Acts 24:22-27 - The Coming Judgment

Luke tells us that Paul spoke to Felix on righteousness, self-control and the coming judgment
We explored righteousness and self-control last week.
Today we will dive into what Paul most likely said to Felix on the “coming judgment.”


There will be a judgment:
Ecclesiastes 3:17 (ESV) — 17 I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work.
Ecclesiastes 12:14 (ESV) — 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
Acts 17:30–31 (ESV) — 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
Romans 14:12 (ESV) — 12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
Hebrews 9:27 (ESV) — 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,

Teaching on the coming judgment was mandated by Jesus himself.
Acts 10:42 (ESV) — 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.

This of course makes perfect sense.
Judgment is one of the many things required for the Gospel to carry any weight.
The Gospel is nonsense if there is to be no judgment.

“Proclamation of the love of God always presupposes that all men are moving towards God’s judgment and are hopelessly exposed to it.” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (941).

Using Paul’s words to Felix to as an example, what does it matter if a man is righteous or self-controlled if there is no judgment?

What is judgment and why is it necessitated?
“Judgment is the product of a “controversy” or lawsuit.” The Eerdmans Bible dictionary (610–611).
Judgment is not a random or arbitrary action of God BUT a decision based on the whole body of “controversy” between Him and man.

What is the controversy between God and man?
Romans 3:23 (ESV) — 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Paul further described the “controversy” between God and man this way:
Galatians 6:7–8 (ESV) — 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

“All human acts are a sowing [of the controversy]; God’s judgment is the related and self-evident reaping.” TDNT (940).

So a life (heart, mind, action) lived “sown in the flesh” creates “controversy” or enmity between God and man which requires judgment – a verdict to be rendered.

God made us, so why are we liable under God’s judgment anyway?
Reason 1:
Romans 5:12–14 (ESV) — 12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

We are liable because of a fallen nature.

Reason 2:
Proverbs 4:4 (ESV) — 4 he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live.
Galatians 3:10 (ESV) — 10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”
Galatians 5:4 (ESV) — 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.
Romans 2:12 (ESV) — 12 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.
James 2:10 (ESV) — 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.

We are liable because we have broken God’s law.

Reason 3:
John 6:27–29 (ESV) — 27 Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works [sowing or will] of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
John 3:18 (ESV) — 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

We are liable because of unbelief in Jesus Christ.

“The basis of judgment remains our response to God’s will as embodied in his general and special revelation focused in Jesus Christ.” New Bible dictionary (3rd ed.) (633).
“There is no hope for the man who seeks to justify himself at the judgment.” New Bible dictionary (3rd ed.) (337).

Who is the judge?
John 5:22–23 (ESV) — 22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.

The judge had to be judged!
Isaiah 53:7–8 (ESV) — 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?

Luke 24:19–20 (ESV) — 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned [literally delivered up to a judgment] to death, and crucified him.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV) — 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Jesus, the perfect sacrifice, was “by oppression and judgment” condemned to die - and he had to because:

Hebrews 10:11–14 (ESV) — 11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

When is judgment?
Matthew 24:29 (ESV) — 29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
Hebrews 9:27 (ESV) — 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,
Matthew 24:36 (ESV) — 36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.

What happens at judgment?
The Acquitted:
Mark 13:27 (ESV) — 27 And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
Philippians 3:20–21 (ESV) — 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

The Guilty:
2 Peter 3:7 (ESV) — 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
The word that spoke forth creation will also bring forth judgment!
Romans 2:5 (ESV) — 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
Revelation 20:15 (ESV) — 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

2 Thessalonians 1:5–10 (ESV) — 5 This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— 6 since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.

Believers will be acquitted, BUT those that “sowed in their own flesh” will be found guilty and condemned to hell.
Judgment is the separation of the sheep, righteous and the elect from the goats, unrighteous and the non-elect.

POI – Being found guilty or acquitted is not based on works but…
“The meaning of faith in Christ is nothing less than the truth that Christ’s ‘good works’, i.e. his perfect obedience in life and death, are imputed to us here and now and will stand to our account on the judgment day. In this fundamental sense there can be no justification for anyone apart from ‘works’, i.e. the obedience of Christ in life and death which represents the only basis for human standing before God.” New Bible Dictionary (3rd ed.) (632).

However, “If a person is truly reborn by the Spirit, the scrutiny of God will certainly uncover evidences of this in their ‘works’. But these works are the direct fruit of the Christian’s having been regenerated by the Holy Spirit.” New Bible Dictionary (3rd ed.) (632).

1 John 3:17–18 (ESV) — 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

The acquitted are also then judged by their works:
1 Corinthians 3:8–15 (ESV) — 8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

1 Corinthians 4:5 (ESV) — 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

2 Corinthians 5:10 (ESV) — 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

Those in Jesus are not to fear judgment:
1 John 4:17–18 (ESV) — 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

The guilty are also judged based on their works:
Matthew 11:21–24 (ESV) — 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”

Revelation 20:12 (ESV) — 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.

“The absolute, unerring accuracy of God’s judgment will ensure that unbelievers’ punishment in hell fits their iniquity. Each person’s life will be individually evaluated, and each person’s punishment will be consistent with that evaluation. Thus, Scripture teaches that there will be varying degrees of punishment in hell.” MacArthur, J. (2000). Revelation 12-22 (254). Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press.

Descriptions of Judgment:
Revelation 20:11–15
Matthew 25:31–46

Given the certainty of the “coming judgment” and Jesus’ mandate to teach on it, it is plainly obvious why Paul spoke to Felix on such matters.
In speaking on the judgment, the entire scope of the Gospel message is encountered.

It must also be said that the complexity and nuances of Judgment as a topic far outpace the treatment given to them here.
We have only scratched the surface…but I hope it has been beneficial.
Questions concerning how many judgments there are and when they all take place were not really my concern.
I just wanted to get an idea of what Paul may have said to Felix and I think we did just that.


Acts 24:22-27 - Righteousness & Self-Control

Diving Deeper outline for Acts 24:22-27.

The title is drawn from Paul's words to Felix in verse 25.
Using Paul's teachings elsewhere, we will discuss what Paul likely said to Felix concerning righteousness, self-control and judgment.
And as important, we will explore what he might say to those of us who are saved on those topics.

This week will only cover righteousness and self-control; judgment will be discussed next week.


Acts 24:22, 27 - But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, "When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case." 27 When two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.

Felix's Response to Paul and Tertullus:
Lysias was a witness to many of the events being discussed – more so even than the accusers present.
And as such, Lysias gives what opinion about Paul's case in his letter to Felix (Acts 23:29)?
Was Lysias a reliable witness (review witness insights from lesson a few weeks ago)?
Therefore it makes perfect sense for Felix, in verse 22, to await Lysias' arrival in order to hear his testimony.
However, before we assume too much virtue in Felix's jurisprudence, verse 27 makes clear that no matter the evidence Felix's intentions were to placate the Jews.
As a result, Paul was held in custody for 2 years.


I also want to more closely examine Paul's words to Felix.
Paul, instead of bribing Felix (verse 26), laid out his Gospel argument and had 2 years to do it.
Instead of justifying paying a bribe and getting out, he edured once again "for the sake of the Gospel."

Acts 24:25 - And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, "Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you."

Just by way of interest, Paul's outline is uncannily similar to Jesus' words in John's Gospel:
John 16:8-11 - And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

The first question I have is why would Paul speak to Felix, the man sitting in judgment over him, concerning these things?
Titus 2:15 - Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

1 Peter 3:14-16 - Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

Romans 1:16 – "I am not ashamed of the Gospel."

So now let's dive deeper into righteousness, self-control and judgment using Paul, Peter and others as our source.

Luke described the way in which Paul spoke of these things – "he reasoned about" them.
Reason is to speak or dispute with someone in such a way that you "mingle thought with thought."
In other words, Paul laid out the premises of a reasoned argument as he so often did and as Peter advocated.

Righteousness (sinner in need of a savior):
The word used here means "the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved of God."

Jesus put it like this:
Matthew 5:48 - You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

So what did Paul teach on obtaining a "state approved of God"?
Something he often described as being justified.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 - Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Galatians 2:15-16 - We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

Romans 10:9-13 - because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame." 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

Romans 1:16-17 - For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith."

So our belief in Jesus (His death, burial and resurrection) makes it possible for us to "attain a state approved of God."
Because he is righteous, those who are in him are also justified as righteous.
Paul was telling Felix that he was a sinner, why he was a sinner and that he was in need of a savior – Jesus.

Peter put it like this:
1 Peter 1:14-16 - As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."

And Peter's insight leads us to Paul's next topic of discussion with Felix – self-control.
In Jesus, we are confronted with moment after moment in which we are not to be what we once were.
How are we not to "be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance"?

Self-Control (repent and live a life of obedience):
The word used by Paul in this context means "the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites."

Paul illustrates the art of self-control by using an athlete as an example:
1 Corinthians 9:25-27 - Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

And he talks about self-control resulting from training:
Titus 2:11-12 - For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,

Our new life is to be one of self-control over our bodies and mind.
Paul reveals that self-control is linked to purpose not aimless running or beating the air.
He says self-control is found in training by the grace of God.
So our purpose (with respect to self-control) is to allow ourselves to be trained by God to live a life of self-control with respect to our worldly passions, our old nature.

So how do we "discipline" the mind & body to keep it under control?
How do we train to renounce "ungodliness and worldly passions"?

1) Self-Control is a fruit of the Spirit:
Galatians 5:22-23 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

And in Philippians Paul tells us:
Philippians 2:13 – for it is God who works in us to will and to act according to His good purpose.

So the admittedly more mysterious way we learn self-control is though God's grace and Spirit.
He desires for us to live a life of self-control.
And to that end, as believers, we have the following abilities:
An ability to recognize the areas in our lives where self-control is needed.
An ability to recognize the difference between our life when lived in self-control and when not.
An ability to recognize the damage done to our life when not lived in self-control.
And a desire to live a life of self-control to begin with!

2) Self-Control is a function of the MIND:
Knowing what we do about where we need to exercise self-control in our life, we have a responsibility to act.

Ephesians 4:17-24 - Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Proverbs puts it like this:
Proverbs 23:7 – As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.

In the book, The Criminal Mind, the authors make the case that a criminal is made not by his environment but by his thinking (the mind) and the choices made as a result of that thinking.
They say that criminal behavior is a result of "the thinking errors of the criminal."

John MacArthur points out that what they devote a 2 volume book was revealed in Scripture.
Romans 1:28 - And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

So we have a choice to make as Christians.
Will we seek a renewed mind or will we, by doing nothing, live in the shadows of our former debased mind?

As John MacArthur puts it, we need to DECIDE if we want to live life with a "Christ-Centered Purpose" or in a "Self-Centered Emptiness".

He argues that where we are in either of the two is based on a series of choices.
"A choice made often enough becomes a habit. And a habit reaps a personality and a personality reaps a character and a character reaps a destiny".

So where we are in our relationship with Jesus comes down to "a series of choices."
We must learn that to make the hard choices can provide a pleasure rooted in Christ that long outlasts and surpasses the choices made that appeal to wordly and bodily pleasures.

We must train our minds to see obedience and renewal as more pleasurable than worldly and bodily pleasures.

2 Corinthians 10:5-6 - We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

Obedience and the mind are linked together as one following from the other.
If the mind is submitted to Christ, it can make correct choices.

Philippians 4:8 - Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think [the mind] about these things.

And evidence of an obedient and renewed mind is if we think on these things.

How do we train or renew our mind to think on these things and to desire self-control over wordly pleasure?

We must recognize that as long as we linger in the shadows of the debased mind our mind and body will desire worldly and ungodly pleasure.

So to stay out of the shadows, we must remain in the light of God's word.
We must study, learn and know God's word to renew our minds!
And these things begin with one of a man's least favorite 4-letter words - READ.

Back to Paul & Felix:
Felix, was on his 3rd marriage with Drusilla.
He had married Drusilla when she was 16 after he forced her away from her then husband.
He was a crooked and self-indulgent governor.
Paul was bold to speak to his judge and jailor about self-control and a need to be made righteousness.

Had he just paid the bribe it seems he would have been released.
And he could have easily justified doing so..."I can speak the Gospel with those that would respond", or "Wouldn't my time be better spent encouraging young believers in the churches I planted", etc.
But because he did live life with a "renewed mind" he made the right choice.
Once again, Paul proves to be an awesome example of a life given to Christ.


Acts 24:1-21 - Paul & Jesus on Trial

Acts 24:1-21 – Paul & Jesus on Trial
Diving Deeper Lesson Outline for Acts 24:1-21

The title is drawn from Paul’s trial as revealed in our text.
It also deals with the root of the Jews disdain for Paul which is to be found in Jesus.


Acts 24:1-2a - And after five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and a spokesman, one Tertullus. They laid before the governor their case against Paul. 2 And when he had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him saying:…

Tertullus was a “forensic orator” otherwise known as a lawyer hired by Ananias and company.
Their plan was apparently to accuse Paul of violating both Jewish & Roman laws.

Paul’s Roman Violations:
Acts 24:5a – For we have found this man a plague, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world

Stirs Up is the Greek word kineo and it means “to set in motion.”
Therefore, they were arguing that Paul purposely set out to cause riots as he traveled throughout the Roman empire.
And if true, this could have been condemned as treason - crimen majestatis. – Easton’s Bible Dictionary
This is one reason Lysias (Acts 22:30) and Felix probably didn’t just let Paul go.

Another Biblical example of imprisonment due to riot/insurrection:
Luke 23:25 - He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will.

POI - Gallio, a Roman official, acted somewhat differently that Lysias or Felix.
Interestingly, Gallio (Acts 18) was less patient with the Jews efforts to “work the system”.
He saw what was really going on and had nothing to do with it.

Acts 18:14-15 - But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or vicious crime, O Jews, I would have reason to accept your complaint. 15 But since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves. I refuse to be a judge of these things.”

******** Paul’s defense ********
Acts 24:11-12 - You can verify that it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship in Jerusalem, and they did not find me disputing with anyone or stirring up a crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues or in the city.

Acts 24:17 - Now after several years I came to bring alms to my nation and to present offerings.

Paul made a few points to refute Tertullus’ 1st claim.
Witnesses could verify that:
A) He came to Jerusalem to bring alms and offerings – Paul’s business in Jerusalem was religious not political.
B) He had spent about 7 “days in purification”. – In obedience to James, he did this with some Jewish believers.
C) He had been in Caesarea 5 days. – Lysias and Felix himself were well aware of this.
D) He could not have begun an insurrection in 7 days – remember he had been out of Jerusalem for 3+ years. He didn't have enough time.

How do we know the time frame?
Acts 21:26-27 - Then Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself along with them and went into the temple, giving notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for each one of them. 27 When the seven days were almost completed,

Acts 24:1 - And after five days

Paul’s Jewish Violations:
Acts 24:5b - and is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.
Acts 24:6 - He even tried to profane the temple, but we seized him.

Ringleader” is a military term which means “one who stands in the front rank.”
Sect” carries with it the idea of “heresy” or “false teaching.”
The implication here is that Paul is the leader of a heretical movement rooted in Jesus of Nazareth.
And the military imagery seems to be an attempt to paint this heretical movement as a political threat which relates to the Roman violations.
And picking up on the Asian Jews fabrication, He accuses Paul of desecrating the temple.
Acts 21:28b - Moreover, he even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.”

POI – It is significant to see how a Gentile’s physical presence in the temple would defile it, but under Jesus’ new covenant the converted Gentile is now in fact the temple – 1 Corinthians 3:16-17.
This is an outrageous thought to the Jew and a reason they had such animosity towards Jesus and Paul.

******** Paul’s defense********
Acts 24:14-15 - But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, 15 having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.

Acts 24:18a - While I was doing this, they found me purified in the temple, without any crowd or tumult.

Paul made a few points to refute Tertullus’ 2nd claim.
A) I worship the God of our fathers.
B) I believe in the Law and the Prophets
C) I have a hope in a resurrection.
D) These are exactly what my accusers before you believe.
E) I was purified, in the temple & so there were no crowds (Paul wouldn’t be w/Gentiles during purification).

Paul’s summation:
Finally, Paul went on to make some basic observations about his accusers.

Acts 18b-21 - But some Jews from Asia—19 they ought to be here before you and to make an accusation, should they have anything against me. 20 Or else let these men themselves say what wrongdoing they found when I stood before the council, 21 other than this one thing that I cried out while standing among them: ‘It is with respect to the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you this day.’ ”

He rightly pointed out that the Asian Jews, who were supposedly the witnesses to these so-called transgressions, weren't even there to testify.
In fact, the ones present and making accusations weren’t witnesses to any of the things they are claiming.
The only thing they witnessed was the council meeting.
So the only legitimate gripe they had is that Paul started an argument concerning the resurrection of the dead.


Last week we examined the methods employed by the Jews to stop the Apostles and their message.
We determined that some of the reasons for this involved jealousy (Acts 13:45) and loss of status quo.
In our text today, we see they traveled 2 days and hired a lawyer to see to it that Paul was done.

It is clear that there is more going on than just jealousy and a power struggle.
The Jews believed that what they were trying to do was the right thing to do for God and for Judaism.
They believed that Paul’s teachings (and by extension Jesus') were heresy.

And of course this all has to do with Jesus.
Paul’s sect of Judaism was rooted in Jesus.
The Jews had a problem with Paul because they had a problem with Jesus.

Very briefly, I want us to try and understand just one of many reasons why.
Remember, we already made mention of the Gentile & temple relationship.

With the help of William Lane Craig’s book Reasonable Faith, we can get an appreciation for why Jesus (and by extension Paul) was so problematic for the Jews.

Jesus’ View of His Authority:
A typical rabbi’s teaching style was seen to be authoritative because the source material from which they taught was deemed to have authority.
They would quote the law, the prophets or oral law and explain what it means.

Jesus, in stark contrast, taught as one who was the very source of authority – even above that of the law and the prophets.
The best example of this is seen in the Sermon on the Mount.
In Matthew 5:21, 27, 31, 33, 38, & 43, we see the following method:
“You have heard that it was said…///…But I say to you…”

Here we see that Jesus “placed his personal authority on a par with that of the divine law” and “he adjusted the Law on his own authority.” - Craig

We get a Scriptural glimpse of the crowds recognition of this authority in Matthew 7:28-29.
And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

Jesus authority was evident to others.

But Jesus’ view of His authority is even more profound than this.
Take, for example, Matthew 5:31-32.
“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
Here, Jesus claims the authority to actually change, correct and reinterpret the law! (See Mark 10:2-9)

Jesus seems to assume an authority over Torah that no Pharisee or OT Prophet assumed – the authority to set it aside.” – Ben Witherington.
The extent that this would have offended the Jew cannot be understated or exaggerated.
For a man to claim the authority to change, correct or reinterpret the law would have been outrageous!

In fact, Jewish Scholar Jacob Neusner says:

Jews believe in the Torah of Moses…and that belief requires faithful Jews to enter a dissent at the teachings of Jesus, on the grounds that those teachings at important points contradict the Torah. And therefore, because that specific teaching was so broadly out of phase with the Torah and covenant of Sinai, I could not then follow him and do not now either. That is not because I am stubborn or unbelieving. It is because I believe God has given a different Torah from the one that Jesus teaches; and that Torah, the one Moses got at Sinai, stands in judgment of the torah of Jesus, as it dictates true and false for all other torahs that people want to teach in God’s name.

Understanding Jesus view of himself as one who is the source of authority, i.e. God, really begins to help explain the layers of animosity the Jews held toward Jesus and His followers.

Only God could give law, and most of the Jews did not accept that Jesus was God.
And this, as I stated earlier, is just one of many ways that Jesus offended the Jews.

So it is no wonder that the Jews were so offended by Paul and his message.
And all of this makes Paul's conversion (a Pharisee of all Pharisees) even more remarkable!