Bearing Witness to the Risen Christ (Part 7)
Last week, we looked at Acts 24 where Paul gives his defense before Felix, the governor of Caesarea. In that defense, Paul was not able to give what we would consider a “gospel presentation” (explaining Christ’s life, death, and resurrection on behalf of sinners), but was merely able to publicly identify himself as a follower of Jesus. This led us to the third principle for bearing witness to Jesus, which is this: Sometimes, we simply have an opportunity to publicly identify ourselves as followers of Jesus. And that is ok. We should be pleased for the opportunity to let others know that we are Christians.
This week, we continue by examining what happened after Paul gave his public defense before the governor. The Bible tells us that Felix left Paul in prison after his hearing (not because he was guilty of a crime, but for political reasons), and that over the next two years Felix “sent for him often and conversed with him” (Acts 24:26).
On one of these occasions, shortly after the hearing, Felix brought his wife Drusilla to hear Paul speak about faith in Christ. Drusilla was a young Jewish woman, less than 20 years old, who had married her first husband at 14, but had been seduced by Felix who convinced her to leave her husband and marry him instead. She became Felix’s third wife.
With this kind of background, it is no wonder that “as he [Paul] reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed” (Acts 24:25). Paul apparently spoke very plainly to Felix and Drusilla about their infidelity and faithlessness to their previous spouses. And this leads us to our fourth principle for bearing witness to Jesus: It is entirely appropriate and necessary, when sharing the good news about Jesus, to talk about sin.
Some people we talk to are already broken over their sins and their failures, and are ready to hear the good news about forgiveness and healing. But others don’t see themselves as sinful and broken, and don’t believe that God will one day judge all people for their deeds, both good and bad. And a person who does not believe they are a sinner cannot be saved (Luke 5:32). So bearing witness to Christ often means being very frank with people about the nature of sin—and helping them to understand that they have fallen short of God’s righteousness and need forgiveness.
Next week we will finish this series with some final thoughts from Acts 24.