No Convenient Season

Bible Book: Acts  24 : 1-26
Subject: Convenience; Laziness; Procrastination

We are a nation in love with convenience, and with conveniences (gadgets for our convenience). Modern men, women, young people, and even children are hooked on gadgets, time savers, energy savers and many other kinds of gadgets. We are addicted to these things, and I include myself. Now, here is a personal note: I used to visit prisoners in the Hinds County Jail, Jackson, Mississippi and at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. I know I preached on this passage to some of those prisoners. I also preached sermons on this passage in revivals early in my ministry. I found this sermon in my files and discovered a note on the margin of the outline I used at some point. I noted that I had written that the sermon was written “before microwave ovens, home computers, cell phones, I pads, MP3, and GPS. I might add, lap tops, E-Books, satellite high speed Internet and countless things like APs, and other things my six year old grandson can work, but confuse me.

We are often reminded that there is a lot of apathy in America. I know you have heard the story: A man asks a neighbor, “Do you know the two main problems with America?” The answer comes back, “I don’t know and I don’t care.” He says, “Congratulations, you got ‘em both.” There are, however, many people who are more motivated by conviction than convenience. There is a place for convenience–and for conveniences; but there is a great need for conviction and response in America today. There are times when convenience and conviction clash. When they do, one is going to win and the other will lose. I would like for you to think with me about conviction and convenience. Our text is Acts 24:1-26, with emphasis on verses 24-26.


A. The Background Is Found in Acts, Chapters 21- 23.

At the close of Paul’s work on his Third Missionary Journey, he, Luke, and friends caught a ship and set sail for Jerusalem. Luke - we know Luke was with him because this is in a “we” section of Acts. Luke wrote that, “we tore ourselves away from them and set sail...” (Acts 21:1, HCSB) for Tyre where the ship unloaded its cargo and Paul and his companions were warned by believers not to go to Jerusalem. However, they sailed on to Ptolemais and then to Caesarea where they were guests of Deacon Philip and his family, which included four virgin daughters who prophesied. While there, Paul was warned once more against going to Jerusalem, but “Then Paul replied, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” (14) Since he would not be persuaded,” Luke notes, “we stopped talking and simply said, “The Lord’s will be done!” (Acts 21:13-14, HCSB)

So, they went on to Jerusalem, and according to Luke “Some of the disciples from Caesarea also went with us and brought us to Mnason, a Cypriot and an early disciple, with whom we were to stay.” (Acts 21:16). The next day they went to see James, the brother of our Lord, who was the leader (shall we say pastor?) of the church in Jerusalem. James warned of the rumors that had been spread among the Jewish leaders that Paul had been telling Jews not to follow the laws of Moses, and for that reason he should go to the temple complex with certain other men and go trough purification ceremonies. Toward the end of the seven day period some Jews from the province of Asia recognized Paul and began spreading lies the Paul was teaching people not to follow the Law.

These Jews got the local Jews worked into a frenzy and the dragged Paul away from the temple complex and were planning to kill him when the Roman commander Claudius Lysias and the Roman troops rescued hm from the mob that was crying our, “Kill him!” When Claudius Lysias were leading Paul away, probably to the barracks, the people continued to shout against him. Paul asked permission to speak to the people and was given permission. Claudius Lysias had thought Paul was an Egyptian who had caused trouble in the area in the past, but Paul assured him that he was a Hebrew and spoke to the people in his native language. They refused to listen.

The Jews persisted in their demand that Paul be killed and even tried to set up an ambush in order to have him killed, even though he was under the protection of Roman guards. The Jewish leaders had no idea that within a few years the mightiest army in the world would move against them and following a siege, destroy the city and the temple, and scatter the people over much of the empire. There would be no significant Jewish presence in that area until 1946. They had cried out, “Let His blood be upon us and our children.” What a price they paid.

In order to save Paul’s life from his Jewish kinsmen, Claudius Lysias had Paul taken away from Jerusalem at night and turned over to the authorities in Caesarea. There, he would be charged before the governor.

B. Tertulus, Lawyer for the Jewish Officials, Brought Charges Against Paul, 24:1-9.

After five days (24:1), the Jewish leaders appeared before Felix the governor with an experienced Roman lawyer named Tertulius, who knew how to flatter the Roman Governor. He charged Paul with being “a plague, an agitator among all the Jews throughout the Roman world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes!” (Acts 24:5) The Jewish leaders joined in with charges against Paul.

C. Paul Then Presented His Defense, 24:10-23.

Paul’s defense was simple and to the point. After all, he had a lot of experience before both Roman and Jewish authorities. However, he had another advantage. The Lord was with him. Paul testified:

“You are able to determine that it is no more than 12 days since I went up to worship in Jerusalem. (12) And they didn’t find me disputing with anyone or causing a disturbance among the crowd, either in the temple complex or in the synagogues, or anywhere in the city. (13) Neither can they provide evidence to you of what they now bring against me. (14) But I confess this to you: that according to the Way, which they call a sect, so I worship my fathers’ God, believing all the things that are written in the Law and in the Prophets.” (Acts 24:11-14)

Paul continued:

“After many years, I came to bring charitable gifts and offerings to my nation, (18) and while I was doing this, some Jews from the province of Asia found me ritually purified in the temple, without a crowd and without any uproar. (19) It is they who ought to be here before you to bring charges, if they have anything against me. (20) Either let these men here state what wrongdoing they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin, (21) or about this one statement I cried out while standing among them, ‘Today I am being judged before you concerning the resurrection of the dead.’ ” (Acts 24:17-21)

Felix dismissed the hearing with a promise that when Claudius Lysias arrived he would hear more from him.

D. Later, Felix Summoned Paul for a Private Hearing, 24:24-26.

Felix understood that Paul was a Roman citizen and may have simply been trying to give him an opportunity to offer the governor a bribe. When Paul was taken into the governor’s chamber where he heard such cases, he was accompanied by Drusilla, a Jewess with whom he was living in adultery. Josephus tells us something about Drusilla:

“This beautiful but infamous woman was the third daughter of Herod Agrippa I, who was eaten of worms (see on Ac 12:1), and a sister of Agrippa II, before whom Paul pleaded, Ac 26:1, &c. She was "given in marriage to Azizus, king of the Emesenes, who had consented to be circumcised for the sake of the alliance. But this marriage was soon dissolved, after this manner: When Festus was procurator of Judea, he saw her, and being captivated with her beauty, persuaded her to desert her husband, transgress the laws of her country, and marry himself" [JOSEPHUS, Antiquities, 20.7.1,2]. Such was this "wife" of Felix.” [—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary]

When Felix asked Paul to speak in his own behalf he had a major surprise for the governor. Luke tells us that “Paul reasoned with him about righteousness, temperance and judgment to come.” Paul reasoned with Felix about (1) righteousness, of which he was ignorant, (2) temperance of which he was just as ignorant, and (3) the judgment to come, of which he wanted no part. In fact, “Felix was afraid and answered, "Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you." (Acts 24:25, NKJV)

One wonders if Felix had ever been under conviction of sin before, and if that would ever happen again. It would seem that it never happened again because he called for Paul to be brought to appear before him many times after that, no doubt hoping for a bribe (1:26). Regardless of his motive there is one thing that is very obvious: Felix never found a convenient season to believe in Jesus Christ.


A. The First Disciples Did not Find a Convenient Season for Following Jesus.

1. It was not convenient for John the Baptist to follow Jesus. He was a unique individual and a totally committed servant of the Lord. He was also the forerunner of the Messiah.

“John himself had a camel-hair garment with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. (5) Then [people from] Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the vicinity of the Jordan were flocking to him, (6) and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins. (7) When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to the place of his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?” (Matt 3:4-7, HCSB)

His powerful preaching cost him his life.

2. It was not convenient for Stephen to serve the Lord. His commitment to Jesus Christ led Saul of Tarsus’ Pharisee friends to stone him while Saul watched their robes. As long as he lived Paul never forgot the martyrdom of the godly Stephen, in part because of Paul’s involvement in his death.

3. It was not convenient for James, the son of Zebedee to serve Jesus. The brother of the Apostle John was also the first of the apostles to become a martyr for Jesus Christ. That was probably around A. D. 44.

4. It was not convenient for Peter to follow the Lord. The so called Big Fisherman lived a life of sacrifice and he was subjected to persecution. He was called to be the apostle to the Jews while Paul was called to be an apostle to the Gentiles. And believe it or not he traveled with his wife. According to tradition, Simon Peter was crucified upside-down.

5. It was not convenient for John, the beloved disciple to follow Jesus. He out lived the other apostles and influenced a lot of people of whom we know very little, other than the fact that his disciples were serving the Lord well into the Second Century. Furthermore, if anyone had wanted to know the books that made up the New Testament John and his disciples could have identified them. When the risen Savior appeared to some of His disciples beside the Sea of Galilee he announced the kind of death Simon Peter would did, and when Peter asked about John, Jesus told him that he should not be concerned about John. In fact, Jesus said, “ “If I want him to remain until I come,” “...what is that to you? As for you, follow Me.” (John 21:22) John, afer all the other apostles had been martyred, was exiled to the Isle of Patmos because of his service to the Lord. Instead of being silenced, John was given the Revelation which has offered assurance to saints for nearly two thousand years. According to tradition, John was dropped into a pot of boiling oil. If so, that was a horrible death, but no martyrdom was gentle or painless.

6. It was not convenient for Paul to serve the Lord. He was faithful to the One who met him on the road to Damascus. No one has ever made a greater contribution to the Kingdom of God than the Apostle to the Gentiles.

(23 “Are they servants of Christ? I’m talking like a madman—I’m a better one: with far more labors, many more imprisonments, far worse beatings, near death many times. (24) Five times I received from the Jews 40 lashes minus one. (25) Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night and a day in the depths of the sea. (26) On frequent journeys, [I faced] dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own people, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the open country, dangers on the sea, and dangers among false brothers; (27) labor and hardship, many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without food, cold, and lacking clothing. (28) Not to mention other things, there is the daily pressure on me: my care for all the churches. (29) Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?” (2 Cor 11:22-29)

Paul was imprisoned, shipwrecked, and beheaded for the Lord He served. If we ran a poll and asked pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and denominational (1) have you ever been persecuted and (2) what do you see persecution from now until your death, how many would say they have been tortured for their commitment to the Lord, and how many believe they will be martyred for the Lord? My friends, we had better open our eyes. Thing are changing in America every day, and many of those changes are going to challenge Christians in the days ahead.

B. The History of Christianity Is a Testimony to the Price Believers Pay for Faith in Christ.

1. The story of early martyrs will bear out this truth. We have, not only the New Testament, but countless stories of the slaughter of Christians in the Roman arenas, fed to half starved lions, crucified on cruel Roman crosses, and burned at the stake. Such was the cost of discipleship.

2. It was not convenient for Polycarp to follow Jesus. The Bishop of Smirna was eighty six years old when they tied him to the stake and gave him a final opportunity to deny Christ and live. He said, eighty and six years have I served my Christ, and He has never done me wrong. How can I deny my Savior now?” As the flames licked his body he cried out to the Lord, “Oh, Lord, I thank You that You have found me worthy of this hour.”

3. It was not convenient for the Reformation saints. Martin Luther risked all for his convictions that the Word of God offers hope of salvation. He was hated and his followers slaughtered for their faithfulness to Jesus Christ. John Wycliffe was hated and persecuted for translating the New Testament from Latin into English in 1388. William Tyndale was killed for translating the New Testament from Greek into English. Richard Hunne was killed for owning and reading a copy of the English Bible in his fabric shop in London. John Hus was promised safe passage for a hearing, but as soon as he appeared the church ruled that he was a heretic and the church did not have to honor a promise to a heretic. They burned him at the stake.

C. They Never Found a Convenient Season Because Jesus Christ Is Not a Convenience.

Great victories of faith have come through conviction and commitment, never through compromise and comfort. Victory in Jesus never comes because people found a convenient season to serve the Lord. Countless souls have been won for the Lord, not because it was convenient, but because soul winners were committed to the Great Commission.


A. Your Archenemy Is Not Looking for a Convenient Season to Carry Out His Purpose.

1. Satan may not offer us shocking, evil vices to pull us away from Jesus Christ. He offers that which has appeal to the natural man and woman. He offers something the masses all sorts of good and pleasant things to draw us away from that which is the best. The Lord God, Creator, Redeemer, and Judge inspired the Scripture and expects us to read it because we need it. The world offers us a lot of things that seem good, but may distract us from the study of His Word. For example, a number of years ago there was a television program about the Ancient Mysteries of the Bible narrated by Dennis Weaver. More recently, there was a series on the History Channel about the Bible, which was the work of actress Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett. Let me share with you this note from Michael Norris about the Bible mini-series: “|History Channel’s Bible Mini-Series Warning: New Age Spiritualist Roma Downey produces “The Bible” mini series for History Channel”:

“After hearing all the Christian endorsements of Roma Downey’s and her husband’s series to air on the Bible which was to be an accurate portrayal of the Bible, I watched the first episode on 3-3-13. When the show displayed its political correctness by rewriting what the men wanted with the angels when at Lot’s door, not even mentioning Sodom’s homosexuality, having the angel being an Asian Kung Fu sword wielding warrior who slices and dices the people & later having Abraham rebuking God which is not in the Bible either, I saw this was far from being as an accurate portrayal of the Bible which is what it is touted as, so this prompted me to research who is behind this production and I found the following. What other changes to the Bible we will see in next 4 episodes from this New ager?” [Yahoo article, 3-8-14]

Roma Downey starred with Della Reese in the popular television series, Touched By An Angel, and when Roma Downey and Mark Burnett were married, guess who married them? Her co-star on Touched By and Angel, Della Reese, who is a “New Thought Minister’! Right, New Age is now New Thought. Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett may hide behind the Catholic banner, but they are, according to the article posted on Yahoo, deeply involved in New Thought or Higher Thought. It is still rooted in New Age religious beliefs.

More recently, we have seen a lot about a movie called The Son of God. A good friend who was a highly respected pastor in Texas until his retirement, and remains a sound student of the Word, went to see the movie as soon as it was released and did not find a problem with what he saw. Others are concerned because the husband and wife team behind the Bible series and The Son of God movie are deeply involved in New Age beliefs.

Some time ago there was a television program on Ancient Mysteries of the Bible, narrated by Denis Weaver. I believe that may have been shown on the History Channel. Why show that program? I will not try to read their minds but this much I will stress: If you would know the Bible, read the Bible. Talk with you pastor or a mature church member. Ask your pastor to recommend good commentaries. Get a good study Bible like the Holman Christians Standard Study Bible. There are others, but this is an excellent study Bible. I have bought a number of them and given them away.

2. Homosexuals are pushing for more and more rights. The minority is controlling the majority in courts run by liberal judges today. All one has to do is call the vast majority in this country racist or homo-phobic and we are immediately at a disadvantage. The courts are telling us that we must perform same sex marriages in our churches, chapels, and other facilities or be fined.
Should a Christian Children’s Home be forced to give up a child for adoption by a same sex couple? No, they should not, but if we continue to move in the same direction we are going, those who stand for the Word of God are going to be penalized by the ungodly. The sin for which Sodom and Gommorah were destroyed is trying to take over the high ground in America and if it is not checked now pastors and other Christians are going to be persecuted in America at some point in the future.

B. When We Accept Jesus Christ As Savior We Crown Him Lord.

1. We are saved once for all times. This is not a point I want to debate with anyone. It is a promise I accept: “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:28, HCSB) That is stated emphatically.

In my commentary on the Epistle of Paul to the Romans, I offer this comment on the first part of Romans 5:1:

“BEING JUSTIFIED. The aorist tense is used, showing justification as being wrought once for all time. The participle shows the continuous progress that God's justifying grace is making from individual to individual. It denotes the continuous progress of His grace. As grace is extended to a growing number of people, they are justified once for all time. Jesus made the once-for-all sacrifice whereby we are justified, and we are justified once-for-all.”

2. You are committed to serve Him – once for all time. If He is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all. Why am I bringing security of believers up here? It is because we cannot be saved by good works. Neither may we keep our salvation by good works. Yet, there is a reason for Christians to obey the commands of our Lord. If we love the Lord we obey the Lord. If we really love the Lord we want or life to reflect that love for Him.

3. It is not always easy to know what to do. My son Mark reminded me that it was Will Rogers who said, “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” Church members are compromising at every turn today. Teachers tell me that students, even in elementary school, use language that would have gotten those of my generation kicked out of school. They even use that language at youth programs in the local church. Some laugh at those who stand uncompromisingly for character, integrity, and purity.

C. Many Christian Leaders Are Standing Up For Jesus Today Without Looking For a Convenient Season.

1. Don Wildmon founded the AFA to fight filth on TV and in movies.

2. Beverly LeHay is a crusader for the life of the unborn.

3. In Russia, God is using the “Company of the Committed” (Cal Thomas).

4. Ken Hamm serves out of a conviction about creation. He wonders why the church is turning out so many atheists.

D. If Christ Is More Than a Convenience to You, There Are Some Things You Will Do Today.

1. If you have crowned Him Lord, you will be faithful to Him.

a. Worship is a once for all commitment.
b. Bible Study is a once for all commitment.
c. Prayer also is a once for all commitment.
d. Stewardship is a once for all commitment.
e. Witnessing is a once for all commitment.

2. You must live a holy life before the Lord.

3. You must get involved in the invisible war that is being waged against God.

a. Some are present and accounted for – others have gone AWOL.
b. We must take a stand on abortion.
c. We must take a stand on euthanasia.
d. We must take a stand on Homosexuality.
e. We must take a stand on sex-education curriculum.

f. We must take a stand on evolution.

E. The Second Coming of Jesus Should Motivate Us To Get Involved Now.

1. This is my conviction.

2. If I am right, you must be ready – really ready.

3. Those who are born again by grace, through faith are going to be caught up to meet Him in the air when He returns for His church. Is there anything you would like to change before He comes? You must be saved and if you are saved, you must be faithful to Jesus. You must live the Christ life every day. I do not have time to go into detail about end-time events, but see you Bible if you would be prepared.

4. The evening sun may be setting on someone’s opportunity to be saved – That’s my conviction.

5. Christians, you are going to be tried according to your works, and the time may be running out for you. Today is the day of salvation.

6. Jesus is coming again soon – and it is my conviction that He is coming whether it is convenient for you or not.


We live in a world that is becoming more worldly all the time. Marijuana smokers are becoming younger and younger. We have crusades against smoking - by people who drink alcoholic beverages. I grew up in Mississippi and in my entire life as a child, youth, and young adult, I never saw one bottle of wine, liquor or can of beer on a shelf in a grocery store. I never saw anyone stop by a service station and buy a beer and drive off drinking it. I never once saw a young man stop by a super market and grab a huge box filled with cans of beer to share with friends who were coming to his house that night. I moved to Louisiana when I was 28 years old - and my insurance - on the same car, with the same coverage, was two and one half times what I had been paying. It was not long before I discovered people all around me who belonged to AA. Today, Mississippi has joined the parade, complete with gambling casinos at Tunica, Greenville, and Vicksburg, Philadelphia and all across the coast.

Since Rowe-v-Wade some fifty five million babies have been aborted. Over fifty-five million! A few months ago the daughter of a friend went to see her doctor and was told that she was going to have twins, but there might be something wrong with one of them. So, their solution was to abort both babies. Several months later she gave birth to two healthy babies.

A recent report informed us that things are changing in churches today. There was a time when church members who attended worship services three out of four Sundays felt that they were active members. Today, according to that report, those who attend two out of four services think of themselves as active members.

It is amazing how many things are more important to our church members on the Lord’s Day today than God. Members miss church services regularly to go to a movie, the mall, to go to a new restaurant, to go to a livestock show, or simply to sleep in. What is more important to you on the Lord’s Day than the Lord? Seriously! What is more important to you on the Lord’s Day than the Lord? And please don’t tell me Sunday School and worship are too inconvenient, or that it gets in the way of things you had rather be doing.

Are you waiting for a more convenient time to read you Bible? Are you waiting for a more convenient time to go to Sunday School? Are you waiting for a more convenient time to go to worship services? Are you waiting for a more convenient time to crown Jesus Christ Lord over your life?

When I was a youth pastor I visited the father of one of our young people. Before I left he said, “You preachers have your work cut out for you now. Bonanza is coming on in color.” Some time ago I saw a friend who had visited me with two different Pastor Search Committee in the past. He told me that he had started going to a mega-church, and then added, “If you are not there they don’t miss you.” When it is convenient he will be in church, but if LSU is playing, or if the Saints are playing, don’t look for him. Look for him when it is convenient. Before you condemn him, are you doing much better? Or, are you making your decision based on convenience.

It comes down to this: Conviction and commitment or convenience and compromise. My Christian friend, if you are strongly convinced that Jesus Christ is Lord of your life you will be committed to Him. If it comes down to your convenience you will make compromise a way of life.

If you have never received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, let me urge you to be sure you do not make a decision based on convenience. My grandfather witnessed to Joe, a handsome, well built young man. He was about 21 years old. When my grandfather urged him to commit himself to Jesus Joe said, “I am having too much fun right now. When I am older I may become a Christian. I still remember when we received the word that Joe had drowned in the Cold Water River near our home three days later.

The Lord has time for you. I would urge you to find time for him. Today is the day of salvation, this is the accepted time. The writer of Hebrews asks, “how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” (Heb 2:3)