When to Die, When to Try (Acts 25:1-27)

It is sometimes said that if we really have faith, then troubles of life won’t trouble us. That if we believe hard enough, then God will deliver us, God will give us whatever we ask help for, whether it is trouble with our health, trouble with our family or our businesses. That what we really need is to have more faith, and then God will give us the things that we really desire.

And people go so far as to say that there is really no need for Christians to suffer or to be sick. If they have enough faith, that won’t happen. Just declare that they will be well, and they will be well.

But that doesn’t stack up against what the New Testament teaches, does it?

Think of what Paul writes to the church in 2 Corinthians 11:24-27:

24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; for a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.”

A man of great faith, like Paul, can still write of the sufferings that he goes through in the name of the Lord Jesus.

We realise that that’s not the way that things should be, but it is very often the way that things are.

That’s not reflection on Paul’s faith or on the measure of our faith either, if we suffer, even sickness, even trouble.

As we come to Acts 25, we find a situation that should not be. Things are not fair. Life has not turned out the way that Paul would have expected it to.

We do the same. We expect the best of people. We don’t expect disaster around every corner. Yet, life doesn’t turn out the way we imagine that it would.

At the end of Acts 24, we left Paul in Caesarea. He has been declared innocent, yet he rots in jail for two years. How’s that fair? Yet, that’s what happens.

What should we think of that? Should we think that maybe his faith wasn’t as strong as it seemed?

No, it’s actually an opportunity to deepen our faith!

What should we learn as we come to this passage? What must we believe when life seems totally unfair?

  1. Thank God for Good Procedure (v1-5)
  2. Don’t Fear the Truth (v6-12)
  3. What’s Your Issue? (v13-27)

Sunday 8th December 2019

  • Paul was in prison ____________ years (24:27)
  • Why did the Jews want Paul sent to Jerusalem (v2-3)?
  • “God is not a God of _______________________ but of ______________________” (1 Corinthians 14:33)
  • What evidence and witnesses were there against Paul (v7)?
  • What should have happened?
  • What did Festus want (v9)?
  • Why did Paul appeal to Caesar (v11-12, 9:15, 23:11)?
  • Festus knew Paul was ________________________ (v25)
  • What did Paul and the Jews disagree about (v19)?
  • The issue I keep coming back to is _____________________
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • Something to pray about:
  • How I will change:

Published by Stephen McDonald

Christian, preacher, broadcaster

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