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June 29, 2020

A Consciousness of Convenience

“As Paul spoke about true righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment, Felix became terrified and said, ‘Leave for now. I’ll send for you later when it’s more convenient.’” Acts 24:25 (TPT)

Are you led by a consciousness of convenience or a consciousness of conviction? In this story a man named Felix had replaced Pilate as Governor and Paul was on trial for his life. Speaking in his own defense, Paul seized the opportunity to share the gospel with Governor Felix and his wife, Drusilla, in Acts 24. Verse 24 sets the stage, A few days later Felix came back with his wife, Drusilla, who was Jewish. Sending for Paul, they listened as he told them about faith in Christ Jesus.”

Despite the potential threat to his own life, Paul realized that his trial was about more than himself. He used every opportunity, good or bad, to tell others about faith in Christ Jesus. Have you ever considered that the circumstances you are facing right now, no matter what they may be, are arranged by God for you to be His witness to others? In what way can you make Christ known through your present situation? As you read Acts 24, you see that not only did Paul answer the accusations made against him in court, but he turned the tables and began to share his faith with the Governor and his wife.

I think it’s fascinating to read just how Paul “told them about faith in Christ Jesus.” Acts 24:25 tells us that Paul basically shared three compelling reasons why they needed to repent and receive the Lord Jesus. 

1. “(He) spoke about true righteousness …” God is a righteous and holy God. The bad news is that none of us are righteous and holy. We’ve all sinned. Yet, most of us like, Felix, and his wife, Drusilla, don’t want to face our sin. It makes us feel uncomfortable. If God is righteous, He demands righteousness. That’s the bad news.  The good news is that the God who demands such righteousness from us is able to provide it for us through His Son, Jesus Christ who gave His life as a sacrifice for our sins.  The bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV), “God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”  That means the only sin Jesus had was ours and the only righteousness we may claim is His! This requires us to confront our own sin problem. But the problem with sin is the “I” in the middle of the word. I don’t want to admit I’m a sinner.  In 1973, Dr. Karl Menninger, a leading psychiatrist at the time, wrote a book entitled, Whatever Became of Sin? He points out that the very word “sin” has dropped out of our vocabulary. Today we would be accused of being “intolerant” to speak of sin or a sinful life. We’ve dismissed even the notion of sin and have replaced it with softer, more acceptable terms, like mistakes, weaknesses, inherited tendencies, faults, errors of judgment. American poet, Phyllis McGinley put it like this, “People are no longer sinful. They are only immature or underprivileged or frightened or, more particularly, sick.”  But the trouble with all these explanations is that we still must do something about the sin in our lives. And that’s why the Gospel is such “good news!” God offers us forgiveness through His Son, Jesus Christ. In Him, we can be made right with God! This is true righteousness!

2. “(He) spoke about self-control …”  Not only must we deal with our past sins, but we must face our present temptations. The God who requires true righteousness and provides that righteousness for us in His Son has the power to enable us by His Spirit to live self-controlled lives in a wicked and perverse nation.  We do not have to be controlled by our sinful nature! Praise God! You would think Felix and Drusilla would be grateful to hear such a message, but by now the pressure of their own sinful condition was beginning to convict them. Historians tell us that Felix had seduced Drusilla away from her first husband. She had become his third wife. Drusilla was Jewish as well and very familiar with the Ten Commandments yet lived as though they no longer mattered. To admit their sin, they would have to confront their sinful relationship.  Ouch! Self-control? They embraced self-indulgence! But Paul didn’t lighten up. He went even further in his third point.

3. “(He) spoke of the coming judgment …” We must not only do something about our past sins and our present temptations, but we must prepare to stand before a holy God and face eternal consequences. It’s interesting to me how Paul flipped the entire case and now the judge himself was the one on trial! The most free person in that courtroom was the prisoner! He may have been accused by men, but he had been declared right with God when he, himself, put his faith in Jesus! All that mattered to Paul was to bring the message of faith in Christ to others whether they were friend or foe!  This is the message – Jesus Christ will either be your Savior or your Judge. How did Felix respond? How have you responded?  The last part of verse 25 tells us, “… Felix became terrified and said, ‘Leave for now. I’ll send for you later when it’s more convenient.’” He procrastinated. Look how close Felix and Drusilla came. They heard about faith in Christ from the Apostle Paul, not just once but on many occasions over a two-year period. They felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit and were terrified at the thought of standing before a holy God. What if it were true? How would they escape judgment? How will we? But rather than repenting and turning to God from their sin, they turned Paul away. Removing the messenger doesn’t remove the message. It must haunt them now in eternity.

You and I have time today. Now is the time to turn to faith in Christ. We cannot save ourselves from our past sins or even our present temptations. The Good News of the Gospel is that Jesus can and will save us when we put our faith in Him! Through Christ we can be made right with God, sins forgiven and a home in heaven! We can share that life with Him today, on earth, that we will share with Him for eternity! How about you? Don’t wait for a more convenient time. Receive Christ today.