Acts 24:24-25 – After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.”
In this account, Paul was being held as a prisoner under accusation by the Jews. Felix, the governor who had charge over Paul, called for Paul to speak to him and his wife. It would be most normal for the prisoner, when speaking to the man who has the right to free him, to speak kindly, even flatteringly, in order to perhaps curry favor with the ruler.
Paul’s message to Felix and Drusilla, however, had no elements of an attempt to make Felix release him. On the contrary, Paul spoke to Felix on righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment. Paul’s message was an “in-your-face” gospel presentation. It did not gain him favor with Felix, but alarmed him enough to send Paul away for a later audience. Paul’s gospel presentation is not the kind most often presented in the most attractive religious pamphlets. Instead, the message of the apostle was a declaration that God is righteous, we have no self-control, and we are under God’s wrath at the coming judgment if we do not repent and receive Christ.
Today, we need to learn to have the very same boldness that Paul had in court. He most certainly could have spoken in a way that would have gotten him out of jail, but like Jesus standing before Pilate, Paul wanted to be certain to present the true gospel at every opportunity. We too need to stop worrying about making people like us. If we weigh our words so carefully as to never offend, we may win people to ourselves, but never to Christ, because we will never speak of righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment. Let us commit ourselves to speaking the truth of the gospel to all the world. Yes, we speak in love, but we never, under any circumstances, compromise the message for the sake of gaining approval or favors from men.
Lord, I thank you for the courage that you gave Paul as he stood before Felix. Paul willingly preached the gospel, even though such preaching actually hurt his legal case. I pray that you will give me the same courage and boldness. Fill me with your Spirit, I pray, and lead me to speak the truth with boldness, honesty, and accuracy. Let me tell the world the true gospel of Jesus Christ.