What Was His Crime? (Acts 24-25)

 27 For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to indicate the charges against him.” Acts 25:27

As we open our Bibles to Acts 24, we are carried back in history to the days of the early church in the first century. We find ourselves with Paul in prison in Caesarea. He was being kept in custody because he was hated by the Jewish leaders. Here is what he was being accused of:

For we have found this man a plague, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world and is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. He even tried to profane the temple, but we seized him. 24:5-6

Wow, those were serious crimes in the eyes of the Jewish leaders. They considered Paul as a plague to their society. If Paul was allowed to continue, he could endanger their way of life.

Pay close attention to what you just read in the last paragraph. Paul’s belief in Jesus was endangering the way of life of an entire people group. Brothers and sisters, could it be that our stand for Christ endangers other people’s way of living?

Certainly the answer is yes. The gospel changes lives, hearts, intentions, and directions. For two years Paul was kept in prison and during that time he shared the gospel with many people including Felix. Many were changed and even this leader was moved, but not unto faith.

This morning I cannot help but see in our day a similar movement in our world. I believe there is an increasing dislike, maybe even a hate, for the cause of Christ. What should you and I be doing as we approach the same things Paul faced?

Let us follow what has already been written for our instruction:

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory[b] and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And

“If the righteous is scarcely saved,
    what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
I Peter 4:12-19

Peter’s instructions for us are right on time:

  1. Do not be shaken by what is coming. Make yourself ready in the Lord.
  2. Be holy in your conduct among people. Be sure you do not respond in anger but in love.
  3. Consider your stand before you are ask to stand. It is Jesus we are standing for.
  4. Believe God has all of this in His hand. We do not have to fear what is ahead because we know He is trustworthy.

Brothers and sisters, I believe we are facing sure persecution. Take heart, God has a sure plan that will lead to many people being saved (Rev. 14:6). I love you and I am praying for you today!!!

19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. I Peter 4:12-19

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