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A Extra Handy Time – RobertJMorgan.com

A Examine of Acts 24

Introduction: Once I was rising up, our church had revival conferences—evangelistic campaigns. Evangelists would come for the week and preach each night time. I recall the church being full, and plenty of nights when the invitation was given, individuals could be saved. Normally, one of many sermons could be from Acts 24:25. Within the King James, the verse mentioned: “Felix trembled and answered, ‘Go thy manner for this time; when I’ve a handy season, I’ll name for thee.’”

It’s been a very long time since I heard a sermon on that verse, which is a disgrace. It’s the most effective examples in all of historical past of the hazards of procrastination. In as we speak’s weblog, we’ll revisit this well-known story.

Background: The story of Paul occupies Acts, chapter 13 to the final chapter of the e book. It’s advised when it comes to his three missionary excursions, adopted by his arrest in Jerusalem. In chapter 23, the Roman Commander in Jerusalem, fearing Paul’s security and eager to get him out of city, had him taken below heavy escort to Caesarea.

Caesarea was the Roman metropolis on the Israeli coast, constructed by Herod the Nice because the navy headquarters for the Roman forces in Palestine. Paul was evidently saved within the palace in a safe location. For those who go to the ruins of Caesarea now, you’ll see the foundations of a room wherein the archaeologists declare Paul was saved. And there he stayed for 2 years, as his authorized case was pending.

I’m fascinated by this two-year interval as a result of Luke doesn’t inform us of very a lot occurring with Paul besides, as we’ll see, occasional appearances earlier than Roman officers. We don’t have any letters Paul wrote from Caesarea, though I’m positive he wrote many. Most students suppose the Jail Epistles of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon had been written from his home arrest in Rome on the finish of the e book, not from Caesarea. So far as the pages of the e book of Acts inform the story, this was a quite quiet interval in Paul’s ministry.

I do have one concept about it, and I ran it by the famend New Testomony scholar, Dr. Craig Evans, and he agreed with me. I imagine Luke used this time to do the ultimate analysis and writing of his Gospel of Luke. So Luke was preoccupied with that, and Paul undoubtedly noticed guests and wrote letters and rested and prayed and studied. However little of that’s recorded for us.

What we do have is the account of Paul’s three appearances earlier than Roman officers, as his authorized case lumbered alongside. All that basically takes us by means of chapter 23 of Acts. So let’s begin as we speak with Acts 24. Let me provide the names of the three males earlier than whom Paul made his case: Felix, Festus, and Agrippa.

Bible Examine

24 5 days later the excessive priest Ananias went all the way down to Caesarea with a number of the elders and a lawyer named Tertullus, they usually introduced their fees towards Paul earlier than the governor. 

Antonius Felix was the youthful brother of a robust Roman politician who was chief of the treasury in the course of the reign of Emperor Claudius. The brother’s identify was Pallas, and evidently he secured for Felix the governorship of Palestine or Judea.

Felix was pissed off in Judea, and he had clashes with the excessive priest in Jerusalem, whose identify was Jonathan, who criticized him. Felix had somebody rent a gaggle of assassins who surrounded excessive priest Jonathan within the temple and plunged daggers into him throughout one of many festivals.

We all know that Felix was married 3 times. His first spouse was Drusilla from Africa. She is believed to have been the granddaughter of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra. Whereas he was governor of Judea, Felix divorced Drusilla and married one other girl named Drusilla, whom he seduced from her husband. Right here’s how Josephus places it:

Whereas Felix was procurator of Judea, he noticed this Drusilla and fell in love along with her, for she did certainly exceed all different ladies in magnificence; and he despatched to her an individual whose identify was Simon, a Jewish good friend of his…who pretended to be a magician. Simon endeavored to influence her to forsake her current husband and marry Felix, and he promised that if she would (marry) Felix that (she could be) a contented girl. 

She was solely sixteen years previous on the time, and on this passage she would have been in her early twenties. Let’s proceed studying verse 2: 

When Paul was known as in, Tertullus introduced his case earlier than Felix: “We have now loved an extended interval of peace below you, and your foresight has caused reforms on this nation. All over the place and in each manner, most glorious Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude. However so as to not weary you additional, I’d request that you just be form sufficient to listen to us briefly.

“We have now discovered this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the many Jews everywhere in the world. He’s a ringleader of the Nazarene sect and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. By analyzing him your self it is possible for you to to study the reality about all these fees we’re bringing towards him.”

The opposite Jews joined within the accusation, asserting that this stuff had been true.

10 When the governor motioned for him to talk, Paul replied: “I do know that for a variety of years you might have been a choose over this nation; so I gladly make my protection. 11 You’ll be able to simply confirm that not more than twelve days in the past I went as much as Jerusalem to worship. 12 My accusers didn’t discover me arguing with anybody on the temple, or stirring up a crowd within the synagogues or wherever else within the metropolis. 13 They usually can’t show to you the costs they’re now making towards me. 14 Nonetheless, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Manner, which they name a sect. I imagine every thing that’s in accordance with the Legislation and that’s written within the Prophets, 15 and I’ve the identical hope in God as these males themselves have, that there can be a resurrection of each the righteous and the depraved. 16 So I attempt at all times to maintain my conscience clear earlier than God and man.

17 “After an absence of a number of years, I got here to Jerusalem to convey my individuals items for the poor and to current choices. 18 I used to be ceremonially clear after they discovered me within the temple courts doing this. There was no crowd with me, nor was I concerned in any disturbance. 19 However there are some Jews from the province of Asia, who should be right here earlier than you and convey fees if they’ve something towards me. 20 Or these who’re right here ought to state what crime they present in me after I stood earlier than the Sanhedrin— 21 until it was this one factor I shouted as I stood of their presence: ‘It’s in regards to the resurrection of the useless that I’m on trial earlier than you as we speak.’”

22 Then Felix, who was properly acquainted with the Manner, adjourned the proceedings. “When Lysias the commander comes,” he mentioned, “I’ll determine your case.” 23 He ordered the centurion to maintain Paul below guard however to offer him some freedom and allow his mates to deal with his wants.

24 A number of days later Felix got here together with his spouse Drusilla, who was Jewish. He despatched for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about religion in Christ Jesus. 25 As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to return, Felix was afraid and mentioned, “That’s sufficient for now! It’s possible you’ll go away. Once I discover it handy, I’ll ship for you.” 26 On the similar time he hoped that Paul would supply him a bribe, so he despatched for him continuously and talked with him.

Drusilla would have been about twenty-two on the time of this story. Discover how this ruler was drawn to Paul and to his message. I imagine in his coronary heart he knew that what Paul believed was true. The identify Felix within the Latin means “Blissful,” however this man was not joyful. I imagine he was below conviction. He known as for Paul continuously and talked with him. In response to this passage, Paul saved 4 topics on the desk.

Utility

First, Paul spoke about his religion in Christ. Verse 24 says, A number of days later Felix got here together with his spouse Drusilla, who was Jewish. He despatched for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about religion in Christ Jesus. 

Realizing as we do Paul’s message and ministry, we are able to infer what he mentioned. He undoubtedly shared his personal testimony, how he had been transformed on the Damascus Highway. And he actually would have advised Felix and Drusilla one thing of what he had written within the e book of Romans, when he mentioned, “For I’m not ashamed of the gospel, as a result of it’s the energy of God that brings salvation to everybody who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” 

He will need to have described the unimaginable life, loss of life, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our Lord had been crucified below the authority of one in every of Felix’s predecessors, Pontius Pilate. All that had occurred solely about 25 years earlier than. I’m positive Paul defined the significance of the crucifixion of Christ and the spectacular proof for the resurrection. He might have even mentioned precisely what he wrote to the Romans: “For the wages of sin is loss of life, however the reward of God is everlasting life by means of Jesus Christ the Lord.”

I do know Paul tried as onerous as he might to current the Gospel clearly and with boldness.

Second, Paul spoke about righteousness. Let’s return to the passage: 24 A number of days later Felix got here together with his spouse Drusilla, who was Jewish. He despatched for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about religion in Christ Jesus. 25 As Paul talked about righteousness….

This has to do with God’s expectations on the human race. His nature is holy, and nobody can enter His presence, stay in fellowship with Him, or have the everlasting life He provides with out perfection of righteousness. Since we’re failures in that regard, God grew to become a person who died for us and rose once more to impute His righteousness to us.

This phrase happens almost forty occasions within the e book of Romans. For instance:

  • Romans 3:10 says: There isn’t any one righteous, not even one.
  • Romans 3:20 says: Due to this fact nobody can be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the regulation.
  • Romans 4:13 talks concerning the righteousness that comes by religion.
  • Romans 4:23 says that “God will credit score righteousness—for us who imagine in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the useless.”
  • Romans 5:17 says that “those that obtain God’s ample provision of grace and of the reward of righteousness” will “reign in life by means of the one man, Jesus Christ!

I’m sure these are the truths Paul defined to Felix and Drusilla.

Third, Paul spoke about self-control. Verse 25 says: As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control… This virtually looks as if a wierd method to evangelize. Paul didn’t say, “God loves you….” Properly, after all, he might need executed so sooner or later. However there’s an previous saying that you must get somebody misplaced earlier than you get them saved. In different phrases, till they see their sinfulness it’s onerous for them to see their want of a Savior.

Felix wasn’t identified for his self-control. He was apparently quick-tempered, and he could possibly be ruthless. As we’ve already seen, he was wanting to throw his first spouse overboard for a sixteen-year-old married woman, whom he discovered stunning. I’ve to imagine Paul was gracious and earnest in what he mentioned, however he didn’t beat across the bush. He will need to have one thing like, “The sort of life God expects and the sort of life He desires to offer you is one wherein you reside with larger self-control. It’s important to management your reactions, your habits, your ethical choices.”

Fourth, Paul spoke concerning the future day of judgment. Verse 25 says: Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to return….

Revival preaching, evangelistic preaching by no means bypasses the approaching day of judgment, which is probably the most horrifying occasion going through the human race. All unsaved humanity will stand earlier than the Nice White Throne of God to listen to their everlasting sentence and to obtain their everlasting condemnation.

Now, verse 24 may be very fascinating. It says: As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to return, Felix was afraid… And the Greek phrase right here may be very sturdy. Felix was terrified. However what did he say:

That’s sufficient for now! It’s possible you’ll go away. Once I discover it handy, I’ll ship for you.

I don’t know if there are any phrases within the Bible extra tragic than that. That is most likely the clearest case of condemnation by procrastination in all of the Scripture. Felix put it off. He wished to attend till a extra handy time. How many individuals have mentioned that?

I do know that I need assistance with my non secular life, however I’m not prepared. I’ll do it later. I’ll name for you at a extra handy time. When an individual says that, they’re very seemingly saying their very own loss of life sentence. They’re like a person with a cancerous tumor telling the physician, “I don’t wish to take care of it now. I’ll come again at a extra handy time.”

They’re like a lady in a automobile wreck telling an emergency responder, “Come again later, when it’s extra handy.” 

They’re just like the crew of a sinking ship telling the coast guard, “We’re not able to be saved but. Come again later.”

Verse 27 says: When two years had handed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, however as a result of Felix wished to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in jail.

As I mentioned, we all know little or no of what Paul did throughout these two years. Maybe he was resting, finding out, praying, counseling mates who got here to see him, evangelizing the troopers within the palace, writing letters we not have, and inspiring Luke, who was virtually actually utilizing the time to analysis and write the Gospel of Luke.

Felix was recalled to Rome due to his mismanagement of his governorship in Judea and his brutality towards the Jews, and plenty of historians imagine he died of tuberculosis. 

Conclusion: One of many sorrows of my life is the quantity of people that have reacted as Felix did after I shared Christ with them. One man greater than every other is on my thoughts. I attempted to speak with him on his deathbed concerning the Lord Jesus, however he merely shook his head and waved me away.

The Bible says, “Search the Lord whereas he could also be discovered; name upon him whereas he’s close to. Let the depraved forsake their methods and the unrighteous their ideas. Allow them to flip to the Lord, and he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for He’ll abundantly pardon.”

I had a superb good friend named Jonathan Yandell, a third-generation preacher, who gave me a e book by his father, Pastor Larkin Yandell. Larkin’s father had been an old-time evangelist. His identify was Elzie Yandell. One week he had a collection of evangelistic conferences beneath a bush arbor in japanese Oklahoma. It was outdoor below this arbor, and the individuals sat on crude picket benches. On Thursday night time, a household got here in a wagon pulled by mules. The girl and her kids discovered a spot to take a seat, however her husband refused to return into the assembly. He stayed outdoors. The girl was gloriously saved, they usually got here each night time. Every night time she got here to the altar to wish for her husband, however he stayed outdoors.

On Sunday night time, Mr. Yandell went out and talked to the person in the course of the invitation, begging him to offer his life to Christ. The person was impolite. He mentioned, “Preacher, you bought my girl up there and made a idiot out of her, and you aren’t going to make a idiot out of me!”

“My expensive sir,” mentioned Yandell, “I can be praying for you.” The went again to the altar to wish with those that had come ahead. However quickly a person was tapping him on the shoulder. “Brother Yandell,” he was advised, “the person you had been speaking with has fallen to the bottom.” The person was useless.

We by no means know when our days and hours and minutes can be up.

If you’re studying this with out realizing Jesus Christ as your Savior, I wish to remind you of the Gospel, and of the significance of righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to return. The Bible says, “Don’t boast about tomorrow, for you have no idea what a day might convey.”

I urge you to obtain the Lord Jesus Christ now, whereas there may be nonetheless time and whilst you nonetheless can. There’ll by no means be a extra handy time.

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