Intro: The Apostle Paul has always been a great inspiration to me. I admire his walk with God and his example to the believers. In these chapters, Paul experienced some things that we can relate to during this virus shutdown. Our churches have been targeted and classified as non-essential. We have been forbidden to hold services, participate in the ordinances and to demonstrate pure religion as laid out in the word of God. In studying these chapters, I saw many parallels in both how Paul was treated as well as how he responded. I’d like to examine these verses in that light tonight.
A. Paul’s Attitude – 21:17-26
Paul was made aware of confusion about his beliefs.
I love verse 21 – “they are informed of thee…”
People today are so worked up about things that are not even true.
To try and clear up any confusion, Paul consented to joining these four other men.
Notice verse 24 – …that all may know that those things, whereof they were informed are nothing…
He shaved his head, took the vows and went through a seven day purification process.
B. Paul’s Accusers – 21:27-30
It was obvious that nothing Paul could or say at this point would appease his accusers.
They had already made up their minds about him – regardless of the truth.
They accused him of things that he didn’t do – see verse 29.
They jumped to conclusions; disregarded his efforts to set the record straight.
They got the whole city “moved”.
Together, they drew him out of the temple and the doors were shut.
C. Paul’ Assault – 21-31, 32
They “…went about to kill him” in verse 31.
They were beating Paul.
NOTE: He had done nothing wrong, said nothing wrong nor even fought back.
It’s amazing how people are so quick to think the worst, do the worst, all in the name of “right”. (vs. 28)
They did not see the laws they were breaking, and the pollution of the temple that they were guilty of.
D. Paul’s Arrest – 21:33
Notice their over-reaction to Paul’s situation. They bound him with 2 chains.
A man that was being beaten by a mob in the street was bound with 2 chains??
The people caused such confusion and tumult that the soldiers had to carry him up the stairs.
Paul politely asked, “May I speak unto thee?”
They mistook Paul for someone else.
They accused him of being an Egyptian that caused an uproar and led 4,000 murderers into the wilderness.
Isn’t it something how when a Christian is called out, it’s completely unreasonable and illogical.
Paul? An Egyptian? How could they think he was an Egyptian?
And what would a man that led 4,000 murderers into the wilderness be doing in the Temple?
And why accuse a man for being a leader of murderers when the street was FULL OF MURDERERS!! – vs. 31
Here was a man that was being beaten to death by a mob.
They put two chains on him and was physically carrying him up the stairs, with a mob shouting after them.
Paul asked politely if he could speak to them, and they thought he was a leader of murderers?
I think these people were so “tunnel-visioned” in their “duty” in their “job” that they couldn’t see their nose in front of their faces.
E. Paul’s Audience – 21:39-22:22 …vs. 22 they gave him audience unto this word…
Paul asked to defend himself in 39 and 22:1.
So he gave his full testimony down to verse 21.
Notice their reaction. – vs. 22, 23
“Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.”
What did he say that merited that kind of response? That kind of hatred?
They got naked and started throwing dirt.
The world’s reaction to our testimony; God’s call upon our lives, our passion for God is to get vulgar, obscene and start slinging dirt.
Some things never change.
It wasn’t just Paul they hated – they hated everything he represented.
I. The Unjust Command – vs. 24
The captain commanded him to be “examined by scourging.”
How unfair! That was basically torture.
And his reason for beating him? Wasn’t based on Paul’s testimony.
It was prompted by the people’s reaction and hatred of Paul.
It was to simply appease the masses; the unreasonable liars and naked dirt slingers.
II. The Unafraid Confrontation – vs. 25
As they bound Paul, he looked at the centurion and asked, “Is it lawful…”
Good thing he spoke up!
He didn’t have to, but he did. He could have been beaten worse.
He wasn’t afraid. He had the courage to speak up.
He had every right to speak up.
What was happening wasn’t fair and it was not legal.
Paul knew it and they knew it.
Calling out leaders on unlawful rulings is not only our right, but it is our duty!
III. The Unexpected Confirmation – vs. 28
Art thou a Roman? He said, Yea.
But in 21:39 and 22:3, Paul boldly proclaimed to be a Jew.
Which was he? Was Paul a Jew, or was he a Roman?
He was both!
In the first part of chapter 22, Paul was preoccupied with his RELIGION.
In the last part of chapter 22, Paul was preoccupied with his RIGHTS.
In the first part of chapter 21, Paul was preoccupied with his TESTIMONY.
In the last part of chapter 21, Paul was preoccupied with his TREATMENT.
In the first part of chapter 21, Paul was PREACHING.
In the last part of chapter 21, Paul was PROTESTING.
What am I saying?
If you ask me if I am a Christian, I will say YES!
If you ask me if I am an American, I will say YES!
I am a citizen of Heaven. I am also a citizen of the United States of America.
I live under the authority of the Word of God. I also live under the authority of the Constitution.
Conclusion: I have been born free – not once, but twice!
I was born free the first time, October 19, 1972 in Tifton, Georgia.
I was born free the second time in the fall of 1976.
I was born again – born in to the family of God, and set free by Jesus Christ.