Writings on Christianity

Acts 23 Sermon Outline

Here’s my sermon audio and notes for my sermon on Acts 23, preached at Cross of Christ Fellowship on 2/18/2024.

Paul before the Sanhedrin” Acts 22:30-23:35

Intro: A key to text to understanding book of Acts is Acts 1:8: ‘You will be my witnesses…”
-This was the task of the church in the first century and is the task of the church TODAY
      -Being a faithful witness of Jesus is hard work—both then and now.
                  -To be a faithful witness we need wisdom, we encouragement, and we need protection.
                              -We see God graciously give these things to Paul in our passage and we seek for it ourselves now.

      M.S. Being a faithful witness for Christ requires WISDOM, ENCOURAGEMENT, and PROTECTION.

-Paul returning from 3rd missionary journey to bring gift from Gentiles to Jerusalem, but desires to get to Rome
      -After delivering gift, Paul is nearly killed by angry mob. He makes a speech to crowd, but nearly killed again.
                   -Delivered by Roman Soldier, and stretched out for whips for ‘interrogation by torture’
                              -Paul is delivered as he revealed his Roman Citizenship
                                          TODAY: Paul is brought the Jewish Council (Sanhedrin) and delivered again!
       Being a faithful witness for Christ requires WISDOM, ENCOURAGEMENT, and PROTECTION

1. Being a Faithful Witness Requires WISDOM (1-10)

 -Matt 10:16: ‘shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves’
                  -IF SOMEONE looked at you, would they describe you in this way?

-Christians are not be gullible or easily tricked, but wise, shrewd, and marked by wisdom.
      -Christians also are to ‘innocent as doves’—not dragged into sin or unbelief or godly cynicism.
                  -Notice with me the WISDOM God has given Paul as he deals with a life-threatening situation.

-Paul brought before the Sanhedrin (30)
      -Tribune wanted to know why the Jews were so upset with Paul.
-Paul’s initial words (1-5)
      -Declares a good conscience (1)
                  -Always important to follow your conscience.
                              -Yet, our conscience must continually be realigned with Scripture
      -High Priest Commands Paul be Struck (2)
                  -This was an unjust action by high priest Ananias
                              -Commentators NOTE: Ananias’ reputation for greed and being hot-tempered
      -Paul’s Response to being struck (3)
                  -Word of judgment and condemnation calling out a corruption of justice
      -Paul Humbling Received Correction and Acknowledged Mistake (4-5)
                  -Paul was called out for speaking evil against the high priest
                              -Paul humbly acknowledges his mistake, pleading his ignorance of man responsible.
-Paul’s WISDOM in an UNJUST COURT CASE (6-10)                   
      -Clearly knows that he will not receive a fair trial, and using wisdom to bring his deliverance. (Matt 7:6)
                  -Recognized the division within the Court of Pharisees and Sadducees (6)
                              -Pharisees were theological conservatives; Sadducees were theological liberals
                  -Paul utilized his Pharisee identity to make his case (6)
                               -The resurrection of Jesus was the key, but here he asserts only the belief in the resurrection
                  -Paul’s claim caused a division (7) and drew the support of the Pharisees (9)
                              -Paul’s life was in danger again, but Paul was delivered by Roman soldier.

JOHN GILL: And in this the apostle showed the prudence and wisdom of the serpent, along with the innocence of the dove, hereby to divide the assembly, and free himself from them; and it was but just and right; for since they would not hear him about to make a fair and open defense of his cause, but ordered him to be smitten on the mouth, it was but justice to throw them into confusion, and save himself.

APP: How do we become wise in our witness of the GOSPEL?
                   1. Read God’s Word—especially Proverbs
                   2. Spend time with Wise people—alive and dead.
                   3. Utilized your context for your advantage—Sport, Neighborhood, Connection
                   4. Practice hospitality.                        

*BEHOLD: Wisdom of God in the GOSPEL! *1 Cor 1:18-25
      -God is WISE in how He brings about our salvation: Deals with the problem of sin in a way that WISE!
                  -God is WISE in how He orders our lives today: Providentially orders all things for our good.
*Being a faithful witness for Christ requires WISDOM. And GOD gives His people WISDOM!

2. Being a Faithful Witness Requires ENCOURAGEMENT (11)
Trying to Witness for Christ can be DISCOURAGING
      -Paul was likely tempted with discouragement after his arrest—he wanted to get to Rome.
                  -Jesus appeared and gave him encouragement to carry on
-Jesus appears to Paul! (11a)
      -Jesus encourages and reassures Paul (11b)
                  –NOTE: “WITNESS” motif
                              –PROMISE: “you must testify also in Rome.

APP: How do we receive encouragement to carry on with good works and witness for Christ?
CLING TIGHTLY TO GOD’S PROMISES: Romans 8:28; 1 Cor 15:58; John 16:33
      *Being a faithful witness for Christ requires ENCOURAGEMENT. God GIVES His people encouragement!

3 Being a Faithful Witness Requires PROTECTION (12-35)

United States Federal Witness protection program

      -We see God protect Paul as he faces danger of murder
-Plot to MURDER PAUL (12-15)
      -Furthers shows the complicity of the chief priests and those in the Sanhedrin
-Plot Discovered! (16)
-Paul’s NEPHEW heard about it.
-Plot Relayed to the Roman Tribune (17-22)
-Plot FOILED and Paul Delivered (23-35)
      -Paul was delivered again by the Roman Soldiers! (23-33)
                  -Claudius Lysias’ Letter to Felix the Governor
                              -It is still unknown why Jews are so upset with Paul
      -Paul is at Caesarea and awaiting trial before Felix (33-34)
                  BIG IDEA: Paul experienced God’s protection through the Romans soldiers!
                  1 MARVEL AT GOD’S PROTECTION:
                              -God can and does protect His people as they seek to be faithful witnesses of the gospel.
                                          -Story of missionary smuggling Bibles into a closed country.
                                          -God’s amazing protection and provision for George Mueller in England
                              -Roman Soldiers protected Paul.
                                          -Secular powers, structures and institutions are helping spread gospel

1 SEEK HIS PROTECTION: James 4:2 ‘you do not have because you do not ask’
      -God is ABLE to protect you. He is ‘OMNIPOTENT’
                  -Even if you are harmed or die, Nothing is out of his control: Luke 12:4-7


If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet the distance makes no difference; he is praying for me.” -Robert Murray M’Cheyne

*Being a faithful witness for Christ requires WISDOM, ENCOURAGEMENT, and PROTECTION.

By Tom Schmidt

Christian, husband of Rach, Church Planter,musician,

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