Truth or Political Games

Acts – Chapter 24

Outline

  • Acts 24:1-9– False accusations against Paul are brought forward by the high priest and Tertullus
  • Acts 24:10-21 – Paul refutes the accusation and confesses that he is a follower of the Way, that he believes in all things written in the Law and the Prophets, that he abides by them and that he is opposed because he believes in the resurrection of the dead
  • Acts 24:22-24 – Felix knows about the Way and adjourns the proceedings  until the commander comes to testify. Paul is kept and questioned about the faith in Christ
  • Acts 24:25-26 – In hearing Paul speak, Felix becomes fearful ans sends Paul away. He also hopes to receive a bribe and keeps talking with Paul
  • Acts 24:27 – After two years of captivity, Festus succeeds Felix and keeps Paul captive to please the Jews

Political Games Always Distort the Truth

Paul’s accusations by the religious leaders were not true but fabricated (Acts 24:6-9). This is similar to the way accusations were brought against Jesus. In the objective of winning the proceeding, the truth was not only distorted but completely forgotten by the accusers.

What I find interesting is that Paul’s defense was also not reflecting the truth. The real issue against him was his ministry and teachings to the Gentiles, not the issues covered in his defense. I can understand Paul not using this in the confrontation with the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem (Acts 23:6), but I do not understand why he did not bring up the truth in the proceedings before Felix (Acts 24:10-21). I wonder what would have happened in that case. Felix did not have a good reputation but he was not a Jew.

In comparing this trial with Jesus’, we can see that even if Jesus did not cooperate with Pontius Pilate’s questioning (Mat 27:11-14, John 18:33-38), He did not deflect His response towards irrelevant issues. What I am saying is that Paul was caught in the politics of the situation while Jesus was not. Both results were not favorable to them but playing the political game did not work.

Not much is changed in politics today. The truth is always distorted to win the game, and the “popular thing” is chosen rather than the “right thing”.

Reasons for Felix’ Decision to Postpone Judgment

  • He did not find reason to condemn Paul to death
  • He did not want to displease the elders of the Jews
  • He was afraid of the judgment to come (Acts 24:25)
  • He was hoping to be given a bribe (Acts 24:26)

Paul’s Jail Time

Paul had to spend more than two year in prison and defending himself. He had many opportunities to witness about the Lord and to share the Gospel before high dignitaries. He was a well educated, skilled and anointed speaker; nevertheless he was not able to lead them to Christ. It is not surprising that we too are not always effective when we share the Gospel.

A Lesson for Reaching Out

Perhaps this is a lesson for us. God does not look at people’s importance, He does not discriminate according to their social status. What He looks at is their heart and so should we. We can scatter our seeds at every opportunity, but we should focus our efforts on those who respond to the Gospel. (Mat 10:11-14, Luke 10:5-10).

The key to our effectiveness is not in the importance of the people we reach out to, because we can spend years with any success, but in our ability to discern the direction from the Holy Spirit. He will show us those who are ready and whose heart is open. We should also discern the difference between those who are genuinely interested and those who want to engage only in an intellectual discussion. Intellectual discussions seldom lead to salvation.

Questions

  1. Have you ever been falsely accused? What was your reaction?
  2. What is your experience in reaching out with the Gospel?
  3. Who are the people you find more difficult to witness to?

Prayer of Faith

I thank you Father because you never leave nor forsake me. I am never alone. Your Holy Spirit is with me to comfort and guide me in all situations. If I just take the time to seek Him, He will give me His Words and His thoughts.  He makes me an overcomer.

In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!

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About Pastor Maurizio

Maurizio Mingardi, in 1972, had an encounter with God that totally changed his life. From a scientist doing research in Quantum Mechanics and an atheist, Maurizio became a believer and a disciple of Jesus Christ. Then a spiritual journey began. He was filled with the Holy Spirit and later started Mount Zion Church of the Firstborn in Ottawa, Ontario. Maurizio has been in the ministry for more than 30 years and is presently the Senior Pastor of Mount Zion Church. He has also filled a number of executive positions in public and religious organizations. He has been elected President of the Evangelical Church Alliance Ministerial Fellowship of Canada. His goal is to help people to know God, discover and use their gifts and fulfill their destiny.
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3 Responses to Truth or Political Games

  1. Charlette says:

    Yes I have been falsely accused and misunderstood several times! In the beginning I feel angry and want to defend myself by my means but I learned recently how to accept injustice in calm and peace. It was so painful to see it that way but God taught me how to have peace from heaven in those situations by staying calm and keep focused on him. Thank you Lord, teach me better ways!

  2. Liliane6600 says:

    I can only recall one such situation where I was falsely accused. It was a situation where people were hurt and that was their response. I was saddened, felt bad and in my mind, I defended myself over and over again. Time heals, I did not stop loving those individuals, everyone got “over the situation”. I must admit that I guard my heart though and tend to keep a bit of a distance. Perhaps I have gained some wisdom from the situation that I had certainly mishandled and would deal with it in a better way.

    I don’t do much reaching out. I will often mention to people I meet (at the gym, at work) that my husband is a pastor, I will talk about my part in the church. I will explain to them how it differs from the Catholic church I was brought up in (because most individuals I know were baptized in the Catholic church although very few practice). If there`s an interest, I will tell them how I was able to grow so much closer to God and develop a personal relationship with Him.

    Who do I find witnessing most difficult to do with? Perhaps my own children. I try to show a good example and I believe they see it but I don’t do much more. My colleagues from my previous work are for the most part, respectful of my beliefs but their heart is closed. For some, it`s like Maurizio said in one of his sermons a few weeks ago, they are afraid that they would need to let go the “fun” they have in their lives. I see them a few times a year and I love them but our lives are very different and I am more comfortable with my chuch family — but I do have one very good friend that I go to the gym with. There`s a little opening there and she always makes me feel comfortable. That`s true friendship, she has a kind heart.

  3. Robyn says:

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. I’ve frequently been misunderstood or vice versa. Time and a better understanding of The Word over the last 4 years has helped me express myself better, be more forgiving and be wiser in dealing with difficult situations/people. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes I fall from grace. Either way, it’s a process of spiritual growth if I allow the Holy Trinity to work in me. God bless!

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