Saturday, August 29, 2015

Lesson - Paul Before Felix

VERSES:  Acts 24:1-27

MEMORY VERSE:  Acts 24:25  "...Felix trembled, and answered, "Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   3 John.  Write "3 John" on small slips of paper, so the students may memorize one more New Testament book.

PRAYER:  Pray that we are never ashamed of the Gospel of Christ and that we will have confidence and boldness to talk about Jesus with our friends.

SPECIAL SONG:   Acts 8:4 (see June 2015 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #7 on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tune.)

VISUAL AID:   Bible map, showing Jerusalem and Caesarea; large Activity (see below) by making a grid like the Activity below, but leaving the boxes blank until mentioned in the lesson. By writing as you tell the lesson, the writing will be finished by the time the students must write on their paper. All words will be spelled already on the board--the Bible teacher simply refers to the board for correct spelling.

  • Last time we learned how Paul was escorted by 70 horsemen to the city of Caesarea to see the governor named Felix. Paul had done nothing wrong, yet he was imprisoned for simply preaching and teaching about Jesus. The Jews did not want Paul to preach about Jesus and it made them so angry that they wanted to kill Paul. The chief captain had sent Paul to safety in Caesarea and Paul was waiting for his accusers or the men who wanted him killed to arrive in Caesarea.
  • After five days, very important Jewish leaders came to tell Governor Felix the terrible things that Paul had done which was preaching about Jesus. Even the high priest and the Jewish elders came before the governor. Among the Jewish leaders, there was a man named Tertullus who could speak very well. Tertullus was a Jew who spoke to the governor on behalf of all the Jews in Felix's courtroom. 
  • When Paul was called before Felix, Tertullus spoke up against Paul and said that Paul was a pest and was one who stirred up trouble among the Jews all over the world. He also mocked Paul by saying that he was the ringleader of the Nazarenes and that he had said bad things about the temple. Tertullus went on to say that Lysias, the chief captain, had taken Paul away from the Jews by force and commanded that his accusers come before the governor. The council of Jews told the governor that all of these things were true.
  • Then, Governor Felix wanted to hear what Paul had to say. He motioned to Paul with his hand to come and speak. Like Tertullus, Paul could speak very well. Paul had been educated at the feet of Gamaliel, a famous lawyer (Acts 22:3), and had been taught the Law, so he was very smart. Paul said that he knew that Felix had been a judge for many years, so he cheerfully would speak for himself. Paul carefully defended himself, saying that the Jews could not prove anything that they had accused Paul of doing and went on to say that it had been twelve days since he had gone to Jerusalem to worship and the Jews had not found Paul arguing with anyone, or stirring up the people in synagogues or in cities.  
  • Paul said he did confess that he worshiped the God of his fathers, believed all things written in the law and prophets, and had hope in God that there would be a resurrection of the the dead, both of the just and the unjust. He said that he had a good conscience towards God. For many years, Paul said that he gave money to the poor people and sacrificed. Paul said that there were certain Jews from Asia who found him in the temple purified and clean and without a crowd or noisy mob. He said that if those Jews had something against Paul, then they were the Jews who should have been there standing before the governor with accusations. The only reason that Paul said he was being questioned was because he had shouted in the Jews' hearing about the resurrection for the dead and it was for that reason that he was on trial that day.
  • When Felix heard what was said, he announced that he would hear what Lysias, the chief captain, would have to say about Paul's situation. He commanded that a centurion be in charge of Paul, but that he should let his friends come and take care of him and visit him until the chief captain came.
  • After a few days, Paul had another opportunity to speak to Felix. Felix came with his wife, Drusilla, who was a Jewess, and Felix sent for Paul to come and talk to them. Felix and Drusilla heard Paul talk about the faith in Christ. As Paul spoke of doing right, of self-control, and the judgment which was coming, Felix trembled and told Paul to go his way. He said when he had a convenient time, he would call for Paul. Actually, Felix hoped that money or a bribe would be given to him, so he could let Paul go. The bribe never came, but Felix would often send for Paul and talk to him. 
  • Two years later, Paul was still in prison and Felix was not the governor anymore. There was a new governor named Festus, and, as Felix was leaving office, he left Paul in prison because he wanted to do the Jews a favor.
"Older Student" Tips:
  • We have been studying about the chief captain for a few lessons and only now do we find out that his name was Lysias. The more we read, the more we learn! 
  • It is interesting to notice that we can preach or teach about Jesus anywhere. It doesn't matter if we are visiting in someone's house or playing in a park, or even in prison like Paul. We can always tell others about Jesus.
  • There must have been many faithful Christians in Caesarea by this time because we know this was where Cornelius, who was the first Gentile to hear the Gospel, and his household were baptized (Acts 10).  Philip, the evangelist was from Caesarea, too (Acts 21:8).
  • Read Acts 24:25. Define the word 'convenient.' People want to do things at a time that is convenient for them. Some may want a convenient time to hear about Jesus; it can not be too hot or too cold, not at a busy time or one that is too slow, and so on. When a person hears the Gospel preached and is convinced what they are hearing is Truth, then action must be taken at that time. To delay is dangerous.. Read 2 Corinthians 6:2 - "...behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."  This is why Felix trembled. It is not written if a convenient time ever came for Felix.
ACTIVITY:  "Who was...?"
Materials needed:  9" x 12" light blue construction paper, crayons, scissors, markers.

  1. Hand out light blue paper.
  2. Fold paper in half, width-wise.
  3. Do not unfold paper.
  4. Fold paper in half, length-wise.
  5. Do not unfold paper.
  6. Fold paper in thirds.
  7. Completely unfold paper and place 'landscape' style on table..
  8. Trace on all on all lines except the small line in the top box.
  9. In top box, write "WHO WAS..?" and "Acts 24."
  10. In second box:  Write "PAUL" on the left side and "A Christian in prison for preaching about Jesus" on the right side, across from "PAUL."
  11. In third box,: Write "TERTULLUS" on the left side and "A Jew who represented Jewish leaders and spoke against Paul" on the right side, across from "TERTULLUS."
  12. In fourth box: Write "FELIX" on the left side and "The governor in charge of Paul's trial" on the right side, across from "FELIX."
  13. In the fifth box: Write "LYSIAS" on the left side and "The chief captain who kept Paul safe" on the right side, across from "LYSIAS."
  14. In the sixth box: Write "DRUSILLA" on the left side and "Felix's wife who also listened to Paul" on the right side, across from "DRUSILLA."
  15. Cut all lines on the right side of the paper, making sure to stop on the middle line.
  16. Fold the descriptions of the characters to the back of the paper, so they are out of sight.
  17. The Way This Project Works:  The student reads "WHO WAS?" and the first line which is "PAUL." Then the student answers the question. Flip the answer to "PAUL" to the front to see if they answered correctly. Continue reading the questions and answering until all answers have been flipped to the front. How did they do? Try again over and over until they answer all questions correctly. THEN...send them out into the world to try it on Mom, Dad, Grandpa, Sister, Brother--anyone who will listen. Repetition is key. The more they hear the answers, the longer they will remember the lesson!