Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament scriptural account of the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ which is the church as it was written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke in the book of Acts. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first twenty-two verses of the twenty-fifth chapter. BRING YOUR ACCUSATIONS! ACCUSE ME IF YOU WANT! LAY YOUR CHARGE AGAINST ME! COME AGAINST ME WITH EVERYTHING YOU HAVE! INVITING ACCUSATION! INVITING YOUR ACCUSERS TO THE TABLE! PROVE MY WRONGDOING! TELL ME YOUR COMPLAINT AGAINST ME! TELL ME WHAT IVE DONE WRONG! ACCUSATIONS AND CONSPIRACY! WHEN THE ENEMY NOT ONLY SEEKS TO ACCUSE YOU BUT ALSO CONSPIRES AGAINST YOU TO KILL YOU! I HAVE OFFENDED NOT! I HAVE DONE NO WRONG! THE ACCUSER OF THE BRETHREN! (Revelation 12) WHO SHALL LAY ANYTHING TO THE CHARGE OF GODS ELECT! THERE IS THEREFORE NO CONDEMNATION! (Romans 8)LET HIM WHO HAS NO SIN CAST THE THE FIRST STONE! (John 8) EVERY TONGUE THAT RISES AGAINST YOU IN ACCUSATION (Isaiah 54) when you come to this particular portion of scripture you will find the apostle Paul still in Caesarea as he had been brought forth from the city of Jerusalem after a conspiracy and plot was uncovered about the Jews who sought to seize and put him to death. In all reality, the more I think about and the more I consider the account of the apostle Paul’s life—not only here in the city of Jerusalem, but also as early on as his days in Damascus after his conversion—I can’t help but be gripped with the tremendous reality that this apostle of Christ was one who found himself walking in the same footsteps of one of the great ancestors of the faith. If you study the Old Testament—specifically the book of the Psalms—you will find a number of psalms which were written by David as he continually and constantly found himself surrounded by enemies. You cannot read the psalms of David without coming to a number of them and find him crying out to the Lord because of the enemies which were round about him. If and as you study the life of David the second king of Israel you will find that he spent most of his life—not only as the second king of Israel, but also during the formidable years of training and preparation—as a man of battle and conflict. Perhaps one of the greatest realities which surrounds the life of David is how much time he spent working with the sword and facing conflict after conflict and battle after battle. You cannot read the books of First and Second Samuel, nor can you read the book of First Chronicles without being directly confronted with the reality that David spent most of his life on the battlefield and engaged in combat and conflict with the enemies and adversaries of Israel. What’s actually quite unique and interesting when you think about and consider the life of David is that not only did he face conflict and battle leading up to serving as king over Israel, but he also lived most of his life as king of Israel engaged in conflict and battle. What’s more, is that David was no stranger to those who lie wait for him as he not only faces and experiences this when Saul sought his life, but also during the days when his own son attempted a cou and tried usurping the throne.
As I sit here this morning I can’t help but be completely and utterly captivated with and by the fact that if you study the life of the apostle Paul you will find him spending his days dealing and contending with those who sought to seize and put him to death. You cannot read the book of Acts and not be directly and immediately confronted with and by the fact that the apostle Paul was one who spent a considerable amount of time being guarded and protected from the threats of those who sought to come upon him stealthily in order that they might put him to death secretly and privately. As you read the account of the apostle Paul immediately after his conversion you will find the apostle Paul almost immediately facing threats from those who sought to seize and put him to death. While still in Damascus you will find the Jews which were present there in the city seeking to lay wait for the apostle in order that they might strike him down and put him to death. In fact, the beloved physician Luke writes and records how they watched the gate both night and day to discern the movement of Paul in order that they might find occasion to strike him down and put him to death. Of course we find and read how the brethren which were there in Damascus rescued and saved paul from their hands and from their murderous threats as they let him down through the wall in a basket. Upon leaving the city of Damascus after it was discovered there were those who sought to strike him down and put him to death we find the apostle Paul making his way into the city of Jerusalem. This is quite interesting when you think about it as it was from the city of Jerusalem the apostle Paul left with letters from the high priest priest to seize and bind any of the way whom he found in the city in order that he might bring them back to Jerusalem to be punished. Coming back to Jerusalem, however, the apostle Paul would contend with two distinct realities concerning and surrounding his life. Upon his initial return to Jerusalem you will find the apostle Paul being met with doubt, fear and skepticism as to whether or not he was truly saved and had truly been converted on the way to Damascus. It would be a man named Barnabas who would come alongside this man named Saul and would not only speak to his seeing the Lord Jesus along the way, but also Jesus speaking to him, and his preaching the gospel boldly in Damascus. Once satisfying the elders and apostles there in Jerusalem the apostle Paul would move freely among the brethren, and would even dispute and reason together with those in Jerusalem. While disputing against certain within the city you will find them unable to stand against his wisdom which was given by the Lord Jesus, and as a result they sought to lay wait for and kill him. Ultimately and eventually the brethren would rescue and save the apostle Paul from their threats as they brought him forth from Jerusalem and set him on sail to tarsus.
I sit here this morning reading the account of the apostle Paul and I can’t help but encounter the tremendous reality that throughout his Christian life and throughout the apostolic ministry the Lord has given unto him he faced and experienced threats and constant danger from those who would lie wait for him to strike him down and put him to death. In all reality it might very well be said the apostle Paul was one who found himself continually facing the snares and traps of those who sought to destroy and put him to death within and throughout his life. You cannot read the account of the apostle Paul and not me face to face with those traps which were set for and against him in order that they might seize and put him to death. You cannot read the account of the apostle Paul and not encounter the trek four reality of those who lied wait for the apostle Paul in order that they might somehow put him to death and once and for all remove him from the Seth. If you read the words which are found within the book of Acts you will find these traps and these snares were set almost immediately as pretty much right away the apostle Paul became a threat and target to those before and around him. It’s actually quite remarkable and astounding to think about and consider the fact that the apostle Paul was such a threat in the natural and in the spiritual realm that the enemy and adversary actually used the Jews—the apostle Paul’s own countrymen—to set snares and traps for and against him. So dangerous was the apostle Paul to the kingdom of the adversary within and upon the earth that he would seek to do anything and everything to strike him down and put him to death. It’s absolutely amazing to think about and consider the fact that you cannot get out of the ninth chapter of the book of Acts without encountering those who could not handle the teaching; the preaching and doctrine of the apostle Paul, and sought to set snares and traps for and against him. You cannot read the book of Acts without finding those who could not handle the call that was upon the life of this apostle of Christ, and as a result of their envy and malice they sought to set snares, lay traps, and lie wait for him that they might strike him down and put him to death. In all reality, I read the account of the life of the apostle Paul and I can’t help but read it and catch an incredible glimpse into how the enemy and adversary works and operates within our lives as he continually seeks to set snares and lay traps for and against us in this life. The enemy and adversary of our souls has always and will always seek to ensnare us with those devices he knows can and will keep us in bondage, and even destroy us. Perhaps this is why the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews wrote concerning laying aside the sin which does so easily beset us and run the race which is before us. What’s more, is that this is perhaps why the apostle Paul wrote unto Timothy concerning no man once again entangling himself in and with the affairs of this world and this life. Oh we cannot, we dare not and must not be ignorant of the schemes, the tactics and the devices of the enemy as he can and will seek to set snares and lay traps for us in this life in order that he might completely and utterly destroy us.
If you read and study the Old Testament book of the Psalms you will find countless references to enemies and adversaries and those who lie wait for David as he pursued the call of God that was upon his life. I cannot help but read the account of the apostle Paul and the life which he had after receiving Jesus Christ, after being filled with the Holy Spirit, and after beginning to step into that which the Lord Jesus had ordained and appointed for him. The more you read and the more you consider the words which are found written in the book of the Acts the more you will encounter the tremendous reality that the apostle Paul was such a danger and such a threat to the Jews—and not only the Jews, but also to certain Gentiles—that there were those who actually set snares and laid traps for him in order that they might put him to death. The apostle Paul was perceived as such a threat in both the natural and supernatural realms that there were snares and traps which were continually laid before him in an attempt to not only seize, but also put him to death. That which we find and that which we read in the twenty-third chapter of the book of Acts is perhaps one of the greatest examples of those who sought to lay a trap and set a snare for the apostle Paul in order that they might put him to death. It’s worth noting and considering that this all began with the apostle in the Temple as the Jews which saw him in Asia began accusing him in the Temple, and ultimately dragged him forth out of the Temple and shut the doors behind him. What’s more, is that in addition to the Jews which were in Asia accusing him of wrongdoing he had not committed, they also incited and incensed the crowd in Jerusalem against the apostle Paul—actions which would ultimately lead to the apostle Paul being beaten in an attempt to put him to death once and for all. That which we read concerning the apostle Paul within this particular section of the book of Acts is absolutely extraordinary when you take the time to consider it, for what you find within this passage is an incredible attempt to strike him down and put him to death once and for all by those who rose up against him while he was in Asia preaching the gospel concerning Jesus the Christ. It’s incredibly interesting and intriguing to think about and consider the fact that the apostle Paul was fulfilling the call and ministry which was upon his life, and in the midst of walking in the calling the Lord Jesus had for his life he found himself at odds with his own countrymen who sought to lay hold of and put him to death. I feel the great need to pause for a moment and emphatically declare that even though you are walking in the calling and ministry the Lord Jesus has ordained and appointed for your life, that doesn’t mean you cannot and will not face and experience snares, traps, threats, tumults, trials, troubles and the like. The apostle Paul continually found himself at odds with those who could not handle the teaching and preaching which he partook of during his life, and as a direct result of this envy, malice, hatred, anger, and raw emotions, they sought to lie wait for and put him to death. Consider if you will three specific accounts which are written and recorded within the book of Acts concerning three different times when enemies and adversaries of the apostle Paul laid traps and set snares for him in order that they might put him to death:
“And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: but their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket. And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.; And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus. Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied” (Acts 9:23-31)
“And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome. And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy. And they came to the chief priests and elders, and said, We have bound ourselves under a great curse, that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul. Now therefore ye with the council signify to the chief captain that he bring him down unto you to morrow, as though ye would inquire something more perfectly concerning him: and we, or ever he come near, are ready to kill him. And when Paul’s sister’s son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul. Then Paul called one of the centurions. Unto him, and aid, Bring this young man unto the chief captain: for he hath a certain thing to tell him. So he took him, and brought him to the chief captain, and said, Paul the prisoner called me unto him, and prayed me to bring this young men unto thee, who hath something to say unto thee. Then the chief captain took him by the hand, and went with him aside privately, and asked him, What is that thou hast to tell me? And he said, The Jews have agreed to desire thee that thou wouldest bring down Paul to morrow into the council, as though they would inquire somewhat of him more perfectly. But do not thou yield unto them: for there lie in wait for him of them more than forty men, which have bound themselves with an oath, that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him: and now are they ready, looking for a promise from thee. So the chief captain then let the young man depart, and charged him, See thou tell no man that thou hast shewed these things to me. And he called unto him two centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen three score and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night; and provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor” (Acts 23:11-24).
THE JEWS TOOK COUNSEL TO KILL HIM! BUT THEY WENT ABOUT TO SLAY HIM! BANDED TOGETHER, AND BOUND THEMSELVES UNDER A CURSE, SAYING THAT THEY WOULD NEITHER EAT NOR DRINK TILL THEY HAD KILLED PAUL! Each of these passages—three in all—bring us face to face with the incredible reality of the snares, the traps and the lying in wait the Jews engaged in against the apostle Paul. It is within these passages where you will not only find the apostle Paul finding himself at risk because of those Jews who sought to kill him in Damascus, but also those Jews who sought to put him to death and slay him there in the city of Jerusalem. What’s more, is that when the apostle Paul first returned unto Jerusalem after being converted to Jesus the Christ you will find the Grecians seeking to slay and put him to death. What’s actually quite interesting and unique is to think about and consider the fact that on two separate occasions there were those in the city of Jerusalem who sought to put the apostle Paul to death—first the Grecians, and next the Jews—and in both cases the apostle Paul was brought forth from Jerusalem unto Caesarea. It’s quite interesting to think about and consider the fact that when the Grecians took counsel against the apostle Paul to put him to death, the disciples and brethren learned about and discovered it, and sent the apostle Paul forth from Jerusalem unto Caesarea. This would be the first time the apostle Paul would be sent forth from the city of Jerusalem unto Caesarea in order to guard and protect his life from those who would seek to slay and put him to death. With that being said, it’s worth noting that this passage which we find in the twenty-third chapter of the book of Acts again finds the apostle Paul at risk and in danger of his own countrymen who conspired together to put him to death privily and stealthily. Within the twenty-third chapter of the book of Acts you will find the Jews conspiring together to put to death the apostle Paul—and not only conspiring together to put him to death, but they also sought to lay a snare and a trap for the apostle Paul by involving the chief priest as they sought to have him request the apostle Paul’s company and present in order that he might inquire something more perfectly of him. It would be this coming unto the chief priests and this coming unto religion and the house of religion that those who sought to put the apostle to death would seek to come upon him and once and for all strike him down. It’s actually quite interesting that the snare and trap would be set as the apostle Paul would come unto the house of religion and would come unto religion and its leaders. How absolutely incredible it is to think that the chief priest would himself be a part of the conspiracy against the apostle Paul, for the chief priest would heed their request and inquire of the chief captain to send and bring the apostle Paul unto him. Had the chief captain of the guard not been made aware of the conspiracy and plot against the apostle Paul, he might very well have agreed to the request of the chief priest and those in his company, and the apostle Paul might very well have been put to death.
What I find to be so incredible intriguing and captivating about that which is present in the twenty-third chapter of the book of Acts is how the Lord Jesus came and stood by the apostle Paul at night and instructed him to be of good cheer, for as he had testified concerning Him in Jerusalem, so also would he testify of Him in Rome. What is so unique and astounding is when you think about and consider the fact that it is immediately after the Lord Jesus appeared and stood by the apostle Paul and instructed him to be of good cheer and informed him that he would testify of Him in Rome, the Jews would conspire against him the following morning. How incredibly ironic it is to think about and consider the fact that the night before the Jews would take counsel and conspire against the apostle Paul to kill him the Lord Jesus Himself would stand beside the apostle and instruct him to be of good cheer for he would testify concerning Him in Rome itself. Please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this absolutely incredible and tremendous reality, for to do so would be to miss and lose sight of that which might very well be found to be present within our lives. It is very possible that the Lord Jesus the Christ might very well appear unto us and instruct us to be of good cheer and declare unto us His will and purpose for our lives, and yet immediately after that we find ourselves facing a tremendous threat against us. The apostle Paul had been spoken to once more by the Lord Jesus the Christ as he had experienced while in Corinth, and yet immediately after the Lord Jesus Christ spoke unto him here in Jerusalem he found himself the target of the threats, the schemes, the traps and the snares of the Jews who would lie wait for him to kill him. Oh dear brother, oh dear sister—it is possible the Lord Jesus the Christ can and will speak unto you and to instruct you to be of good cheer, and to not be afraid and not fear, and yet immediately following His appearance and speaking unto you you find yourself experiencing a tremendous and very real threat against your life, and perhaps even against your family, against your home, against your job, against the calling upon your life, against the ministry you have been entrusted with, and the like. It is very possible the Lord Jesus Christ can and will speak to you and instruct you to be of good cheer and to be of good courage for He is with you and still has great plans for your life, and yet immediately following these words you find yourself almost immediately facing a threat against you and against your life. For the apostle Paul the Lord Jesus the Christ appeared and spoke unto him instructing him to be of good cheer for he would stand to testify concerning Him in Rome, and yet the very next day the Jews conspired and took counsel together against the apostle Paul to strike him down and put him to death. Please don’t’ miss and please don’t lose sight of this tremendous and incredible reality, for it has the ability to bring us face to face with the reality of what we can and may very well experience within our lives—even after the Lord Jesus the Christ appears and speaks unto us.
Pondering and considering the account of the life of the apostle in this particular passage of Scripture I can’t help but be captivated by the fact that not only were snares and traps laid against him in order that he might be put to death, but there were also false accusations and condemnation which was raised up against him. If and as you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find that after the conspiracy against the apostle Paul’s life was uncovered, and after the apostle Paul was rescued from the murderous threats of the Jews who lied in wait to kill him, the apostle Paul would come unto Caesarea where he would not only stand before Felix the governor, but he would also find himself standing before Porcius Festus who would come unto Caesarea to hear and listen to the account of the apostle Paul and the charges and accusations which were lobbied and hurled against him. As the twenty-fourth chapter of the book of Acts draws to a close you will find the apostle Paul testifying and speaking of the gospel concerning Jesus the Christ, and of righteousness, and of temperance, and of the judgment to come to both Felix and his wife Drusilla who came to speak unto him. Initially Felix the governor permitted the apostle Paul to be loosed from his bands and forbid not his companions and acquaintances to come and minister unto him. There was a tremendous freedom and liberty the apostle Paul found in Caesarea until Porcius Festus would come into the house of Felix the governor, and in an attempt to do a favor unto the Jews, Festus left the apostle Paul bound. The twenty-fourth chapter of the book of Acts ends and concludes with the apostle Paul being left bound as he would prepare to speak before Festus who would come and hear the matter more perfectly concerning his charges and that which was being spoken against him. The twenty-fifth chapter of the book of Acts is one that is quite interesting as is the entire chapter itself, for the chapter begins and opens up with the Jews still conspiring to kill and put to death the apostle Paul. IF you begin reading with and from the first verse of the twenty-fifth chapter you will find that when Festus was come into the province he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem. It would be upon the arrival of Festus in Jerusalem that the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him, and desired a favor against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him. This is actually quite astounding and remarkable when you think about and consider it, for here we are in the twenty-fifth chapter of the book of Acts, and here we find the apostle Paul in Caesarea, and having been there for two years. Two years after the apostle Paul was brought down unto Caesarea he would still find himself in the midst of that city and region, and two years later the Jews still desired to kill and put him to death. How absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that here we are two years after an initial conspiracy was discovered to strike down and put the apostle Paul to death, and we again find the Jews seeking to kill and put him to death. This time around it would be the high priest and the chief of the Jews who would request of Festus that Paul be brought from Caesarea unto Jerusalem in order that those who lie wait for the apostle in the way might strike him down and put him to death.
What I find to be so absolutely captivating about what is found in the twenty-fifth chapter of the book of Acts is the fact that not only do we find at the beginning of the chapter the Jews continuing to plot and scheme against the apostle Paul to put him to death, but as you continue reading in this chapter you will find the accusations continuing against the apostle Paul. In all reality, I cannot help but think about and consider the fact that within this same chapter—not only do we find and read about snares and traps against the apostle Paul, but we also find and read about accusations and condemnation which was raised up against the apostle Paul. Within this single chapter we find two great snares and traps of the enemy and adversary, as not only do we find an attempt to utterly destroy the apostle Paul, but together alongside and with the attempt to destroy the apostle Paul we find those who would seek to rise up against him to accuse him. In all reality, I am convinced that one of the single greatest tactics and strategies of the enemy is in fact accusation, as the enemy and adversary can and will seek to accuse us. What’s more, is that not only can and will the enemy and adversary seek to accuse us before the throne of God, but the enemy and adversary can and will seek to accuse us before men and before those around us. Within this passage of Scripture we come face to face with the incredible and strong reality that one of the enemy’s greatest weapons in his arsenal is accusation, and we would be incredibly wise to recognize and understand that the enemy has always and will always use accusation and condemnation against us in order to destroy us. The words which we find and read in the twenty-fifth chapter are absolutely astounding and remarkable when you take the time to think about and consider them, for on the one hand we find snares and traps which were set for the apostle Paul—snares and traps which would not be sprung and which would not work. When those snares and traps would not work we find the enemies of the apostle Paul—even the enemies of the cross and gospel of Jesus the Christ—seeking to destroy the apostle Paul a completely different way. When they could not put the apostle Paul to death themselves because their conspiracy was uncovered, and because Festus would not give into their request to bring the apostle unto Jerusalem, we find them seeking to continue with their accusations and charges against him. Oh it is absolutely necessary and imperative we recognize and understand how the enemy operates and how he can and will use accusations, condemnation against us and can and will seek to lay charges against us in order that he might completely and utterly put us to death. In fact, I can’t help but be reminded of different instances within scripture when we find and read of the tactics and strategies of the enemy to accuse us—beginning in the final book of the Bible where we read of the accuser of the brethren, and journey back in time to a man named Job, and then move forward in Scripture. As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I invite you consider the following passages of Scripture as they can and will bring you face to face with the manifestation of the accuser of the brethren, and how he can and will seek to use accusation against us in this life:
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength,and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death” (Revelation 12:7-11).
“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord” (Job 1:6-12).
“Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth,a Nd from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? And still he holdeth fast his intently, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause. And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh,a Nd he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life” (Job 2:1-6).
“And hew shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will do the thee with change of raiment., And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by” (Zechariah 3:1-5).
“Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning He came again into the Temple, and all the people came unto Him; and He sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and the Pharisees brought unto Him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, they say unto him, Master, this woman’s was taken in adultery, int eh very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And against he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:1-11).
“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 54:17).
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2).
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son but delivered HIim up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are account as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:31-39).
I fully realize and recognize that there was a lot of Scripture that was just presented to you, however, in the context of what we find and read concerning the life of the apostle Paul it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand the way the enemy and adversary can and will operate within our hearts and lives. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize how the enemy can and will use accusation, judgment and condemnation against us in order that he might destroy us. This reality was true of Job on two separate occasions and it was true in terms of Joshua the high priest during the days of Zechariah and Haggai. What’s more, is that we find in the final book of the New Testament and of the Bible itself that there is a very real adversary who is the accuser of the brethren and who seeks to accuse us before the throne of God day and night. What’s more, is that there is a very real adversary who prowls about like a roaring and raging lion seeking whom he may devour—an adversary we must stand firm and resist steadfast in the faith. It is in the context of this accusation and judgment that we also find the woman who was caught in the act of adultery who was in fact guilty, and according to the law of Moses should have been stoned, and yet not only did Jesus dismiss her accusers, but so also did Jesus Himself choose not to accuse and condemn her, but instructed her to go her way and sin no more. In the case of the apostle Paul in Caesarea—as well as in Jerusalem—we find those who sought to accuse him and lay charges against him, which the beloved physician Luke wrote they could not prove. I sit here this morning and read the words which are found in the twenty-fifth chapter of the book fo Acts and not only do I see and encounter the reality of snares and traps which were set against the apostle Paul, but I also see in this passage of Scripture how the enemy can and will use accusation and condemnation against us in order to destroy us, for this was precisely what the Jews sought to do in the life of the apostle Paul—namely, use baseless and false accusations against him in order that they might put him to death and once and for all be rid of him. What I so love about all of this, however, is that not only does the apostle Paul write in the epistle which was sent unto the Romans that there is now on condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, but the apostle Paul also goes on to ask who are those who can lay charge to the elect and those who can condemn. This is quite interesting when you consider the words which the prophet Isaiah spoke and declared, for this ancient Hebrew prophet wrote how every tongue that rises up against us in judgment we have the authority and power to cast down, and that no weapon that is formed against us shall prosper. Oh how absolutely marvelous it is to think about and consider that no weapon which was formed against the apostle Paul, no snare nor trap, nor even any accusation was able to prosper against him, and only when it was his time to die, and only when it was appointed by the Lord Jesus would and could he be put to death. OH that we would come face to face with this incredible reality, and that we would understand how the enemy operates in the earth, but also what our heritage is as servants of Christ, and the authority and power we have in this life.