Acts 24: How Do You Plead?

252: Acts 24: How Do You Plead?

In the court of human affairs…

Everyone passes judgment on others

Five days later Ananias, the high priest, arrived with
some of the Jewish elders and the lawyer Tertullus, to present their case
against Paul to the governor. When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented the
charges against Paul in the following address to the governor: “…We have
found this man to be a troublemaker who is constantly stirring up riots among the
Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the cult known as the
Nazarenes…” Then the other Jews chimed in, declaring that everything Tertullus
said was true. ACTS 24:1-2, 5, 9 NLT

Sometimes we have a legitimate defense

The governor then motioned for Paul to speak. Paul said,
“I know, sir, that you have been a judge of Jewish affairs for many years, so I
gladly present my defense before you. You can quickly discover that I arrived
in Jerusalem no more than twelve days ago to worship at the Temple. My accusers
never found me arguing with anyone in the Temple, nor stirring up a riot in any
synagogue or on the streets of the city. These men cannot prove the things they
accuse me of doing.” ACTS 24:10-13 NLT

In the court of God…

Everyone will be judged by God

So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look
down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat
of God. For the Scriptures say, “‘As surely as I live,’ says the LORD, ‘every
knee will bend to me, and every tongue will declare allegiance to God.’” Yes,
each of us will give a personal account to God. ROMANS
14:10-12 NLT

A few days later Felix came back with his wife, Drusilla,
who was Jewish. Sending for Paul, they listened as he told them about faith in
Christ Jesus. As he reasoned with them about righteousness and self-control and
the coming day of judgment, Felix became frightened. “Go away for now,” he
replied. “When it is more convenient, I’ll call for you again.” ACTS 24:24-25 NLT

Jesus is our only defense

“Ask these men here what crime the Jewish high council
found me guilty of, except for the one time I shouted out, ‘I am on trial
before you today because I believe in the resurrection of the dead!’” ACTS 24:20-21 NLT

And just as each person is destined to die once and after
that comes judgment, so also Christ was offered once for all time as a
sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal
with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him. HEBREWS 9:27-28 NLT

Live today in light of forever

I have the same hope in
God that these men have, that he will raise both the righteous and the
unrighteous. Because of this, I always try to maintain a clear conscience before
God and all people. ACTS 24:15-16 NLT

For we must all stand
before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the
good or evil we have done in this earthly body. Because we understand our
fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows
we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. 2 CORINTHIANS 5:10-11 NLT

Group Discussion Guide

  1. Describe an experience when you prematurely judged or falsely accused someone, only to find out later that you were wrong.
  2. How do you respond when you have to justify yourself before others? Is it satisfying when you successfully defend yourself?
  3. What are your thoughts and feelings about standing before God to give a personal account of what you’ve done (or not done) in your lifetime?
  4. Do you eagerly wait for Jesus to return as your ultimate defender and to receive from him all that is promised to you? Explain.
  5. How often do you consider that, one day, you will be raised to life? Does this bring you real and active hope, here and now?
  6. What is one, specific way that your future in Christ can motivate you toward
    righteousness and self-control today, and toward sharing this hope with others?

My Notes