The Apostle Paul has made it unmistakably clear that his earthly life means nothing unless he is able to finish his “race” and complete the task the Lord has given him, the task of testifying to God’s grace. (Acts 20:24) Governor Felix has sent for Paul and given him an opportunity to speak. Felix has another chance to hear the gospel and this time Paul lets him have it right between the eyes.
Paul speaks directly to Felix’s sinful condition. Paul talks about righteousness. (Acts 24:25a) Felix was someone who believed he could do nothing wrong. But Paul talks about sin and the need to be right with God and the only way we can become right with God. What does God require? What does God offer?
Paul went on to speak about self-control.(Acts 24:25b) Felix had no self-control. All his appetites had to be fed. He lived a life of total self-indulgence. But Paul was talking about controlling a life that had gotten out of control; about how to become free from the things that are controlling us; how we can live a joyful, meaningful, fulfilling and productive life.
Paul wraps it up by speaking about the judgment to come. (Acts 24:25c) Felix believed he could do anything he wanted to do without suffering any consequences. But Paul is saying there will be a judgment. We will all be held accountable someday to someone greater than ourselves for the way we lived our lives.
Paul spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. (Acts 24:24$ Righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come are all taken care of by faith in Christ Jesus. There you have it Felix. You’ve heard it all before but it just doesn’t get any clearer, any truer or any plainer that that. So what are you going to do about it?
Acts 24:25d “Felix was afraid and said, ‘That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.”
“That’s enough! Felix was afraid.” Actually, he was being convicted by the Holy Spirit and it was becoming too uncomfortable for him. He was resisting; he was stubbornly refusing the Holy Spirit’s invitation.
Remember all that “foresight” Tertullus said Felix was supposed to have (Acts 24:2); always looking ahead, thinking ahead and planning ahead? Every time Felix has to decide something or do something, all he can ever say is: “I’ll do it later.” When Paul first arrived, Felix said, “I’ll hear your case when you accusers get here. I’ll do it later.” When the trial was over and the defense and the prosecution had both rested, Felix said: “I’ll decide your case when Commander Lysias gets here. I’ll do it later.”
Now that Paul has finished telling Felix about the need to place his complete faith in Christ Jesus, Felix is afraid. He’s uncomfortable. He’s under conviction and he’s saying, “I’ll do it later.” Conviction produces procrastination.
Acts 24:26 “At the same time, he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him.”
So Governor Felix had an ulterior motive. I don’t know how he expected a prisoner to come up with a bribe, but he kept trying. He sent for Paul “frequently” but all he ever got was the plan of salvation, the testimony of God’s grace. Governor Felix had two more years of opportunities to place his faith in Christ Jesus, but he kept saying: “I’ll do it later.”
Later just may be a little too late. It was for Felix. Felix had many chances to put his faith in Jesus, but he refused to do it. He was planning to do it later, but later never came around for him again.
Acts 24:27 “When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.”
Do you remember me saying that there was gradual and increasing unrest in Judea and Rome was aware of it? Felix’s superiors were watching him. History records that Felix was summoned to Rome because things had gotten completely out of control in his province. Felix was finally being held accountable for his actions. The only reason he wasn’t killed was because his brother was a good friend of the Emperor, Claudius Caesar. But he still had to face the judgment Paul was talking about and this time his brother wouldn’t be able to bail him out.
When it comes to putting our trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sin and for becoming right with God, we don’t have the luxury of later. We don’t have any guarantees about later. I don’t really know how many more laters there may be for me in my lifetime. God is in charge of later. Later may just be a little too late.
The Bible says: “Today is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:20) Now is the time. “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart.” (Hebrews 3:15)
We don’t come to Jesus when we find it convenient. We come when the Holy Spirit is drawing us. We come when Jesus is calling us. We come when the invitation is being given. We can’t count on later. If the Lord is calling you right now, don’t be afraid. Don’t put it off. Come to Him today.