Writings on Christianity

Acts 24 Sermon

Here’s the audio and notes from my sermon preached in Naperville, Illinois at Cross of Christ Fellowship on 2/25/24.

“Faithfulness Amid Suffering” ACTS 24
INTRO: UNJUST SUFFERING: Steals your package; Excludes you; Gossip; Unfairly passed by at work.
      -Good to seek justice…But how do we live as faithful Christians in the midst of unjust suffering?
        -We will experience unfair, unjust treatment in this life. How do we not sin and choose to live as faithful Christians in it?
             -Tempted w/bitterness and self-righteousness, and evil thoughts, how do we walk in the light & continue to do what is right?
                  –ANSWER: We learn from Paul and we look to Jesus!
                     *We live as faithful Christians amid unjust suffering by learning from Paul and looking to Jesus.
CONTEXT: Near the end of Acts and the focus is on the apostle Paul who is trying to get to Rome to preach the gospel.
      -Paul has returned to Jerusalem, now experiencing unjust, unfair treatment at hands of Jewish leaders
            -He was nearly killed, but has been delivered by Roman soldiers
                      -After unfair trial by Sanhedrin (& near death), Jesus appears to Paul & reassures him: he will get to Rome!                               -Soldiers deliver Paul to Caesarea where his case will be viewed by Felix the governor
TODAY: Paul’s trial before Felix the governor
      1. Prosecution; 2 Defense; 3 Felix’s Decision
                  -Paul experiences an unfair treatment at hands of Felix and the Jews who want to kill him.
                       -Paul responds in a way that is full of integrity and godliness: àINSTRUCTIVE for us.
                              We live as faithful Christians amid unjust suffering by learning from Paul and looking to Jesus.
OUTLINE: 1. Learn from Paul; 2 Look to Jesus.

1 Let’s LEARN from Paul how we to respond to UNJUST Suffering (24)

Paul is a great example for us as a faithful Christian who endures unjust suffering.
                  *NOTICE: Godly Speech and Godly Actions.
-Tertullus the Prosecutor (1-2a)

      -Note: Ananias and elders joined him.
                  -Remember: unfair and unjust treatment of Paul earlier and murderous plot to kill him.
-Tertullus’ Speech (2b-9)
      -Flattery of Felix (2b-4)

                  -Commentators note how untrue much of what Tertullus spoke here
      -Accusation of Felix (5-8): 3 PARTS
                  1. Paul is a plague and starts up riots—intentionally seditious and creates division (5a)
                  2. Paul is a ringleader among the Christians (5b)
                  3. Paul tried to profane the temple (6-8)
      -Accompanying Jews Affirmed the Charge (9)

                                                                  How will Paul respond to these charges?

-Paul’s Opening Words: Respectful but not flattery (10)
      -Example of Paul’s integrity in speech
-Paul’s Defense (11-21)
      1 Paul is not a riot-starting, seditious trouble maker (11-13)

                  -He did not start a riot in Jerusalem (11-12)
                              -Was not even there long enough to make it happen!
                  -His opponents cannot prove he has done this elsewhere (13)
      2 Paul is a Christian and Came to Jerusalem with Good Intentions (14-17)
-Paul is a worshipper of God, same God of the OT (14)
                              -Emphasis on hope of the resurrection (15)
                                          NOTE: Resurrection of Just and Unjust
                              -Paul came to Jerusalem out a clear conscience with good intentions (16-17)
      3 Paul did NOT try to Profane the Temple (18-21)
                  -Paul was purified when he went into the temple (18a)
                  -Those who were supposed witness of Paul’s act [bringing Gentile in] are not present! (18b-19)
                  -Paul’s accusers have no real charges against Paul (20)
                              -It really is a theology issue about resurrection [for Paul, resurrection of Jesus] (21)
NOTE: Paul’s godly speech & Paul’s godly action.

                                          *How would Felix the governor respond?


Felix really ought to have released Paul, but instead we see his response in a selfish, sinful way and mistreatment of Paul.
-Initial Delay (22-23)

      -Not necessarily sinful delay, but also unnecessary as Lysias already sent a letter explaining (22)
                  -Paul’s situation gave him some freedom (23)
-Paul’s Visit with Felix and Drusilla (24-25)
COMMENATRY: Felix’s 3rd marriage and Drusilla’s 2nd marriage
                  -Felix persuaded her as young woman to leave her husband and marry him!
      -Paul’s Speech (24b-25a)
                  -Spoke “about faith in Christ Jesus” (24b)
                              -Central, core to being a Christian: placing our faith in Jesus.
                                          -SAVED by faith in Jesus Christ (Eph 2:8-9)
                  -Reasoned about righteousness and self-control and coming judgment (25a)
                              -Righteousness: God’s call for us to live uprightly;
                                          -Probably also righteousness that is ours as gift in Christ (Rom 3:21-22)
                              -Self-Control: God calls us to be self-controlled
                                          -CONTRARY to modern culture: you should give way to every feeling or impulse
                                                      -This would have been convicting to Felix, with his history
                              -Coming Judgment: A day coming where God will judge everyone
                                          -No one will be exempt before God
                                                      -Sobering reality, we must not forget
                                                                  -Our only hope is we have Christ’s righteousness
      -Felix’s Response (25b-27)
                  -Alarmed (25b)
                  -Sends Paul away but has him frequently return for hope of money (26)
                              -Paul could have tried to bribe, but refused.
                                          -John Bunyan in jail for 12 years, could have been released if promised not to preach
                  -Motivated by self-interest, leaves Paul in jail (27)
                              -Paul suffers unjustly at the hands of corrupt, self-centered Felix.
      -Integrity in his speech: truthful, respectful, and doggedly committed to preaching the gospel
      -Integrity in action: did not flatter, did not attempt a bribe
                  -Let us learn from Paul and be helped by his example: this is how we too should endure unjust suffering!

2. Let’s LOOK to Jesus as we encounter UNJUST SUFFERING.
1 Peter 2:18-24
-Christ ‘suffered for you’ (21)
                  -Christ ‘left you an example, so that you might follow in his footsteps’ (21)
                              -GOSPEL truths (22-25)

      1. He suffered unjustly for you, that you might be right with God: HE LOVES YOU!
      2. He is sovereign over your suffering (Eph 1:11 “works all things according to counsel of his will”): in CONTROL!
      3. Uses our suffering to make us more like Jesus: depend on him; wean off world; grow your love. GOOD PURPOSE!


1. Matt 5:38-47
2. Romans 12:17-21            

*We live as faithful Christians amid unjust suffering by learning from Paul and looking to Jesus.

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