Looking at Acts 24:24-27, we read of a man named Felix who comes to hear Paul’s case, but, in listening, Felix is partially convinced by Paul. However, he did not respond to the message. In this lesson, we’re going to look at what Paul talks about and the reaction Felix has during this testimony.
The Message & Response
In this address, Paul speaks to three issues in speaking of faith in Christ: righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come.
Righteousness is sometimes referred to “rightness with God.” It is trying to emulate godly attitudes and conduct every day of our lives. Consider Romans 12:1-2 where Paul reminds Christians that service to God is being a living sacrifice. This carries an idea of holiness and separateness between the world and ourselves. I Peter 1:13-16 tells us to be obedient and holy in every aspect of our lives – just as God is holy.
Felix may have felt himself a good person. He may have been comfortable with his own standard of righteousness, and we have to ask ourselves if we have this same problem. We use comparative standards in measuring ourselves, and we sometimes choose intentional ignorance of God’s standard.
Self-Control is a concept we often try to get our children to exercise. Christian self-control goes beyond us controlling our actions – it is following God’s will in guiding our choices. Proverbs 25:28 says a man with no self control is like a defenseless city. He becomes defenseless against Satan. In Galatians 5:22-23, self-control is enumerated as a Christian characteristic (Fruits of the Spirit), and II Peter 1:5-7 says self-control is a quality we are to be continually developing.
Felix, like us, may not have been receptive to the idea of “no.” We are good at reacting thoughtlessly, at being impulsive. We are comfortable living out of control because it requires less effort and less discipline. Unfortunately, as Proverbs pointed out, lack of self-control opens us up to temptation.
The Coming Judgment is a difficult topic to absorb because of the personal accountability involved. How have we been living? What have we been told? What opportunities have we ignored? Romans 14:12 enforces the fact that each one will give account before the Lord. Ecclesiastes 12:14 concludes its book with a reminder of the coming judgment.
Did Felix hope he would slip through the cracks and not be judged? Do we hope the same? Was he, like us, resistant to the idea that he would be held to a standard other than his own? Did he assume he had enough time to fix his life later? He puts Paul off. Are we persistently putting God off, hopefully delaying acceptance of the accountability inherent in acknowledging Him.
As far as we are told, Felix’s “convenient time” never came. Felix frequently met with Paul, apparently interested but never taking that final step of obedience. Will we be stuck in the same position as Felix? There is no more convenient time to do what is right than now.
lesson by Tim Smelser