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Caesarea: Facing Secular People    Acts 24:22-26; 26:22-31     Aug. 24, 2008

Secular people are not religious or spiritual. Many days all of us are surrounded by these kinds of people. When we face these people the actions of Paul can be used as an example for us in sharing the gospel.

1. When Facing Secular People . . Accept Their Considerations. 24:22-23

A. Accept The Considerations From . . Postponement. 24:22
22 Since Felix was accurately informed about the Way, he adjourned the hearing, saying, "When Lysias the commander comes down, I will decide your case."

B. Accept The Considerations From . . Privileges. 24:23
        23 He ordered that the centurion keep Paul under guard, though he could have some freedom, and that he should not prevent any of his friends from serving
him.  Sometimes secular people can be very kind and considerate. Felix, in the text, postponed Paul's hearing. His knowledge of the "Way," probably learned from his wife, no doubt influenced him to be considerate. He also gave Paul several privileges while under confinement. He did not restrict friends of Paul, but may very well have had an ulterior motive thinking they might give Paul money to pay a bribe to him.

2. When Facing Secular People . . Answer Their Inquires. 24:24-26

A. Answer Their . . Faith Inquiries. 24:24-25a
24 After some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and listened to him on the subject of faith in Christ Jesus. 25 Now as he spoke about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, . . ."

B. Anticipate Their . . Fearful Inclinations. 24:25b- 26
". . . Felix became afraid and replied, "Leave for now, but when I find time I'll call for you." 26 At the same time he was also hoping that money would be given to him by Paul. For this reason he sent for him quite often and conversed with him.

      Felix and his wife, desired to hear more about faith in Christ Jesus. We do not know but it seems his wife had some interest and passed that curiosity on to her husband. Paul did not waste this opportunity. I can hear some today advising Paul to be careful not to offend Felix. Paul preached about righteousness, self control, and judgement to come. Felix's lifestyle did not demonstrate righteousness or self control. In addition; it appears he did not think much about a present or future judgement. Some in our mild mannered world today might be critical of Paul, but I think the Lord told him well done my good and faithful servant. If Felix never again heard the truth he heard it from Paul.

3. When Facing Secular People . . Announce The Biblical Message. 26:22-26

A. Announce With . . Conviction From The Biblical Message. 26:22
22 Since I have obtained help that comes from God, to this day I stand and testify to both small and great, saying nothing else than what the prophets and Moses said would take place--

B. Announce With . . Confidence From The Biblical Message. 26:23
23 that the Messiah must suffer, and that as the first to rise from the dead, He would proclaim light to our people and to the Gentiles."

C. Announce With . . Craftsmanship From The Biblical Message. 26:24-26
24 As he was making his defense this way, Festus exclaimed in a loud voice, "You're out of your mind, Paul! Too much study is driving you mad!" 25 But Paul replied, "I'm not out of my mind, most excellent Festus. On the contrary, I'm speaking words of truth and good judgment. 26 For the king knows about these
matters. It is to him I am actually speaking boldly. For I'm not convinced that any of these things escapes his notice, since this was not done in a corner!

        To be believable our message needs to be presented with conviction about the truth we are sharing. Paul believed Jesus was the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. He presented this truth with zeal that convinced those who heard him of his strong belief about what he presented. He made his presentation in a way that even if one disagreed he/she would have to appreciate his craftsmanship in the use of scripture. Even when accused of being out of his mind he came back with a rejection of that thought and a claim to be using good judgment. He then appealed to the King's knowledge of the truth he submitted.

4. When Facing Secular People . . Aggressively Pursue Decisions. 26:27-31

A. Aggressively . . Ask Inquiries. 26:27-28
27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you believe." 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "Are you going to persuade me to become a Christian so easily?"

B. Aggressively . . Announce Your Interest. 26:29
29 "I wish before God," replied Paul, "that whether easily or with difficulty, not only you but all who listen to me today might become as I am--except for these chains."

C. Aggressively . . Accept The Indecision. 26:30-31
30 So the king, the governor, Bernice, and those sitting with them got up, 31 and when they had left they talked with each other and said, "This man is doing nothing that deserves death or chains." HCSB

Paul declared the truth of scripture aggressively. He specifically asked the King if he believed the prophets, and then said, "I know you believe." The king stated the very intriguing words, "Are you going to persuade me to become a Christian so easily?" To that statement Paul announced his interest that all would become Christians. It is not enough to be a friend to lost people. Our hearts need to be interested and intent on leading them to a saving relationship to Jesus. The king's indecision must have disappointed Paul, but he knew he had faithfully declared the gospel. All of us need to do the same as we relate to secular people. Amen? Amen!