Suffering and Deliverance (Part 45) - Paul (Part E)


P. The Jews conspire to kill Paul i. The next day a group of more than 40 Jews banded together and vowed to not eat nor drink until they had killed Paul (Act 23:12-13). ii. They conspired with the chief priests and elders to have Paul brought down to the council to question him further, and they would kill him on the way (Act 23:14-15). iii. Paul's nephew heard about the conspiracy and told Paul (Act 23:16). a. Paul had one of the centurions take his nephew to the chief captain and tell him about the conspiracy (Act 23:17-22). b. Even though Paul had a promise from God that he would make it to Rome (Act 23:11), he nevertheless did everything that he could to deliver himself from men who were plotting to kill him. c. Note: we must trust God's promises of protection and provision, and then do everything He has commanded us to do to protect and provide for ourselves. d. Do not tempt God by trusting but not obeying. iv. The chief captain ordered two centurions to make ready 200 soldiers, 70 horsemen, and 200 spearmen to take Paul to Caesarea to Felix the governor in the middle of the night (Act 23:23-24). v. He sent a letter with them for Felix explaining Paul's situation (Act 23:25-30). vi. Paul was taken safely to Caesarea and Felix agreed to hear his case when his accusers got there (Act 23:31-35). vii. The Lord had delivered him from death again using a Roman military officer and soldiers. Q. Ananias the high priest hires an orator to accuse Paul before Felix the governor i. Five days after Paul was taken to Caesarea, Ananias the high priests and the Jewish elders show up with an orator named Tertullus to accuse him before Felix (Act 24:1). a. Tertullus accused Paul of sedition which was a capital crime (Act 24:2-5). b. He explained that the Jews would have judged him according to their law, but he was taken away from them by the chief captain Lysias by violence (Act 24:6-8). c. The Jews which were with him assented that what Tertullus said about Paul was true (Act 24:9). ii. Paul gave his defense saying that he had done nothing wrong, but was called into question concerning his teaching on the resurrection of the dead (Act 24:10-21). iii. Felix deferred his judgment until Lysias the chief captain could get there and testify (Act 24:22). iv. Felix kept Paul in custody, but let his friends come and minister to him (Act 24:23). a. Felix had Paul come and preach to him, but was disturbed and sent him away when Paul reasoned with him of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come (Act 24:24-25). b. What he really hoped for was that Paul would bribe him to let him go free (Act 24:26). c. Paul remained in prison for two years for the remainder of Felix's term (Act 24:27). d. Being a good man, Paul was not willing to bribe Felix to get out of jail, but rather endured his confinement for two years. R. The high priest tries to convince the new governor Festus to send Paul to Jerusalem so they can kill him on the way. i. Paul spent two years in prison during Felix' reign until he was replaced by Festus (Act 24:27). ii. Three days after he came to power in Caesarea Festus went up to Jerusalem (Act 25:1). a. The high priest and Jewish leadership accused Paul before Festus and tried to persuade him to have Paul brought to Jerusalem to be tried (Act 25:2-3a). b. Their plan was to kill him on his way to Jerusalem (Act 25:3b). c. Festus would not grant them their request, but said that Paul would remain in Caesarea where they could go and accuse Paul before him (Act 25:4-5). d. Paul's life was again spared because of the decision of the governor. e. This is a good example of the ruler's heart being in the hand of the LORD who turns it wherever He wants (Pro 21:1). iii. After ten days Festus returned to Caesarea and the next day sat in judgment of Paul (Act 25:6). a. The Jews leveled many grievous charges against Paul which they could not prove (Act 25:7). b. Paul proclaimed his innocence (Act 25:8). c. Festus, being a typical politician, tried to placate the Jews by asking Paul if he would go to Jerusalem to be tried (Act 25:9). d. Paul, foreseeing the evil and knowing he would not get a fair trial, declined to go to Jerusalem but instead appealed to Caesar's court (Act 25:10-11). (i) Paul wisely used his rights as a citizen and the legal system to his advantage as he had done previously (Act 16:37-38; Act 22:25). (ii) A prudent man foresees the evil and hides himself (Pro 22:3). e. Festus granted Paul's request to be tried before Caesar (Act 25:12). f. Paul was spared from death again by exercising wisdom and prudence. S. There are some lessons we can learn from all of Paul's deliverances. i. The more greatly we will be used by God, the more greatly we will suffer. ii. Persecution and affliction will often happen to Christians soon after their conversion. iii. Those who are zealous for the faith and effective at defending it will be persecuted by the enemies of Christ. iv. There is a time to flee and evade government authorities who are persecuting you. v. When we flee persecution, we must do so in order to keep preaching the gospel, contending for the faith, and worshiping God, not to hide in fear. vi. God will give us seasons of peace between seasons of persecution. vii. Persecution should not discourage us, but rather embolden us. viii. Sometimes religious people will team up with heathens to persecute God's people. ix. We must never be weary in well doing. x. The LORD is able to deliver us from all types of persecution. xi. We should remain joyful during persecution and continue to praise God even when suffering. xii. God can use civil magistrates to deliver us from persecution. xiii. Persecution sometimes arises when the preaching of the gospel threatens the financial empires of the ungodly. xiv. God will sometimes use wise friends to deliver us from trouble or death. xv. We must be prudent and foresee evil coming and be flexible and willing to change our plans in order to experience deliverance. xvi. Our enemies will make false accusations against us in order to persecute us. xvii. The Lord can use government officials and soldiers to deliver us. xviii. It can be wise to appeal to our civil rights when persecuted. xix. A wise Christian will perceive his enemies' weaknesses and exploit them to turn them against each other. xx. God can use our friends and others to thwart the plans of the wicked who would try to destroy us. xxi. If we behave in a godly and respectful manner, we may find favor in the sight of government officials and cause them to have mercy on us. xxii. God can turn the king's heart to make decisions which will facilitate our deliverance.
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