Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
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Facing the Issues
Acts 24:22-27
Focus on v 25

22 But Felix, having a more exact knowledge about the Way, put them off, saying, "When Lysias the commander comes down, I will decide your case." 23 And he gave orders to the centurion for him to be kept in custody and {yet} have {some} freedom, and not to prevent any of his friends from ministering to him. 24 But some days later, Felix arrived with Drusilla, his wife who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul, and heard him {speak} about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 And as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, "Go away for the present, and when I find time, I will summon you." 26 At the same time too, he was hoping that money would be given him by Paul; therefore he also used to send for him quite often and converse with him. 27 But after two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus; and wishing to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul imprisoned. (NAS)

Introduction
I grew up in a very prominent church in this state. The Tower Grove Baptist Church is still a very significant church in this state. I expected the pastor to have a word to say on major issues. Today It is my opinion Paul's example before the Governor Felix has a word to say to us on the issues of the day.

We face a very important election in a few days. I want to take the word of God from an experience of Paul and allow it to speak to us.
 
 

1.    The Issue of . . RIGHTEOUSNESS. v 25 a 


25 And as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, "Go away for the present, and when I find time, I will summon you."

MacArthur Study Bible 24:3 Felix. Governor of Judea from
a .d. 52 to 59. Felix . . . accomplished little during his term as governor.. . his ouster as governor by Emperor Nero two years after Paul's hearing (v. 27).

RIGHTEOUSNESS
VINES
1. dikaiosune NT:1343 is "the character or quality of being right or just"; it was formerly spelled "rightwiseness," which clearly xpresses the meaning. It is used to denote an attribute of God, e. g., Rom 3:5, the context of which shows that "the righteousness of God" means essentially the same as His faithfulness, or truthfulness, that which is consistent with His own nature and promises; Rom 3:25,26 speaks of His "righteousness" as exhibited in the death of Christ, which is sufficient to show men that God is neither indifferent to sin nor regards it lightly. On the contrary, it demonstrates that quality of holiness in Him which must find expression in His condemnation of sin. (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright (c)1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

A.    The Beginning of Righteousness. v 22 a and 24 b
        22 a "But Felix, having a more exact knowledge about the Way, .."
        24 b ". . .and heard him {speak} about faith in Christ Jesus."

MacArthur Study Bible 24:22 having more accurate
knowledge of the Way. Since as governor, Felix's primary responsibility was to maintain order, he decided the best decision was no decision, . . . ".

Paul believed Righteousness begins in Christ.
What does verse 24 b mean. ". . .and heard him {speak} about faith in Christ Jesus."

2 Cor 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin {to be} sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.(NAS)

Illustration
Several years ago at the local Chamber of Commerce banquet the guest was the News Anchor man from one of the Springfield stations. He spoken about wanting to become number one in the area. Afterward I went up to him and told him I had some information that could help and his newscast become number one. I then gave him an Eternal Life Tract. He really had a disappointed and look. His look really was one of disdain. About five years later this man lost his job because of his actions of harassing and stalking a women.
 

B.    The Basis of Righteousness. v 25 a
Paul believed Righteousness has a basic relationship to the Word of God. He latter sited scripture to the King.

Acts 26:26-27 26 "For the king knows about these matters, and I speak to him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner. 27 "King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know that you do." (NAS)

C.    The Breakdown of Righteousness. v 24
But some days later, Felix arrived with Drusilla, his wife who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul, and heard him {speak} about faith in Christ Jesus.

MacArthur Study Bible 24:24 Drusilla. The youngest daughter
of Agrippa I (see note on 12:1), and Felix's third wife. Felix, struck by her beauty, had lured her away from her husband. At the time of Paul's hearing, she was not yet 20 years old.

    1.    Breakdown of Righteousness In Felix's life.
            Married Three times.
            Now Married to a 20 Year Old Girl.
            Some would say "Paul don't you offend Felix".
            Don't upset Felix and make our life more difficult.

        2.    Breakdown of Righteousness In Today's Life style.
                Breakdown evidenced in Abortion.
                        Change the name. Pro Choice.

Illustration
I really like my 10 year old Cadillac but if it were on a Cadillac dealers lot it would not be called a used car but a pre-owned Cadillac. That would not change the fact it has almost 125,000 miles on it.

Illustrations
A lawyer soliciting a potential client told the man he got his last three clients suspended. What he didn't mention was that they all died by hanging.

Illustration Clinton: Roe vs. Wade at stake in election
WASHINGTON (AP) - Voters who don't believe that a woman's right to have an abortion is at stake in this presidential election are wrong, President Clinton said Tuesday. "We're just a vote or two away from reversing Roe v. Wade," he said.

At a forum sponsored by the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way, Clinton said the outcome of the election will affect other future decisions by the judiciary as well. He said that while most voters are familiar with the abortion issue, "a lot of people still don't really believe a woman's right to choose is at take in this election, but it is." Political activists are reminding voters in the presidential campaign's final weeks that Texas Gov. George W. Bush or Vice President Al Gore could have profound, decades-long effects on the nation through their picks for the nation's highest court.

Ask Yourself Do I want Abortion Curtailed?
Ask it When You Vote.

        Breakdown of Righteousness In Today's Life style.
            Breakdown evidenced in Abortion.
            Breakdown Seen in Approval of Homo-Sexuality.

Illustration by the Editors of Religion Today October 27, 2000
An overwhelming number of Protestant pastors oppose homosexual marriage, according to a nationwide survey. Ninety-one percent say they would support laws defining marriage as "only between one man and one woman," according to the survey by Ellison Research (see link #1 below), a Phoenix company.

...A pastor's views of gay marriage coincide with his or her political leanings. Among pastors who call themselves conservatives, 99 percent strongly support laws defining marriage as between a man and a woman. That number drops to 85 percent among political moderates. Politically liberal pastors are split: 21 percent strongly support legislation for traditional marriage,   26 percent somewhat support it, 24 percent somewhat oppose it, and 29 percent strongly oppose such legislation.

...Among ministers who are Republicans, 99 percent strongly support these laws. Eighty-four percent of independents and 55 percent of Democrats strongly support such laws, the survey found.

Ask Yourself Do I want Homo-Sexuality Curtailed?
Ask it When You Vote.
 
 
 

2.    The Issue of . . Self Control. v 25 b 


25 And as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, "Go away for the present, and when I find time, I will summon you."

Self Control TEMPERANCE, TEMPERATE
VINES
A. Noun.
enkrateia NT:1466, from kratos, "strength," occurs in Acts 24:25; Gal 5:23; 2 Peter 1:6 (twice), in all of which it is rendered "temperance"; the RV marg., "self-control" is the preferable rendering, as "temperance" is now limited to one form of self-control; the various powers bestowed by God upon man are capable of abuse; the right use demands the controlling power of the will under the operation of the Spirit of God; in Acts 24:25 the word follows "righteousness," which represents God's claims, self-control being man's response thereto; in 2 Peter 1:6, it follows "knowledge," suggesting that what is learned requires to be put into practice.   (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright (c)1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
 

A.    The Beginning of . . Self Control. The Fruit of the Spirit
        Galatians 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. KJV

        2 Pet.1:6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; KJV

        It is a gift of God.
        Felix knew he didn't have it.

B.    The Basis of. . Self Control. v 25 a
        The Scriptures are the Basis of Self Control
 

C.    The Breakdown of . . Self Control.
        Example are Rampant in most new papers.
        We live in a day of accesses on every front.

Illustration
As a young man 40 years ago I heard the former pastor of Tower Grove Baptist Church Forrest Lowery return to preach on a Sunday Night. He preached from this text and told this story.

It seem a man would not kill snakes but as he found them he would defang them. He was being kind to the snakes. A few years latter one of the off spring of a defanged snake bit this man and he died.

Temperance or Self control must be properly interpreted.

Include Self Control in your thoughts when you vote.
Don't just vote your pocket book vote righteousness.
 
 
 

3.    The Issue of . . Judgment. v 25 c 


25 And as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, "Go away for the present, and when I find time, I will summon you."

JUDGMENT
VINES
2. krima NT:2917 denotes the result of the action signified by the verb krino, "to judge"; for its general significance see CONDEMNATION, B, No. 1: it is used (a) of a decision passed on the faults of others, Matt 7:2; (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright (c)1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

A.    The Beginning and the Basis of . . Judgment.

        1. In Christ The Words of Jesus will judge. John 12:48
48 "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. NAS
 

B.    The Background . . Judgment.
        Look at Jerusalem, etc. Luke 19:44
44 and will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation. " NAS

Illustration
Is it not foolish to be living in this world without a thought of what you will do at the end of it? A man goes into an inn, and as soon as he sits down he begins to order his wine, his dinner, his bed; there is no delicacy in season that he forgets to order. He stays at the inn for some time. By and by, the bill comes due, and it takes him by surprise. "I never thought of that--I never thought of that!"

"Why," says the landlord, "here is a man who is either a born fool or else a knave. What! Never thought of reckoning--never thought of settling with me!"

After this fashion too many live. They eat, and drink, and sin, but they forget the inevitable hereafter, when for all the deeds done in the body, the Lord will bring us into judgment.
Chas Haddon Spurgeon, The Quotable Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, Inc, 1990)
 


Conclusion

When you vote think about Righteousness,     Self-control,  and Judgment.