Sunday, April 28, 2013

From Acts to Revelation Part 72 – Festus Takes Paul to King Agrippa

From Acts to Revelation
Part 72  – Festus Takes Paul to King Agrippa
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

Last week we took a side step from the series to speak about a time and purpose, a season for our lives, and how Paul had many seasons in his, as we do in ours.

This week we are returning to Paul in his travels, as he Festus took the Governors seat, replacing Felix, after Paul being in prison for two years.

The chief priests and elders of the Jews confronting Festus upon his arrival in Jerusalem, wanting Paul's death, Festus calls for another hearing, where Paul refuses to return with the Jews, and asks for his case to be heard by Caesar, which is his right as a Roman citizen.

Today, we will read about Festus taking Paul to King Agrippa, in hopes of sorting this issue out. As of now, Festus is at a loss as to what he is to charge Paul with, or what he will send to Rome as charges to Caesar with Paul. Festus hopes King Agrippa may clear things up for him.

Acts 25:13-27
13 A few days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus.14 Since they were spending many days there, Festus discussed Paul’s case with the king. He said: “There is a man here whom Felix left as a prisoner. 15 When I went to Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews brought charges against him and asked that he be condemned.

16 “I told them that it is not the Roman custom to hand over anyone before they have faced their accusers and have had an opportunity to defend themselves against the charges. 17 When they came here with me, I did not delay the case, but convened the court the next day and ordered the man to be brought in. 18 When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. 19 Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive. 20 I was at a loss how to investigate such matters; so I asked if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial there on these charges. 21 But when Paul made his appeal to be held over for the Emperor’s decision, I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar.”

22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear this man myself.”
He replied, “Tomorrow you will hear him.”

Paul Before Agrippa

23 The next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp and entered the audience room with the high-ranking military officers and the prominent men of the city. At the command of Festus, Paul was brought in. 24 Festus said: “King Agrippa, and all who are present with us, you see this man! The whole Jewish community has petitioned me about him in Jerusalem and here in Caesarea, shouting that he ought not to live any longer. 25 I found he had done nothing deserving of death, but because he made his appeal to the Emperor I decided to send him to Rome. 26 But I have nothing definite to write to His Majesty about him. Therefore I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that as a result of this investigation I may have something to write. 27 For I think it is unreasonable to send a prisoner on to Rome without specifying the charges against him.”

In today's scripture we will see;
1.   Sometimes worldly law is not on your side.
2.   Accusations from those who hate you are sometimes heard louder than your innocence.
3.   Eventually, as they say, you will have your day in court.

a.      Festus explains that Felix had left Paul a prisoner
i.       Insinuating that the previous administration could not resolve this issue.

ii.    Festus makes it clear, as soon as he arrived in Jerusalem, the Chief Priests and Elders of the Jews began accusing Paul and wanted Festus to give them justice.

iii. Festus explains to Agrippa, he addressed the issue as soon as they returned from Jerusalem, and called a hearing the next day for Paul.

b.     HOWEVER...
i.       They did not charge Paul with anything Festus expected

ii.    Instead, it was a religious matter, and someone named Jesus, who the Jews said were dead, and Paul said was alive.
iii. Festus admits, “I was at a loss...”
a.      and gave Paul the opportunity to go to Jerusalem, however, he chose “Emperor's Decision”

c.      Paul, being a Roman Citizen, had this right.
i.       He knew he would be killed if he traveled back to Jerusalem

ii.    He also knew there was no possibility he would have a fair trial if judged in the hands of the Sanhedrin

iii. So he chose to be heard by Caesar

a.      Festus points out the reason for bringing Paul
i.       The Jews are crying for Paul's death

ii.    I've listened to their accusations, and they do not make sense to me

b.     They want Paul dead
i.       After two years in prison, they have not forgotten their hate for Paul

ii.    They waited, and waited, and when the opportunity came, and the new Governor showed up in Jerusalem, they immediately returned to their quest to kill Paul.

iii. Their hate came from Satan, and their desire was driven by evil. They were pawns to the devil.

c.      Festus admits in court, “I want to send him to Caesar as he requested, but I have nothing to write as an accusation.”
i.       Festus was unwilling to send Paul to Rome before Caesar without an accusation that made sense.

ii.    Festus states, “I think it is unreasonable to send a prisoner to Rome without specific charges against him. This is why I brought him before you King Agrippa.”

a.      Children of God still have struggles
i.       Like Paul, we too can struggle

ii.    We need to remember who our “real” enemy is though
a.      Ephesians 6 makes it clear who our enemy is

b.     also, tells us how we are to defend ourselves against this enemy

iii. Though things may get bad in this world around us, the Lord is with us, and His Will be done

b.     Sometimes the “powers that be” in the land, seem to hold the upper hand
i.       Paul is held captive, in prison

ii.    He is taken here and there, from court to court

iii. Accusations fly, charges are made, and it looks like he is in the middle of a chaotic scene
a.      However, Paul, being obedient to the Lord, is simply following where the Holy Spirit is taking him.

b.     The Lord told Paul, “you will go to Rome and preach the Gospel.”

c.      Paul has been protected by trained, armed Roman soldiers for two years now, where neither the Sanhedrin's influence, power or assassins could reach him.

d.     Paul is now on his way to Rome, just as the Lord said

e.      Though it may appear Paul's life is spiraling out of control, he is safe from harm, taken care of, and now on his way to Rome.

c.      God's Will is beyond us, and He is always in control
i.       God is in control!
a.      Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.

b.     Proverbs 16: 9 The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

c.      In Matthew 10:29, Jesus says, "No sparrow falls to the ground apart from your Father's will." Put another way: No sparrow dies apart from the Heavenly Father's complete control and divine permission.

ii.    Though we may not understand
a.      I Corinthians 2:11 For who knows a person's thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

b.     Isaiah 55:8-11 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

iii. The Lord is with us
a.       for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Romans 10:13

b.     Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. (Isaiah 65:24)

c.      Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
(Romans 8:1)

1.      Sometimes worldly law is not on your side.  - but the Lord is always with you
2.      Accusations from those who hate you are sometimes heard louder than your innocence. - Truth always prevails
3.      Eventually, as they say, you will have your day in court. - God's Will be done
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