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The Scriptorium

Like He Says

God, not Rome, is in charge.

Acts (20)

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27

The video for lesson 20 is the same as for lesson 17. You can view it by clicking here (scroll down to Lesson 17).

Read and meditate on Acts 24.1-9.
The Jewish leaders have engaged a Roman lawyer to plead their case. They’ve had five days to prepare – five days. And this is their case? Innuendo? Hearsay?

For reflection
1.  Where’s their evidence (Paul will get them on that)? How about witnesses for the defense? Were they deposed? Are they to be allowed? Can you see how, in the common grace of God, law can serve to restrain bully and bluster? Explain.

2.  Tertullus tried to flatter the governor, hoping for a quick judgment and an easy paycheck. The Jews do what Jews did in those days – chime in with “Like he says!” and assorted denunciations and threats. Tertullus invited the governor to “examine” Paul, but I don’t think he really expected him to do so. He misjudged Felix, for that is exactly what the governor turned to do, as we shall see. Rome persecuted Christians. But Roman government was a servant of God for good, as we see in this story of Paul (Rom. 13.1-4). How does this counsel us in thinking about government in our day?

3.  Felix intended to offer Paul a fair hearing and all the protection of Roman law. We can see the common grace of God at work here, restraining by civil statute and authority the evil intentions of wicked men. The enemies of the Gospel will always find that they can only act as God permits. They are at all times constrained by His Word and purposes. “Like He says.” How should this encourage us in our own work as witnesses for the Lord?

4.  We expect to encounter opposition as we share the Good News of Jesus with people around us. What can we learn from Paul about being faithful, patient, and fearless in the face of such threats?

5.  Paul wrote that government is a servant of God for good (Rom. 13.1-4). Can you see how that is the case in this situation? How can you see this in our own government today? Should Christians work to make sure that public policy is according to the Word of God? How?

This little flourish by Tertullus – big city lawyer trying to impress regional governor – did not accomplish the desired effect. But it set the stage for Paul’s testimony, as we shall see. Paul was alert to what was going on around him, and always looking for the best way to make others’ words and deeds work for Christ and the Gospel. Paul is preparing his witness just by remaining silent and letting others speak. How does this counsel us as we seek to share the Good News with people in our Personal Mission Fields?

Closing Prayer
Truly my soul silently waits for God;
From Him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be greatly moved.
How long will you attack a man?
You shall be slain, all of you,
Like a leaning wall and a tottering fence.
They only consult to cast him down from his high position;
They delight in lies;
They bless with their mouth,
But they curse inwardly. Selah
My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.

Psalm 62.1-7

T. M. Moore

Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies in Acts.

Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. This is the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven. Read more about the implications of this work in our new book,
The Kingdom Turn (click here).

Please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452. Or, you can click here to donate online through credit card or PayPal.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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