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Acts 25:1-12


Speaker 4: Take your Bibles if you have them and turn to the book of Acts. Acts chapter number twenty five is where we're going to be this morning. And as you find your place, you wouldn't mind join me in standing in honor of reading God's Word Acts Chapter number twenty five. And it's good to have you all here today. Glad to see some folks back, and I think we're still missing a few that are probably traveling. I know of a few others that are dealing with illness, and so still some folks missing, but glad that you're here today. I hope you've got a good morning this far and excited to get back into the book of acts with you here this morning. We're going to begin reading in verse number one. And the Bible says now, when Festus was coming to the province after three days, he ascended from Sensoria to Jerusalem. Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul and beside him. Desired favor against him that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying way in the way to kill it. But Bastos answered that poll should be kept, it's Syria that he himself would depart shortly, theother let them there said he would. Among you are able go down with me and accuse this man if there be any wickedness in him. What are you hearing among them, more than 10 days it went down on to Syria and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought. When he was come, the Jews, which came from down from Jerusalem, stood roundabout and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove while he answered for himself neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the Temple nor yet against Caesar. Have I offended anything at all? Bastos willing to do the Jews the pleasure, answered Paul and said, Well, I'll go up to Jerusalem and there be judged of these things before me. And said, Paul, I stand at Caesar's judgment seat where I ought to be judged. So the Jews have I done no wrong as they all very well knowest for if I be an offender or have committed anything worthy of death, I refuse not to die. But if there be none of these things where they accuse me, no man may deliver me under them. I appeal under Caesar. Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered as though appealed unto Caesar under Caesar, shout, Don't go, let's pray only father, we thank you for this day. Thank you for the opportunity we have to come together this morning. I pray that you would help us as we look into your word. Give me the words you have me to say. Now the folks are here to listen. Apply it here to their lives where it's Jesus name. I pray. Amen. Thank you, may be seated. Are there any football fans in here today? All right, very good. I never got to play football, I was home schooled, as many of you know. And wouldn't you know it? The year after I graduated, the Home School Athletic Association there in the Dallas area started a football team one year too late. I did have a lot of fun playing with them in this past week. At the Turkey Bowl. We had about 30 guys out there and blessing of all blessings. Nobody got hurt. I mean, aside from the aches and pains of us older guys trying to get out there and act like we're still in our teen years or early twenties, everybody seemed to be OK. No, no, no, no. Hospital trips or anything like that. But I. My brothers have all played football, and so I have enjoyed watching them play and they've had varying degrees of success in that area. But I remember seeing that different practice fields that I've been to a tower that looks kind of shaky. I don't know if I'd want to stand up in the tower, but the coach would go up in the tower and he'll have assistants. And you know, they're the coaches and the assistants because they all have clipboards. You know, if you have a clipboard, then you must be important. And what they're doing is they're evaluating, they're they're judging the team as they're out there practicing, you know, and see a lot number forty two. He's looking really strong today. All right. Number eight, he's he's running really good at that cornerback. He's he's staying with his man, you know, and they're they're making notes, they're evaluating how the team is doing. Now you would expect, right, that the people doing the evaluations are probably hopefully the people who like want that team to win right, like the coaches. Now I know sometimes you wonder if the coach of your team actually wants to win, but typically the coach wants them to win. So you want somebody up there that that's that's on your side, that is going to be a a helpful judge, right? You want to you want a helpful judge. It's not. It's not any fun to have a judge that's trying to tear you down and that's that's usually not constructive. You also want somebody up in that tower that like knows what they're doing. You know, I mean, if you if you bring in a guy that's never played football like myself, or maybe somebody doesn't like football, they don't like watching football, they've never watched a game and you stick him up there and say, Hey, we want you to judge us and we're trusting you to get us ready for the games that we ought to beat the opponent and score more points than them. I mean, how effective is that going to be? You know, you got this guy who doesn't know anything about the game trying to go up there and make some sound judgments about the state of the team. That's not going to work. All right. One last one last scenario. What if you asked the opposing teams coaches to come and stand in the tower during your practice and make some observations about your team and make pass judgment on your on your team? You know the quarterbacks out there, and he's just throwing interception after interception and they're like, Hey, he's doing a great job. That guy, you need to make sure he starts on Saturday because I mean, this guy, he is something special. He is going to lead your team to defeat. I mean, you want somebody that's capable, you want someone that knows what they're doing, you want someone that's actually on your side to pass judgment, right? Look. I do. Well. There's a similar correlation here to life. You do realize that life is full of judges like Britney Kerry. I'm sitting in independent Fundamental Baptist Church. Of course, I know that life is full of judges surrounded by them. We have a bad reputation, folks, being judgmental. It's a joke. You can laugh, it's OK. No one will judge you. I mean, do you really want? OK, let me let me rephrase that. How much stock do you put in the judgment of someone that you know is against you? You know, someone isn't on your side and they start passing judgment against you. How meaningful is that judgment? What about someone who doesn't have a clue what they're talking about? Bravo. Building the stairs out here, you know, he he asked me, Hey, you want to come look at this, tell me what you think? They're like. Looks good. I don't know anything about this, but yeah, it looks good, if you say it's good, I'm not going to judge your work. I mean, you're the expert, you know what's going on, you know? But how many Monday morning quarterbacks are there on life? What if we really don't know what they're talking about, but they're willing to pass judgment? I can say all I want about the job, I think Mike McCarthy does as a core coach of the Cowboys, but I've never been in his shoes. I really don't know the first thing about coaching. So you think Mike McCarthy really cares what Gary Boyd says about the job the Cowboys did? No, he. He doesn't care. You've got you've got judges that aren't on your side, you've got judges that are not capable of making sound judgment. But then there are those people that have proved themselves to be trustworthy. They have some knowledge about what they're talking about. They've proven themselves to be on your side. They've shown love to you. They've encouraged you. They've tried to assist you in. And sometimes they'll come to you with things and say, Hey, have you considered this? If you thought of this? To me, that means a whole lot more than the people I know are against me or the people that are not knowledgeable about what they're speaking. Wouldn't you agree? All is dealing with this year, this same situation in his life as he's being held in Syria now for the last two years under imprisonment. And he's got these people that all want to judge him for for his life and what he's done. We looked before at Felix, and Felix was the governor. Now Felix has passed off the scene and Festus is is now the governor and Festus as we see him versus number one. He kind of starts things off by going to Jerusalem to visit with the the Jewish leaders that were there. And history tells us that Festus was actually a pretty decent guy. He was a good governor who only he only if you say reign, he governed for a very short time, possibly as short as two years at the most for four years. But everyone generally liked best. He was just kind of easygoing. He was likable. He cared for the people that he was he was responsible for. He wasn't just this heartless despot he was. He was an OK guy. OK. The kind of guy you wouldn't mind having over to your house. You know you didn't cringe when you saw him, that kind of dude. But anyways, he's there in Jerusalem while he's there. Of course, the Jewish leaders are trying to concoct this scheme whereby they might kill Paul Revere. They're still mad about Paul trying to kill him, and they're going to present this to Festus. Now, remember, like I said, Paul has been in prison for two years. By this point, you would think. Now, this amount of time would have lessened the Jews hatred and anger towards Paul. I mean, I've held on to some grudges. Maybe you have to. But two years and you're still murderously passionate about Paul. I mean, come on, let it go. I mean, he's in jail. He's not doing anything, just sitting there. We've got it. It really is amazing to me that they are still so committed to this. I mean, if you think about the Jews, they're the judges that are just blatantly against Paul. There is nothing about the Jewish leaders that makes you think for one second that there might be some concern for Paul, some genuine care for him and his well-being. There's none of that. They hate the guy. They're completely opposed to him and they just want him dead. Now, Festus, when he hears their their requests to bring Paul to to Jerusalem and verses two and three, he actually resists their attempts. He tells them, no. I said, Look, Paul is in Saria every summer for that's where Paul is going to be kept. And listen, I am a nice guy. I'm a reasonable dude. If you want to, if you want to work with me, I'll work with you. How about you guys the ones of you that are able come to disagree with me? Willing to be in Jerusalem for a few days? You come the sensoria. And if you'll come, we'll bring Paul up and we'll reopen the case against Paul. It's really sad that Paul is there for for two years, and then all of a sudden he has to face a retrial because a new governor, I mean, to me that would be very frustrating. You know, he'd he'd been through all of this before with Felix. And now Festus is going to allow the Jews to to dig all of it back up against him. And so the Jews, they they take what they can get. They decide to follow Festus to Jerusalem. In verse number six, we find out that Esther stays for 10 days and he went down into Syria and the next day, sitting on the judgment seat, commanded Paul to be brought up. And so Paul is called up from prison to face his accusers for the second time. And wouldn't you know it? Those people who are obviously against him, they just start throwing mud. I mean, it's like a political campaign here. They're throwing as much mud. They're saying everything they can think of hoping that something sticks. I mean, have you ever like talked to somebody that really had it out for someone else and and you listen to them and they're just like making stuff up? You know, I mean, the guy, like, cut them off in the parking lot at church, but all of a sudden by the time they're done with lunch complaining about him, he's probably like a dog killer or something. It's like, wow, that escalated pretty quick. We're we're just as guilty of this as anyone else can be. You know, one of the I believe one of the greatest tools for preventing church rivalries is for the churches to get to know each other. When I was in Virginia, we had three independent Baptist churches that were all very similar within like a 20 minute radius. And there was a lot of there was a lot of rivalry that took place. Sometimes they did some of our members. We'd get some of their members, some of our members to go over there. Some of their members would come over here. And there was this great mystery about what's it like over there? I wonder what it's what's going on or why are they growing now that they're compromising? We start as we decided to start doing youth activities together. We start have some youth rallies and stuff, and all of a sudden our kids got to know their kids and some of them would come over to our youth activities. Our kids go over their youth activities. And it was like, you know, they're basically the same as us. Really not that much different. It kind of lowered the temperature a little bit. Jews, they don't really know, Paul, just against Paul. I think if they got to know Paul, they probably like him. If they got to know Paul, they probably realize Paul believes the same things they do. He believes that he believes that Jesus fulfilled the things that they're looking for. They never gave him the chance. They just throwing mud. Nothing sticks. They have no proof for any of their complaints. Think about this two years earlier. They couldn't prove it. Two years earlier, they didn't have the evidence. What are the chances of two years later getting new evidence? I mean, the biggest thing they have is testimony, and the testimony is that they needed two years earlier were the Jews from Asia who have all gone home and continued on with their lives. They all forgot all about Paul. It's the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem that are hanging on to this for dear life. So, Paul, he really doesn't have to do anything louvers, No. Eight. It doesn't even it doesn't even need a lawyer, he answers for himself, he says, either against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple nor yet against Caesar. Have I offended anything at all? It's their word versus his. And in the Roman legal system, no evidence. No witnesses. I don't have to really defend myself. I deny it the end. Paula is even in verse number eight. You'll notice, he says, nor yet against Caesar. Paul is beginning to shift his legal defense away from Jewish law. Paul is a Roman citizen protected by Roman law. Paul knows that the Jews are not fair judges. They are completely opposed to him. And so Paul does not want to allow himself to be judged by those who have nothing but ill intent towards him. Paul also knows that he has done nothing to undermine or act against the emperor. So we'll see this, this blossoming here in just a little bit. But Paul's dealing with another judge. He's got this judge that is completely opposed to him, the Jews. They just they want to kill him. But he's also got to deal with Festus, and Festus is like that incapable judge, you know, I mean, he's a nice guy, but he's just is not capable of coming to a conclusion. Is he Festus Inverse, number nine, is still trying to gain the favor of the Jews. But you know, we can understand. I mean, he's the new governor. He doesn't want to start off on the wrong foot, especially over some guy like Paul. You know, Paul, nothing to him. He's got to work with these Jewish leaders, so he's trying to keep them happy. And he asks all this, he says, versus what I will now go up to Jerusalem and there be judged of these things before me. Paul, he's asking Paul, Hey, can we move this trial to Jerusalem? And there's a there's a couple of options here as to what this this would have looked like. Some say that investors would have continued to oversee the trial, but it would have taken place in Jerusalem. Others say that investors would have just provided oversight while the Jews judged Paul. Others say that Festus would have presided over a council where he was the head judge, but there would have been Jews Jewish leaders on the council as well. Now, Paul isn't willing to play ball on any of this is not foolish. He discerns that this option will only result in his death. Remember, the Jews whole push is to get Paul transported from Kesari in Jerusalem so they can kill him on the trip. Also, that look, I don't I'm not doing this. Why would you put yourself in a position to be judged by someone that is completely opposed to you? I don't think Festus intended for this to be an unfair trial to lead to Paul's death is he's trying to play both sides. His loyalties are splintered is his his objectives are in opposition with each other. He wants to keep the Jews happy, but he also wants to make sure that Paul, a Roman citizen, gets a fair trial. And so he's he's he's unstable. He's waffling back and forth and animate you. But if I'm going to sit under judgment of somebody, I need that person to be steady. I need them to be just and fair. Don't you? De Paul had already stood before the Jews. Remember, he stood before the Sanhedrin. How did that work out? The Bible says they almost literally tore apart. Wideman, intercessory in the first place. Now that his case is back before a Roman court, why would Paul want to willingly? We placed under a Jewish one. Paul is insisting that his examination and trial remain in the Roman context in verse number 11. Paul says this, he says, Listen, if Rome decides that I am worthy of death, then so be it. I'm not going to go kicking and screaming, I'm a man that lives under the law. I've been a good citizen, and if Rome decides that I have broken some law and I'm deserving of death, then I will submit to that decision. But he is confident that Rome will not find that to be the case. Remember, back in verse number eight, he says that he is he has done nothing against Caesar. Paul knows he has not broken any law. You see, Paul is under the protection of the fact that Judaism was a recognized religion in Rome. It was totally legal to be a Jew to follow Judaism in Rome. And in Paul's estimation, and in Rome's Christianity, was just a sect of Judaism. Rather, nothing, not fomenting insurrection, I'm not standing against Caesar. I'm a I'm a lawful citizen. Confident that Rome will find him innocent, he's also confident that Jews would kill him, whether he deserved it or not. Here's best. The second governor to have examined this case, the second governor to have been unable to condemn, condemn him, but unwilling to release him. So you've got these these judges, one completely opposed. One of them is just incapable of coming to a conclusion. Remember, Felix wanted money. He was holding Paul hoping that someone would pay his ransom. That's this is here. And he's splintered in his and his decision because he wants the approval of the Jews. That's funny money and popularity. Powerful motivations, aren't they? Money and acceptance. I know we've evolved since then, and those things aren't a big problem for us these days, but back then it was a big problem. I say that sarcastically. So what should Paul do? Should he wait another two years for the next governor and go through this all over again and hope that maybe the next governor will set him free? Or should he try to find someone a judge? That could. Do something about his situation and actually would do something about his situation. Could Felix have set him free? Yes. Could Vestas have set him free? Yes, but they weren't. They would. So is there a higher authority? Humanly speaking, in Paul's context that he could appeal to. The answer is yes. Invoice number 11 at the very end. Also this, he says, I appeal. And the Caesar. Since there is no chance. Of Paul being turned over the Jews. And since there's no chance seemingly of best is setting him free, Paul formal or formally appeals to you tried by Caesar. The right of a Roman citizen to appeal to Caesar had evolved over the years had begun as an appeal to the people. A person was put on trial. They felt like the trial had been unfair. The judge had been unfair to them. They would appeal to the people, in which case there would have been basically a Democratic vote as to whether or not the person was guilty or innocent. It moved on because that obviously could get kind of a sticky situation. It became an appeal to the emperor to which the emperor himself would personally examine the case before you and then would make a ruling. You see, the emperor was the highest power in the land. It was unhindered by petty concerns that other officials like Felix and Festus had to deal with Emperor doesn't need money. He's got. Treasure House is full of money. He's not interested in ransom. The emperor is not interested in getting reelected. He was emperor until somebody killed him. I mean, he's just not he's not weighed down by these things. You could gain the favor of the Empire. The No. One else's opinion of you matter. If the emperor said you were innocent, it didn't matter if every Jewish leader said you were guilty, you're innocent. The emperor said. It didn't matter if if those incapable judges who stood before previously thought you should have been guilty if the emperor said you were innocent. That's it. In the story. So this is what Paul says is I appeal to Caesar. I want to stand before the emperor. I want the emperor to examine my case and make a ruling. I believe Festus is taken aback by Paul's appeal. He was not expecting this. He goes in verse number 12 to confer with his councilors. They'll go later in Roman history, things would change about this matter at this point. There is nothing Festus can do right now but allow Paul to go to Rome. By making this appeal, Paul is now removed from Festus Reach. Paul is now removed also from the Jewish leaders reach by appealing to Caesar, Festus was now powerless to release or condemn him by appealing to Caesar. There was nothing now the Jewish leaders could do to try and manipulate Paul back into a situation where they could kill him. So Festus comes back to Paul in the announces his role in the universe, and we're 12, he says, has now appealed to the Caesar. Under Caesar, shout, I'll go. See, when Paul appealed to Caesar. There was nothing that either his enemies or his current authority could do about it. Who was this current authority? Bastards who were his accusers, the ones who would love to judge him, the Jews. Both of them had to relinquish their desire to act as polls judge to the one person who had the ultimate authority to Judge Paul. And that was Caesar. Now, humanly speaking, there's some danger in this moment. Because what Paul is banking on is that the emperor is a just fair man. Paul is placing a certain amount of faith. In the justice of the emperor, who at that time was a very reasonable man named. Zero. What do you think of when you think of Niro? Huh? Rome burning. Christians crucified dead, the wild animals. Say that Nero had come up with a way to skewer a person from their growing through their neck without killing them. You're alive as you hung on that all day, cover you in oil and they'd light you on fire and so you would burn to death there in his garden. You've heard this. His garden with the burning bodies of Christians. Mad set fire to Rome, blame the Christians for it. Some say that was the the the motivation for Paul's martyrdom was that Paul was ultimately blamed for the burning of Rome, which Nero himself had started. If you believe those things. Imagine my shock, though, when I learn that at the beginning of his rule or actually several years, Nero had a reputation for being very reasonable. He was known for his justice and fairness. And so when Paul makes this appeal, he's not appealing to a mad man. He's appealing to a man who has a reputation for being just and fair. Now, given Paul's current situation, would you rather appeal to the guy who's known for being Justin Bieber or the guy who's too weak to make a decision? Or the guys who want nothing more than to kill you. Well, to me, it sounds like a no brainer. I appeal to Caesar. Caesar will see the absurdity of this case and Caesar will let me go. OK, you guys aren't enjoying this as much as I was enjoying it. Paul was presented with an opportunity to be judged by a fair judge versus an incapable one or a prejudiced one. And I think all of us can see the reasonableness of Paul's actions. I don't know if you realize this or not, but like we talked about before, you and I are faced with the with a very similar decision. In our life, we have to choose whether or not to allow incapable or prejudiced judges weigh in on our lives. Or allow the supreme just bare judge to rule on our lives. This really, Arnie, this almost seems to me to make the connection between Caesar and God. I just really couldn't get away from it as I was preparing the mess. I mean, the picture here is just way too obvious. Incapable, prejudiced judges. Supreme Fair, Judge. Are you seeing a similarity? I see this applying to two areas of our life. One you've probably already dealt with, probably the most of us. The second one you deal with on a daily basis. Well, let's see what the first one? Well, first. I see this picture applying to our salvation. How many judges are there available to you to tell you how you should live your life, what the purpose of life is? How do you get the most out of life or what happens at the end of life? How many judges are there that you can listen to that would weigh in on your soul, the condition of your soul, the future of your soul? The answer or your life's issues. Well, I mean, the options are almost limitless. Fortunately. All but one of the judges that are out there trying to tell you what you should do with your life are either prejudiced against you or incapable of passing fair judgment. There are people who are just against you. They are not on your side. They are in opposition to you. They do not want to see you. Have your sins forgiven? Have the power of the Holy Spirit and dwell your life. I want to see that happen for you. They would much rather see you remain in chains and bondage to sin. You said, well, why would anybody want somebody to do that money? And acceptance. Money and a following. When we were in Florida, you've probably seen the news articles. It seems like there's always some new messiah down in Florida. It seems like there always some guy that is claiming to be Jesus Christ in Florida. I don't know what it is about Florida. Maybe it's the heat. Maybe it's the humidity. Maybe it's a combination. But there are people who say I am the answer, I am the Messiah, I, I am Jesus. Come back to life. I am Jesus. Come again, follow me and give me all your money. It's a lot of it comes down to money. We were talking in our. Signs of a class about the influences that try to dictate how we live our lives. Corporations. Try to dictate to you how you should live your life. Right. They will plaster the most attractive image they can possibly put out there to separate you from your money. Separate you from the loyalties of a bygone era. Because they don't they're against you. They're not for you. I mean, be honest. I think the tobacco industry is for you. You think the makers of alcohol are for you? They really care about you. I mean, they're forced by the government to put warning labels on their products. They're not for you. You think the government's for you? False teachers, false gospels. False religions, cults. It will turn to these things for the answers to life or for the way of salvation, for a way towards something that they don't even say heaven, just just. Euphoric experience about that. You know. Not for you. They're prejudiced. They're incapable. There is. No other name. No other name. Right? Or is? One door. I am the way. The truth, the life. If you're going to try to insult me by saying that Christianity is closed minded or exclusive. Sorry. Not sorry, I'm not sorry. Yeah, we are. It's Jesus Christ or it's nothing. Is the only one that's capable. So I think there's some suspicion. I think there are some sincere people out there. Or sincerely wrong. But it's not necessarily that they're in opposition to you, but they're incapable of helping your soul. OODA was incapable. Muhammad was incapable. Google on the list. Joseph Smith incapable. So the first thing I see is it's the place of salvation. There are judges, authorities who are incapable or prejudiced against, but there is one judge who is supreme. And who is fair and just. He is laid out for us the conditions of salvation. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Thou shall be safe. Leaving your heart confess with your mouth. Shall we say? So he is or is not willing that any perish, but that all should come to repentance, there's not a single person in this room or on this Earth that Jesus wants to see die and go to hell. Is for you. Not only is he for you. He's also able to help. Many of you, I believe, have received his salvation. But if you haven't. How long are you going to mess around with judges that are against you or incapable of helping you? How long are you, Paul? I say I'm just going to trust the Jews, they want me to die, but you know, maybe this time it'll be different. How long are you, Paul, going to stand here in Festus prison saying? Well, maybe the next governor will do something for me. I've tried this one in this one day. I didn't work, but maybe I don't know. So you got Felix? We got Festus. Maybe Phillip. Well, we'll actually do something. Fido, whatever comes next. The second area I see. Is that this applies to our lives after we're saying. We come to God for forgiveness, salvation and our. So to speak, our ticket gets punched for heaven, you know, and you're good to go, Polar Express is, you know, going to be showing on every channel from now until Christmas Day. And, you know, see, you know, you stick it, stick it is stamped, your ticket is stamped. We're like, All right, thank you. Now, leave me alone. And although we realize that these other judges can't save us, don't want to save us. After we had saved, we still go back to those old judges or approval or acceptance for purpose or fulfillment in our life as we talk about our Sunday school class. We let them dictate to us our identity rather than allowing the Supreme just judge to dictate to us our identity. We will change our behavior. In order to gain the approval of judges who do not matter. I like having our teenagers up here, we get to have our teen boys up here and we've got we got some over here. Kids here. Realize. That our children are not the only ones who allow peer pressure to affect them. You ever deal with parent guilt? Or as parent guilt come from a lot of times. But watching other parents and what they do and saying, oh, well, I'm not as good as they are. Beat yourself up, you change the way you do things because you've allowed a judge. Your life. Dictate how you're going to respond. We may even let other Christians act as judges in our life. I don't want to be your judge. I don't want to be your judge. I am not your authority. In and of myself. Only authority that I have is the pastor of this church is comes from God's work. And as I'm sure to God's word. Because that gets me out of the way and puts God in his rightful place. Right. I mean, I could come up with some crazy stuff. Well, in the past with the church, you better do it. And probably, like you say. Rightfully so. I'm not a judge. Were you God, is your judge? God is your ultimate authority. Gary Boyd isn't the ultimate authority of this church or anybody's life. God is. That goes for. Social media influencers that you may follow. That goes for authors, Christian or otherwise, that goes for people you see on the news, people you watch on television or the internet or a celebrity. You notice what some of these celebrities will do and they are weird people. And yet people follow them and allow them to be authorities in their life. And sometimes these are people who are incapable of showing them the right way. Sometimes these are people who are prejudiced against them. If you're a Christian, there's a whole lot of people that are prejudiced against you. So why are we letting them have authority over our life and judge us? Let's just let God judges. Is supreme if he says you're innocent. Guess what? It doesn't matter what they say, you're innocent. If he says I approve of you. It's one that's the only approval that matters. His opinion is really the only one. That we should be concerned with, because if things are right with God between you and God. They'll be right with other people as well. That vertical horizontal. You can make yourself go mad. Trying to get the approval and acceptance of other people. They're not there. They're sometimes prejudiced against you. They're all incapable. So let's stop pursuing them, let's stop willingly submitting ourselves to the judgment of others. Let's just be concerned about what got us. Because if we're concerned with what God thinks of us, I firmly believe everything else is going to work out. All other relationships will take care of themselves. And if they don't. Having his approval is really all that matters. Would you let? The coaches from the other team come and judge your football team. No. Would you let some guy who's never played football or coach today in his life come and tell you how to run your team? No. You want someone that's experienced and for you and has the ability to do what you need them to do, right? You wouldn't do that with your football team. Why in the world? Would you do that with your life? Let's go to the judge who is supreme bear and loves you, is on your side. Let's bring. Father, we thank you for this. Thank you for the good attention of your people, or I pray that you help all of us to learn this lesson from Paul's life. Or that we would not focus too much on the Jews or Festus or Caesar. But we would see the situation that we face. Or with the judges that are out there who want to be authorities over our life and dictate how we live, what we do, where we go. Or I pray that we would turn our backs to them. Turn our faces to you. Or if there's someone here that's not safe, they've been trusting in who knows what authority to get them to have, and maybe some preacher told them they're good with outweigh their bad and you would just let them into heaven. God, I pray that they would realize that is not what you have said. That's not your criteria. Or do you send your son to die for us to pay that price? We couldn't pay? Lord, I pray if someone has not received salvation and received forgiveness, today would be the day that they do. Or I'm so thankful that when you declare us to be righteous and innocent, it doesn't matter what anyone else says about us. Lord, I pray that you'd be with those Christians that are here today who have been allowing work or. Marketing or social media sin to act as a judge in their life as these judges have pushed them around. Lord, I pray that they would turn back to you, that they would pursue your acceptance, that they would pursue your approval over anyone else's. Well, I pray that you would use your Holy Spirit to work in our hearts this morning. The Jesus name that I ask these things? Amen.

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2 Samuel 11:1-27