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Paul's Defense

Acts: Christ Builds His Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Intro:

AG:
TS: When we last studied acts, Paul had just been taken into custody by the Roman’s
Claudius Lysias was the tribune in command (23:26) of the Roman cohort in Jersualem. He had 1000 men at his command and was the highest ranking Romana official in Jerusalem.
Their post, fort Antonia, was located on a precipice overlooking the Temple complex, so the soldiers spotted the riot and were able to quickly intervene.
In v. 33 we find that the centurions had put Paul in chains and were protecting him from the mob as they arrested him for inciting the riot. As they led him away, the crowd cried out for his blood.
“Away with him” probably meant take him away to death.
Paul motioned to speak and was allowed to address the crowd.
Today, we examine his public defense before the crowd.
RS:
Acts 21:37–22:29 ESV
37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the tribune, “May I say something to you?” And he said, “Do you know Greek? 38 Are you not the Egyptian, then, who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?” 39 Paul replied, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no obscure city. I beg you, permit me to speak to the people.” 40 And when he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the steps, motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great hush, he addressed them in the Hebrew language, saying: 1 “Brothers and fathers, hear the defense that I now make before you.” 2 And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language, they became even more quiet. And he said: 3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, 5 as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished. 6 “As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. 7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ 8 And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ 9 Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 10 And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ 11 And since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus. 12 “And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him. 14 And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; 15 for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’ 17 “When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ 19 And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20 And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.’ 21 And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ” 22 Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.” 23 And as they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the tribune ordered him to be brought into the barracks, saying that he should be examined by flogging, to find out why they were shouting against him like this. 25 But when they had stretched him out for the whips, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?” 26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the tribune and said to him, “What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman citizen.” 27 So the tribune came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” And he said, “Yes.” 28 The tribune answered, “I bought this citizenship for a large sum.” Paul said, “But I am a citizen by birth.” 29 So those who were about to examine him withdrew from him immediately, and the tribune also was afraid, for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had bound him.
Acts 21:37-22:

Mistaken Identity

Acts 21:37–39 ESV
37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the tribune, “May I say something to you?” And he said, “Do you know Greek? 38 Are you not the Egyptian, then, who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?” 39 Paul replied, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no obscure city. I beg you, permit me to speak to the people.”

Assumed he was an Egyptian Rebel

Lysias began with a question which revealed his faulty assumptions: “Aren’ t you the Egyptian troublemaker?”
He had been a false prophet who had promised to drive out the Romans.
Acts 21:27
His forces had been attacked and routed by Governor Felix before he got anywhere.
The Assassins
sicarii, a terrorist group whose Jewish nationalism had led them to murder Romans and Jews they deemed to be sympathetic to Rome.
They had often used a crowd to cover their actions and Lysias probably assumed this was the plan.

Truth of the Matter

Jew

Paul’s Jewish lineage
From Tarsus
key city in Province of Cilicia
It was both an educational and commercial center.
Paul’s Jewish connections
Pharisee
Philippians 3:4–8 ESV
4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
Studied with Gamaliel
Acts 22:3 ESV
3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day.
Acts 22:1–2 ESV
1 “Brothers and fathers, hear the defense that I now make before you.” 2 And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language, they became even more quiet. And he said:
Remember that Gamaliel was a prominent Rabbi, the most influential of his time. Leader of the Pharisees.
Paul had been a protegee of the leading Pharisees.
He knew the Law and Prophets
These were impressive credential!

From Tarsus in Cilicia

A citizen- not easy to come by
Had privileges

Setting the Record Straight

Acts 21:39–22:21 ESV
39 Paul replied, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no obscure city. I beg you, permit me to speak to the people.” 40 And when he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the steps, motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great hush, he addressed them in the Hebrew language, saying: 1 “Brothers and fathers, hear the defense that I now make before you.” 2 And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language, they became even more quiet. And he said: 3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, 5 as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished. 6 “As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. 7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ 8 And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ 9 Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 10 And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ 11 And since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus. 12 “And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him. 14 And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; 15 for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’ 17 “When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ 19 And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20 And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.’ 21 And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”
---
Acts 21:39
Paul defends himself:
a. His past
lineage (already covered)
Actions- zealous persecutor of the church
Acts 22:4 ESV
4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women,
In Jersualem
In Jersualem
Had agreed with Stephen's stoning
Was on the way to Damascus
Acts 22:5 ESV
5 as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.
He had been intrusted with warrants.
b. The Change
encountered Jesus
Light
Acts 22:6 ESV
6 “As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me.
acts 22:
The light of the world, Jesus, shown brighter than the sun at noon!
Voice
Heard Jesus speak
Acts 22:7–9 ESV
7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ 8 And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ 9 Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me.
Witness from Ananias
Acts 22:12 ESV
12 “And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
Acts 22:14–15 ESV
14 And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; 15 for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard.
Vision
Jesus called Paul and Ananias reissued the call to witness about Jesus.
Acts 22:
Vision
Acts 22:17 ESV
17 “When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance
After a brief ministry in Damascus and 3 years in Arabia, Paul had returned to Jerusalem.
God warned he would be rejected
God sent him to the gentiles.
The crowd had gone with him until Gentiles were mentioned.
That was the straw which broke the camel’s back.

The Reaction

Acts 22:22–29 ESV
22 Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.” 23 And as they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the tribune ordered him to be brought into the barracks, saying that he should be examined by flogging, to find out why they were shouting against him like this. 25 But when they had stretched him out for the whips, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?” 26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the tribune and said to him, “What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman citizen.” 27 So the tribune came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” And he said, “Yes.” 28 The tribune answered, “I bought this citizenship for a large sum.” Paul said, “But I am a citizen by birth.” 29 So those who were about to examine him withdrew from him immediately, and the tribune also was afraid, for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had bound him.
Acts 22:22-

Of the Mob

Threw a hissy fit!
Shouting
calling for his death
threw their cloaks
Most likely getting ready to stone Paul
Throwing dirt
Indication of the intense hate and anger

Of the Romans

Centurion & Tribune
Romans brought him in meaning to “question him:
Beat him
exam by scourging was brutal
prisoners frequently died from such floggings.
Acts 22:25 ESV
25 But when they had stretched him out for the whips, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?”
Before they could begin the scourging, Paul exerted himself as a citizen.
Nobody questioned his claimed because it was certain death to lie about citizenship.
After hearing Paul was a Roman citizen, he was afraid.
he had bound a citizen without a trial and nearly beat him
This violated the law
Had Paul been beaten, it could have cost tribune Lysias his career and even his life.
Lysias had not been born free, but had paid a large sum
Though not officially for sale, bribes could get citizenship from corrupt officials.
Acts 22:28 ESV
28 The tribune answered, “I bought this citizenship for a large sum.” Paul said, “But I am a citizen by birth.”
Paul was born a citizen
He was the genuine deal

Lessons for Today

Speak the language of the people.
Paul was communicating in Greek and Hebrew
he spoke what the people around him spoke
Communication was his aim.
Language shouldn’t be a barrier to us
either formal language- Spanish, Russian, etc
Style- dialect, way of communicating, etc
use methods that reach people
don’t use methods and phrases that get in the way.
Use the tools God has given
Paul used his credentials
that had to impress much of them
he had the credentials to move forward with more respect.
They would pay more attention
Use what you have
talents
gifts
experiences
Keep proclaiming Christ
Paul didn’t use legal wranglings
He preached JesusOf all the great themes we could cover from philosophy, morality, politics.... OUR purpose is sharing Christ!
Of all the great themes we could cover from philosophy, morality, politics.... OUR purpose is sharing Christ!
This isn’t a debate hall
we are not hear to advance anyone’s political career
we are here to preach Jesus!
the living word
as revealed in the written word
Tell your story
Paul showed the change which came through his encounter with Jesus
Our story can be the point of connection which opens the door to share the gospel
Let us all remain faithful like Paul.
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