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 21 is the same as for lesson 17. You can view it by clicking here (scroll down to Lesson 17).
Read and meditate on Acts 24.17-21.
Paul fairly dares his accusers to produce any facts or evidence contrary to his testimony. Facts will always be on the side of the Gospel.
1. Paul explained he was in Jerusalem to help his people, and he was in the temple in accord with all the pertinent regulations (vv. 17, 18). He was not doing anything unlawful, provocative, or out of step with the local culture. If it wasn’t Paul’s life these people objected to, what did bother them, and why?
2. Then he turned the tables: “Where, by the way, are these Jews from Asia who started all this ruckus anyway (vv. 18, 19)? Has anybody noticed – have you noticed, your honor – that anyone who might have any facts to substantiate the charges of my opponents is not present here? No? OK, then how about these gentlemen here: What fact-based charges – as opposed to these flimsy accusations – can they present (v. 20)?” How can Paul be so confident about the facts in this trial? Is it possible that many unbelievers object to the Gospel on hearsay only, and without knowing the facts of the Gospel? Explain.
3. Paul dared them to introduce their facts. “Oh, well, OK, here’s something horrible I did: I cried out a word about the resurrection from the dead (v. 21).” That surely elicited a laugh from the Roman court. “That’s a transgression worthy of death?” That reported fact allowed Paul to crack open a door for the Gospel, almost as if to say to Felix, “Dare ya to ask for an explanation of that.” Paul is using this situation to the advantage of the Gospel, because he thinks Gospel all the time. What does it mean to think Gospel all the time?
4. We might think that Paul, in making his declaration before the court, was being a bit disingenuous. It’s more accurate to say he spoke as much of the truth about himself as the situation called for. He was, indeed, a Pharisee, and he certainly believed in the resurrection and the hope of the fathers. He said as much as was needed, both to defend his innocence and to introduce his message. Paul’s approach to evangelism was more along the lines of a process rather than a dump truck. Explain.
5. What are some ways that you could identify with unbelievers in your life, without sharing the Gospel with them? What do you have in common with any unbelievers that might serve as a basis or bridge for a later conversation about Jesus?
Paul’s manner in this trial is frank and assertive. But he taunts those who have brought these false charges against him with the shallowness of their case, inviting them to produce any real facts to countermand his. Do you think if Christians were more convinced of the facts of the Gospel, we might be bolder in sharing it with the people around us? Explain.
As for me, I will call upon God,
And the LORD shall save me.
Evening and morning and at noon
I will pray, and cry aloud,
And He shall hear my voice.
He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me,
For there were many against me.
God will hear, and afflict them,
Even He who abides from of old. Selah
Because they do not change,
Therefore they do not fear God.
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).
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