Paul and the Inconvenient Gospel

Paul is now under arrest, Ananias is the High Priest who brought a lawyer named Tertullus to bring the charges against Paul (Acts 24:1, 2). What we have here is a disgusting political spiel that has no resemblance to the truth; after all, the commander who had Paul under his protection wrote to Felix mentioning Paul had done nothing to deserve death or imprisonment (Acts 23:29, 30).

The first thing Tertullus does is to flatter Felix, the governor (Acts 24:2, 3). When you research Felix, you will find that he was a vile and incompetent leader; Nero had him recalled only two years earlier. According to the Bible Knowledge Commentary, “Felix was known for his violent use of repressive force and corrupt self-aggrandizement.” The lawyer was undoubtedly flattering Felix.

He then said that Paul was a troublemaker who stirred up riots and he tried to desecrate the temple (Acts 24:3-5). Paul responds by recounting his adventure and journey to Jerusalem. Luke adds an interesting detail, that Felix was well acquainted with the Way (Acts 24:22). He was in a no win situation, with a large Jewish population and Paul a Roman citizen, he basically did nothing but leave Paul in jail (Acts 24:22, 23, 27).

God sent the imprisoned preacher to an audience of two, Felix and his wife Drusilla (Acts 24:24). Drusilla was the third wife of Felix, each had left a former spouse to marry. Luke mentions Paul “discoursed” with them, meaning they had discussions back and forth, a conversation rather than a sermon (Acts 24:25, 26). The core of the message was faith in Christ (Acts 24:24).

The discussion was on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come (Acts 24:25). Felix heard “enough for now” and told Paul he could leave; go away for now, I will call for you when I need you. Felix was afraid. I suspect that was the work of the Holy Spirit. I think it is never convenient to discuss personal sin. Human nature will often resist what is best for us, but if we dare to hear and accept the truth, we can be set free.

It only mentions that Felix was afraid, perhaps Drusilla simply did not humble herself enough to become afraid. Her past indicates a history of pride. Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12:19-23) was her father. He claimed glory that only God deserved. Remember his fate? He was eaten by worms and died (the Bible mentions these two in this order, what a horrible way to go – Acts 12:23). She led an adulterous life in spite of all she knew about morality and reverence for God. She apparently resisted Paul’s message.

Application: Have you heard the message and repeatedly resist submitting to Christ? It’s probably the most unnoticed plague on America, we are inoculated just enough with the gospel to be happy with our beliefs but we are far from what the Bible calls a disciple of Christ. We often tell Jesus to go away until a more convenient time, and we will call for him later when we want him or when we need him. The gospel can often be inconvenient when we are not serious about life change and authentic discipleship. When the topic is righteousness, sin, self-control, or judgment, we get uncomfortable more than we get convicted. Don’t allow the world to squeeze you into its mold (Romans 12:1, 2). Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed into the new creation that God desires for you to be.

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