In Part 4 God uses his enemies to bring the gospel to the centre of imperial power and influence.
Take the challenge to work through the Book of Acts over thirty-five days. The notes will inform, and set you thinking. They are easy to read in under twenty minutes and include colour photographs, and a section for further reflection or discussion. Ideal for those who want to be prepared to read the Bible with first-time readers. At the end there is a section on words and their meaning, as well as who’s who in Acts.
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Hello, and welcome to episode 30, one of trainingforliferedeemed. I'm your host, Dan. And I'm here with my father, David Jackson. We are coming towards the end of our study series in Acts today. We are looking at Paul's trials in front of three or two Roman governors and one king who all come to listen to Paul. What he has to say. Paul's fulfilling prophecies that Jesus had said about him and how he's going to be standing and witnessing before Kings and presenting cases before soon to be Caesar. So this is a fantastic series, really, where we get to look at what Paul is saying and the effects it has on these people. And really remembering that this letter was written to Theophilus who is in a similar position to having to make a decision about what's going on with Christians. Well , how is it with Felix, Felix comes in. He's looking after Paul, he's the governor here. And he tries to get to the bottom. of the case.David:
Yeah. Well, one of the characteristics we read through the whole Bible is that the word Satan means accuser and S atan's accusations against the people Jesus has saved, whether they be old covenant, new covenant believers, his accusations are always false. And your classic behind this i s the book of Job where Satan accuses Job of being a fake believer. If you take away his toys, God he'll curse you to your face. And it's funny in the book of Job, Satan actually says to God, if you take away his toys, he'll bless you. Won't he? And then God takes, G od says, well, go and take away his toys. And he takes away his 10 children. He takes away everything he owns. And the guy is absolutely devastated. You want to talk about PTSD? M um's doing a counseling course. And she was saying, you know, who c an we think of in the Bible who had, might've been threatened with PTSD and I'm going w ell, l et's start with Job. I can think of a few that here he is sitting down and miserable. And what does he say? The Lord gave the Lord took away blessed, be the name of the Lord. Duh Satan's accusations. False faith is genuine. So Satan is the accuser and he's there to prosecute Christians and accuse us of being fakes. And wicked sinners, and we deserve all to go to hell. He's he's the prosecutor in God's court. But when his case fails, when Jesus defeats him at the temptation, when he pays for our sins, at the cross -- case over the sentence has been passed, the sentence has been carried out there. Are there a no more accusations on the record of any of the people who believe in Jesus? So , sorry, pal, you can leave the court. And so you read this passage in Luke 10 and Revelation 12, where Satan gets kicked out of God's courtroom. But what he does when he gets kicked out of God's courtroom, as he turns to be a vigilante. So if you watch any Clint Eastwood movies, you know that, you know, the courts are useless and the law is in a wimp. So what you really need is a bad cop to go out and shoot the bad guys and save the courts the trouble. And that's what Satan does. He is his own little militia force. That's going to ignore the government and go and kill Christians because he can't get a conviction in God's court.Dan:
So is Felix. Then like acting like Satan, or is it going to be the Sanhedrin who w ere trying to go toDavid:
The Jews turn around. And they set up a vigilante squad to assassinate the Romans come in and rescue him. And now Paul is going to go through court after court, after court where the accusers Bible speaks of the offspring of the snake. So there's Satan in God's courtroom in Job accusing Job. And then down on earth, it's Job's friends who were doing all the accusing they're the offspring of the snake as it were. So here we are. The offspring of the snake, the Sanhedrin are prosecuting with false accusations. God's man. Only the court. This time is now a Roman court. So the Sanhedrin are no longer the court. The Sanhedrin are the prosecution. Yep . They're the Satan. And Paul's in the dock and Rome is in God's place as judge. And that we're going to rebuke that. So here we go.Dan:
Well , Paul definitely puts up a good display of bearing witness. I think before Kings, he does Felix. Felix is more interested in getting money out of Paul. I think then any kind of justice or anything like that, sorry, just holds on to Paul keeps him in prison until we move on to our next, which could have been fun or they haven't. It was probably a couple of years. I imagined two years later. And then we get Festus who comes in and now Festus is going to call another trial to find out what Paul is doing here. Yeah ,David:
Well, but Festus is in a different position, Felix, that the Jews didn't. Yeah, it didn't work out with Felix. And for a number of reasons, Felix was pretty vicious toward the Jews. So the Jews reported him to Caesar and Caesar recalled him. Now the next governor that comes in knows that if you don't get on the right side of the Jews, you're going to be on the wrong side of Caesar . Because if you don't manage this province, things are not going to go well. So Festus comes in and he's looking for an excuse to find a way to get in the good books with the Sanhedrin. And the first his first item of business is Paul, which is a bit surprising. I mean, you've got a govern , a province full of, you know, assassins and terrorists and all sorts of things. And your first bit of business is Paul, because with Paul, you could win the favour of the Sanhedrin and be a popular Roman governor if that's at all possible. So he's the one who puts the case to Paul to say the Sanhedrin don't want to try you in my court. They want to try you in their court. So I want to take you up to Jerusalem. And you, instead of the Sanhedrin being your accuser , they're going to be your judge.Dan:
Paul Doesn't like that and goes. Well , if you're not going to be my judge and remember the citizen , I'll go to Caesar and he can be my judge.David:
So pretty much you know, your behaving corruptly, I am behaving with integrity. When you look at the accusations that were brought in front of Felix, I'll just summarize those is that, that, that had me in stitches. So their opening line is he's a pest , uh , what , what, what are your charges against this Paul? Why are we having these riots and a ssassination squads and all the rest of it? Oh, he's a pest. He stirs up dissension. Did he start the riot in Jerusalem? Let's let's wait for the report from the Roman Garrison commander as to how he rescued him from the r ight. Yeah. He's leading a Christian sect. Is that a crime? He tried to desecrate the temple. Yeah. Who says where's this Greek You say he brought into the temple. So the whole thing looks ridiculous. And then am I going to go up to the Sanhedrin and have those guys sit in my judgment? It's a foregone conclusion. I'll be dead. Let's go talk to Nero. And that now just flips the tables. Cause they've got no charges to lay. Yeah . How do you write the Nero and say, I'm sending him to you because he's a pest . And because the Jews don't like him and they rioted against him because they mistook the guy he was with for being a Greek in the temple. And it broke some Jewish law or other. This is not good . Nero is you're going to play. How many hours of the emperor's time on something like that? The last guy got recalled . You really want to try this on .Dan:
So I guess he takes a while to send him,David:
well, his Problem is he can't not send him That's right, but he needs to send him with something. But he's what on earth is he going to say that isn't going to make him look worse than Paul? So he summons our a dear friend, a gripper, and that takes us to study six Acts 25, 26. Who is the mad man? Come on. Paul presents his case before Festus and Agrippa. And the comment is, you know, all your learning has made. You has driven you mad Paul. And when you've got to stop and think about that statement for a minute, you are so well-educated that you're insane. So using your reason and your research and your reading and all that scholarship you bring to the table that makes you mad. Whereas we're all sane, and it's the same people who under the conviction of the gospel, as Paul tells his story, they get to a point where they're almost convicted of their sin and almost convinced that Jesus is who he says he is. And their answer to that is to rush out of the room and end the story and end the interview. And you're looking at that and thinking to yourself, wow, who's mad here, which is rational, believing in Jesus or the irrationality of shutting the preacher up because he's getting to me. Is it your great learning or is it your great foolishness? Who's the madman in this room?Dan:
Well, yes. And then king Agrippa definitely comes out as well. And he can see the rationale behind Paul's arguments and stuff as well. He's very familiar with what's happening amongst the Jews. Paul is convinced that Agrippa believes in the prophets and all that kind of stuff. And I agree for his intent to make sure that he's not persuaded to become a Christian in such a short amount of time. Yeah. It doesn't say he wouldn't like to do it for a longer amount of time, but not so quickly. and then the end, the agreement is that there's no charges and we've got to just send him and who knows what that's ending withDavid:
And you have the testimony now of two Roman, Agrippa, who's the king of the Jews at the time . And they're all saying the man is not doing anything worthy of death or imprisonment. If he hadn't appealed to Caesar, we couldn't let him go, but we couldn't let him go. Cause the Sanhedrin to get upset. This is a political decision, but two Roman governors and the king are declaring him innocent. And my mind goes straight back to Pontius pilate, three times he declares Jesus innocent and then being a wimp because he's scared of the Sanhedrin. He hands him over to get crucified. So there's no, if you're Theophilus and you're looking at this, you're going, this is crazy. There's nothing wrong with this gospel.Dan:
Well, that brings us to the end of episode 31. So if you would like your study notes to dive a bit deeper into this, and that's, you know , we're going to go over three studies in each of these sets of study notes, head over to trainingforliferedeemed.com/ 31 to grab your study notes. If you enjoyed the episode, please leave us a review. And I hope that you will subscribe if you have not yet already come and join us for our last episode on the book of acts. As we finish it off on Friday, we're looking at episode 32 Acts chapter 27 through to the end and our trip to Rome.
We are beginning a new series of studies on the Book of Acts.
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