Scripture:

Acts 24

vs. 16 “I (Paul) always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.”

vs. 21 “… It is with respect to the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you this day.”

vs. 25 “And as he (Paul) reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix (the Roman official) was alarmed…”

vs. 27 “… desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison (another two years).”

Observation:

Paul is brought before the Roman officials by the Jewish leaders.
Paul has broken no Jewish or Roman law.
In fact, he testifies that he believes everything in the word of God.
He wants a clean conscience in front of the people and God!
The pinnacle of the crisis surrounds one thing, the resurrection of Jesus!
This, the resurrection of Jesus, is the pin point of conflict.
Felix, the Roman official, feels internal conflict, “he is alarmed”.
The Jewish leaders feel external conflict, their authority is challenged.

Application:

The resurrection of Jesus will force people to decide: “Is it real? And what do I do about it?”
If it is real, it changes everything!
Felix is right to be alarmed.
How we see and live and interact will be different after we believe.
Knowing things are different, however, does not always create the necessary change.
I don’t like change … especially if it means I must change my own ways.
Paul is obviously willing to undertake drastic changes in his life after his belief in the resurrection.
His conscience is clear before people and God!
And, yet, even though Felix is “alarmed” by the gospel of Jesus, and “has a rather accurate knowledge of the Way”, he still puts people pleasing as his main priority.
He is weak. He wants to be liked by people rather than obedient to God!

Oh what a tragic and scary trap that I’m afraid I too often slip into!

Am I really all that different from Felix?… Desiring “favor of the people” while being “alarmed” and “knowledgeable” of the truth of God!

Prayer:

Father God thank you again for your Word.
Help me live it out courageously.
Help me live in such a way that I have a clean conscience before people and You.
I pray my knowledge of your resurrection would always be more than sufficient and I would not crave the favors of people.
In Jesus name, Amen.