Pastor Hamrick is preaching from Acts 24:22-27.
Then Felix, who was well acquainted with the Way, adjourned the proceedings. “When Lysias the commander comes,” he said, “I will decide your case.” He ordered the centurion to keep Paul under guard but to give him some freedom and permit his friends to take care of his needs. Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him. When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.
At this particular juncture in the Bible, Paul is going through a series of defenses following his arrest in Jerusalem. His life is on the line.
What would you say if somehow, you were arrested and asked to explain the defense of your faith? Jesus said in Matthew 24 that we would face persecution and be dragged into court….even put to death like Paul who was eventually martyred. Jesus added that we should not worry about what to say because the Holy Spirit would give us the words (Luke 12:11-12).
We can trust also that the Holy Spirit is speaking through Paul as he gives his defense. Very interesting topics were selected.
There is not one single person, not one, who is good enough or righteous enough to go to heaven (Romans 3:11). Every single person has sinned and the wages of sin is death therefore unless we are forgiven of sin and made righteous by an act of God, we are doomed. The act of God is the cross. Righteousness belongs to God alone, He never sinned. But Jesus died an innocent man in our place so that we could be found not guilty. No matter how good we may think we are, we cannot be good enough. God requires perfection or holiness or righteousness. We cannot achieve that by human effort alone. No one will be declared righteous in the sight of God by observing the law, rather through the law we become conscious of sin (Romans 3:20). But, these facts seem to be lost on many including people who think they are Christians but are not. Over 1/2 of US Christians believe that good works will get them into heaven. They may be religious but they are not Christians.
An interesting topic indeed! Why would Paul choose this to defend himself? He wanted to show Felix who was judging him that without God in control of our lives, we are all in serious trouble.
This truth made Felix very uncomfortable. It was a role reversal. Felix, rather than Paul, was on trial and he was most definitely guilty. Pick any important subject in life and you will find that if not controlled by God, it can become sin. Money, Sex, Ambition, Beauty can become Greed, Lust, Selfish Power and Ugliness. Nothing wrong with these things in themselves but if not controlled, they are like a fire. Fire is a vital necessity but will burn your house down if not controlled. Cars are necessary to get around but they crash without brakes.
Self control is absolutely necessary to keep individuals and nations from crashing and burning (Galatians 5:15,23).
The Judgment to Come
Every single person will be in one of two judgments. Do you know what they are? It is so important to know that you will not be at the Great White Throne Judgment which is described in Revelation 20:11-15. At that Judgment all who are not believers in Christ will be found guilty and judged for their sins. This tragedy is so unnecessary because Christ died so that we would not be found guilty. He died to save us from the GWT Judgment! At that time, it will be too late to confess Christ. As Pastor Hamrick shares, a man named David who he knew just put off trusting Christ over and over. But, he died of a heart attack unexpectedly and unless he made peace with God, he was not going to heaven. The other Judgment is for the Saved, all who believe in Christ. They are forgiven for all their sins because Christ paid for them already and they are given rewards for all the good done in their lives. Consider the Two Judgments as either Condemnation or Commendation. Condemnation is for all who die in their sins and Commendation is for all who die in Christ. If this message is causing any fear whatsoever in your heart, please listen to the message. God does not want any to be lost so that means you! Christ was sent to the entire world for all people for all sins. Accept God’s offer for reconciliation today!