What if you could? What if you had 30 minutes with our Governor? What would you say? Given that she is the Governor, she would probably set the agenda; you might not have a chance to direct the conversation at all. What if she asked you questions concerning “the faith in Christ?” Would such a thing ever happen? It did. After Paul’s trial in Caesarea, the Governor and his wife made an appointment with Paul to talk about what he had said in the public court. Paul discussed faith, righteousness, the importance of self-control and the judgment to come. How’s that for an agenda?! I wish it had resulted in a glorious conversion story, rather, the Governor “shuddered” and told Paul to go away until he had a more convenient time. We don’t know for sure, but it seems that the convenient time never came. Imagine hearing the gospel from the Apostle Paul himself and walking away. Paul was a success; it was Felix that failed. He failed to listen to the Spirit’s conviction and to the explanation that came from Paul’s loving heart. Why couldn’t Paul “close the deal?” Because we can’t make decisions for other people! Felix is the only one who could make the decision to let Christ in. We’ll be studying this story in Acts 24 on Sunday. I hope to see you then.
I joke about the Baptist Mafia periodically; sometimes I wish we had one, most of the time I am relieved that we don’t! If you have been following our study in Acts, you know that Paul is regularly in trouble with someone; pagans, believers and most often, Jews. In our passage this week, we meet what I refer to as “Jewish Hitmen.” Paul’s message had created such a hullaballoo that one scholar wrote, “The Jews would not be reached. They were not only unwilling to hear the claims; they were unwilling to let those making them continue to live.” They wanted Paul dead! Forty men took a vow to neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. They even involved the religious leadership in their plot. Should the gospel really create that much antagonism? Yes and no. Yes, because if the gospel is really believed it runs counter to much of what our culture holds near and dear. I am surprised we have survived! If people only knew what we believe and proclaim!!! No, because the gospel is good news to be received! Eternal life is available to all who believe. Why don’t people want good news? We’re not being run out of town yet and I’m not aware of any plots against our lives but I do know this, the gospel is lovely and dangerous. People have died in the defense of it, are we willing to live in light of it?