Sunday, February 17, 2013

From Acts to Revelation Part 64 – Paul's Defense II



From Acts to Revelation
Part 64  – Paul's Defense II
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org

INTRODUCTION
Paul is in chains, and surrounded by the Roman guards. Arrested in the temple when a crowd of Jews began beating him to death.

These guards pulled him from the masses, and took him to the gate, where they were going to lock him up. However, Paul asked the Commander in Greek, if he could speak to the crowd. The commander agreed.

Paul spoke to the Jews in Aramaic, explaining that he was a Jew, how zealous he was, and how me met Jesus.

Paul continues as he explains his situation, in hopes of gaining understanding from the Jewish brothers he is speaking to. However, instead of understanding, they explode.

So, last week we saw Paul explain he was a Jew, he was educated and zealous for God, and how he met Jesus.

Today’s verses will show us how volatile hate can be, and how hate can grow from religion.


SCRIPTURE REFERENCE
Acts 22:22-30
22 The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!”
23 As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. He directed that he be flogged and interrogated in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this. 25 As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”
26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. “What are you going to do?” he asked. “This man is a Roman citizen.”
27 The commander went to Paul and asked, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”
“Yes, I am,” he answered.
28 Then the commander said, “I had to pay a lot of money for my citizenship.”
“But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied.
29 Those who were about to interrogate him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains. 30 The commander wanted to find out exactly why Paul was being accused by the Jews. So the next day he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the members of the Sanhedrin to assemble. Then he brought Paul and had him stand before them.

I.       THE CROWD EXPLODES
a.      The crowd had listened to Paul until this point.


b.     The scripture says that they listened until he said this.
i.       Referring to vs. 19-21 “19 “‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. 20 And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’ 21 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”


c.      The Jews' response to Paul was religious
i.       “Rid the earth of him, he's not fit to live!”
a.      These Jews are claiming that they are scriptural in demanding Paul's life.

ii.    They were so upset, we see the scriptures describe how they tore their cloaks and threw dust in the air.


d.     Religion always hates
i.       Throughout scripture, we see it time and time again, religious people who hate.
a.      We still see these abuses today.
1.      Sexual predator clergy
2.      TV Evangelists
3.      Cult Leaders

b.     Using religion to gain something, or being religious and destroying the true church.

c.      Remember, Jesus called these religious people a brood of vipers, and the synagogue of Satan.

d.     Jesus said they carried out their fathers will (Satan’s), which was destroying the church.



II.   THE CROWD REACTS TO PAUL'S CONFESSION
a.      23 As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. He directed that he be flogged and interrogated in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this. 
i.       Scourging (or flogging) is a terrible form of torture.

ii.    Because Paul spoke to the crowds in Aramaic, the Roman Captain did not know the reason the crowd was violent towards Paul. This is how they interrogated people.


b.     25 As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”
i.       Paul did not cower from the beating when it was directly connected to the name of Jesus.

ii.    Perhaps Paul felt he deserved punishment for his many crimes against Christ?

iii. Perhaps he felt he deserved what was coming to him?

iv.   However, he did quietly, and with dignity, try to avoid it when ordered by official ignorance.
a.      The Romans weren't beating him “because” of Jesus...they had no clue. They were going to beat him for information.

v.      So Paul asks, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”


c.      26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. “What are you going to do?” he asked. “This man is a Roman citizen.”
i.       The rights of Roman citizens were guarded as something sacred granted by Rome.


d.     27 The commander went to Paul and asked, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” “Yes, I am,” he answered.
i.       The Captain was afraid, because he had actually already broken the law, just by binding Paul.


e.      28 Then the commander said, “I had to pay a lot of money for my citizenship.” “But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied.
i.       One of the ways you could gain Roman Citizenship was by purchasing it.

ii.    However, Paul was born a Roman citizen.

iii. Either through some service preformed by his family, or because of living in the City of Tarsus.


III.    OUT OF THE PAN
a.      29 Those who were about to interrogate him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains.
i.       Paul was no longer in chains, but still held in custody by the Captain, in hopes he could find out what was going on.


b.     30 The commander wanted to find out exactly why Paul was being accused by the Jews. So the next day he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the members of the Sanhedrin to assemble. Then he brought Paul and had him stand before them.
i.       The Jewish Sanhedrin was the Highest Jewish Council, ruling Civil and Religious matters among the Jews.



CONCLUSION

The Lord lead Paul to Jerusalem so he would be there during the Passover, when all of the God-fearing Jews from around the world would be present. Giving God, through Paul, one last attempt at re-directing the Jews from the err of their way, back to the way of God, which taught of a coming savior whom is the lord their God.

Now that Paul has attempted to speak one last time to the people, God has protected him, and moved him to the highest of Jewish council's, so that he may try to convince the religious leaders of the Messiah's coming.

The Lord is trying to reach them, as a whole, for the last time.

Paul, being trained by Gamaliel, could reason with the council on their educated level.

We can see how religion, and religious people do harm to the Body of Christ, and work towards destroying the church, rather than edifying and building it up by strengthening the people.





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