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Friday, December 30 2011

Introduction

For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 2 Corinthians 13:8

In this study we will learn from Paul's defense the invaluableness of truth. For you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free!

 

1.      A BARRAGE OF FALSE & INCONSISTENT ACCUSATIONS  (it is tough keeping up lies) Vs. 5-8 

"We've found this man time and again disturbing the peace, stirring up riots against Jews all over the world, the ringleader of a seditious sect called Nazarenes. He's a real bad apple, I must say. We caught him trying to defile our holy Temple and arrested him. You'll be able to verify all these accusations when you examine him yourself." [MSG]

Notice the accusations had been refined for the court. If we recall from Acts 21:28, the accusation was: "Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, the law, and this place; and furthermore he also brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place."[KJV]

 

2.      TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH Vs. 10-21 

The fact that Paul was a lawyer is seen here as he carefully presented his case:

o   We will however see that he did not twist the truth as regular lawyers would do; but he spoke the truth in his defense. He made it clear that if Felix had his doubts, he could check out the dates. Vs. 11

o   He challenged his accusers for witnesses and flawed their accusations for lack of it. Vs. 12 - 13

o   He admitted to only "one crime" the one everyone of them were guilty of Vs. 12 - 13 and therefore not worthy of condemnation

o   He absolved himself of any guilty conscience Vs. 16 an important aspect that we should adhere to today.

We should therefore make every effort to speak the truth from our hearts! Ps 15: 2b. Let your ye be ye and your nay be nay! Matthew 5:37 [NIV]. It will save us from a whole lot of embarrassment in the long run when you get caught. "The person who tells lies gets caught; the person who spreads rumors is ruined" Proverbs 19:9 [MSG]

 

3.      TALEBEARERS CANNOT HANDLE FACE-TO-FACE CONFRONTATION Vs 18b - 19

 "There was no crowd, there was no disturbance. It was some Jews from around Ephesus who started all this trouble. And you'll notice they're not here today. They're cowards, too cowardly to accuse me in front of you." [MSG]

We discussed the issue about people who spread gossip two weeks ago and that the litmus test is to request that they accompany you to the "accused" and they will naturally decline. Here is a similar situation here with the Jews from Ephesus. It was the Sadducees from Ephesus that started the riot. We know that from the major differences between them and the Pharisees. The Sadducees were elitists who wanted to maintain the priestly caste; they rejected the idea of the Oral Law and insisted on a literal interpretation of the Written Law; consequently, they did not believe in the resurrection, because it was not mentioned in the books of Moses. The main focus of Sadducee life was rituals associated with the Temple. Paul had split his accusers in Acts 23: 6-10. Notice the Sadducees did not come for the trial in Caesarea! This also explains why the accusation was different in vs. 5-8 

 

4.      BE IN THE KNOW - DON'T BE IGNORANT OF THE DEVIL'S DEVICES Vs. 20-21

 "So ask these others what crime they've caught me in. Don't let them hide behind this smooth-talking Tertullus. The only thing they have on me is that one sentence I shouted out in the council: 'It's because I believe in the resurrection that I've been hauled into this court!' Does that sound to you like grounds for a criminal case?" [MSG]

I deliberately highlighted this statement made by Paul again because last week it was mentioned in passing during the discussion and it was loosely accepted that it had no bearing with why Paul was being beaten. But let's look at it differently today in the light of this truth. "The Way" that Paul referred to was Jesus; Him crucified, dead and buried and after 3 days rose again. That's the hope of the Way; our hope today! It was because of this belief that they attacked him; because every other accusation was made up. See Verses 14-15, 26: 4-8

 

5.      ONLY GOD IS JUST; SO ONLY HIM CAN BE TRUSTED Vs 22-27

 Felix shilly-shallied. He knew far more about the Way than he let on, and could have settled the case then and there. But uncertain of his best move politically, he played for time. "When Captain Lysias comes down, I'll decide your case." He gave orders to the centurion to keep Paul in custody, but to more or less give him the run of the place and not prevent his friends from helping him. [MSG]

The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the LORD [Prov. 21:31]

 

Felix knew about The Way but he was a secret admirer a distant observer but he obviously was not a just judge; the message says he played for time for political reasons. He could have settled the case then but he didn't. I believe he didn't because God still needed this situation that started in chapter 21 to reach out to some more people. See Vs 24-25, 26: 12- 29, 27:21-26, 28:7-10, 17-31

 

 Vs.26 "At the same time he was secretly hoping that Paul would offer him a substantial bribe. These conversations were repeated frequently." [MSG]

Felix had ulterior motives; he was expecting Paul to bribe him for his freedom. He was a corrupt man obviously; the Jews must have been "settling" him. He wanted to play the highest bidder game with Paul; but Paul couldn't care less. The next verse tells us that it lasted 2 years and because he wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison

 27After two years of this, Felix was replaced by Porcius Festus. Still playing up to the Jews and ignoring justice, Felix left Paul in prison. [MSG]

 

Imagine if Paul had any iota of hope that because Felix kept having these conversations with him was because he had found favor in Felix's eyes and one day Felix (who had become his friend) would release him. How wrong he would have been! Ps.146:3. But how wrong Felix was too! He must have thought he was using Paul to gain popularity but God was using Him to send Paul to his final destination - Rome.

 

CONCLUSION

We can do nothing but for the truth; it is truth that sets us free; an awareness of the times and seasons and our environment will help us avoid pitfalls Prov.22:3 and finally, it is in God and in Him alone we should put our trust. Psalm 118:8, 9

Prayer: Gracious and Merciful God; please grant us grace to be truthful, fearless and trusting. And be merciful to us all in every way we have fallen short and gone astray in Jesus' name.

 

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 05:45 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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