Paul Before Felix and Festus
Book of Acts Chapter 24 and 25
As Christians, there may come a time in our Christian life when we have to defend ourselves, by defending the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ, which we need to do all the time.
We should know more about some of the people involved in this farce of a trial of the Apostle Paul.
Farce meaning for the amusement of a crowd using lies which were ridiculous.
Felix was not some great ruler but was an evil ruler seeking to fill his pockets with loot.
He was originally a slave himself, who along with his brother were freed by the mother of the emperor Claudius. He had a brother named Pollus, who was more highly favored by Claudius. It is by this favored position of his brother Pollus that Felix was able to secure his position as Governor of Judea.
**Felix was a monstrous ruler, who was also cruel and despotic.
A despot means that he was independent of control of other men. Felix did what he pleased in disregard of all laws.
Sort of reminds me of the president and his family that we have today along with many of the Senators and Congress.
Felix was full of greed and corruption. He was known for taking and maneuvering for bribes.
Felix was eventually removed from office because of riots between the Jews and the Syrians which he instigated.
He was saved from the death penalty because his brother Pollus was in such high favor of Claudius.
He was married to Drucilla, the daughter of King Agrippa, which was his third marriage.
Under Felix the affairs of the country grew worse and worse.
This imprisonment the Apostle Paul suffered was because Felix as an unjust judge “was willing,” not to do what was right, but “to show the Jews a pleasure”.
**Festus was the successor of Felix as Procurator of Judea.
In just a few weeks the Jews reminded him of the prisoner Paul.
Then he heard Paul defend himself in the presence of King Agrippa II and his sister Bernice, and he did not find that Paul did anything worthy of the death penalty or even of being in prison, and would have set him free if not for Paul’s appeal to Caesar.
Festus died after being in this office for less than two years.
**Tertullus was a Roman lawyer who the Jews hired to state their case against the Apostle Paul.
He was a good orator, but he gave the term lawyer a bad name, just as many do today.
He said it was Paul who created those disturbances among Romans throughout the Roman Empire, which was a lie, it was those Jews.
He said Paul was the ringleader of a sect of the Nazarenes who disturbed the Jews in the exercise of their religion, which was also a lie. It was the Jews who disturbed the Christians in their worship.
He said Paul had introduced new gods, which was Jehovah, the same God the Jews worshiped from the same Bible the Jews used in their worship.
He said that Paul had gone as far as to profane the Temple, all these things were built upon lies.
The Jews said they would have had these things over with, if not for the Chief Captain Lysias who put a stop to their actions.
So now let us hear from the Apostle Paul.
*Act 24:10 Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself:
Act 24:11 Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship.
Act 24:12 And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city:
Act 24:13 Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me.
What were the charges against the Apostle Paul?
1) Paul was charged as an insurrectionist: a troublemaker, he disturbed the peace, he caused sedition, and he caused disorder among the Jewish people.
Many of these same things are said about Christians today even here in America, and even by some so-called church leaders, who say they are God’s servants, when they are not and are Satan’s servants.
2) They said that Paul was the leader of the sect called the Nazarenes, which was a rebellious sect, another lie.
They did not know what to call believers at this time and even the term Christian was used in a derogatory fashion when it was first used.
Being Christian is the only truth that needs to be used because being Christian is being like Jesus Christ.
Those who are not trying to be like Jesus Christ in their daily life are not true Christians no matter what they call themselves.
If they go against any part of the Word of God, then they are not being like the Lord Jesus Christ who obeyed all the Word of God!
Christianity is not a sect!
Christianity does not promote sectarianism.
Christianity does promote unity and brotherly love, peace, and quietness.
Christianity does not promote selfishness nor worldliness.
Christianity does not promote self-indulgence, extravagance, wealth, injustice, or disorderliness.
Christianity does promote care, concern, and help, giving and justice, government, and obedience to the law, as long as those laws do not go against the written Word of God!
3) They charged that Paul profaned the Temple of the Jews, another lie.
It is a terrible day when a so-called Christian follows religion instead of following the Lord Jesus Christ who is the Head of the Church!
We cannot lean on our own ideas; we must lean on the Lord Jesus Christ and the written Word of God from the “received text”.
When we go against the Word of God, we are going against the Lord Jesus Christ who is the only One who can get us into God’s Heaven.
Heaven must be important enough for us to seek after the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Joh 14:7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
For those who say that the Lord Jesus does not say He is God, how do they explain this passage?
Paul spoke the truth to Felix.
Felix had judged Israel for about seven years.
Paul did not flatter Felix.
Paul did not lie about the accomplishments of Felix.
Paul did say things that acknowledged that his fate was in the hands of Felix, even though Paul knew his fate was in the hands of God.
Remember the Holy Spirit will guide us in the things we are to say.
In truth, Paul had gone to the Temple to worship not to cause a disturbance.
In fact Paul would never have intentionally caused any disturbance, especially in Jerusalem, especially at the Temple!
The Temple was still God’s house!
Paul simply said that five days was not enough time to do all those things the Jewish leaders had said, and it was not.
Paul had only been in Jerusalem for twelve days and Felix could easily check these things for the truth.
The Holy Spirit will not allow us to lie in our defense!
Eph 4:20 But ye have not so learned Christ;
Eph 4:21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
Eph 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
Eph 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
Eph 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Paul was innocent of all those charges brought against him and Felix knew this to be true.
Paul said, if it were heresy to worship Jehovah God then he was guilty but keep in mind it was the religion of the Jews to worship Jehovah God and to obey all the Word of God so these elders would be just as guilty as Paul.
*Act 24:14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
Act 24:15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
Act 24:16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.
That Roman lawyer had tried to persuade Felix and those of his court that Paul was the leader of a heretical sect. An unauthorized religious party that caused social disruption.
This is almost the same thing that our own government is trying to paint Christians as today!
Paul confessed to only one thing, a genuine worship of the One true God, the same God that the High Priest and all Jews are to worship not some new god and not some false god.
Paul admitted that he was a follower of the Nazarene, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord Jesus was a Nazarene, not because of some vow, but simply because He lived in Nazareth for a while.
Paul said he believed all the things written in the Scriptures just as the High Priests were supposed to.
Remember the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection, or angels, and some did not believe there was a Heaven or Hell, all these things written plainly and clearly in the Scriptures.
All the words written in the Scriptures are the truth of God!
2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
All these things were taught to the Jews beginning at childhood!
2Ti 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Paul passionately believed in the resurrection of the believer!
1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1Th 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Paul’s conscience was clear on all these things, and this is the way each Christian should look at the truth of the Scriptures.
God cannot lie!
1Pe 3:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
1Pe 3:17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
Then Paul explained why he had returned to Jerusalem, which gave Felix the idea that he could bribe Paul.
*Act 24:17 Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings.
It was important to the early Church that the church in Jerusalem not fail!
Paul had asked all the Gentile churches to try to help this church.
It was because of the Jews, who would excommunicate those they considered offenders from all religious rights and privileges in the communities in which they lived.
They would lose their jobs and in many cases their homes. In some cases it included banishment.
It always included civil punishment! Here are some examples.
Exo 31:14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
Ezr 10:3 Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.
Paul did not return to cause any problems to these Jews!
A strong Christian church would be a benefit to this Jewish nation, just as a strong Christian church has great benefits to any nation.
Christians are some of hardest workers in any nation and they will always uphold the laws of any nation as long as they do not conflict with the Word of God, as we see here in America.
Those offerings of the Apostle Paul, not the alms, had to be offered in the Temple in obedience to the Law of Moses.
Felix wanted to hear from the Chief Captain Lysias to hear his side of what happened.
And after, He did want to hear from Paul again.
*Act 24:24 And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.
Act 24:25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.
Act 24:26 He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.
Notice Felix had a desire to hear about the Lord Jesus Christ, but he did not want to hear about repentance.
This is the same story of the transgender and the queer people and most all sinners today.
They want to claim they are saved, but there is no evidence of repentance.
1) Felix and Drusilla wanted to hear about Christianity and the Nazarenes and faith in Jesus Christ, simply because they were curious.
They had no real desire to change the way they lived. They lived in luxury.
2) Since Paul had brought so much money to the Church, then maybe he could pay a bribe to be set free.
Paul shared his testimony and the Gospel with these two, at this opportunity.
We should never miss an opportunity to share the Gospel!
Fearlessly Paul declared the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paul declared that faith in Jesus Christ would bring about a change to righteousness and a controlled lifestyle in this world and facing God’s judgment at the end of this life, which would be a judgment for rewards or to face God’s judgment at the end of time.
1) Faith in Christ concerns righteousness.
2) Faith in Christ concerns self-control.
3) Faith in Christ concerns the judgment to come.
4) Faith in Christ concerns patience.
Felix trembled with conviction!
We can also see where the Holy Spirit also reached out to Felix, but Felix denied Christ at this time and said he would talk more with Paul at a later date, which never came.
This is the way of the world today!
How many who want to know the facts of Christianity, but they reject any message of repentance?
When the Holy Spirit moves in, there will be some changes. If we do not see those changes that are according to the Word of God, then the Holy Spirit has not moved in, because there was no sincere love of Christ and His message.
After Felix rejected the Holy Spirit, the next thing on his mind was that maybe Paul would pay for his freedom.
Felix sold out justice for greed!
Remember Felix was a corrupt official.
We can see this as an example of how this corrupt world is more interested in greed and corruptness than salvation.
We can also see this as an example of how close we are to the return of Jesus Christ.
1Ti 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
This is why our Senators and Representatives will not give up the bribes of the lobbyist.
This is why they use their knowledge of new laws to take advantage of the stock market.
This is why they can be so easily bribed.
This is why Felix was soon replaced by Porcius Festus!
We as voters need to replace the corrupt government that is in place today in America!
So many are too blind to see these things, and many believe these things cannot be changed, but they can.
It is never too late to follow the ways of Jesus Christ!
*Act 25:6 And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought.
Act 25:7 And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove.
Act 25:8 While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all.
Notice before Festus even talked to Paul, he made sure the High Priest and those other wicked Jews would be there.
We see nothing has changed as they came with those same lies, they had before.
These things have not changed today.
When the world wants to get rid of a servant of God, they always begin with lies.
Lies control our courts, even when before testimony is given, people still swear to the truth.
The truth does not mean much anymore!
In our world today, there is no incentive to tell the truth and there is no punishment in the telling of lies, and our judges are just as guilty.
It should be today that no judge has a previous life as a lawyer and maybe we could see some change.
Mat 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Mat 5:12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Mat 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
We must never lose our saltiness!
All these things happening to the Apostle Paul never led him to giving up, but he just grew closer to the Lord.
Rom 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
Rom 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
1) Paul said, He worship the same God as these Jews said they worshipped.
2) This is the same God that the Jews had worshipped since they had escaped from Egypt.
3) Paul said that he believed in all the Scriptures, and that he denied none of those Scriptures.
Kings and Governors come and go, but Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!
As Christians we know this is true.
Every human being will stand before God, either at the “Judgment Seat of Christ” or at the “White Throne Judgment”, and God gives us the
all our lifetime to decide which one of these places we should see Him and God promises to reach each one with the Gospel.
There will be no one in Hell who did not decide to go there.
Everyone in Heaven will have proved that they love the Lord Jesus Christ!
Paul had a sincere belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
2Co 4:14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.
Paul did all the things he did, in order to have a pure conscience. So many of us fail in this!
Paul struggled to avoid offence toward anyone. So many of us fail in this also.
Paul did all he could to keep a disciple from stumbling in their growth in Christ. We fail in this thing also.
Paul struggled to have a clear conscience toward God and man! I know I struggle with this one also.
Then Festus asked Paul to go to Jerusalem to stand trial in which Paul replied, he could not get a fair trial from people who only wanted to kill him, which was the truth.
*Act 25:9 But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me?
Act 25:10 Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest.
Act 25:11 For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar.
Act 25:12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.
The Apostle Paul had come to Jerusalem to bring the offerings to the Church of Jerusalem from the Gentile Churches that had offered to help.
Paul was far from being an insurrectionist, but this was the same charge that was made against Jesus Christ, because this charge would bring the death penalty from the Roman Government and the Jews.
Paul would never incite violence against the government!
He had not done this in any Gentile city, and he would certainly not do this in Jerusalem.
Our own government say these same things about Christians today, when so-called Christians and some impersonating Christians are the cause of much of the trouble just to give Christians a bad name.
It was the out-of-town Jews from Asia that had stirred up the city, because of their hatred of the Apostle Paul.
They followed Paul from place to place, just to cause trouble for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We may not know who exactly was behind these things, but we know it was Satan.
Those trying to destroy America are also followers of Satan.
Paul was attacked while he was at worship.
These Jews from Asia were too cowardly to show up at court, but the High Priest and his followers who were Sadducees, intended to destroy Paul.
Paul was unjustly tried in the Sanhedrin Court, who followed the lead of the High Priest.
Paul was in the midst of a terrible trial, but he was there because of a righteous deed.
Paul knew God would deliver him because he had seen the Lord in a vision and the Lord told him he would preach the Gospel in Rome.
Paul was in the will of God and God treats all His children the same.
2Pe 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
2Pe 2:10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
2Pe 2:13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;
2Pe 2:14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:
Praise the Lord for the work of the Apostle Paul, who brought the Gospel to the Gentiles.