Sometimes we just have to go through some trials and tribulations to experience triumphs and testimonies.

- Taking courage. Notice in vs. 11 of the book of Acts that Paul is told to take courage. In other words, Paul had to resolve to be courageous, in spite of what he saw and perhaps felt. In like manner, we have to learn to take courage.

Courage is not given to us by others, it is taken by us. We have to decide to take it or receive it. People can speak encouraging words to us, but if we don’t receive the words and determine to be courageous then we will not be courageous because of the words alone.

This means, if we lack courage, it is not because of a lack of encouraging words, it is because we have not taken courage. We don’t need any more sermons, songs, or teachings to know that God is working things out for His people. Let’s work on being courageous based on our faith in God.

- The devil’s wicked schemes. Notice in vss. 12-15 of the book of the Acts that people can be so wicked. The text shows that Jews are conspiring with religious leaders to murder Paul. It was bad to see them try to manipulate the justice system to have Paul killed.

But it was even worse to see them take matters into their own hands to kill him. But yet that is how wicked the devil can get people to be. And if we are not careful, he will recruit us into his wicked schemes.

Let’s be aware of the devil’s schemes and avoid being used by him. A great way to live by this application is to prayerfully study and obey God’s word with the support of other believers. The more we stay in God’s word, the less we are likely to be used by the devil.

Conclusion: Let’s work on being witnesses for the Lord, everywhere we go. God has much for those who obey His will.

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