Acts Chapter 24

July 21, 2011

This Preaching in Shorts Bible study is on the Book of Acts. Each chapter is read verse by verse with the major points highlighted and discussed.

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Acts Chapter 24 from Preaching In Shorts on Vimeo.

Acts 24:1-27 (NIV)
1 Five days later the high priest Ananias went down to Caesarea with some of the elders and a lawyer named Tertullus, and they brought their charges against Paul before the governor. 2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. 3 Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude. 4 But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly. 5 “We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect 6 and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. 7 8 By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.” 9 The Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true. 10 When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: “I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense. 11 You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. 13 And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me. 14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, 15 and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man. 17 “After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings. 18 I was ceremonially clean when they found me in the temple courts doing this. There was no crowd with me, nor was I involved in any disturbance. 19 But there are some Jews from the province of Asia, who ought to be here before you and bring charges if they have anything against me. 20 Or these who are here should state what crime they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin– 21 unless it was this one thing I shouted as I stood in their presence: ‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.'” 22 Then Felix, who was well acquainted with the Way, adjourned the proceedings. “When Lysias the commander comes,” he said, “I will decide your case.” 23 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. 24 Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 As Paul discoursed on 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.” 26 At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him. 27 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.

Acts 24:1

Ananias, the high priest, hired an attorney and headed down to Caesarea to press charges against Paul.

Acts 24:2-4

The lawyer spent as much time on his introduction as he does on the charges. His description of Felix as being so great was a lie, because history has shown Felix to be extremely violent and corrupt.

Acts 24:5-8

The accusations against Paul were that he was a worldwide trouble maker, a leader of a sect, and that he had attempted to desecrate the temple.

The first two charges were made to try and get Paul in trouble with Rome. Rome wanted to maintain order throughout its territories, so a worldwide trouble maker would be a problem. Rome did not allow new religions to be established. Judaism was tolerated because it had existed before Rome took over, however a new “sect” would be illegal.

The third charge, was interesting, because the Romans had given the Jews permission to deal with problems inside the temple, and they were trying to justify their initial attempts to kill him before he was rescued by the Roman commander. All of the charges were false.

Acts 24:9-10

The Jewish leaders who had accompanied Ananias and Tertullus all agreed that these charges were true. Whatever happened to “thou shall not bear false witness”. The irony is amazing. Paul is then allowed to speak. His introduction was much shorter and truthful.

Acts 24:10 (NIV)
10 When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: “I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense.

Acts 24:11-16

Paul’s defense is simple and true. He hadn’t been in Jerusalem long enough to start a riot. No one could cite an actual instance where he had started a riot I Jerusalem. He was not in a sect but in Christianity, which was known as the Way. His hope in the resurrection was even shared by his accusers, by which he meant that Christianity was an outgrowth of the Old Testament.

Acts 24:17

The reason that Paul was in Jerusalem was to bring the offering from the gentile churches to bless the church and the poor in Jerusalem.

Acts 24:18-21

Paul then says that the real instigators were the Jewish leaders from Ephesus who were not present and that the Sanhedrin had already found him innocent so therefore the charges as put forth by Tertullus were not legitimate.

Acts 24:22-23

Felix, while seeming to be aware of Paul’s innocence, decides not rule on the matter. His statement that he will rule after Lysias the commander comes is apparently just a cover for postponing a decision indefinitely. Paul has a certain amount of freedom under the guardianship of a centurion.

Acts 24:24-27

Felix sends for Paul to hear about the gospel, and also in hopes that Paul will offer him a bribe, and keeps him in prison to placate the Jewish leaders. Felix is about to lose his job, however, and Chapter 25 will bring up the next round of courtroom drama.

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