Have you ever been ridiculed for presenting the truth? It's hard sometimes to try and reach out to people with the truth. Our minds continuously race with different scenarios. We think we may get rejected, we may lose a friend, or we may get harshly rebuked in public. The question we have to ask ourselves is, "Are all of those reactions worth standing up for the truth?" Do you think Paul thought about that question as he was preaching the gospel to everyone? In Acts 21:36, a crowd in Jerusalem was screaming to have Paul taken away. Why? Paul had entered the town to preach the truth. That would lead to Paul being arrested and imprisoned for two years under the Romans. The lesson we are going to focus on is in Acts 25:24-27. I want to share with you three qualities Paul demonstrated while standing up for the truth.
First, Paul stood up for the truth courageously. Remember, the Jews wanted to kill Paul back in chapters 21 and 22. Now the Jews want to bring the charges back up because there is a new governor (Acts 25:24). Paul was under major scrutiny at that time in Jerusalem, but he remained on preaching the truth. He was threatened with his life in Acts 22:22, but he stayed preaching the truth. Even after he was threatened once, he kept standing up for the truth. Paul didn't let that stop him from proclaiming the word of God. Paul was courageous.
Second, Paul stood up for the truth confidently. Paul "appealed" to Augustus. This word means to call upon or to appeal to a higher court. Paul wanted to go to the top to give his defense. He had nothing to hide. He wasn't lying about anything. He was speaking the truth about God and His Son. Paul had been waiting for two years in prison to talk to someone who could end this imprisonment. Paul had confidence that his defense before Caesar would allow him to get out of this mess finally.
Third, Paul stood up for the truth blamelessly. In Acts 25:25, Festus said he found Paul "had done nothing deserving death." Paul had committed no crime. In verse 26, 27, Festus tried to do everything he could to investigate Paul and to find something that he could convict him of, but he could not find anything. Jump to verse 27, and the answer remains the same; he is blameless. But how is Paul blameless? Jump back up to 25:8, Paul wasn't preaching anything that was against the law of the Jews, nor was he preaching against the temple, and most importantly, he was not preaching anything against Caesar. Paul was blameless because he was preaching the truth.
Are we going to be someone like Paul, who stands for the truth courageously, confidently, and blamelessly? When a controversy arises, will you compromise or be courageous? Paul is an example we need to imitate. Stand up for the truth.
- Matt Jones