Read This Week: Acts 24

My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me. However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man. – Acts 24:12-16 NIV

Some define having a clear conscience as “an inner feeling that acts as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior.” For the follower of Jesus, a clear conscience comes by the Holy Spirit to ensure no discernable hindrance in our connection with God or anyone else. It means avoiding sin against God or others with words, actions, or attitudes. To have a clear conscience toward people means being able to look others in the eyes without shame and know things are right with them.

In Acts 24, Paul is before Felix, a Roman Governor, addressing the charges being brought against him by the Sanhedrin. He has to listen to a presentation from Tertullus detailing his charges coming from the Jewish people. Then he is given a chance to respond to a personal charge, a political charge, and a doctrinal charge leveled against him. Felix does not examine Paul but simply gives him the chance to speak.

At this time, Paul puts on a clinic in how to properly address accusations. He does so with patience and grace, yet defends himself with boldness and confidence in the truth. He never gave up his faith, he knew his intentions of being in Jerusalem and was assured of his mission. These factors allowed him to speak with clarity and conviction about who he is. Verses 13-15 illustrates this in answer to his accusers:

They cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me. However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.

Paul systematically disposes of the three charges, affirms the truth of the gospel, and proclaims his allegiance to Christ in the context of his defense. He then finishes with a declaration of assurance about the rightness of his words, actions, and behaviors. He says in verse 16: I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man. That was Paul’s spiritual mic drop moment. His conscience was clear before God and man. He not only defended himself against false accusations but further declares that there was no obstruction in his relationship with God and other people. He was clear.

This chapter in Acts is a tremendous example for any follower of Christ who is fielding accusations of wrongdoing or simply sharing and contending for the gospel. We should speak with clarity and conviction while maintaining faith in God’s Word, holding to the reality of what is true, and staying clear in our conscience before the Lord and other people. These things are all present in an impactful and successful life with God.

6 Comments

  1. Heidi on April 3, 2021 at 9:49 pm

    Acts 24: v24 Several days later, Felix came to the place where Paul was staying. Felix’s wife, Drusilla, came with Felix. She was *Jewish. Felix sent for Paul. He listened to Paul as Paul spoke. Paul spoke about *faith in *Christ Jesus. v25 Paul talked to Felix and Drusilla about doing the right things. He spoke about self-control (when we stop ourselves from doing wrong things). He spoke about the day when God’s judgment would come. Felix was afraid. He said, ‘You have said enough for now. You may leave. I will send for you again when I have time to listen.’

    What drew my attention in this chapter was how faithful Paul was in sharing his faith, Jesus was his favorite person to talk about because He loved Him and cared for others’ salvation. His time was valuable! Just like Paul we need Jesus for everything. Seeking God 24-7 is what we need, Father God is always here for us no matter what. We don’t want to be like Felix when someone is taking the time to help us, share what God is putting on their heart, sharing awesome stuff to help us in life.

    There will be people in our life that will be like Felix when you share they’ll make excuses – I’ll call you when I have time, we too can get busy and say as soon as this semester is over I’ll try to find time for God, when I get older I’ll try to find time for God, I have laundry to do, I work all the time when I have some extra time I’ll make time for God, the neighbor asked me to go to lunch, I’ll make time for God next week, when the kids get older maybe then I’ll go to a bible study, the list goes on.

    And so life with God can slip away and we miss the opportunities that God has for us, like Paul every opportunity that God gave Paul He shared, there is a lot of people who will say yes to God, so focus on them, continue to share because you never know who will respond to God as you did.

    • Jason on April 8, 2021 at 1:19 pm

      This is a tremendous insight, Heidi, into the faithfulness of the Christian life and taking advantage of opportunities that God gives us on a daily basis:

      And so life with God can slip away and we miss the opportunities that God has for us, like Paul every opportunity that God gave Paul He shared, there is a lot of people who will say yes to God, so focus on them, continue to share because you never know who will respond to God as you did.

      Time is precious and opportunities can easily slip by us so we need the focus you speak of on the people and communities that we have been given so God can use us for maximum impact.

  2. Kathy on April 4, 2021 at 8:35 pm

    This was what God was saying to me in Acts 24: “You as a Christian should never be afraid of or ashamed of the truth, or of the evidence when someone accuses you of something not true. If you are truly following Me, then trust Me with the outcome. When Paul was speaking to Felix and Drusilla, he spoke of the righteousness that is yours in Jesus Christ, the need for Christian ethics (which means self-control), and the eternal accountability before Me. If you are rejecting Jesus, be afraid. Repent and draw close to Him so that the desires of your heart are the same as His.

    Part of your rejection is expressed through delay-when you keep putting off what you know what I want you to do and obey My commands. If you know I am speaking to you, be bold and step out in faith. Delayed obedience is disobedience. It is foolish to trust in a convenient time to repent and believe. You are not promised tomorrow. If you insist on waiting for a convenient time, you will wait for an eternity; an eternity spent in agonizing separation from Me.”

    What this meant to me is I need to be all in for Jesus and God. I need to quit delaying what I need to do and step out in faith and fully surrender to Him. I am not promised tomorrow.

    • Jason on April 8, 2021 at 1:54 pm

      This is a tremendous and hard-hitting truth, Kathy:

      Part of your rejection is expressed through delay-when you keep putting off what you know what I want you to do and obey My commands. If you know I am speaking to you, be bold and step out in faith.

      Sometimes, we do experience rejection because we put off what God wants us to do at the moment. What we perceive as rejection is really indecision and perhaps even disobedience. We must be willing to embrace God’s initiative and step out in faith and boldness to lay claim to what he has for us.

  3. Alma Dolores Schmidt on April 5, 2021 at 1:46 pm

    I have a song this week Acts 24 called “Trust Me”:

    Trust in me says the Lord
    Trust in me, my Plans are good for you
    Follow me, my children, we will do it together

    He is our Savoir, Almighty God
    Forgiving our sins and cleansing our souls
    Our Lord never will turn his back

    He is our Almighty God
    Who loves, forgives, and encourages us
    Trust in the Lord, trust in the Lord
    His plans are always good. Amen.

    Thank you, Lord, for your courage to die for all of us so we could be forgiven. We are living in freedom so let’s be bind to others and have God’s heart and look for the good in people.

    • Jason on April 8, 2021 at 1:49 pm

      Such a hopeful and encouraging song this week, Alma. The words made me think of two verses from the Bible that reinforce the message of your song:

      Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

      For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

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