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RCCG Miracle Land Dundalk
Friday, December 30 2011


Last week, we had a double dose of vital lessons from Paul's leadership skills. His ability to know his crowd coupled with his ease to captivate his audience. As usual, Paul never spared the opportunity to preach the message even though that evoked an angry mob. This opportunity was a result of an angry outburst which resulted after Paul took to the advice of taking purified men with him (Acts 21:23-26). Although, God in His infinite mercies used the occasion for His glory, however, we all learnt the lesson that helping God does not help. We will look at the sovereignty of God as He steps far ahead of the enemy to overturn the planned execution of Paul in his bid to fulfil God's purpose!


1 Gazing intently at the high council, Paul began: "Brothers, I have always lived before God with a clear conscience!" 2 Instantly Ananias the high priest commanded those close to Paul to slap him on the mouth. 3 But Paul said to him, "God will slap you, you corrupt hypocrite! What kind of judge are you to break the law yourself by ordering me struck like that?"  4 Those standing near Paul said to him, "Do you dare to insult God's high priest?" 5 "I'm sorry, brothers. I didn't realize he was the high priest," Paul replied, "for the Scriptures say, ?You must not speak evil of any of your rulers.

The character of an honest man is being displayed here. Paul was mindful of his words here, notice he said I have always lived..Paul always strive to have a clear conscience Acts 24vs16. Notice his efforts. The word always depicts a man who is conscious of what he does (his conduct), how he does it and his words too. We should take a cue from this. Ephesians 4:29

Notice also, Paul's response which is very different from Jesus' words in Luke 6:29. This tells us that Paul was also vulnerable to the operation and reaction of the flesh (unholy anger). However, at the rebuke of those who stood by, Paul was quick to express his ignorance of the priest and offer what can pass for an apology. Despite being unjustly treated, Paul never so that as enough reason to disrespect authority.


6 Paul realized that some members of the high council were Sadducees and some were Pharisees, so he shouted, "Brothers, I am a Pharisee, as were my ancestors! And I am on trial because my hope is in the resurrection of the dead!"  7 This divided the council?the Pharisees against the Sadducees?8 for the Sadducees say there is no resurrection or angels or spirits, but the Pharisees believe in all of these. 9 So there was a great uproar. Some of the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees jumped up and began to argue forcefully. "We see nothing wrong with him," they shouted. "Perhaps a spirit or an angel spoke to him." 10 As the conflict grew more violent, the commander was afraid they would tear Paul apart. So he ordered his soldiers to go and rescue him by force and take him back to the fortress. 11 That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, "Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well."

The Sadducees, from this scriptural passage, are anti-scriptures in their beliefs as opposed to the Pharisees. Though they both seemed to be perfectly agreed in their conspiracy against The Way that Paul preached, yet they were influenced by very different motives. There is no true friendship among the wicked, and in a moment, and with the utmost ease, God can turn their union into open enmity. A very good reflection of Isaiah 54:15, which will make for a great prayer point. Paul, being alone at this trial saw an opportunity for support from the enemy. What a way of escape (1Cor 10:13). Because Paul's way pleased the Lord, He made his enemies to be at peace with him. Awesome! Paul must have been so comforted by God's visitation that night. He was also let into God's plan for him as it relates to testifying for Him in Rome.


12 The next morning a group of Jews got together and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty of them in the conspiracy. 14 They went to the leading priests and elders and told them, "We have bound ourselves with an oath to eat nothing until we have killed Paul. 15 So you and the high council should ask the commander to bring Paul back to the council again. Pretend you want to examine his case more fully. We will kill him on the way." 16 But Paul's nephew?his sister's son?heard of their plan and went to the fortress and told Paul. 17 Paul called for one of the Roman officers and said, "Take this young man to the commander. He has something important to tell him." 18 So the officer did, explaining, "Paul, the prisoner, called me over and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you." 19 The commander took his hand, led him aside, and asked, "What is it you want to tell me?"20 Paul's nephew told him, "Some Jews are going to ask you to bring Paul before the high council tomorrow, pretending they want to get some more information. 21 But don't do it! There are more than forty men hiding along the way ready to ambush him. They have vowed not to eat or drink anything until they have killed him. They are ready now, just waiting for your consent."22 "Don't let anyone know you told me this," the commander warned the young man.


Amazing isn't it that after God had assured Paul that he will testify of Him in Rome, the previous night, a plan was being hatched by men who have sworn an oath possibly to a deity to have him assassinated the very next day. See how wicked men can be? KJV says they bound themselves under a curse! A learning point here is how wisely Paul handled the privileged information. Paul could as well have waved aside his nephew's revelation of the plan believing that since God has assured him the previous night, there was no need to be bothered. Awesome God. Paul's nephew must have been placed at the vicinity mysteriously, to have heard all the plans word for word. Imagine what would have happened if Paul did not act on the information? He would have died without fulfilling God's agenda. We must be very sensitive and alert. God answers to our prayers come in diverse forms. In this case, it came to Paul in the form of privileged information meant to be acted upon with wisdom! God had already prepared the heart of the commander to take the appropriate action and to counsel Paul's nephew accordingly


Are you currently facing some challenges? Not to bother, if God has done it in the past, He is still in the business of doing it over and over again. He rescued Paul. He will rescue you too. All He requires from you is to be in His will and be sensitive and alert to His answers to your prayers because they will surely come in Jesus Name. I pray for grace for every one of us to act wisely when God's answers to our prayers come.

Contributor: Leye Olayiwola

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