When Paul was writing to the Ephesians, he described how communication within the Christian community would occur as we become spiritually mature:
“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” Ephesians 4:15
It is a powerful concept—speaking the truth in love. We always need to do things in the atmosphere of love. However, at the same time we need to speak the truth, because the truth can set us free. One way to powerfully speak the truth is using Scripture:
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two- edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
Tertullus, the advocate that the Jewish leaders brought to Caesarea, did not speak the truth in love. In his opening remarks to the governor Felix, Tertullus drooled with flattery:
“Since through you we enjoy much peace, and since by your foresight, most excellent Felix, reforms are being made for this nation, in every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude.”
The fact was that Felix was anything but excellent. The Roman historian Tacitus recorded that “in the practice of all kinds of lust and cruelty, [Felix] exercised the power of a king with the temper of a slave”. Annuals 5.9 Tertullus was blatantly buttering up Felix, and everyone listening knew it.
In contrast, Paul simply spoke the truth. He even acknowledged that his comment about believing in the resurrection in the Sanhedrin could be construed to have stirred up trouble in the Jewish council.
It is fascinating to note that Paul specifically points out to Felix that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. Felix, one day you will be raised back to life to be held accountable for everything that you have done. It cut to the heart of that cruel governor.
There was another person who was very keen to meet Paul. Felix’s young teenage wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, also wanted to hear Paul for herself. When Drusilla was barely sixteen, Felix had enticed her to leave her husband and become his wife, promising that he would give her all of her heart’s desires. She became his third wife.
As Paul thought about what he could say to Felix and Drusilla, he could have talked about the weather or the politics or Greek philosophy. He realised, though, that he only had a short window of time to share the gospel. Instead of flattering them or engaging in political small talk, he went straight to the point and shared with them about their need for righteousness and self-control and the fact that they were facing an impending judgement, a judgement that was as certain as the death that everyone cannot avoid.
It really jolted Feliz.
What about in your engagements with people around you? Have you ever considered that you may only have a brief window of opportunity to share the gospel with people? What do you talk about? The weather? Politics? State of origin? Or do you share the truth in love, the truth that Jesus is offering them the gift of His righteousness and eternal life?
The book of Acts is drenched with the Holy Spirit. Reading it is like taking time to play out in the tropical rain! Read the full stories for today in: