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introduction. At the end of chapter 24 we found Paul under house arrest in the sea port city of Caesarea. The Roman governor, Felix, along with his wife Drusilla, called for Paul to hear what he had to say about Christianity. introduction.
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introductionAt the end of chapter 24 we found Paul under house arrest in the sea port city of Caesarea.The Roman governor, Felix, along with his wife Drusilla, called for Paul to hear what he had to say about Christianity. introductionPaul jumped on the opportunity and spoke to them aboutPaul jumped on the opportunity and spoke to them about RighteousnessPaul jumped on the opportunity and spoke to them about RighteousnessSelf-ControlPaul jumped on the opportunity and spoke to them about RighteousnessSelf-ControlThe Coming Judgment introductionThe words of Paul left Felix and Drusilla “terrified.”They were informed about the truth, and their hearts were moved by fear - Yet they would not obey the truth. introductionThey sent Paul away and told him that they would send for him when it was a “more convenient time.” introduction As we pick up this morning in chapter 25, there is a new Roman governor in Caesarea – His name was Festus.The Jews in Jerusalem are still bent on prosecuting their claims against Paul. introductionFestus wants to gain favor with them and seeks to talk Paul into going to Jerusalem for another trial, but Paul appeals to Caesar, leaving Festus with no choice but to send Paul to Rome to stand before Caesar.agrippa and bernice(Acts 25:13 NKJV) And after some days King Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea to greet Festus.(Acts 25:13 NKJV)agrippa and berniceagrippakey insightAgrippa was the last of the Herods to rule.He was the great-grandson of the Herod the Great, who ordered every baby boy under 2 years old to be murdered in an attempt to kill Jesus.agrippa and berniceagrippakey insightHe was the son of the Herod who killed the Apostle James (Acts 12). agrippa and berniceagrippaAgrippa was king of a very small part of that region, which included Galilee and Peraea.He was well aware of the fact that he held even that limited sphere of power by grace of the Romans. agrippa and bernicebernicekey insightBernice was a sister of Drusilla, the wife of Felix.She was also a sister of Agrippa himself. The two of them were living together in an incestuous relationship.agrippa and berniceberniceThe fact that he was living with his sister created a great deal of hostility and opposition towards him by the Jewish people, because their Law clearly condemned incest (Lev. 18:1-18; 20:11-21).agrippa and bernice(Acts 25:14-15 NKJV)(Acts 25:14-15 NKJV)When they had been there many days, Festus laid Paul's case before the king, saying: "There is a certain man left a prisoner by Felix, {15} "about whom the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, when I was in Jerusalem, asking for a judgment against him.agrippa and berniceinsightAgrippa and Bernice stayed there quite a long time. Luke calls it “many days”Festus brings up the subject of this prisoner named Paul. Perhaps it was because they ran out of things to talk about; or maybe Festus was waiting for the right time to bring up the subjectagrippa and bernice(Acts 25:16-19 NKJV)(Acts 25:16-19 NKJV)"To them I answered, 'It is not the custom of the Romans to deliver any man to destruction before the accused meets the accusers face to face, and has opportunity to answer for himself concerning the charge against him.' {17} "Therefore when they hadagrippa and bernicecome together, without any delay, the next day I sat on the judgment seat and commanded the man to be brought in. {18} "When the accusers stood up, they brought no accusation against him of such things as I supposed, agrippa and bernice{19} "but had some questions against him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who had died, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.agrippa and bernicekey observationIn VERSE 19 we find that Paul was declaring and defending the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We see from this that Paul had so boldly and clearly testified of the resurrection of Jesus Christ that Festus knew about it.agrippa and bernicekey applicationThe key emphasis for us today should be THE SAME as the Book of Acts.JESUS IS ALIVE! HE’S CHANGED MY LIFE!before kings(Acts 25:20-22 NKJV)(Acts 25:20-22 NKJV)"And because I was uncertain of such questions, I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem and there be judged concerning these matters. {21} "But when Paul appealed to be reserved for the decision of Augustus, before kingsI commanded him to be kept till I could send him to Caesar." {22} Then Agrippa said to Festus, "I also would like to hear the man myself." "Tomorrow," he said, "you shall hear him."before kingsinsightFestus was in a real jam.Festus was in a real jam. It was Roman law that if a man appealed to Caesar and was sent to Rome there must be sent with him a written account of the case and of the charges against him. before kingsinsightFestus' problem was that, as far as he could see, there was no charge to send. Festus was smart enough to understand that the Jewish case against Paul had nothing to do with civil law.before kingsinsightIt was purely a matter of “religious questions” (Acts 18:14-15; 23:29).Now Paul has appealed to Caesar. What are you going to do with a prisoner like that? So he asked Agrippa to help him out.before kingsnote wellIt is amazing to see how this meeting was arranged by a king and a governor. Yet all the while they were actually fulfilling prophecy even though they were unaware of this. agrippa and bernice(Acts 9:15 NKJV)(Acts 9:15 NKJV)But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.happy to speak(Acts 25:23-27 NKJV)(Acts 25:23-27 NKJV)So the next day, when Agrippa and Bernice had come with great pomp, and had entered the auditorium with the commanders and the prominent men of the city, at Festus' command Paul was brought in. {24} And Festus said:happy to speak"King Agrippa and all the men who are here present with us, you see this man about whom the whole assembly of the Jews petitioned me, both at Jerusalem and here, crying out that he was not fit to live any longer. {25} "But when I found that he had committed nothing deserving of death, happy to speakand that he himself had appealed to Augustus, I decided to send him. {26} "I have nothing certain to write to my lord concerning him. Therefore I have brought him out before you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that after the examination has taken place I may have something to write. happy to speak{27} "For it seems to me unreasonable to send a prisoner and not to specify the charges against him."happy to speakkey observationIt was with great pomp that Agrippa and Bernice had come. There is no scene with more pomp and circumstance in all the New Testament. happy to speakkey observationFestus decided to gratify the wish of Agrippa by making the "hearing" of Paul the prisoner an occasion for paying a compliment to Agrippa by a public gathering of the notables in Caesarea. happy to speakkey observationEntered into the auditoriumAuditorium = the place of hearingIn the Roman legal system it was the place set aside for hearing, and deciding cases. This was most likely at the Amphitheatre in Caesarea.happy to speakkey observationwith the chief captains = ChiliarchsEach a leader of a thousand. There were five cohorts of soldiers stationed in Caesarea. happy to speakkey insightand the principal men of the cityand the principal men of the city interesting: This is the only time this word is used in the NT.But it is found in ancient inscriptions used by medical writers to speak of swelling. happy to speakkey pointYou might say that these were the puffed up people of power in Caesarea. happy to speakkey observationAgrippa and Bernice would have entered wearing their purple robes of royalty and the gold circlet of the crown on their brows. Festus would no doubt have put on the scarlet robe which a governor wore on state occasions. happy to speakquote: BarclayClose at hand there must have stood Agrippa's suite and also in attendance were the most influential figures of the Jews. Close by Festus there would stand the captains in command of the five cohorts which were stationed at Caesarea;happy to speakquote: Barclayand in the background there would be a solid phalanx of the tall Roman legionaries on ceremonial guard. happy to speakkey observationIt was into THIS scene that Paul was brought.Now the stage was set for Paul to not only plead his case, but to bear his witness before a king. happy to speakremember Jesus had saidJesus had said(Matt 10:18) "You will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake". That was a HEAVY prophecy from the lips of Jesus.happy to speakremember He also made a precious promise to accompany it which, as we will see, would be fulfilled in a radical way.He also made a precious promise to accompany it which, as we will see, would be fulfilled in a radical way.(Mat 10:19 KJV) But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.happy to speaknote wellThe little Jewish tent-maker, with his hands in chains; enters this incredible scene of power and position in the Roman Empire.Yet from the moment he speaks, it is Paul who holds the stage. happy to speakquote: barclayThere are some men who have an element of power. Julian Duguid tells how he once crossed the Atlantic in the same ship as Sir Wilfred Grenfell. Grenfell was not a particularly imposing figure to look at; but Duguid tells that, whenever Grenfell entered one of the ship's rooms, happy to speakquote: barclayhe could tell he was there without looking round, because a wave of power emanated from the man. When a man has Christ in his heart and God at his right hand he has the secret of power. Of whom then shall he be afraid?happy to speakkey observationWhat a scene this was! No preacher has ever had a greater audience than this one.The setting is dramatic with great pomp and ceremony. Paul appears in chains before this august company of rulers and kings. happy to speak(Acts 26:1-3 NKJV)(Acts 26:1-3 NKJV)Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You are permitted to speak for yourself." So Paul stretched out his hand and answered for himself: {2} "I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before youhappy to speakconcerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, {3} "especially because you are expert in all customs and questions which have to do with the Jews. Therefore I beg you to hear me patiently.happy to speakkey observationThen Agrippa said unto Paul, you are permitted to speak for yourselfThen Agrippa said unto Paul, you are permitted to speak for yourselfPaul was silent until he was permitted to speakhappy to speakquote: m. henryThose that are best prepared to speak and speak best are not the most forward to speak. happy to speakWhen I am in the midst of a lot of pastors it always amazes me to see the MOST UNQUALIFIED guys speak first and longest and actually say NOTHING, while the guys most qualified wait and measure their words.happy to speakkey observationSo Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himselfSo Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himselfLuke makes it a point to record his hand gesture. Paul is NOT perplexed, he’s NOT afraid, he’s NOT bewildered.He’s HAPPY for the chance to speak of Jesus!happy to speakcrucial insight #1WHY is Paul HAPPY?WHY is Paul HAPPY?He has been in prison on trumped up charges for 2 years.He is HAPPY because his chains have become an opportunity for him to be Christ’s AMBASSADOR to these Roman officials.happy to speakcrucial insight #2Every believer is called by Christ to be both a missionary (“one who is sent”) and an ambassador (“one who carries a message”). happy to speakkey insightJesus said, (John 20:21)“As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you”. happy to speakkey insightIn Bible times, the word ambassador had little to do with politics. Rather, it carried the meaning of “personal messenger,” one sent on a special mission (2 Chron. 35:21; Isa. 18:1-2; Luke 14:32). happy to speakkey insightThe ambassador was under the authority of a ruler or a government official. He was sent to declare a message but not to negotiate the response. happy to speakkey insightIn Paul’s day Rome had two different kinds of provinces, each related to the Roman government in a different way. In Paul’s day Rome had two different kinds of provinces, each related to the Roman government in a different way. Senatorial provinceswere made up of people who had submitted to Rome and were peacefully obeying the law. happy to speakkey insightImperial provinces were still rebellious and would create problems for Rome if they could. Rome sent ambassadors to the imperial provinces but not to the senatorial provinces.happy to speakkey applicationChristians are God’s ambassadors to this world because the world is at war with God. happy to speak(Rom 5:10 NKJV)(Rom 5:10 NKJV) For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.happy to speak(Rom 8:5-8 NKJV)(Rom 8:5-8 NKJV) For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. {6} For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. happy to speak{7} Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. {8} So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.happy to speakkey insightThrough the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, God has reconciled the world to Himself.But the world at large is refusing God’s terms of reconciliation. For this reason, God must deal with this rebellious world as Rome dealt with their imperial provinces. happy to speakkey insightHe must send HIS ambassadors with His message of peace.This very act of sending us DEFINES GRACE. happy to speakkey insightGod has every right to send his angelic armies and judge the world for its sin. Instead, he offers sinners the gift of peace and forgiveness.happy to speakconclusionThis same Paul, who was HAPPY to be before Agrippa, wrote two letters to the believers in Corinth.In his second letter he wrote saying-happy to speak(2 Cor 5:17-21 NLT)(2 Cor 5:17-21 NLT) What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! {18} All this newness of life is from God, happy to speakwho brought us back to himself through what Christ did. And God has given us the task of reconciling people to him. {19} For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. happy to speakThis is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others. {20} We are Christ's ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you. We urge you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, "Be reconciled to God!"happy to speak{21} For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.happy to speakconclusionNext week we will examine the great message that he was so happy to speak.Remember - The OPPORTUNITY to preach before kings was because of his imprisonment.
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