First Baptist Church of Howard City
November 28, 2021
      • Romans 13.1-2ESV

      • Romans 13.3ESV

      • Romans 13.4-5ESV

      • Romans 13.6-7ESV

  • Faith Is The Victory
  • Am I A Soldier Of The Cross
  • I Love You Lord
  • Acts 23:12–35 NKJV
    12 And when it was day, some of the Jews banded together and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. 13 Now there were more than forty who had formed this conspiracy. 14 They came to the chief priests and elders, and said, “We have bound ourselves under a great oath that we will eat nothing until we have killed Paul. 15 Now you, therefore, together with the council, suggest to the commander that he be brought down to you tomorrow, as though you were going to make further inquiries concerning him; but we are ready to kill him before he comes near.” 16 So when Paul’s sister’s son heard of their ambush, he went and entered the barracks and told Paul. 17 Then Paul called one of the centurions to him and said, “Take this young man to the commander, for he has something to tell him.” 18 So he took him and brought him to the commander and said, “Paul the prisoner called me to him and asked me to bring this young man to you. He has something to say to you.” 19 Then the commander took him by the hand, went aside, and asked privately, “What is it that you have to tell me?” 20 And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask that you bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire more fully about him. 21 But do not yield to them, for more than forty of them lie in wait for him, men who have bound themselves by an oath that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him; and now they are ready, waiting for the promise from you.” 22 So the commander let the young man depart, and commanded him, “Tell no one that you have revealed these things to me.” 23 And he called for two centurions, saying, “Prepare two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at the third hour of the night; 24 and provide mounts to set Paul on, and bring him safely to Felix the governor.” 25 He wrote a letter in the following manner: 26 Claudius Lysias, To the most excellent governor Felix: Greetings. 27 This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them. Coming with the troops I rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman. 28 And when I wanted to know the reason they accused him, I brought him before their council. 29 I found out that he was accused concerning questions of their law, but had nothing charged against him deserving of death or chains. 30 And when it was told me that the Jews lay in wait for the man, I sent him immediately to you, and also commanded his accusers to state before you the charges against him. Farewell. 31 Then the soldiers, as they were commanded, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 The next day they left the horsemen to go on with him, and returned to the barracks. 33 When they came to Caesarea and had delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him. 34 And when the governor had read it, he asked what province he was from. And when he understood that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will hear you when your accusers also have come.” And he commanded him to be kept in Herod’s Praetorium.
    Don’t forget God’s promise!
    Acts 23:11 NKJV
    11 But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”
    You will testify for me in Rome. - PROMISE - FACT.
    What promises of God do you need to claim today?
    There are promises for us all through scripture.
    What you have to understand as you claim that promise is that God may not work them out the way you think.
    He is not bound to our ideas or what we think will work.

    1. The conspiracy against Paul.

    Acts 23:12–15 NKJV
    12 And when it was day, some of the Jews banded together and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. 13 Now there were more than forty who had formed this conspiracy. 14 They came to the chief priests and elders, and said, “We have bound ourselves under a great oath that we will eat nothing until we have killed Paul. 15 Now you, therefore, together with the council, suggest to the commander that he be brought down to you tomorrow, as though you were going to make further inquiries concerning him; but we are ready to kill him before he comes near.”

    (1)A. The severity of the conspiracy.

    The Jews banded together under oath not to eat.
    They were dedicated to the cause.
    They literally invoked a curse on themselves.
    They were convinced.
    This was urgent.
    They wouldn’t eat or drink until they accomplished their task.
    This meant it happened as soon as possible.
    To KILL Paul.
    Death!
    Romans 3:9–18 ESV
    9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
    The thinking of the unsaved should never surprise us.
    It is in their very nature.

    (1)B. The magnitude of the conspiracy.

    Over 40 Jews.
    Not a couple of hot headed Jews
    Over 40 that made a pact that involved a curse.
    One Paul
    The enemies of the gospel always outnumber believers.
    Matthew 7:13 NKJV
    13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
    These 40 Jews could care less about the law.
    We can’t be surprised when enemies of the gospel disregard the law.

    (1)C. The strategy of the conspiracy.

    They were deceitful.
    They schemed WITH THE COUNSEL to have Paul killed.
    Don’t be surprised when those that should protect you do not.
    Don’t be surprised when schemes of the enemies of the gospel gain the backing and some sort of authoritative consent.
    Tell the commander that the counsel wants to see Paul again.
    On their way to this meeting they would ambush Paul and kill him.
    Man was doing everything in his power to destroy God’s plan.

    2. The sovereign plan of our GREAT God!

    Acts 23:16–30 NKJV
    16 So when Paul’s sister’s son heard of their ambush, he went and entered the barracks and told Paul. 17 Then Paul called one of the centurions to him and said, “Take this young man to the commander, for he has something to tell him.” 18 So he took him and brought him to the commander and said, “Paul the prisoner called me to him and asked me to bring this young man to you. He has something to say to you.” 19 Then the commander took him by the hand, went aside, and asked privately, “What is it that you have to tell me?” 20 And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask that you bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire more fully about him. 21 But do not yield to them, for more than forty of them lie in wait for him, men who have bound themselves by an oath that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him; and now they are ready, waiting for the promise from you.” 22 So the commander let the young man depart, and commanded him, “Tell no one that you have revealed these things to me.” 23 And he called for two centurions, saying, “Prepare two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at the third hour of the night; 24 and provide mounts to set Paul on, and bring him safely to Felix the governor.” 25 He wrote a letter in the following manner: 26 Claudius Lysias, To the most excellent governor Felix: Greetings. 27 This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them. Coming with the troops I rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman. 28 And when I wanted to know the reason they accused him, I brought him before their council. 29 I found out that he was accused concerning questions of their law, but had nothing charged against him deserving of death or chains. 30 And when it was told me that the Jews lay in wait for the man, I sent him immediately to you, and also commanded his accusers to state before you the charges against him. Farewell.
    Paul’s nephew heard about the plan.
    Luke writes: “the son of Paul’s sister”
    Who knew Paul had a sister or a nephew?
    And how does he get this information?
    A conspiracy of this nature is not going to be front page news.
    In God’s incredible plan, Paul’s nephew found out.
    Paul and his nephew are able to get this message all the way to the commander.
    Don’t miss this moment.
    It is one thing for the guard to have some sympathy.
    Yet the commander take this young man aside and speaks with him.
    The commander could have easily said: “I’ve got this covered” - I have trained soldiers and a lot more than 40.
    But he didn’t.
    He put his own secret plan together to move Paul out of Jerusalem to Caesarea.
    Paul was a Roman citizen - a Roman citizen being killed by Jews on the Commanders watch was not ok.
    Ultimately - because God was sending Paul to Rome!
    Get this picture.
    40 Jewish men swearing death on Paul is scary.
    Some might say hopeless.
    200 soldiers.
    These men would guard Paul until he was safely out of Jerusalem.
    70 horsemen.
    200 spearmen.
    470 well trained soldiers.
    From the greatest army assembled at the time.
    Imagine the site - clanging armor.
    Spears glistening in the moonlight.
    The steam from the snort of the 70 war horses.
    Even giving Paul a horse!
    At this moment, if the Jews had seen this - the curse was coming.
    Paul’s enemies not made nothing.
    God called together the very people that nailed His Son to the cross.
    The assembled the enemy to protect His own assets and move His plan forward.
    This is just what our God does!
    Psalm 115:3 NKJV
    3 But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.
    Once again The Great Rome is bowing to the mighty hand of the God of the universe.
    Once again they are pawns in His plan - and they don’t even know it.
    One time they were used to kill.
    The next they were used to save a life.
    Neither outside of God’s plan.
    Both for the furtherance of God’s eternal plan.
    Isaiah 40:15–17 ESV
    15 Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. 16 Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering. 17 All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.
    THIS IS OUR GOD!!
    Why do we get so caught up with what is right in front of us?

    3. Paul is delivered.

    Acts 23:31–35 NKJV
    31 Then the soldiers, as they were commanded, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 The next day they left the horsemen to go on with him, and returned to the barracks. 33 When they came to Caesarea and had delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him. 34 And when the governor had read it, he asked what province he was from. And when he understood that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will hear you when your accusers also have come.” And he commanded him to be kept in Herod’s Praetorium.
    He is on his way to Rome.
    It didn’t matter what any man did.
    Christ was going to keep his promise: “You will testify for me in Rome.”
    It doesn’t matter what any man does, Christ will keep His promise: “ I will build my church.”

    Application: Do you recognize God’s goodness in your own life?

    Not only did God save Paul’s life.
    Not only did God thwart an evil plan.
    He used those plans to work out His plan and further the gospel.
    They were literally pawns in God’s plan.
    Humanly speaking this was bad.
    A lot of evil people were trying to kill Paul.
    This was simply God working His plan.
    Romans 8:18–25 NKJV
    18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
    Romans 8:28–30 NKJV
    28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
    • Acts 24:1–27 NKJV
      1 Now after five days Ananias the high priest came down with the elders and a certain orator named Tertullus. These gave evidence to the governor against Paul. 2 And when he was called upon, Tertullus began his accusation, saying: “Seeing that through you we enjoy great peace, and prosperity is being brought to this nation by your foresight, 3 we accept it always and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness. 4 Nevertheless, not to be tedious to you any further, I beg you to hear, by your courtesy, a few words from us. 5 For we have found this man a plague, a creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. 6 He even tried to profane the temple, and we seized him, and wanted to judge him according to our law. 7 But the commander Lysias came by and with great violence took him out of our hands, 8 commanding his accusers to come to you. By examining him yourself you may ascertain all these things of which we accuse him.” 9 And the Jews also assented, maintaining that these things were so. 10 Then Paul, after the governor had nodded to him to speak, answered: “Inasmuch as I know that you have been for many years a judge of this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself, 11 because you may ascertain that it is no more than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 And they neither found me in the temple disputing with anyone nor inciting the crowd, either in the synagogues or in the city. 13 Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me. 14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. 15 I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. 16 This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men. 17 “Now after many years I came to bring alms and offerings to my nation, 18 in the midst of which some Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with a mob nor with tumult. 19 They ought to have been here before you to object if they had anything against me. 20 Or else let those who are here themselves say if they found any wrongdoing in me while I stood before the council, 21 unless it is for this one statement which I cried out, standing among them, ‘Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am being judged by you this day.’ ” 22 But when Felix heard these things, having more accurate knowledge of the Way, he adjourned the proceedings and said, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I will make a decision on your case.” 23 So he commanded the centurion to keep Paul and to let him have liberty, and told him not to forbid any of his friends to provide for or visit him. 24 And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. 25 Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.” 26 Meanwhile he also hoped that money would be given him by Paul, that he might release him. Therefore he sent for him more often and conversed with him. 27 But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound.
      Paul is in an impossible place.
      Jerusalem and Rome were the centers of two very strong powers.
      The Jewish faith and tradition went back some 2,000 years to Abraham.
      The rule of Rome extended over 3 million square miles.
      Jerusalem’s strength was their history and tradition.
      Rome’s strength was in their conquest and organization.
      Squarely in the middle was Paul with no human hope of survival.

      1. The case against Paul.

      Acts 24:1–9 NKJV
      1 Now after five days Ananias the high priest came down with the elders and a certain orator named Tertullus. These gave evidence to the governor against Paul. 2 And when he was called upon, Tertullus began his accusation, saying: “Seeing that through you we enjoy great peace, and prosperity is being brought to this nation by your foresight, 3 we accept it always and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness. 4 Nevertheless, not to be tedious to you any further, I beg you to hear, by your courtesy, a few words from us. 5 For we have found this man a plague, a creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. 6 He even tried to profane the temple, and we seized him, and wanted to judge him according to our law. 7 But the commander Lysias came by and with great violence took him out of our hands, 8 commanding his accusers to come to you. By examining him yourself you may ascertain all these things of which we accuse him.” 9 And the Jews also assented, maintaining that these things were so.
      Some important things to note.
      Ananias showed up.
      He was looking for revenge.
      Paul had insulted him.
      The plot to kill Paul that he was a part of failed.
      Ananias hired a lawyer.
      Tertullus started by throwing an abundant amount of praise on Felix.
      He tries to capture the judges good will.
      This is sickening.
      Felix has squashed several insurrections quite violently. - not something the Jews should be thanking him for.

      (1) A. He was a pest.

      The is a crazy way to start the argument.
      He was a pest.
      An annoyance.
      We just don’t really like him.
      But here is how he is a pest.

      (1) B. He was inciting riots.

      An agitator.
      This was a political charge.
      What Paul supposedly did against Jewish law was really no concern to the Romans.
      But stirring up political issues in the empire was a different story.
      One who created dissension in Jerusalem and around the world would be a concern to the Romans.
      Felix was known for ruthlessly squashing insurrection.

      (1) C. The ringleader of the sect of Nazarenes.

      The church was being portrayed as a trouble maker.
      One who went against the laws of the land.
      A group of people that were out of touch with reality.
      And Paul was the ringleader.
      He’s the one that is filling this cult full of nonsense.

      (1) D. He attempted to desecrate the temple.

      The claimed Paul brought Gentiles into the temple.
      This was a dangerous charge because the Romand had given the Jews wide powers when dealing with the temple.
      Tertullus tells a couple of lies.
      “We seized him.”
      The Jews tried to kill Paul.
      “The commander Lysias took him with great violence out of our hands.”
      The commander used force for a different reason.

      2. Paul’s own defense.

      Acts 24:10–21 NKJV
      10 Then Paul, after the governor had nodded to him to speak, answered: “Inasmuch as I know that you have been for many years a judge of this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself, 11 because you may ascertain that it is no more than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 And they neither found me in the temple disputing with anyone nor inciting the crowd, either in the synagogues or in the city. 13 Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me. 14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. 15 I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. 16 This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men. 17 “Now after many years I came to bring alms and offerings to my nation, 18 in the midst of which some Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with a mob nor with tumult. 19 They ought to have been here before you to object if they had anything against me. 20 Or else let those who are here themselves say if they found any wrongdoing in me while I stood before the council, 21 unless it is for this one statement which I cried out, standing among them, ‘Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am being judged by you this day.’ ”
      Never forget that enemies of Christ will always present things far from the truth to make their point.
      Also notice Paul’s opening statement...
      You have been a governor for a long time.
      I know Rome. I hope you will listen to me.

      (2) A. He was only in Jerusalem for twelve days.

      He could not have been a trouble maker. He wasn’t there long enough.
      He couldn’t have talked to enough people to stir up the trouble they were accusing him of.
      Not only that… there is a reason he was in Jerusalem.
      Not only that… but Paul came to Jerusalem to BRING MONEY!!

      (2) B. They did not find Paul causing problems in the synagogue or the city.

      It was a lie.
      He was there to carry out Jewish law - cleansing himself.
      I was following Jewish law.
      I was honoring the customs of my people.

      (2) C. He worshiped the God of his fathers and did not go against the law.

      He does not deny his participation in the Nazarene sect.
      He is not denying he is part of the church.
      He never claims to be the ringleader.
      This was not a rebellious sect.

      (2) D. His accusers were not present.

      This was a serious breach of Roman law.
      Ananias was not the original accuser.

      3. The case against Felix.

      Acts 24:22–27 NKJV
      22 But when Felix heard these things, having more accurate knowledge of the Way, he adjourned the proceedings and said, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I will make a decision on your case.” 23 So he commanded the centurion to keep Paul and to let him have liberty, and told him not to forbid any of his friends to provide for or visit him. 24 And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. 25 Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.” 26 Meanwhile he also hoped that money would be given him by Paul, that he might release him. Therefore he sent for him more often and conversed with him. 27 But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound.
      Felix found no reason to convict Paul BUT he also wanted to keep Paul to gain favor with the Jews.
      Also, we know the he was hoping for a bribe.
      So he postponed the trial until Lysius could come.
      Felix was undecided.
      So Paul is put under house arrest.
      Paul had some freedom.
      Friends could come and go and care for him.
      This was at least two years.
      Paul’s confinement did not hinder the gospel.
      During this time (two years) Felix has conversations with Paul several times.
      NOTE: Felix was familiar with THE WAY.
      Felix had a Jewish wife.
      Felix talked often with Paul.

      (3) A. Righteousness Felix did not possess.

      God is righteous. Man is not.
      Righteousness: to be morally right or justifiable.
      BIBLICAL DEF: acting in accord with the divine or moral law.
      People are not naturally good.
      This is the problem with the world!!
      The world is unrighteous.
      This is the reason Christ came.
      We were unrighteous.
      We cannot clearly share the gospel if we do not point people to the righteousness of God and the unrighteousness of man.
      Isaiah 64:6 NKJV
      6 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.
      Do we see ourselves as God sees us?
      Brad Stille - jumping off the Sleeping Bear Dunes to get to Wisconsin.
      Paul put a fear of God in Felix.
      Romans 3:10 NKJV
      10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;

      (3). B. Temperance Felix did not exercise.

      Felix had multiple marriages.
      He took bribes.
      He acted in anger.
      Really he was an adulterer, a thief, and a murderer.
      He allowed his greed and pride to control his life.
      Knowing Paul was innocent he kept him detained to gain favor with the Jews.
      Temperance is a fruit of the Spirit.
      Galatians 5:22–24 NKJV
      22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
      Felix quite likely thought he was doing ok.
      Paul was proving the fruit of his life was not of the Spirit.

      (3) C. Judgement Felix could not avoid.

      Felix was afraid and send Paul away until a more convenient time.
      Felix was convicted.
      But the conviction was followed by greed.
      Felix may have been living a the life he wanted at the time, but judgement was coming.
      There will never be a convenient time to follow Christ.
      Following Christ is not about convenience.
      Not about adding Christ to your life.
      But becoming a new creature in Him.
      Matthew 16:24–26 NKJV
      24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

      Learning from Paul’s witness to Felix.

      1. Paul started with the righteousness of God.

      2. That revealed that Felix had fallen short of God’s righteousness.

      3. Paul ended with the judgement that was to come because of unrighteousness.

      Surely Felix was the reason Paul was under house arrest for two years.
      Paul’s desire to go to Rome is miraculously fulfilled by God.
      The Great Macedonian call was only to a small ladies prayer meeting.
      THIS MAN who comes to Paul many times in two years MUST be the reason!!
      YET...A man who was familiar with Christianity yet still rejects Christ.
      Don’t mess around with Christ.
      Today: choose who you will serve.
      So, what in the world was the purpose of this house arrest for two years.
      Think of the things God taught Paul as he reasoned with Felix.
      Also, in Paul’s “spare time” he wrote letters to christians.
      we call them the prison epistles.
      Ephesians
      Philippians
      Colossians
      Philemon
        • Acts 24:1–27ESV

        • Acts 24:1–9ESV

        • Acts 24:10–21ESV

        • Acts 24:22–27ESV

        • Isaiah 64:6ESV

        • Romans 3:10ESV

        • Galatians 5:22–24ESV

        • Matthew 16:24–26ESV

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