Read Acts 24:17-27
4. Paul’s Defense Before Felix (Continued). In this section of the book of Acts Paul talks about how he came to Jerusalem to give to the poor and to do so with ceremonial cleanness. There was no crowd with him.
Paul says at the core of the problem is his hope in the resurrection. Felix adjourns the session. He wants Paul to offer him a bribe, but he doesn’t. The next leader left Paul in confinement, even though Paul had been waiting for at least two years.
- Giving. Notice in vs. 17 of this chapter of the book of Acts the importance of giving. We see giving for the needs of people and giving for the sake of God’s program. There are too many who claim to be in love with God, but in their giving they deny Him.
Matthew 6:21 teaches that where are treasures are is where our hearts are. In other words, our hearts are not into the Lord, when the cost of our shoes exceed how much we give to the Lord’s church in the course of a month and in some cases the course of a year.
The church ought to be known for giving to the needs of people. However, the church cannot give what the people do not give to the church.
Let’s work on being giving believers and churches. When we think about how much God has given to us, it is embarrassing to have to convince us to give at least 10% of our money to Him.
- Facts verses feelings. Notice in vss. 18-22 the effort given to clarifying the charges and the real heart of the matter. There are too many times that we find ourselves upset but lack clarity about what we are really upset about.
Believers ought to guard against allowing the devil to have us violently upset without knowing the details about why we are upset. Often, when we rehearse the facts and visit our emotional state there is too much emotional energy being given to the facts that are presented.
When we think about how things could be worse, are going to get better, and how being upset doesn’t help, we are in a better position to regain our emotional balance. Let’s work on keeping the facts straight and our emotions from getting the best of us.
- God’s timing. Notice in vs. 23 that Paul was allowed a lighter type of confinement. We learned from the book of Acts that God knows how much we can stand. If we would simply stay faithful, God has a way of sending what we need, right when we need it.
There is so much truth in that common saying, “God may not come when you want Him, but He will show up at the right time.” And the Pastor adds, “He shows us with the right stuff.”
Let’s work on trusting God to take care of us. This application calls for us to focus on loving God and others, as we love ourselves, with confidence that God will provide for us some how and some way.
- Faithful in confinement. Notice in vss. 24-26 that Paul sets a great example of how to keep the faith, even in confinement like situations. In the book of Acts we see Paul kept sharing the truth, and he lived above reproach.
There are too many who give into the pressure to change when trouble comes. However, we are called to be the light, in the midst of darkness, and the salt, in the midst of decay.
What was true before we had hard times, should still be true, even though we are facing hard times (e.g., don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t mistreat people, love one another, forgive one another, tithing, etc.).
Let’s work on staying faithful, even when troubles come into our lives. As in the text, the devil tempts us to become unfaithful.
- Faith to withstand suffering. Notice in vs. 27 that Paul continues to suffer at the hands of people with poor character. The authorities should have released Paul, if they did not have grounds to hold him.
The text says in the book of Acts that the authority kept Paul in confinement, as a favor to the Jews. This was an evil reason to keep a man in confinement. A point for us to learn is that we may have to suffer for the Lord.
That is, we may have to go through some negative circumstances for the sake of being on the Lord’s side. Let’s work on having the faith to withstand the suffering that may come. Prayerful study and obedience with the support of other disciples will help us carryout this application.
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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