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Paul Appeals to Caesar (Acts 25:1-27)

September 16, 2015

Reflecting on the Passage:

Here at East Point Church, we have begun a new sermon series entitled “Acts: The Spirit and the Church in the World“. This week’s sermon reminds the Christian to preserve in the midst of trouble by understanding that Christ will prove Himself victorious over all His enemies in the end. Pastor Duncanson provided a vivid portrait of God’s providential care for His people while they wait on Him to fulfill His precious promises. The focus of this sermon is on the active hand of God working, while Paul was waiting on Him to prepare the way for Rome.

God, the Protector: He Protects20140311-184658.jpg His People

Now three days after Festus had arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. And the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews laid out their case against Paul, and they urged him, asking as a favor against Paul that he summon him to Jerusalembecause they were planning an ambush to kill him on the way. Festus replied that Paul was being kept at Caesarea and that he himself intended to go there shortly. So, said he, let the men of authority among you go down with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them bring charges against him.

After he stayed among them not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea. And the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought. When he had arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him that they could not prove (Acts 25:1-6;ESV).

The Jews had a new plan with a new tribunal, after their first attempt to ambush Paul about two years prior. However, what they failed to realize is the God whom Paul testified about was the One who was actively working to keep them from harming Paul (cf. Daniel 3; Acts 4:1-22). In other words, what these men failed to understand is when God makes a promise to His people, He protects and secures them from any danger or anything that would seek to stop His purposes and plans (cf. Exodus 13:17-22, 14:1-31).

God, the Promise Keeper: He Provides for His People

Paul argued in his defense, Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense. But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and there be tried on these charges before me? But Paul said, I am standing before Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you yourself know very well. If then I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar (Acts 25:8-11; ESV).”

Although the promises of God do not necessarily lessen the stresses, hardships, and difficulties faced in this life, they do strengthen those who trust in Him as they wait on God to continually show Himself faithful. In fact, Pastor Duncanson credits God’s promises to the reason Paul was able to give such a bold defense to Fetus and the new tribunal, considering Paul was more concerned with defending or guarding the Gospel entrusted to him by God than he was about self-preservation (cf. 1 Peter 3:13-17). Paul was able to give a faithful defense about Christ, because he was convinced about the faithfulness of God in Christ Jesus.

What does your self-defense look like?

In the midst of waiting, God protects His people from harm. More importantly, His protection is rooted in His promises towards His people, to never leave them nor forsake them despite any opposition, suffering or affliction caused by those who oppose God (cf. Psalm 121; Romans 8:31-39). The people of God can rest securely in the promises of God because they are the foundation by which we stand or fall, and no one or nothing can frustrate what the Lord has determined to do (cf. Genesis 3:15, 50:19-21; Psalm 135).

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free.

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