Evening Bible Study
Try the YouVersion “Live” / Online notes
On the day of Pentecost, the church was born. It began with the Holy Spirit
filling the believers. As the apostles preached about Jesus, the church began
By chapter seven, the church was beginning to experience persecution.
Stephen was the first one to die for his faith. One of the main men behind the
persecution was a man named Saul. But when Saul headed for the city of Damascus
to pursue the Christians there, he was knocked off his horse by a bright light
and he met Jesus. Saul is more well known by his Roman
By chapter 10, the gospel began to reach even the Gentiles, starting with a
Roman Centurion named Cornelius.
In chapter 13, we began a new section of Acts as we began to focus on the
ministry of Paul.
Play Missionary Journeys map clip
Paul’s first missionary journey took him from Antioch of Syria, through the
area of Galatia.
Paul’s second missionary journey took him past Galatia, into Greece, then
back through Jerusalem and on to Antioch.
We are now on Paul’s third missionary journey, very similar to the second,
except he’s now in Jerusalem.
While Paul was in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, a riot breaks out in
the Temple, and the Jews try to seize Paul and put him to death.
The issue that is causing the riot has to do with the Gentiles.
Some of the Jewish Christians had heard rumors that Paul had been teaching
the Jews who lived around the world that they no longer needed to keep the Law
of Moses, that they could live like Gentiles.
He had not.
Some of the unbelieving Jews thought that Paul had even brought a Gentile
into the Temple because they had seen him walking around town with a Gentile.
He had not.
The Romans stepped in to take Paul away from the crowd, but Paul was
allowed first to speak to the crowd.
Paul gave his first defense to the crowd, but they only went wild when he
mentioned that Jesus had sent him to preach to the Gentiles.
Paul’s next defense was before the Sanhedrin.
When the Romans find out that there is a Jewish conspiracy to have Paul
killed, they send him to Caesarea at night to be held for trial before the
24:1-9 Charged with Sedition
:1 Now after five days Ananias the high priest
came down with the elders and a certain orator named Tertullus. These
gave evidence to the governor against Paul.
– emphanizo – to manifest, exhibit to view
The man has a Roman name (“triple hardened”). The Jews have hired a big
named Roman lawyer to represent them in court.
:2 And when he was called upon, Tertullus began
his accusation, saying: “Seeing that through you we enjoy great peace, and
prosperity is being brought to this nation by your foresight,
– kategoreo – to accuse; before a judge: to make an
:3 we accept it always and in all places,
most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.
:3 most noble Felix
Felix was a brother of Pallas, who was a chief advisor of the emperor
Felix was made governor of Judea by Emperor Claudius in AD 52.
Felix had indeed stopped the riots that had been led by a renegade
The Roman historian Tacitus says of him that “with all cruelty and lust he
exercised the power of a king with the spirit of a slave.”
Felix was known for accepting of bribes, which actually led to an increase
of crime in Judaea.
He was known for secretly encouraged bandits in Judea, and then sharing the
plunder with them.
He was immoral. His current wife is his third wife. She had been married to
someone else, but he convinced her to marry him instead.
He was violent. Felix had murderers hired to have a high priest named
Jonathan killed. Then, as an act of justice, he had the murderers brought back
and put to death.
Beware of flattery
Felix may like what he’s hearing, but he ought to know better. It’s only
for the purpose of persuading him to rule against Paul.
NKJV) A man who flatters his neighbor Spreads a net for
A woman and a man are involved in a car accident, it’s a bad
one. Both of their cars are totally demolished but
amazingly neither of them are hurt. After they crawl out of their cars, the
woman says, “So you’re a man; that’s interesting. I’m a woman. Wow, just look
at our cars! There’s nothing left, but fortunately we are unhurt. This must be
a sign from God that we should meet and be friends and live together in peace
for the rest of our days.” Flattered, the man replied, “Oh yes, I agree with
you completely! This must be a sign from God!” The woman continued, “And look
at this, here’s another miracle. My car is completely demolished but this bottle
of wine didn’t break. Surely God wants us to drink this wine and celebrate our
good fortune. Then she hands the bottle to the man. The man nods his head in
agreement, opens it and drinks half the bottle and then hands it back to the
woman. The woman takes the bottle, immediately puts the cap back on, and hands
it back to the man. The man asks, “Aren’t you having any?” The woman replies, “No.
I think I’ll just wait for the police...”
of the story: Women are clever. Don't mess with them.
:4 Nevertheless, not to be tedious to you any
further, I beg you to hear, by your courtesy, a few words from us.
He doesn’t want to take too much of the governor’s time. Isn’t that nice?
:5 For we have found this man a plague, a creator
of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the
sect of the Nazarenes.
:5 a plague – loimos – pestilence; a pestilent fellow, pest, plague
:5 a creator of dissension
Literally, “a mover of insurrection”
This would be a serious accusation in a Roman court – hinting that Paul was
stirring up Jews to rebel against Rome (which he wasn’t).
:5 among … Jews throughout the world
This part of the charge seems accurate. Trouble was indeed stirred up just
about everywhere Paul went.
In Antioch of Psidia:
(Acts 13:45 NKJV)
But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy;
and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul.
(Acts 14:2 NKJV) But the
unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the
(Acts 14:19 NKJV)
Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came
there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged
him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.
At Philippi it was because he had cast a demon out of a slave girl:
(Acts 16:19 NKJV)
But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they
seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the
(Acts 17:5 NKJV) But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of
the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an
uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the
At Corinth, the trouble was in the synagogue:
(Acts 18:6 NKJV) But when
they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them,
“Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now
on I will go to the Gentiles.”
In Ephesus, the riot broke out because the idol makers were losing money over
people becoming Christians, and the pagans blamed all the Jews:
(Acts 19:27 NKJV)
So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into
disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and
her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship.”
Paul had indeed been involved with trouble from the Jews, but it was the
Jews who had caused trouble to Paul.
– protostates – one who stands in the front rank; a
leader, chief, champion
:5 the sect of the Nazarenes
sect – hairesis (“heresy”) – dissensions arising from diversity of opinions and
Nazarenes – Nazoraios –an inhabitant of Nazareth
This is one of the ways that the Jews referred to Christians, as followers
of Jesus who was from Nazareth.
:6 He even tried to profane the temple, and we
seized him, and wanted to judge him according to our law.
:6 tried to profane the temple
They had claimed that he had taken a Gentile into the part of the Temple
where Gentiles were not allowed.
He had not
:7 But the commander Lysias came by and with great
violence took him out of our hands,
:7 with great violence
Tertullus make it sound as if the only “violence” was that by the Roman
It was the Jews in the Temple who had almost killed Paul, and the Roman
troops had saved Paul.
:8 commanding his accusers to come to you. By
examining him yourself you may ascertain all these things of which we accuse
:9 And the Jews also assented, maintaining that
these things were so.
After Tertullus gives his speech, the Jewish leaders agree that this was
24:10-21 Paul’s defense
:10 Then Paul, after the governor had nodded to
him to speak, answered: “Inasmuch as I know that you have been for many years a
judge of this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself,
:10 for many years a judge of this
Felix has governed for seven years by this time. This is about as much of a
compliment as Paul can muster with Felix. About all Paul can say is to
acknowledge that Felix has been around for a while. He doesn’t say he’s been a
good judge, he’s just glad that he’s someone who is familiar with the issues.
:10 I do the more cheerfully answer for
Paul is happy to speak up since he knows that Felix is familiar with what
goes on in the land of Palestine.
:11 because you may ascertain that it is no more
than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship.
:11 no more than twelve days
Paul had now been in Caesarea for 5 days, that
meant he had only been in Jerusalem for a week, not much time to stir up
:11 to worship – proskuneo – to kiss the hand to (towards) one; to worship; in the NT by
kneeling or prostration to do homage (to one) or make obeisance
:12 And they neither found me in the temple
disputing with anyone nor inciting the crowd, either in the synagogues or in
The prosecutor makes it sound as if Paul was stirring up the crowds in the
Paul was simply there to worship.
It was the Jews from Asia that had stirred up the crowds.
:13 Nor can they prove the things of which they
now accuse me.
:14 But this I confess to you, that according to
the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing
all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.
:14 according to the Way
Paul denied the things that he had been falsely accused of, but there are
some things that he can’t deny.
They had accused him of being a leader of the “Nazarenes”. This was true.
The year was AD 155, and the persecution against Christians swept across
the Roman Empire and came to the city of Smyrna. The proconsul of Symrna, swept up in this persecution, put out an order that
the Bishop of Symrna, Polycarp, was to be found,
arrested, and brought to the public arena for execution. They found Polycarp
and brought him before thousands of spectators screaming for blood. But the
proconsul had compassion on this man who was almost a hundred years old. He
signaled the crowd to silence. To Polycarp he said, “Curse the Christ and live.”
The crowd waited for the old man to answer. In an amazingly strong voice, he
said, “Eighty and six years have I served him, and he has done me no wrong. How
dare I blaspheme the name of my king and Lord!” With that Polycarp became a martyr.—Leith
Anderson, “Can Jesus Trust Us?” Preaching Today, Tape No. 126.
NKJV) —32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before
men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But
whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny
before My Father who is in heaven.
:14 worship – latreuo – in the NT, to render religious service or homage, to worship; of
priests, to officiate, to discharge the sacred office
The word Paul uses here is different than the word used in verse 11.
This word speaks of the Jewish religious worship, how he was fulfilling his
Nazirite vow and performing sacrifices.
:14 believing all things which are
Typically a “sect” only believes some of what the Bible teaches.
Paul is stating that he believes everything in the Bible (Old Testament).
:15 I have hope in God, which they themselves also
accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the
just and the unjust.
:15 I have hope … a resurrection
A number of the Jewish leaders were themselves Pharisees, and they, like
Paul, believed that there would one day be a resurrection of the dead.
:16 This being so, I myself always strive
to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.
:16 strive … a conscience without
This is the way he had started his address to the Sanhedrin. It was with
these words that Ananias had ordered Paul struck in the mouth. Yet here Ananias has to sit and listen to
Paul say it again, and he can’t order Paul to be struck in the mouth this time.
Sometimes, to be honest, we have a dirty conscience. We are guilty.
The good news is that there is cleansing available.
John 1:9 NKJV) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our
sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10:22 NKJV) let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,
having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with
We also need to strive to live lives that reflect the character of Christ,
to “keep” our conscience clean.
(1 Peter 3:15–17
NKJV) —15 But sanctify the Lord God in your
hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who
asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a
good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good
conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will
of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
You will find that a “clean conscience” might even improve your pastor’s
IMPROVING THE PASTOR'S PREACHING
Sunday the sermon was sluggish,
hard attention to keep.
The theme was faultily chosen,
It almost put me to sleep.
Monday was blue with sheer boredom;
Tuesday was carnal by choice.
Wednesday my conscience was wakened
By pleas from a still, small voice.
Prayer meeting left me uplifted,
Loyalty lingering long.
Thursday my heart was responding;
Friday His nudging was strong.
I came to thorough repentance
The following Saturday;
I yielded in full surrender
As all on the altar I lay.
Sunday the sermon was perfect,
Superb and quite at its peak;
Amazing how greatly that pastor
Improved in the space of one week!
:17 “Now after many years I came to bring alms and
offerings to my nation,
:17 came to bring alms and offerings
Paul had written to the Romans a few months earlier while he was in Corinth
NKJV) —25 But now I am going to Jerusalem to
minister to the saints. 26 For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain
contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem. 27 It pleased
them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles
have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister
to them in material things.
:18 in the midst of which some Jews from Asia
found me purified in the temple, neither with a mob nor with tumult.
:18 Jews from Asia
These were the men at the heart of the conflict.
These were the Jews from Ephesus who had known Paul from his time in
Ephesus. They were the real
They remembered Paul as someone who caused them grief not only by his teaching
about Jesus, but in the riot that came when the idol makers got mad at their
loss of business due to the large numbers of people converting to Christianity.
They had blamed all the Jews for their troubles.
:18 found me purified in the temple
purified – hagnizo – to cleanse from Levitical pollution by
means of prayers, abstinence, washings, sacrifices
Paul had been encouraged by James to complete his own Nazirite vow in the
Temple and take some of the other believing Jewish brothers who were also
completing their vows.
(Acts 21:26 NKJV)
Then Paul took the men, and the next day, having been purified with
them, entered the temple to announce the expiration of the days of
purification, at which time an offering should be made for each one of them.
This was how the Jews had found him in the Temple, as a “clean” Jew. He was
:19 They ought to have been here before you to
object if they had anything against me.
The ones who really had a problem with Paul were the Jews from Ephesus. Yet
they weren’t the ones standing before Felix.
:20 Or else let those who are here themselves say if they found any
wrongdoing in me while I stood before the council,
:21 unless it is for this one statement
which I cried out, standing among them, ‘Concerning the resurrection of the
dead I am being judged by you this day.’ ”
:21 Concerning the resurrection of the
The Jewish leaders had only heard gossip and rumors about Paul. The only
thing they themselves could testify to was that Paul had made the statement
about the resurrection that had caused such division in the Sanhedrin.
This was why the Sanhedrin had erupted in confusion.
The Pharisees all defended Paul’s right to believe in the resurrection.
The Sadducees did not believe in any resurrection.
We have seen over and over through the book of Acts how important the
It’s the central message of the apostles.
It’s the resurrection that sets Christianity apart from everything else.
It’s what proved that Jesus was who He said He was – the Messiah.
It’s the reason why Paul was a follower of Jesus.
It’s why Paul did the things he did.
:22-27 Felix Procrastinates
:22 But when Felix heard these things, having more
accurate knowledge of the Way, he adjourned the proceedings and said,
“When Lysias the commander comes down, I will make a decision on your case.”
:22 having more accurate knowledge of the
Felix was no dummy about these things.
He had heard all about those Christians.
It’s possible he had heard Philip the Evangelist who lived in Caesarea.
It could be that he heard some from his wife who was a descendant of the
infamous Herod kings.
:23 So he commanded the centurion to keep Paul and
to let him have liberty, and told him not to forbid any of his friends
to provide for or visit him.
:23 let him have liberty
Paul had some sort of limited freedom while he awaited another trial.
He could have visitors who could also bring food and such.
:24 And after some days, when Felix came with his
wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the
faith in Christ.
She was one of three daughters of Herod Agrippa I (Drusilla, Mariamne, Bernice – who we will meet next week).
Her father murdered the apostle James.
Her great-uncle Herod Antipas slew John the Baptist
Her great-grandfather (Herod the Great) killed the babes of Bethlehem.
Drusilla was known for her great beauty.
When Felix first met her, he was smitten by her beauty and he talked her
into leaving her former husband Gaius Julius Azizus, the
Priest King of Emesa
At the time that Paul is standing before Felix and Drusilla, she is only 22
Josephus states that they had a son named Marcus Antonius Agrippa and a
daughter Antonia Clementiana.
Drusilla and her son perished at Pompeii in AD 79 when Mount Vesuvius erupted.
:25 Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment
to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a
convenient time I will call for you.”
– dialegomai (“dialogue”) – to converse, discourse
with one, argue, discuss
:25 righteousness, self-control, and the
Difficult words for a man known for his immorality.
Addressing real issues
Paul is standing before a man who has the ability to release him, and yet
he doesn’t stop speaking the truth to him, even when the truth is inconvenient.
He talks to Felix about three things:
righteousness – dikaiosune – righteousness, the condition acceptable to God; integrity,
Felix did not life a “righteous” life. He was not a man
who was right before God.
self-control – egkrateia (“in” + “power”) – self-control (the virtue of one who masters his
desires and passions)
Felix didn’t have self-control. He saw what he wanted and
It’s lack of self-control that gets us into so much
trouble in the first place.
“I have more trouble with D. L. Moody than with any other
man I ever met.” – Dwight Lyman Moody (1837–1899)
Charles H. Spurgeon said, “Learn to say no; it will be of
more use to you than to be able to read Latin.”
Self-control takes great strength, strength to break a
chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands--and then eat just one of
In Scotland, during the early days of aviation, a stunt
pilot was selling rides in his single engine airplane. One day he got into an argument with an old
farmer who insisted upon taking his wife along on the ride—at no extra
charge. “Look,” said the pilot finally, “I’ll
take you both up for the price of one if you promise not to utter a sound
throughout the entire trip. If you make
a sound, the price is doubled.” The deal was made and they all clambered
aboard. The pilot then proceeded to put
the aircraft through maneuvers designed to make the bravest tremble. But not a
sound came from the back, where his passengers sat. Exhausted, he set the plane
down. As the farmer climbed out, the pilot said, “I made moves up there that
frightened even me, and yet you never said a word. You’re a fearless man.”
“I thank ye,” replied the
Scotsman. “But I must admit that there
was one time when ya almost had me.” “And when was
that?” asked the pilot. The farmer replied, “That was about the time my wife
(he had “self-control” to not
judgment to come
We will all stand before God one day.
9:27 NKJV) And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the
Even though Felix was standing in judgment over Paul,
Felix himself will stand in judgment before God.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that all of
mankind is in a horrible predicament.
What can we ever do to avoid eternity in hell?
Corinthians 5:19–21 NLT) —19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to
himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this
wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through
us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made
Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be
made right with God through Christ.
It’s in Jesus that we have hope. It is through Jesus that God takes our sins
away from us and in turn gives us the righteousness of Christ.
It’s through trusting in Jesus that we receive this
incredible gift of eternal life.
I find it interesting that these are the things that Luke says Paul was
speaking to Felix about.
Sometime we think that sharing the gospel with someone requires that we say
certain things in our presentation – such as “God loves you and has a wonderful
plan for your life, man if sinful and separated from God, God sent Jesus to die
for us, you must believe in Jesus…”
I remember once after a funeral being rebuked by a well-meaning lady for
not using the word “repent” when I shared the gospel with the audience.
When Jesus talked to the Samaritan woman…
He started off asking the woman for a drink. Then he said,
4:10 NKJV) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and
who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He
would have given you living water.”
When the woman asked him for this special water, Jesus asked her to call
And then Jesus pointed out that He knew all about her
immoral lifestyle, having had five husbands.
That’s when He got her attention.
When Jesus talked to the rich young ruler …
He started off encouraging the man to keep God’s commandments.
When the man said he did keep the commandments …
19:21 NKJV) Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you
have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure
in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
The man walked away very sad because he was quite wealthy and didn’t want
to give up his “stuff”. Jesus had nailed
this man’s deeper issues.
Instead of using our pattern of what the gospel means, Paul is addressing
the issues that are crucial to Felix.
:25 Felix was afraid
The old King James says he “trembled”.
It seems that Felix was truly touched by Paul’s message, so much that he became
It’s not enough to tremble
The Bible says that even the demons tremble when they hear about God.
(James 2:19 NKJV)
You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons
One day when you stand before God, it’s not going to be enough to say,
“Well I heard about Jesus and it made me all shakey”.
The question is, did you turn your life over to
Him? Did you choose to follow Him and
then indeed followed Him?
Jesus told a story:
NKJV) —24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I
will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the
rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and
it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “But everyone who hears these
sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a
foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods
came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its
Somehow we get the idea that if we’re moved emotionally by a message, that
this is all we need. We go home feeling
like it was a good day. But nothing has
No. You must believe. You must turn around.
:25 when I have a convenient time
Be careful about putting God off for too long. You don’t have forever to
Today is the day.
There was a ship called the “Central America”. She was in a bad state, had sprung a leak,
and was going down. She therefore hoisted a signal of distress. A ship came
close to her, and its captain asked, through the trumpet, “What is wrong?” “We
are in bad repair and are going down. Wait till morning,” was the answer. But the captain on board the rescue ship
said, “Let me take your passengers on board now.” “Wait until morning,” was the message that
came back. Once again the captain cried,
“You had better let me take your passengers on board now.” “Wait until morning,” was the reply that
sounded through the trumpet. About an
hour and a half later, the lights were gone, and though no sound was heard, she
and all on board had gone down to the fathomless abyss. Unconverted friends,
for God’s sake, do not say, “Wait until morning.” Today, hear God’s
voice.—Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Quotable Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw
Publishers, Inc, 1990)
:26 Meanwhile he also hoped that money would be
given him by Paul, that he might release him. Therefore he sent for him more
often and conversed with him.
It seems that Felix was more interested in the possibility that Paul might
give him a little money under the table than he was about getting right with
People have all sorts of reasons for seeming interested in the gospel. Felix just wanted to get paid.
:27 But after two years Porcius
Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul
Porcius = “swinish”
Festus = “festival”
You could call him “Mr. Pig Party”
Paul is being transferred from Felix the Cat to Porky Pig.
:27 wanting to do the Jews a favor
As the Roman governor of Judaea, Festus knows he needs to be on the good
side of the Jews.
For now he keeps Paul in custody.