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Matthew 28
posted August 9, 2012

Revelation 13
posted August 16, 2012



Acts 24:24-27

Sermon of the week #200816 – April 20, 2008

In Acts 24 is the account of the preaching of the Gospel that resulted in a non-conversion. Paul, a prisoner has been called into the presence of Governor Felix, and his wife Drusilla, who desired to hear him concerning the faith in Christ Jesus. This would be an unusual audience for Paul. The great-grandfather of Drusilla was Herod the Great; he was the Herod who tried to kill the infant Jesus. Her great-uncle was Herod Antipas who cut off the head of John the Baptist, and was one of the judges at the trial of Jesus. Her father was the Herod who cut off the head of James, and shortly after was eaten of worms and died. So Drusilla would have great interest in hearing about Jesus who had been involved in her family all those years.

Felix, a former slave, had arisen to the rank of Governor, and was not above any manner of evil, including murder. Drusilla was given in marriage to a small-time king as a teenager, and Felix on a visit to the king, used a sorcerer to lure her away from him, and at this time she was living in open adultery with Felix. And this was the audience Paul, a prisoner, had at this time.

Now what kind of a message would Paul preach to an audience like this? It would appear to most modern-day preachers that Paul made a tactical blunder in the message he preached that day, as he reasoned of righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come. As he preached, he reasoned with them. He reasoned with them because the religion of the Word of God is a reasonable message. In Isaiah 1:18 the prophet said, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” If there ever was a man or a woman that needed to hear a message as to how to have their crimson, scarlet sins made white as snow, it was Felix and Drusilla. And now Paul is ready to preach a reasonable message concerning the faith in Christ Jesus.


First, it was necessary in this message of Paul to Felix and Drusilla concerning the faith in Christ Jesus to reason with them about righteousness. The sermon is not recorded, and since the outline is all we have, there are some reasonable statements that Paul may have included on this point of righteousness. What statement would be any better to begin than what he would say in Romans in the third chapter, “There is none righteous, no not one; there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God; they have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable. There is none that doest good, no not so much as one. Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit. The poison of the asp is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” This is the way God describes the human rascal. This is what we look like to Him. And then after this indictment he said, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

And then he could have mentioned what he said in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death.” Pay Day is coming some day. Then concerning the faith in Christ Jesus, what better statement could be made than what he would say in 2nd Corinthians 5:21, “Him who knew no sin He made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Colossians 2:12 can help us understand how we receive the righteousness of Christ, “Having been buried with Him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, you I say did He make alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses; having blotted out the bond written in ordinances which was against us taking it out of the way nailing it to his cross.”

Then Paul could have reassured them of the help God continues to give the Christian when he told them about Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us in time of need.” That throne of grace according to Hebrews 1:8 is forever and ever, and the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of thy kingdom.

In the book of Esther, when Queen Esther approached the king to ask for deliverance for her people who were under sentence of death, the king held out the golden scepter that was in his hand. And Esther drew near and touched the top of the scepter, and the king asked, “What is thy request?” It was granted. When the Christian is in need of daily forgiveness we have been invited to come to the throne of grace, for mercy, and the golden scepter will always be extended, because the One who sits at the right hand of the Father was tempted in all points like as we are and yet without sin. And it needs to be remembered, as Paul said in 1st Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, Himself man, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all.” Jesus is aware of the feelings of our infirmities having lived in the flesh Himself, and the golden scepter is always extended to those who come to the throne of grace and mercy. And Paul reasoned unto them of righteousness.


After preaching to Felix and Drusilla regarding righteousness, he moved on to his second point about the need for self-control. How do you talk to someone about self-control who always gave free reign to any and every temptation they ever had?

Paul might have started with Proverbs 25:18, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like unto a city that is broken down and without walls.” It appears that such a person is absolutely defenseless before any and every assault of the Devil.

Paul may have instructed Felix and Drusilla with a device he himself used when he said in 1st Corinthians 9:27, “But I buffet my body, and bring it under subjection: lest after having preached unto others, I myself should be a castaway.” Paul uses a boxing term here. He says, “I am not just shadow-boxing; this is a real fight, as my spirit pounds away at my flesh, and I intend to go the distance.”

Then in the battle for self-control we are not alone. 2nd Corinthians 10:4-5 informs us, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds, casting down every imagination, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God.” However, sometimes we let our imaginations and every high thing exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. We are exhorted in Romans 6:12, “Let not sin reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts thereof.” And then in verse 16, “Know ye not, that to whom ye present yourselves unto obedience, his servants ye are whom ye obey.”

Two of the greatest examples of self-control are in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Matthew 27:12-14, “And when He was accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing. Then saith Pilate unto Him, ‘Hearest thou not how many things they witness against Thee?’ And He gave him no answer, not even to one word: insomuch that the governor marveled greatly.” And then in Matthew 26:61-63, “This Man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.’ And the high priest stood up, and said unto Him, ‘Answerest Thou nothing? What is it which these witness against Thee?’ But Jesus held His peace”. I wonder how many listening at this time can join me in saying, “I wish I had that kind of self-control?”


And then the third point naturally follows when Paul speaks to Felix and Drusilla concerning the Day of Judgment. He could have told them of several things Jesus said about the judgment. In Matthew 16:27, “The Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father and His angels; and then shall He render unto every man according to his deeds.” Matthew 12:37, “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” John 12:48, “He that rejeteth me, and receiveth not my sayings, has One that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day.”

Felix and Drusilla were no doubt reminded of what Paul said in Acts 17:31, “God has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all the nations in that He hath raised Him from the dead.” God does not want us to forget that it is a Man who will judge the world: a Man who has earned the right to judge since He endured all the temptations that come to us, and was victorious.

And then there were the descriptive words of Jude 15 when he declared, “Enoch the seventh from Adam, prophesied saying, Behold the Lord came with ten thousand of His holy ones, to exercise judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all the works of ungodliness which they have ungodly wrought, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

Then no sermon on the judgment could have been complete without Paul telling what John would say later on in his own description of the Judgment in Revelation 20, “And I saw a great throne, and Him who sat upon it, from whose face the earth and the Heaven fled away; and there was found no room for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the Book Of Life: and the dead were judged according to the things which are written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead that were in it; and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death, even the lake of fire. And if any was not found written in the Book Of Life he was cast into the lake of fire.” There is a warning that needs to be heeded by all that think of the Judgment Day in Amos 4:12 when the prophet says, “Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.”

But with all this there is one thing the Lord Jesus said about judgment that can give assurance to every Christian. In John chapter sixteen, in His farewell address to the Apostles just before He went into Gethsemane, He told them, “When the Holy Spirit is come He will convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. Of sin because they believed not on Me, of righteousness because I go unto the Father, and of judgment because the prince of this world has been judged.” The prince of this world was identified by the Lord Himself just before this in John 14:30 when He said, “The prince of this world cometh and he has nothing in me.”

That prediction was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost when the baptism of the Holy Spirit took place on the Apostles, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and spoke the Word of God as the Spirit gave them utterance. On that day they were convicted of sin, because they saw they had believed not, and crucified the Son of God; of righteousness, because He had ascended to the Father, and was at that time at the right hand of God; of judgment, the Devil had been judged. Up until that day the Devil reigned supreme; no one had every defeated him before in temptation. Jesus not only lived a perfect life, but He destroyed the Devil’s greatest weapon of death and the grave. Because of the victory of the cross and tomb, the Word could go forth, the Devil was wrong, his way is wrong, He is not supreme, his way is the broad way that leads to the lake of fire. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” And then the Apostle Peter echoes these words of Jesus when he declares in Acts 4:12; “There is therefore now, none other name under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” Both the Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostle Peter tell us that Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven, and then add to this the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:4, “There is one hope.” And this is an example of the sermon Paul preached to Felix and Drusilla concerning of righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come.


And now consider the conclusion. As Paul finished his message, Felix trembled and answered, “Go thy way for this time; and when I have a convenient season, I will call thee again unto me.” He hoped withal that money would be given him of Paul, wherefore also he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him. He was looking for a bribe from Paul that was never offered. This went on for two years, and Felix never trembled again. We read in James 2:19, “Thou believest that God is one: thou doest well: for even the demons also believe, and shudder.”

A preacher told me of a man that told him he had often thought of becoming a Christian, and said, “The Lord kept bothering me, until one day, I told the Lord, if you will leave me alone, I will leave you alone.” The preacher said the man told him, “The Lord has never bothered me since.” That story reminds us of what God said in Genesis 6:3, “My Spirit will not always strive with men.” You will decide when God tells you to, or you may never do it at all. Someone has written these unforgettable lines:

Tomorrow he promised his conscience, tomorrow I mean to believe

Tomorrow, I’ll think as I ought to think, Tomorrow, my Savior receive.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, thus day after day it went on.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, till youth like a vision was gone.

Till age and his passions had written, this message of fate on his brow;

And forth from the shadows came death, with the pitiable syllable NOW!