Jewish leaders had accused the apostle Paul of wrongdoing, and he was taken into custody. Charges were brought up against him, and Paul had the opportunity to speak in his own defense in front of Governor Felix. Acts 24:25 says, “As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, ‘That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.’”
What was it about this sermon that made Governor Felix afraid? What was so scary about this speech that caused Felix to put a stop to it and dismiss Paul? Why didn’t he want to hear the end of the sermon? Let’s examine the major points of Paul’s sermon and see if we can come up with some reasons.
First, Paul talked about righteousness. Knowing Paul to be consistent in his teaching, he no doubt brought up the fact that no one has any righteousness of their own. Every human being is a sinner who has fallen short of the glory of God. The only righteousness we can claim is that which God conveys upon us through our faith in Jesus.
Secondly, the apostle discussed self-control. This gets into the area of personal responsibility. Since God gives us the right to choose between good and evil, we have a decision to make concerning our righteousness, or our lack thereof. We have it within our control to choose to accept Jesus as our savior and to live our lives for him. Each individual has the power to make the lifestyle decisions that will determine whether or not we are righteous.
Finally, Paul addressed the judgment to come, no doubt referring to the final judgment of all mankind. Hebrews 9:27-28 says, “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”
The latter verse proclaims the good news, the gospel message of salvation through Jesus Christ. He died to pay for the sins of the world and was resurrected on the third day. He reigns in heaven and will return one day to bring salvation to everyone who is waiting for him in faith.
However, the former verse speaks of bad news! We all have an appointment with death. After that those who have turned down the righteousness that God offered them will face the judgment that they deserve. Those who refuse to accept Christ have nothing to expect but the wrath of God and no one to blame but themselves.
No wonder Felix was afraid! This is a scary proposition for all those who choose to turn down the grace that God offers us through his Son.
Don’t be like Felix! Don’t wait for a more convenient time to believe God and accept Jesus as your savior! Today is the day of salvation! For those who have already accepted Jesus, all fear is gone. We can live in bold confidence that we are forgiven and are accepted by God as his children and welcomed into his kingdom! Let’s not live another single day in fear!