Facing the Secular Courts
Luke stresses that Christians are innocent, law abiding people. The town clerk at Ephesus acknowledged in Acts 19:37 “For you have brought these men (Paul’s companions) here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of our goddess.” And also Gallio, proconsul of Achaia in (Acts 18:12-ff). He would not listen to the false accusations of the Jews against Paul.
It was the Jews who rose up in open revolt against Rome. The testimony from church history demonstrates that Christians were not punished for revolutionary ideas. They complied with Paul’s exhortation in Rom. 12:17-19 “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeances is Mine, I will repay says the Lord.”
Accusation Presented – v.1-7
Setting an ambush for Paul
Violating their own Law (Decalogue)
The Law provided safeguards for the accused
Paul before Festus
He acted promptly
A good administrator
Absence of Proof – v.8-11
No witnesses, no evidence and therefore no case
Festus’s compromise – v. 9
Paul admits to no wrongdoing worthy of death –
Capital Punishment Turn To: Romans 13:1-7
No person is exempt from subjection. (Westminster Confession of Faith)
The reason for our subjection is because these governments which exist derive their right and power from God.
Those who resist these authorities are resisting God.
The magistrate is not infallible – Acts 5:29 cf.4:19,20
Paul does not deal with the question that arises in connection with revolution.
Do what is right, be law abiding and you will have no reason to fear the authorities.
Appeal to Caesar – v.12
Paul exercises his right as a Roman citizen
Final Analysis: How do we stand in a world that is hostile toward the gospel and the righteousness of Jesus Christ?
Christians responding to worldly pressure:
Acknowledge that God is Sovereign – Rom. 9:16; Dan. 3:17-18
The need to know our Bibles
The need to pay the ultimate price – (Christian Martyrs – John Wycliffe and John Hus) Luke 17:33
Pastor Nick Iamaio
Reformed Presbyterian Church
207 South First Street, Fulton, NY 13069
Web Site fultonrpc.org