Josh McDowell, the author of several books on Christian evidences, once remarked that even if he could answer every question a skeptic could throw at him, he still may not believe.
Because the issue is not just intellectual, but it’s also emotional. And even more to the point, it’s moral. Some people just don’t want to believe. Because if they accept Christ they will be forced to change. To give up their lifestyle. And behave differently.
Our text today offers a great example of this point when Paul preached the gospel to the Roman governor Felix and his wife Drusilla.
Paul was arrested for preaching Christ in Jerusalem. Because of a plot to kill him, he was sent to Caesarea to appear before the Governor, Felix. The apostle used this occasion to share his conversion story and preach the gospel.
After being accused of sedition before the governor, the High Priest, the elders and other Jewish, accusers, Felix adjourned the proceedings and later called for Paul to speak to him and his wife.
Felix and Drusilla were quite a couple. The governor was known as an unscrupulous man. He was immoral. Corrupt. And ruthless.
Drusilla was the daughter of King Agrippa who executed James. Her great-uncle, Herod Antipas, had John the Baptist beheaded. And Her great-grandfather was Herod the Great who butchered babies in Bethlehem when Jesus was born. Her dysfunctional and deviant family had a long history of brutal opposition to Christ and Christians.
Historians say Drussila was an extremely beautiful woman, who at 16 was married to Azizus, King of Emesa. However, Felix seduced her away and persuaded her to marry him, making Drussila his third wife.
So, what do you preach to a pair like this?
Paul preached exactly what they needed to hear.
“Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you” (Ax. 24;25).
Think about it.
#1 He preached righteousness to a couple that was unrighteous, ungodly, and grossly immoral. Doing right was not Felix’s M.O. Righteousness, of course, is revealed in the gospel–the good news (Rom. 1:15-17). It’s what will turn wicked people to be justified and saved.
#2 He preached self-control to a couple governed by their emotional impulses. Captivated by their lusts. Driven by their carnal desires. And consumed by their fleshly appetites. Self-control is one of the Christian virtues Peter extols that they were sorely lacking.
#3 He preached the impending judgment to those who stood in fear and dread of their eternal destiny. The very thought of it made Felix afraid. Frightened. Alarmed. One version says, “He trembled.”
In short, Paul preached exactly what they need to hear. His example should cause every gospel preacher to ask, “What does this audience need to hear today?”
Felix knew something about “The Way” called Christianity. Now, he understood it in more complete and personal terms. But he procrastinated. His convenient time never came.
Felix knew Paul was innocent. And that his message was spot on. His actions indicate a very lenient attitude toward Paul. But his natural inclination was to hope for a bribe to release Paul instead of doing what was right.
Warren Wiersbe relates a story told by Dr. Clarence Macartney about a meeting in hell. Satan called his four leading demons together and commanded them to think up something that would trap more souls.
“I have it!” one demon said. “I’ll go to earth and tell people there is no God.”
“It will never work,” said Satan. “People can look around them and see that there is a God.”
“I’ll go and tell them there is no heaven!” suggested a second demon, but Satan rejected that idea. “Everybody knows there is life after death and they want to go to heaven.”
“Let’s tell them there is no hell!” said a third demon.
“No, conscience tells them their sins will be judged,” said the devil. “We need a better plan than that.”
Quietly, the fourth demon spoke. “I think I’ve solved your problem,” he said. “I’ll go to earth and tell everybody there is no hurry.”
Indeed, today is the day of salvation. Don’t put it off. Your tomorrow may never come.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman