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Christ-Centered Defense

Acts   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:40:49
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Introduction

Background of the account to this point
Paul coming to Jerusalem
the brothers hoping to show a gesture of good will with Paul sponsoring men that were taking vows
Paul recognized by Asian (Turkey) Jews and cause an uproar
Romans get involved, essentially saving Paul’s life
Paul sharing his testimony with the Jews - and they listened, that is until he mentioned he was sent to the gentiles and return to being threatening
Paul reveals he’s a Roman citizen after being flogged by the soldiers without judgement
That leads us to more inquiry by the Roman commander (1000) to find out why Paul was being beaten the previous day. - this is a pre-trial hearing
he apparently didn’t want an innocent man punished or let a guilty man go - in short he wanted justice

Your Posture: Clear Conscience (23:1-5)

(v1) Kingdom Mindset - Consistent throughout his whole ministry
“I lave fulfilled my duty” - literally ‘lived as a citizen’
Seems somewhat odd - Before Christ, Paul hunted down Christians
a conscience is not always right - Paul was clouded by the traditions of men
What changed? Being thrown to the ground by the glory of God and a confrontation with the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ
Not just a platitude
this is something that Paul has been cultivating according the to truth of the Scriptures
Evidenced by teaching in his letters
Romans 13:5
Romans 13:5 ESV
Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.
2 Cor 1:12
2 Corinthians 1:12 ESV
For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.
(v 2-5) Lived Out - he has an opportunity to prove it
Paul is struck
Response is according to Scripture
(v3) “white washed wall”; “violate the law”
Punishment is wrong without judgment (Lev 19:15) “You shall not do any injustice in court”
he’s not wrong!
(v5) I was wrong to speak thus Ex 22:28
Application:
We might make the application here that Scripture calls us to respect the authority over us, even when we are being treated wrongly
Your conscience actually matters
How’s your relationship with your conscience? What’s your conscience based on?
You can sear your conscience by actively going against it.
Romans 2: 15
Romans 2:15 ESV
They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them
John Calvin, “the torture of a bad conscience is the hell of a living soul”
this includes forcing others to go against their conscience “you sin against Christ” 1 Corinthians 8:12
Co-citizens with every other believer
You can also conform your conscience to the truth of the word of God
‘Calibrate your conscience’ - Andrew David Naselli & J.D. Crowley Conscience
Johnathan Edwards, “The way to keep the conscience tender is to the utmost to resist sin.”

Your Message: Gospel (23:6-10)

Accusation: Stirring up trouble
1. (v6) Discernment
Paul judges who he is talking to and what needs to be said
Pharisee v. Sadducee
not just trying to pick a fight - Acts 24:21 - part of the fuller defense that Paul had in mind here
this truly is the message that he’s preached throughout the whole world
foolishness to Greeks and a stumbling block to the Jews
2. (v7) True Hope: It’s about the resurrection
Two-fold hope - 1 Corinthians 15
Christ - raised on the third day (1 cor 15:4)
Believers - our hope is the same outcome of Christ, if not, your faith is futile (1 Cor 15:17)
romans 6:5
Romans 6:5 ESV
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
Application
Laser focus on the Gospel

Your Strength: Christ’s Confirmation and Call (23:11)

Confirmation: Presence
Punctuation of this account is the simple yet profound promise of Christ’s presence
A reminder of Christ’s promise in the Great commission
Call - “Take courage!” ; “Testify!”
All of Paul’s ministry has been focused on Christ
Acts 9:15 - He’s commissioned by Christ
1 Corinthian 1:23 - He’s preached Christ
Galatians 5:1 - He’s free in Christ
Philippians 3 - His confidence is in Christ
Philippians 3:7-11 - Christ is All
2 Timothy 1:8-11
2 Timothy 1:8–11 ESV
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher,
Application
In God’s providence, he has placed you within the families you are, jobs and professions you are, neighborhoods you are - what’s your purpose there?
With Christ’s presences by way of the Holy Spirit, you testify and witness to the risen Lord Jesus Christ
“All I Have is Christ”
CHORUS Hallelujah! All I have is Christ / Hallelujah! Jesus is my life
VERSE 3 Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone / And live so all might see / The strength to follow Your commands / Could never come from me / O Father, use my ransomed life / In any way You choose / And let my song forever be / My only boast is You

Conclusion

Paul was put in a position to defend actions he did not do and yet he took it as an opportunity to point to power of the Holy Spirit at work in him conforming him to the image of Christ and testifying to Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
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