The Uncomfortable Subject of Sin
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
But some days later, Felix arrived with Drusilla, his wife who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, ‘Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you.’
Paul’s boldness here in the presence of Felix and Drusilla is remarkable. Everyone knows how this couple lives. Felix is a powerful, wealthy servant of Herod and Drusilla is a raving beauty who had been married to a Syrian prince before marrying Felix. They are typical Romans: greedy, proud, and immoral.
But Paul doesn’t beat around the bush. He doesn’t mince words or resort to flattery. He speaks a message that cuts right to the heart of their lack of self-control, specifically as it relates to their immorality.
This is like going to Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and preaching on fiscal responsibility! This is like going to New Orleans during Mardi Gras and preaching from Proverbs that drunkenness and immorality can destroy your life! This is like entering Disney World during gay pride week and preaching from Romans 1 that homosexuality is connected to depraved thinking!
Paul’s boldness here in Acts 24 reminds me of Hugh Latimer, the English Reformer who died a martyr during the reign of Henry VIII. Latimer often preached before the king, and on one occasion he offended the king to such an extent that Henry sent word to Latimer commanding him to issue a formal apology in his next sermon.
That coming Sunday, after reading his text, Latimer addressed himself personally in a remarkable response to the King:
Hugh Latimer, do you know before whom thou art this day to speak? To the high and mighty monarch, the King, who can take away thy life if thou offendest? But then, consider well, Hugh Latimer, do you not know from whence you came? Upon whose message thou art sent? Even by the great and mighty God! Who is all present, and who sees all thy ways, and is able to cast thy soul into hell!
Like Latimer, Paul looks fearlessly into the eyes of this man who, at the snap of a finger, could put him to death and effectively responds, “Felix and Drusilla, there is a higher courtroom. There is a greater Judge. There is an awful day coming when you will stand before Him in judgment.”
Tragically, instead of repenting of his sinful lifestyle, Felix brushes Paul aside and effectively says, “I can’t be bothered by this right now. There’s too much on my plate. I’ve got important matters to see to. Perhaps I will squeeze this message from God into my schedule tomorrow.”
Has that been your response to God lately? Have you, like Felix, been ignoring the Spirit of God in your own life? If so, the first application is to repent. Come clean before God. Realize the weight of your sin in light of the holiness of God and humble yourself before Him. Not tomorrow. Not next week.
Do it now.
Once you have allowed God’s Spirit to expose and forgive your own sin, follow the examples of Paul and Latimer and boldly share God’s convicting, yet life-changing message with those around you.
In what area of your life have you been responding to God as Felix did? Financial giving, perhaps? Missions? Church ministry? Praying with your family at dinner? Getting accountability from a friend regarding sinful habits? I urge you: don’t stop short of genuine repentance. Resolve to make the necessary changes for Christ’s glory.
Read all of Acts 24 and prayerfully consider how this passage relates to your own life today.