The Trial Before Felix

Friday: Turning to Christ Today

Acts 24:1-27 In this week’s study Paul appears before Felix, and defends himself against the Jewish leaders’ accusations.
Theme
Turning to Christ Today

Felix had a great deal going for him. Luke says he was “well acquainted with the Way”—that is, he already knew something about Christianity. He also knew Paul was innocent. Most important, he knew he was himself a sinner, because when Paul spoke about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, he trembled. Yet in spite of all that was going for him—his knowledge of Christianity, his awareness that Paul was innocent (and therefore his awareness that Paul was testifying truthfully about Jesus), and acknowledgment that he was a sinner—Felix postponed his decision. He said, “When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” But he did not. It never was convenient. And with these words, Felix passes from the pages of Acts, from history, and from life. 

This is where many people find themselves today. They know about Christianity, maybe not a great deal, but enough. Some have learned about it from their parents as they were growing up. They had godly parents who taught them about Jesus. Some learned about it from a friend. They know someone who is a Christian, and this Christian explained the Gospel to them. Some have read books. Some have heard the Gospel on radio. Some have heard it on television. We live in an age of mass communication. Therefore, literally millions of people are in this position. They know about Christianity. 

Second, they have no real reason to doubt the character of those who have testified about Jesus. There have been prominent representatives of Christianity whose character has been doubtful, and sometimes they will use the sins of these prominent persons as an excuse for not believing. But generally the people who have told them about Christianity are of good character and are strong in faith. They will even say to them things like, “I am glad you have a strong faith. I am happy for you.” 

Maybe also, like Felix, they know that they are sinners and that they are in danger of the judgment. When Christians talk to them, when they read Christian books or hear Christian radio broadcasts, they are troubled. They wonder, “What will become of me? I do wrong things. What will happen to me if I have to stand before God in the judgment?” Yet, although the Gospel is known to them, when the need to decide for Christ is urged upon them they say, “Not now, a little later perhaps. I’ll have to think about it. I’ll decide at a more convenient time.” 

If you are one of these people, I want to ask these questions. You say to yourself, “I’ll put it off until later.” I ask, “How much later?” and “What is going to happen in the meantime?” 

You say, “Well, a little later. I feel too young now. I want to live a bit before I consider such serious things.” What are you going to be doing in the meantime? You are going to go on sinning, of course. You can’t stop sinning. As you accumulate those sins day by day, week by week, and year by year, is that going to make you more open to the Gospel as time passes? It will be many times harder for you to respond to Christ’s offer a year from now, and even harder a year after that and again a year after that. You are not going to become more open to the Gospel by delaying. That is why the Bible says, “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). There is never a better time to turn from sin and receive the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior than the present moment. Do not say, as Felix did, “When I find it more convenient, I’ll believe.” You will never find it more convenient than right now. Believe on Jesus Christ today. 

Felix was a judge, but he died. And when he died, he appeared before that one who will not postpone His judgments and who does not accept bribes. So far as we know from Scripture, Felix is in hell at this moment. One day you will stand before that great Judge too. You will have to give an accounting for what you have done and for what your life has been. How will you stand in that day? Make sure that you are not like Felix. Come to Jesus while there is still time. 

Study Questions
  1. What spiritual advantages did Felix have?
  2. What caused Felix to draw back in his conversations with Paul?
Application

Application: Do you know anyone in a state of indecision concerning Christ? Continue to pray that they will respond to the Gospel in saving faith, and speak with them as you have opportunity.  

Key Point: There is never a better time to turn from sin and receive the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior than the present moment.

Prayer: Pray that those you love will come to Jesus while there is still time.

For Further Study: Download for free and listen to James Boice’s message from John 9, “We Know, We Know.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)

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