"THE BOOK OF ACTS" Paul's Roman Citizenship (22:22-30) INTRODUCTION 1. As Christians, we enjoy a special citizenship... a. Our citizenship is in heaven - Php 3:20 b. We are fellow citizens with the saints and members of God's family - Ep 2:19 c. As such, we are in one sense pilgrims and sojourners in this world- 1Pe 2:11 2. But we also have an earthly citizenship... a. As citizens of an earthly nation in this world b. Thus we enjoy "dual citizenship," if you will [At times, this "dual citizenship" works to our advantage, as it did for Paul when his life was in jeopardy in Jerusalem. Turning to our text (Ac 22:22-30), let's consider some things about...] I. PAUL'S ROMAN CITIZENSHIP A. HIS LIFE THREATENED... 1. When Paul defended himself before the mob in Jerusalem... a. They listened to him quietly until he mentioned being sent to the Gentiles - Ac 22:1-2,22 b. When they again called for Paul to be put to death
- Ac 22:22-23; cf. Ac 21:36 2. The Roman commander, determining to know the truth... a. Ordered Paul back into the barracks - Ac 22:24 b. Prepared to have Paul examined by scourging - ibid. c. A form of torture involving beating with leather thongs in which were inserted rough pieces of bone or metal B. HIS LIFE SPARED... 1. About to be scourged, Paul asked the centurion a question... a. Is it lawful to scourge a Roman who has not been condemned?- Ac 22:25 b. Prompting the centurion to go to the commander, urging caution - Ac 22:26 c. The centurion's caution reflects the magistrates' fear at Philippi - cf. Ac 16:35-39 2. The commander questioned Paul about his Roman citizenship... a. Paul confirmed that he was a Roman - Ac 22:27 b. The commander boasted of his purchased citizenship - Ac 22:28 c. Paul claimed to be a born citizen, evidently a higher status of citizenship 3. The response to Paul's claim was immediate... a. Those about to scourge him withdrew from Paul - Ac 22:29 b. The commander was afraid for having bound a Roman - ibid. 4. Knowing that Paul was a Roman citizen, the commander... a. Was determined to know why Paul was accused by the Jews - Ac 22:30 b. Arranged for a legal hearing before the Sanhedrin council - ibid. [Paul certainly used his Roman citizenship to his advantage. But what are our duties as Christians in regards to our earthly citizenship? Let's use this opportunity to review what they are...] II. OUR EARTHLY CITIZENSHIP A. THE DUTY TO OBEY... 1. As taught by Paul - Ro 13:1-5 2. As taught by Peter - 1Pe 2:13-14 3. Whenever there is a conflict, we must obey God rather than man - Ac 5:29 B. THE DUTY TO PAY... 1. To pay taxes, customs - Ro 13:6-7 2. To pay respect toward authorities - Ro 13:7; 1Pe 2:17 3. Whether we approve their political or personal behavior (e.g.,Nero) C. THE DUTY TO PRAY... 1. For kings and all in authority - 1Ti 2:1-2 2. That we might lead quiet, peaceful, godly lives - 1Ti 2:2; 1Th 4:11 3. Christians who pray in this way serve their country in very powerful way! a. God does not hear the prayers of the wicked - 1Pe 3:12 b. If not for the righteous, this world would be in dire straights! 4. Think of Christians as spiritual chaplains, serving their country as military chaplains serve their country ministering to their fellow soldiers CONCLUSION 1. As Christians living in the world, we have an earthly citizenship... a. As citizens of the nations granted by birth or other means b. We must be careful to fulfill our God-given duties as citizens c. And as did Paul, utilize our rights as citizens when they serve God's purposes 2. As Christians living in the world, we have a heavenly citizenship... a. That calls us to be spiritual priests making intercession for all men b. That calls us to be peacemakers as we serve the Prince of peace c. That cautions us to place our heavenly citizenship over our earthly one For in the end, we are still pilgrims and sojourners. But properly discerned and lived, our "dual citizenship" can be a blessing for both God and country...!