Lesson: Paul's trial before Felix

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This lesson is about Paul’s trial before Felix. He is falsely accused but Paul knows he has a clear conscience before God and man. This lesson teaches students that believers should always strive to keep a clear conscience. This is only a guide for the lesson. Adapt to your individual classroom needs.
From Paul’s life the students will be challenged to strive to keep a clear conscience before God and man..  The lesson was prepared for older elementary students but can be easily modified. This is only a suggested guide to help you teach your students. Click here to see all the lessons in this curriculum series.

Bible Story: Paul’s Trial Before Felix
Scripture: Acts 24
Target Age Group: Age 9 – 11 (U.S. 3rd – 5th Grade)
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 60 minutes
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Supply List: Bibles, Visuals for story (court, judge, etc.) stoplight (for object lesson on the conscience), dice for Learning Activity #1

Learning Goal: Students will learn that believers should always strive to keep a clear conscience before God and man.

Learning Activity #1: Have several examples where students can make a right choice and keep a clear conscience. Make a cube with pictures of different places (school, church, store, playground etc.) As student rolls the dice and a place is revealed create a scenario that allows a right choice and a wrong choice. (Example: You buy a candy bar and the cashier gives you back too much money. What are your choices when you realize that you have been given back too much money? Keep the money, give back the extra money. The right thing to do is to give the extra money back. Why? It would be stealing to take the extra money. By giving the money back you will have a clear conscience.)

Test: Review Questions listed below
Memory Verse: Acts 24:16 “So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.”

Bible Lesson: Paul’s Trial before Felix

Introduction: Keeping a clear conscience. Keys for Kids devotional
Using an image of a stop light explain how our consciences are like stop lights. When we are about to do something that we shouldn’t our conscience is warning us to stop. If we stop we avoid danger. If we ignore that warning over and over again our conscience is no longer sensitive to doing what is right. If you are a believer the Holy Spirit is like a traffic light. He will warn you if you are about to go somewhere or do something you shouldn’t. If you obey His warning, you will have a clear conscience. If you ignore Him you will have a guilty conscience. You can have a clear conscience once again by confessing your sin. If you continue to disobey the Holy Spirit you harden your heart to Him and can’t hear Him as clearly as you can when you are walking in obedience to Him.
As we have followed the life of Paul in the Book of Acts we have seen a believer who obeys the Holy Spirit and as a result has a clear conscience before God and man.
Let’s recite our memory verse: Acts 24:16 “So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.”
Let’s turn in our Bibles to Acts 24.
Paul is falsely accused before Felix. Acts 24:1-9
Paul was in Caesarea for five days before his accusers arrived. The high priest Ananias with some of the elders and a lawyer named Tertullus who work on a bigger firm, much similar to James M Setters & Associates, he came to make their charges against Paul before Felix.
Have you ever been in a court room? In a courtroom a judge is seated to hear the case that is brought before him/her. He/she will hear statements from both sides of the issue and make a decision of what to do.
In our lesson today the person that is like the judge in the courtroom is the Governor of Caesarea, Felix. He is seated waiting to hear this case against Paul that has been brought to him so he can decide what should happen to Paul.
The high priest and the unbelieving Jews of Jerusalem have brought a lawyer named Tertullus to present their charges against Paul to Felix. The following are the charges they have brought against Paul (Read verses 5-8):

  1. Paul is a trouble maker who stirs up riots among the Jews all over the world.
  2. He is the ringleader of the Nazarene sect and even tried to desecrate the temple.

After Tertullus brought these charges against Paul for the unbelieving Jews, the Jews that were present indicated that they were in full agreement with the charges made.
Paul has been falsely accused. None of the charges that were presented to Felix were true. From our study from Acts who was really responsible for stirring up riots when Paul was preaching the Gospel? (Unbelieving Jews)

  • Jesus was falsely accused by unbelieving Jews. Believers can expect that people may falsely accuse them (lie about them). 1 Peter 2:12 tells us to “live such good lives among the pagans that though they may accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.”

Paul makes his defense before Felix. Acts 24:10-22
After hearing the unbelieving Jews’ side of the issue, Felix nods to Paul to present his side. Paul doesn’t have a lawyer speak for him. The Holy Spirit enables Paul to speak in his own defense.
Paul states that the facts that he is presenting can be proved to be true (Read verses 10-16).
Paul states:

  1. Twelve days ago he went to Jerusalem to worship.
  2. He was not found arguing with anyone at the temple or stirring up trouble in the synagogues or in the city.

Paul admits:

  1. He worships the God of his fathers.
  2. He is a follower of the Way (Christians) (which the unbelieving Jews call a sect).
  3. He believes all that is written in the Law and the prophets.
  4. He believes in the same hope as these Jews that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.

As a result of Paul’s beliefs he makes every effort to always keep his conscience clear before God and man.
What does it mean to have a clear conscience? How do you feel when you have a guilty conscience? (Weighed down, sick to your stomach, etc.)
How can a believer keep a clear conscience before God and man?

  • Obey God and confess sins when we disobey. (1 John 1:9) “Draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22)
  • Stay in God’s Word so your life will be in alignment with God’s Ways. (Ephesians 5:26, Psalm 119:9,11,105)

Paul makes his defense against the unbelieving Jews’ accusations (Verses 17-21):

  1. He went to Jerusalem after being away for several years to bring gifts to the poor and to make an offering.
  2. He was ceremonially clean when he was found in the temple courts.
  3. He was not with a crowd of people when he went to the temple.
  4. He was not involved in a disturbance. The Jews from Asia should be present to make a case if they have something against him.
  5. He already stood before the Sanhedrin. Those that were present should make their case what crime he committed. He is on trial because he shouted ‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead’ that he is on trial before Felix.

Paul boldly proclaims God’s Word to Felix and Drusilla. Acts 24:23-27
Felix was very familiar with the Way (Christianity-belief in Jesus-that He died, was buried and rose again the third day) that Paul spoke about. He ended the proceedings and said he would decide the case when Lysias the commander arrived. He ordered a centurion to guard Paul and allowed him to have some freedom and allowed his friends to take care of him.
A few days after the trial, Felix and his wife Drusilla brought Paul before them to hear him speak. Paul spoke about faith in Jesus Christ.  Paul also spoke to them about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come. When Felix heard Paul’s message it frightened him. He sent Paul away. Let’s read what he says to Paul in verse 25.
Felix was hoping that Paul would pay him to release him. Paul would not have a clear conscience if he bribed Governor Felix to be set free. The power of the Holy Spirit living inside him enabled him to be obedient to be a prisoner. Paul had the Lord Jesus’ comfort and promise that he would testify about Him in Rome. Paul would wait and do things God’s way even if that meant he had to sit in prison while he waited.
Let’s read verse 27. Paul was left in prison for two years. Felix had an opportunity to do what was right and release Paul because he had not committed a crime but he wanted to grant a favor to the Jews so he kept Paul in prison.
As we close how is your conscience today? Can you say with Paul “I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man?”
Can you relate more to Felix? Does the truth about Jesus make you afraid and you don’t want to hear it?
How do you respond when you hear the news that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, was buried and rose again the third day so you can be made right with God? If Jesus were to come today would you live forever in heaven with Him because you believe by faith that He has paid the price for your sins, or would you be separated from God forever in a place called hell because you chose not to accept the gift of eternal life? You don’t have to respond like Felix did, today you can believe in the Lord Jesus and be saved from your sins.
(Close in prayer)
Review Questions:

  1. What crime did the unbelieving Jews accuse Paul of? (Being a troublemaker, stirring up riots, desecrating the temple)
  2. Who did Paul say he worshiped? (The God of our fathers)
  3. What does Paul say the real reason is that he is being accused? (For his belief in the resurrection of the dead)
  4. What did Paul speak to Felix and Drusilla about? (Faith in Jesus Christ, righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come)
  5. How did Felix respond? (He was afraid and sent Paul away until it was a more convenient time)
  6. How many years was Paul in prison? (2)
  7. Why did Felix leave Paul in prison? (As a favor to the Jews)
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