By Earl Robertson
Ananias the high priest, with the elders and Tertullus, the orator who talked with the governor against Paul me to make many charges (about four) against Paul to Felix. One can read the account of this in Acts 24. In this account one can easily see the hypocrisy of Tertullus and the apathy of Felix. The whole thing involved in this is an effort to stop the apostle Paul from preaching the gospel of Christ.
The apostle was charged with: (1) being a pestilent fellow, (2) a mover of sedition among all the Jews, (3) a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes, and (4) making an attempt to profane the temple. After these charges were made the governor granted Paul the right to speak. He answered every argument and charge. Brother McGarvey said this concerning Paul’s speech: “This speech contains a direct reply to every specification made by Tertullus. The statement that it was only twelve days since he went up to Jerusalem, answers the charge of stirring up sedition, at least in that city; for as he had been away from there five days, and was in prison there one, this left only six, which were insufficient for such movements. Moreover, he had not engaged in disputation with any one, in the temple, in the synagogues, or in any part of the city. As to being a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes, without alluding to the title ringleader he admits that he belongs to the sect so called, yet he believes all the law and the prophets, hopes for a resurrection of the dead, and leads a conscientious life. Finally, the statement that, when found in the temple by certain Jews from Asia, he was purified as the law required, and that he was engaged about almsgiving and the offerings of the temple, refuted the charge of profaning the temple (21:28), now changed into attempting to profane it (6). In conclusion, he notes the significant fact, that those who first seized him, and who were the only personal witnesses of what he did in the temple, were not present to testify; and then he calls upon Ananias and the elders, who witnessed only what was done in the Sanhedrin, to testify as to any wrong doing there, unless it was that remark in reference to being a Pharisee, which had set Ananias and his friends in a fierce quarrel with the rest of the elders. He makes this last reference, not because he was conscious of wrong in the matter, but to taunt his Sadducee accusers, and to show Felix that they were moved against him by party jealousy.”–Commentary, pp. 237, 238.
The above statement of brother McGarvey shows the ease with which Paul extricated himself from the false charges made by his enemies. It is amazing to watch the workings of Paul’s enemies in an effort to rid the world of the apostle and to see him in just a few minutes, with truth, free himself before Felix. Paul was honest; he had the truth.
Today, I too am amazed at the efforts people make to rid themselves of God’s truth. Every effort conceivable has been made by men and women to live in this world in a justified condition without God. When you approach one of them they can always justify themselves with some excuse. But they cannot prove the excuse to be acceptable in the sight of God. This is dangerous and I wish we could do something about it. Prayers are offered, visits are made and about everything that we know to do has been done to get the members of Belmont who are not faithful to repent; some have repented, others continue to appease themselves with some flimsy excuse! If each unfaithful child of God would realize that some day he must face the Master of men and give an account unto him–be judged by his word (Jno. 12.48) for the deeds in his life, perhaps he would repent. “Today is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6.)
I am amazed also at the excuses offered by those who have not obeyed the gospel. They tell us that they plan to obey very soon, but they never get around to it! Others say they would really like to be saved but there are too many hypocrites in the church. A few tell us that they have been too sinful for the Lord to save. All of these excuses are foolish both to men and God. No honest man makes them. No honest person believes they can be proved in the sight of God. Why not be honest with yourself and God and obey him? Do just the things that can be proved scriptural and you will be right.
Truth Magazine VI: 9 & 10, pp.21-22
June & July 1962