I. PAUL'S APPEAL TO CAESAR.
A. When Festus became governor in place of Felix, he went to Jerusalem to meet with the rulers of the Jews.
1. They informed him concerning Paul.
2. This shows how deep seated their feelings were against Paul.
a. You would think that by now they would have forgotten all about him.
b. They desired Festus to bring Paul back to Jerusalem that he might stand trial before them.
c. Their intent was to ambush him on the way and kill him.
3. Instead Festus invited them down to Caesarea where he promised to hear the case.
4. When they came down and made their unprovable complaints against Paul, Paul responded by denying any wrongdoing against Caesar or the law of the Jews.
B. Felix asked Paul if he was willing to go to Jerusalem to face these charges and Paul responded by saying "Caesarem appello".
1. Every Roman citizen had the right to make the appeal to Caesar for a final judgment, especially if he felt that justice was not being served.
2. Festus could not deny Paul this right as a Roman citizen.
3. He answered Paul, "Caesarem appellesti; ad Caesarem ibis."
C. Now Festus was in a bind, for he has no real charges to make against Paul that would stand up in a Roman court. It will be quite obvious to Caesar Nero that Roman justice was not being served by this new governor in Judea.
D. King Agrippa had come to visit Festus and Festus explained to him his problem and asked him if he would mind hearing the case that they might form some charges to send to Caesar.
E. As Festus summed up the accusations it boiled down to this, they believed that Jesus was dead, and Paul was affirming that he was alive.
II. THIS WAS THE HEART OF THE ISSUE AND CONTINUES TO BE TO THE PRESENT DAY.
A. Jesus is either dead or alive.
B. There are many today who believe that He is dead.
1. They do not believe the good news of the resurrection.
2. The story of the empty tomb is to them as a fairy tale.
C. Those who believe that He is dead are living in a dark and hopeless world.
1. There is no real hope for the present.
a. As we watch society crumbling about us.
b. The uncontrolled gang warfare.
c. The rise of venereal diseases.
d. The corruption of government.
e. What hope is there that any real changes can be made that will stop our mad dash to destruction?
2. There is no hope for the future.
a. We live like hogs and die like dogs.
b. Death is the final end.
c. Those who have died are perished.
3. The result of hopelessness is despair.
a. How many in the world today are living in despair.
b. They keep trying new things to somehow fill that void that they feel deep inside.
1. Money has not done it.
2. Sex has not done it.
3. Drugs have not done it.
4. Fame has not done it.
5. It appears that many of them like Madonna feel that maybe having a baby will do it.
4. There is no real justice when,
a. Good people die young.
b. Evil people live to old age.
c. People are born with or develop handicaps.
d. Life just isn't fair.
III. WHOM PAUL AFFIRMS TO BE ALLIVE.
A. At one time Paul believed that He was dead.
1. That is until he met Him personally.
2. When you have met someone and talked with them it is pretty certain proof that they are alive.
3. We see the great transformation that this made in Paul's life. This transformation cannot be explained apart from the fact that Paul was completely convinced that Jesus was risen from the dead.
a. He went from being an enemy of Christ to a friend of Christ.
b. He went from persecutor to a proclaimer.
c. He went from hating Jesus to loving Jesus.
d. He went from inflicting suffering upon the believers in Jesus, to suffering for the cause of Jesus.
4. When you see all that Paul suffered for the cause of Christ, you must admit that he was certainly convinced in the resurrection with all of his heart.
4 Of the Jews five times received I forty [stripes] save one.
5 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
6 [In] journeyings often, [in] perils of waters, [in] perils of robbers, [in] perils by [mine own] countrymen, [in] perils by the heathen, [in] perils in the city, [in] perils in the wilderness, [in] perils in the sea, [in] perils among false brethren;
7 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
8 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
5. No man would endure all of those things unless he was firmly convinced that Jesus was risen from the dead.
IV. WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS IF JESUS IS ALIVE?
A. That He is the Son of God as He alleged to be.
B. That God the Father did send Him into the world to save us from the consequences of our sins.
C. Those who do not believe in Him will perish in their sins, and face an eternity in hell separated from God.
D. Those who believe in Him will be forgiven of all of the sins they have ever committed, and will live with Him eternally in the glory of the heavenly kingdom, that is marked by righteousness, peace, and joy.
E. Basically those who believe that Jesus is alive, have a hope for the future, whereas those who do not believe have no hope.
F. Here is an anomaly, there are many who believe that Jesus is alive, who are dying in their sins, and when they die will not be in heaven.
1. Though they believe that He is alive, they have not committed their lives to Him.
a. They live as though He were dead.
b. As though His commandments do not matter.
c. They will be worse off than those who have never known of Jesus.
For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known [it], to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not [himself], neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many [stripes].
But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few [stripes]. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
2. It breaks my heart to realize that there are those who have attended here regularly, listened to the Word of God faithfully, and if asked would affirm their belief that Jesus was alive, and yet they are eternally lost, because they live as though He were dead, as though His commandments did not apply to them.
3. They live for the flesh and after the flesh.
4. You see, salvation is more than just believing that Jesus is alive, it is living the life that He has commanded.