Chapter Twenty-Four — Part Two: The Book of Acts

By: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne

Publish date: 03/05/2023

Foundation Scriptures:
Acts 24:10-21

1. Paul’s Defense.
a. Acts 24:10 NKJV — Then Paul, after the governor had nodded to him to speak, answered: “Inasmuch as I know that you have been for many years a judge of this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself,
b. Felix had judged Israel for seven years, plus his wife was Jewish, so he was familiar with Jewish ways and customs.
c. Because of this, Paul felt that he could more cheerfully and confidently defend himself.
d. Felix would also have been familiar with how difficult, petty, and bigoted the Jews habitually were, and therefore might be better disposed toward anyone they opposed, such as Paul.
e. Acts 24:11 NKJV — because you may ascertain that it is no more than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship.
f. Paul had arrived in Jerusalem but twelve days before, with only peaceful plans.
g. He had not done any of the things they claimed, and he had no intention of doing them, either.
h. Besides that, there would have been no time for him to do the things he was accused of, since he was only four days into the seven days of purification, when he was arrested.
i. On the fifth day, he gave his defense before the Sanhedrin, and that night, he saw Jesus.
j. On the sixth day, he was transported from Jerusalem to Antipatris because of the Jewish plot to kill him, and on the seventh day he arrived in Caesarea and was presented to Felix.
k. Five days later, he was on trial before Felix.
l. Acts 24:12-13 NKJV — And they neither found me in the temple disputing with anyone nor inciting the crowd, either in the synagogues or in the city. 13 Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me.
m. They did not find him fighting, arguing, nor stirring up the crowd; and therefore, there were no witnesses to corroborate their stories.
n. Neither did they have proof of him causing trouble in any other country, because that never happened either.

2. God of My Fathers.
a. Acts 24:14 NKJV — But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.
b. The Jews called Christianity (the Way) heresy and a sect, but Paul clarified that he worshipped according to all those things written in the Old Covenant.
c. The Jews knew the Romans had a prohibition against the introduction of any new religion, and so Paul referred to “the God of my fathers,” for the benefit of the court and of his accusers.
d. He worshipped the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—not some new and different god.
e. Paul believed in the Scriptures—the Law and the Prophets—and also that they were all fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
f. Acts 24:15 NKJV — I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.
g. Paul placed all his hope and trust in God and His promise of resurrection, Heaven, and eternal life.
h. Paul believed in the resurrection of the just (righteous; upright; virtuous) and unjust (unrighteous; sinful)—the sanctified to a resurrection of life and the unsanctified to a resurrection of final judgment and condemnation.
i. This is where Paul’s beliefs diverged from that of the Pharisees, who believed only in the resurrection of the just.

3. Clear Conscience.
a. Acts 24:16 AMPC — Therefore I always exercise and discipline myself [mortifying my body, deadening my carnal affections, bodily appetites, and worldly desires, endeavoring in all respects] to have a clear (unshaken, blameless) conscience, void of offense toward God and toward men.
b. This word, “exercise,” is only found in this place in the scriptures and refers to living by a particular set of rules.
c. In Greek medical writings it refers to the art of healing or exercising the ability to bring about healing.
d. Exercise (Greek askeō) — to exercise (one’s) self; take pains; labour; strive; to form by art; to adorn.
e. Paul’s conscience was clear towards God and man, because he has believed and lived in a way that is consistent with God’s Word and will.

4. In the Temple.
a. Acts 24:17 NKJV — “Now after many years I came to bring alms and offerings to my nation,
b. Paul was accustomed to raise and send alms to those in need (Rom. 15:26; 1 Cor. 16:1-3; Gal. 2:10).
c. Now, after seven years away, he had returned to Jerusalem bringing alms (donations and charitable gifts) for the poor and offerings (sacrifices) for the Lord.
d. Acts 24:18-19 NKJV — in the midst of which some Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with a mob nor with tumult. 19 They ought to have been here before you to object if they had anything against me.
e. The Jews from Asia—as always—located Paul in the temple and stirred up all the trouble but did not show up to accuse him in the court, knowing full well that it was a frivolous charge.
f. Acts 24:20-21 NKJV — Or else let those who are here themselves say if they found any wrongdoing in me while I stood before the council, 21 unless it is for this one statement which I cried out, standing among them, ‘Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am being judged by you this day.’”
g. Paul comes back to his original defense—that all the other charges levelled against him were bogus, and that their disagreement hinged only on the point of resurrection of the dead, and not worthy of persecution.