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The Apostle Paul’s attitude before Felix (Acts 24:10ff). What can we learn from Paul here?

If there is one thing I would say of Paul, it is that he had confidence; a confidence wrapped up in Christ. He had already settled his faith – “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” [Phil. 1:21]. This is a man who had been down this road before. This is a man who had seen God work on his behalf before. Not to mention assurance given to him by the Lord himself a short time before telling him to “Take courage”

Acts 23:11But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, “Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.”

Reese puts it well “There might be delay and suffering, but in the end he would reach the goal at Rome” (Reese, 823). Here is a man whose total reliance was upon God. Jesus had already prophesied to his followers “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” (Luke 12:11-12). So Paul, without any witnesses, without time to prepare, pulling on his skills as a former prosecutor, defends himself honorably. Unlike the opposing side “Paul’s tone was one of frankness and truthfulness, not of lying flattery and distorted facts” (Reese, 842). There was no need to play their game. I also did not hear hints of hate and upset for the treatment he received in his voice. God knows I need some help there.

We can learn to forgive like Paul when we are faced with trials. Funny this should come up today. Mr. Trump “trumped up some facts” during the presidential campaign against Ted Cruz his opponent Trump’s campaign went after Cruz’ wife and his father. Oh man, that really got under his skin. Last night was evidence that he did not forgive Trump and I truly believe it backfired against him. I can imagine this was hard, but I got to thinking “What if Cruz had put aside his personal feelings (even for a bit) and looked out for party unity in his speech and supported his “enemy” if it would have worked in is favor? It is a difficult thing even for Christians to forgive those who have done us wrong. Cruz is a Christian. Paul was in this same spot. Instead of being defensive (The Lord promised to fight my battle… “He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.” {Isaiah 53:7}), he carefully “refuted their accusations point by point, while presenting the Gospel message through his defense” (NASB,1955). The key is “I must be conscious of my actions and words. The ultimate goal of my witness should be “Presenting the Gospel”.

Lastly, Paul appealed to Felix’s experience when he said “I know that you have been for many years a judge of this nation”. Essentially saying no matter what they say “Your sir, are acquainted with Jewish Laws, customs and beliefs and therefore bound to give a just verdict” (Macarthur, 1680). Total reliance upon God gives us wisdom in times of need “In all our ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct our path” {my mouth}.

Reference:

Reese, Gareth (2008). Acts. Moberly, MI: College Press Publishing

NASB. Life Application Study Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Tyndale House Publishers (2000)

Macarthur, J. The Macarthur Study Bible. The United States of America: Thomas Nelson (1997)

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