Acts 23: How to Act in a Politically Charged Climate

252 – Acts 23: How
to Act in a Politically Charged Climate 

The next day the commander ordered the leading priests into session with the
Jewish high council. He wanted to find out what the trouble was all about, so
he released Paul to have him stand before them. Gazing intently at the high council, Paul began: “Brothers,
I have always lived before God with a clear conscience!” Instantly Ananias the high
priest commanded those close to Paul to slap him on the mouth. But Paul said to him, “God will slap you, you
corrupt hypocrite! What kind of judge are you to break the law yourself by
ordering me struck like that?” Those standing near Paul said to him, “Do you dare to insult God’s high
priest?” “I’m sorry, brothers. I didn’t
realize he was the high priest,” Paul replied, “for the Scriptures say, ‘You
must not speak evil of any of your rulers.’” ACTS 22:30 – 23:5 NLT

Respect the position the person
holds even if I don’t respect the person who holds the position

You must not dishonor God or curse
any of your rulers. EXODUS 22:28 NLT

Pay your taxes, too, for these same
reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what
they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees
to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in
authority. ROMANS 13:6-7 NLT

Paul realized that some members of the high council were Sadducees and some
were Pharisees, so he shouted, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, as were my
ancestors! And I am on trial because my hope is in the resurrection of the
dead!” This divided the council—the
Pharisees against the Sadducees—  for the Sadducees say there is no resurrection
or angels or spirits, but the Pharisees believe in all of these. So there was a great uproar. Some of the
teachers of religious law who were Pharisees jumped up and began to argue
forcefully. “We see nothing wrong with him,” they shouted. “Perhaps a spirit or
an angel spoke to him.” As the conflict grew more violent, the
commander was afraid they would tear Paul apart. So he ordered his soldiers to
go and rescue him by force and take him back to the fortress. ACTS 23:6-10 NLT

Make room
for differences of opinion

religious cause will be defeated when we are politically divided

The next morning a group of Jews got together and bound themselves with an oath
not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. There were more than forty of them in the
conspiracy. They went to the leading priests and elders
and told them, “We have bound ourselves with an oath to eat nothing until we
have killed Paul. So you and the high council should ask the
commander to bring Paul back to the council again. Pretend you want to examine
his case more fully. We will kill him on the way.” ACTS 23:12-15 NLT

Live by God’s word and not your

emotions can make us so self-righteous that we will say and do the most unrighteous

That night the Lord appeared to Paul
and said, “Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in
Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well.” ACTS 23:11 NLT

Trust that God has a plan

For God saved us and called us to
live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was
his plan from before the
beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. 2 TIMOTHY 1:9 NLT

Community Group
Discussion Guide

  1. Have you behaved perfectly in this politically charged climate?
  2. What are some mistakes you have made?
  3. How can you apologize for people you may have hurt?
  4. Why is it so hard to give grace to people when they hurt us, when we receive so much grace from God?
  5. What steps can you take to make sure that when you are politically fired up or overcome by emotion that you don’t damage your reputation as a Christian?
  6. Please spend time as a group praying for Obama and his leadership through this transition of power, and praying for Trump as he takes on this huge responsibility.
  7. Finish by thanking God for his
    provision and blessings even in the tense times. 

My Notes