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I’ll Do it Tomorrow

Acts 24:24-26



Be honest now, how many have a problem w/ procrastination?  Me too, and I’m gonna work on that…soon!  [not tomorrow, that’s the day I start my new exercise program!  J  ]


Some people don’t get motivated unless the situation grows desperate and the pressure is on!


The setting here in our text is Herod’s palace in Caesarea.  The walls of this palace have witnessed many bloody scenes.  It was here that Herod passed the sentence of death upon his own two sons.  And many other Jews were brutalized in this place and the screams of believers have echoed often, only to be suddenly silenced.


Now these walls are about to hear a sermon like very few ears have ever heard.  Let’s use our mind’s eye and picture this scene from inside as the front gates swing open, and in walks a man named Felix, the Governor of Judea.  He’s wearing a royal red robe, and he can be best characterized by the words “cruel” and “covetous.” 


From a worldly perspective his life was a success story:  born a slave, later freed, and eventually worked his way up to Governor of Judea.  The Roman historian Tacitus said, “He exercised the authority of a king, with the spirit of a slave.”  He was cruel and covetous.


He takes his place on the judgment seat.  Walking in behind him is his wife Drusilla.  She comes from a very wicked bloodline:  daughter of Herod Agrippa I, the one who had the Apostle James put to death.  It was her great grandfather, another Herod, who attempted to kill the baby Jesus by having all the infants in Bethlehem slain in cold blood.  She was said to be the most beautiful woman on earth in the 1 C.  She was married first at the age of 14, and then one day the Governor Felix laid his eyes on her and had to have her…so he plotted and schemed to steal her away from her husband, whom she eventually divorced.  As she walks into the courtroom, all eyes are on her.


Then, in walks the Apostle Paul, surrounded by Roman soldiers.  His body is scarred from all the beatings, whippings, and being stoned.  His face must show a hard life lived.  Chains bind him, and rattle as he moves across the stone floor.  He knows what it is to suffer for Christ.


An irony:  Paul stands bound before Felix, who appears free, but has chains on his soul.  Paul may be in bonds, but inwardly he is free indeed!  And on this day Paul reasoned w/ Felix about faith in Christ.  And our faith is quite reasonable!  Isaiah says, “Come, let us reason together…” 


Paul stands before the man who had the power to set him free, yet he didn’t beg for his life or freedom.  He made no deals.  He stood bold and tall and used the opportunity to preach to the Governor.  The world would say, you’d better tone it down, Paul, or maybe slip him some money!

But Paul knew that the central issue that day was whether Felix was a believer in Christ! 


Ill.—court case in England, a family traveled down a wrong road that was unfinished, and had an accident.  The prosecution said the road was clearly marked with the required red flag, but their defendant said that it wasn’t.  He claimed that if they would go retrieve the flag they would see.  They did, and it was pale pink, from being out in the weather so long.

        Too many pulpits today are waving a flag alright, but it’s so weathered and watered down it doesn’t really get the right warning across!  It’s a pale pink flag, weak and sissified, and ineffective!


Paul raised the red flag this day.  We aren’t told everything that Paul said, but just the basic outline, and it’s powerful.  Like a good Baptist preacher Paul had 3 points:


v. 25        Righteousness, Temperance, and Judgment


What would Paul have said?  He reasoned with Felix of:


1.     A Righteousness he did not possess

God is righteous.  Man is not.  What appears as righteousness in human view is truly filthy rags compared to God.

Isaiah 64:6

    But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

        [That’s not God talking about our bad but our good!]


The world has become very disrespectful of the Lord.  He’s not “the man upstairs”, but the thrice holy God!  Young people are calling his Son “J.C.”, and it’s blasphemous.  God help us!  We should reverence His name.  We should fear Him!


If Jesus walked in here we’d fall on our faces before Him!


Paul put the fear of God in Felix, and v. 25 says he trembled.  We need more preaching like that today.  If we’d lift up our God to His rightful place, people would be under conviction and put in their place!


Ill.—Christian musicians today are trying to sound like popular musicians in the world, and to look like them too.  But it’s not sending the right message.  The message we need to send lifts up God into the spotlight, and gives HIM the glory, and in humility puts man in his lowly place too.


Thank God that Paul didn’t try to pull God down to Felix’ level.  He preached of righteousness and the God who hates sin.

Romans 1:18

    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;


We know that God loves sinners…this is the essence of the gospel.  But let’s not forget that He hates sin.


We see sin differently than God does:

We call it a weakness, but God calls it wickedness…

Accident / abomination

Chance / choice

Trifle / tragedy  [God help us to hate our sin like you do!]

        I think Paul brought Felix face to face w/ God, and perhaps for the first time he began to understand his sinful condition in God’s sight.


Then I’m sure Paul shared the other side of hope, and God’s righteousness, and how He wants to give it to him!


Righteousness he did not possess…


2.     A Temperance he did not practice

v. 25        Temperance means “self-control”.  I already told you how he got his wife…his 3rd, by the way!  He was also a politician who took bribes.

v. 26        One reason he held Paul so long was hoping the believers would raise some money and offer it.  He was corrupt, and did not hesitate to lie, murder, and steal.  He lived a life of orgies, parties, and luxury.  And so, temperance / self control was not something he was familiar with.


I have a feeling Paul said, “You are an adulterer, thief, and a murderer, and the Bible says these cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Then he may have looked to Drusilla and pointed out how she sold out what it means to be a young lady.  She gave up her modesty, decency, and her purity.  These are important qualities for our young ladies to protect.  They should keep their bodies covered, only to be uncovered for the one man God has prepared for them, after marriage!


Many people have never been confronted with the truth about how God feels about their lifestyle.  Now, this needs to be done wisely, as from God, and not just from the church or the opinions of some old fuddy duddies.


God’s truth needs to be preached.

That’s it’s not a “credibility gap,” but a lie…not an affair, but adultery.

It’s drunkenness, not a disease.  It’s sodomy, not just some alternate lifestyle / orientation.  God still calls sin “sin”…and so should we.  You change the label and call it just a mistake, but God calls it sin.  You can say you just have a weakness or a chemical dependence, but God calls it sin.  You can say you have active hormones, but God calls it sin.


Then I’m sure Paul shared the other side of hope, and said, “You may not be able to control your passions, but God can…He can temper you and empower you to overcome!

        He probably beat on his chest and said “Greater is He that is in me!”


By now, Felix has a lump in his throat.  “What’s going on here?  I called this guy in here to judge him, and he’s judging me!”


Paul was very logical, like a lawyer, in his presentation and laying out of the facts.  He said:  You need righteousness, and you don’t have it, but you can receive it as a gift.

Your conduct is out of control, you’re a sinner by birth, by nature, and by practice and choice, but God your creator can bring you into line.


3.     A Judgment he could not prevent

v. 25        Very logically he says, here’s what God demands [righteousness], here’s what you are [wicked], and therefore, judgment is coming…it’s all cause and effect!


It’s very important for Felix to understand this…because here he sits on the throne… “high, wide, and handsome”.  Money, power, a beautiful wife, food…and he could easily feel like he’s untouchable.  So, Paul lets him know that judgment may not be right now, but it’s coming!


Sure, there are natural consequences for any of us:

Have sex / get disease / get pregnant

Pursue physical pleasure / reap emotional pain

Take drugs / destroy brain and organs

Jump off building / hit pavement

And God’s judgment of sin hasn’t even arrived yet…but it’s coming!


Romans 2:5

    But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath…


v. 25        Why is Felix trembling?  Paul is in chains!  This is Holy Ghost conviction!  He could have gotten saved in this moment, but didn’t.  The Philippian jailer trembled w/ the same conviction, but responded differently, turning to Christ! 


v. 25b      “sometime soon!”

That’s all the devil wants you to do…not necessarily reject it, just to wait!


Ever witnessed to someone who agreed w/ you, but procrastinated?  They wanted more time?  Wanted to think about it?


Here’s some practical things you can use…

Dangers of waiting to be saved:

  • You lose today.  We say “do this before you die” as if eternity is the only thing at stake.  We say, “get saved, you might die!”  Let’s change it to this, “get saved, you might live!”  There’s no better life than the Christian life.  If there were no heaven, it would still be a much better life!  Being a Christian is not a fee we pay in order to go to heaven!  There’s no greater high than “the most High God!”  What did Felix gain by rejecting Christ?  History tells us he died a miserable man.  A few years after this event in our text, he committed suicide, drowning himself in a lake.  We must urge our loved ones and those we witness to at work or otherwise not to wait, because every day is a day we could be living for Jesus, but we’re not!  Don’t suppose you can wait for a deathbed conversion…don’t burn your candle for Satan for years and then think you’ll blow smoke at your creator at the end of your life!  He sees right through that.
  • You’re not promised tomorrow

Proverbs 27:1

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

    None has the promise of tomorrow.  Listen to your watch tick…every second somebody dies on average, and one of those ticks is reserved for me and one for you! 


Ill.—some have a heart attack and live, or an accident and live, and say, “I came close to death.”  No, you didn’t, because you didn’t die.  Matter of fact, you’re closer to death now than you were then!


None of us are getting out of this world alive.  In spite of medical marvels, the death rate is still one per person!  And our loved ones are closer to their appointment now than they’ve ever been! 


Joke—3 guys talked about how they wanted to be remembered when they died.  1st said, I want them to say he was a good father.  2nd said, a good husband.  3rd said, I want them to say ‘he’s moving!’   J

Ain’t gonna happen!  The Bible says our life is like a vapor.

  • Jesus could return at any moment

Matthew 24:42

    Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

Some may say, “I don’t think He’s coming today.”  Well, that qualifies as a great moment for Him to come, if He comes as a thief, when least expected!

Luke 12:40       Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

  • God could stop knocking at any moment.  Right now in our text, Felix is under conviction.  But we have no record of him being convicted again.  And every time we reject Christ, our heart gets a little harder.  You can put it off until a day arrives in which you can’t hear God’s voice anymore at all…His knocking is over! 


Hebrews 3:7

    Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,

Hosea 4:17

    Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.

3 X’s in Rom. 1 it says “God gave them up” or “God gave them over.”

John 12:37

    But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:

John 12:39

    Therefore they could not believe…


No wonder the Bible says “seek ye the Lord while He may be found.”


It’ll never be easier to be saved than it is today…why?  Because, tomorrow you’ll have more sins to repent of, less time to repent in, and a harder heart to repent with.


Ill.—demon convention / topic:  how to keep people from getting saved.  Ideas:  Tell them there’s no heaven / no hell / or, “no hurry”!


The road to hell is paved with good intentions.  We need to lovingly compel our loved ones to come to Christ!



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