- A CLOSER WALK WITH GOD (2)
- BELIEVER'S AUTHORITY (35)
- BIBLICAL PROSPERITY-a Balanced Approach (36)
- BOOK OF ACTS OF THE APOSTLE (45)
- BOOK OF HEBREWS (41)
- BOOK OF REVELATION (35)
- FAITH (23)
- FIRST AND SECOND CORINTHIANS (45)
- FOLLOWING GOD'S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE (42)
- HOLY SPIRIT (22)
- IN-DEPTH STUDY OF EPHESIANS (19)
- IN-DEPTH STUDY OF THE BOOK OF GALATIANS (21)
- IN DEPTH STUDY OF THE BOOK OF ROMANS (38)
- PROSPERITY (18)
- PROVERBS CHALLENGE (5)
- PROVERBS CHALLENGE 2024 (4)
- STUDY OF ISAIAH (39)
- THE GREAT SHEPHERD (20)
Friday, December 30 2011
We all love happy endings; don't we? Although Paul had a very tragic experience on the journey to Rome, the last verse of chapter 28 concludes that Paul did not die (yet). This book did not give the account of Paul before Caesar or how he died. But unproved history tells us that he died by be-heading about A.D 67; approximately five years after Acts 28. But from the end of Acts to when Paul died he wrote the books of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, Hebrews, Titus, First and Second Timothy. But let's learn from the last account of Paul's actions before the end of the book of acts; let's dip our hands into this final chapter and fill our hearts with the assortment of priceless nuggets!
1. Just a Perfect Example of a Leader - Verses 3-6
3-6Paul pitched in and helped. He had gathered up a bundle of sticks, but when he put it on the fire, a venomous snake, roused from its torpor by the heat, struck his hand and held on. Seeing the snake hanging from Paul's hand like that, the natives jumped to the conclusion that he was a murderer getting his just deserts. Paul shook the snake off into the fire, none the worse for wear. They kept expecting him to drop dead, but when it was obvious he wasn't going to, they jumped to the conclusion that he was a god!
Paul was always willing to get his hands dirty; a do as I do kind of preacher. If he preached oneness, he was first at the scene showing oneness.
2. We know in part; only God knows all and He allows nothing without purpose - Verses 7-9
7-9The head man in that part of the island was Publius. He took us into his home as his guests, drying us out and putting us up in fine style for the next three days. Publius's father was sick at the time, down with a high fever and dysentery. Paul went to the old man's room, and when he laid hands on him and prayed, the man was healed. Word of the healing got around fast, and soon everyone on the island who was sick came and got healed.
Is it all coincidence that Paul would appeal to Caesar, change ship at Myra, and then forced to swim to safety in Malta? Is it also coincidental that Paul got bitten by a snake and because he did not die the people erroneously concluded that he was a god? No, I don't think so. God does everything for a purpose. Verses 7-9 clearly show us that.
3. A Special Prisoner - treated like royalty - Verses 10-16
10-11We spent a wonderful three months on Malta. They treated us royally, took care of all our needs and outfitted us for the rest of the journey. When an Egyptian ship that had wintered there in the harbor prepared to leave for Italy, we got on board. The ship had a carved Gemini for its figurehead: "the Heavenly Twins."
Paul's stay in Malta was more or less as a free man; a king! His gift had made a way for him and he and his traveling companions were treated like royalty!
They were allowed to stay with friends in Naples Vs 14-15
"We found Christian friends there and stayed with them for a week. And then we came to Rome. Friends in Rome heard we were on the way and came out to meet us. One group got as far as Appian Court; another group met us at Three Taverns?emotion-packed meetings, as you can well imagine. Paul, brimming over with praise, led us in prayers of thanksgiving."
Paul used the opportunity to minister to brethren from all around the Roman province. People couldn't wait for him to arrive; they traveled and joined him on the way. The NIV and KJV say "Paul was encouraged". Vs 15
4. Clarity cannot be over emphasized Verses 17-20
"Three days later, Paul called the Jewish leaders together for a meeting at his house. He said, "The Jews in Jerusalem arrested me on trumped-up charges, and I was taken into custody by the Romans. I assure you that I did absolutely nothing against Jewish laws or Jewish customs. After the Romans investigated the charges and found there was nothing to them, they wanted to set me free, but the Jews objected so fiercely that I was forced to appeal to Caesar. I did this not to accuse them of any wrongdoing or to get our people in trouble with Rome. We've had enough trouble through the years that way. I did it for Israel. I asked you to come and listen to me today to make it clear that I'm on Israel's side, not against her. I'm a hostage here for hope, not doom."
Paul did not tag all of the Jewish leaders to be the same as we learnt a while ago we also see here. He instead invited them for a meeting at his house (note - his house). In the meeting, he stated the facts and explained his intentions; he left nothing in the grey area, no room for misinterpretations. The plain old truth it was!
5. What did we say about tale bearers? Verses 21-22
21-22They said, "Nobody wrote warning us about you. And no one has shown up saying anything bad about you. But we would like very much to hear more. The only thing we know about this Christian sect is that nobody seems to have anything good to say about it."
They cannot handle face-to-face confrontations; they also need people of like minds to thrive. The Jewish leaders in Rome, to me appear to be more objective and liberal than their Jerusalem counterparts; possibly the reason why they were not involved. All of a sudden, the accusations were over. "Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down" Prov. 26:20
6. Paul's approach created the right atmosphere to preach a hard sermon Verses 23 - 28
In these verses we see Paul preaching the Gospel that has caused him the biggest problems in his life to the Jewish leaders. Some were convinced but some weren't; he dropped words that spoke volumes to the listeners. He quoted from the prophet Isaiah [Isaiah 6:9, 10]
In this last chapter we see Paul again demonstrating traits of true leadership, being clear and approachable. It is as if he was re-iterating the traits we have learnt in previous studies. As we round up, I wish to remind us of that time during Paul's journey when Agabus prophesied and the people feared that Paul would die and begged him not to go But he wouldn't budge? Remember what he said? "Why all this hysteria? Why do you insist on making a scene and making it even harder for me? You're looking at this backward. The issue in Jerusalem is not what they do to me, whether arrest or murder, but what the Master Jesus does through my obedience. Can't you see that?" Acts 21:13
Well, the benefit of hind sight; Verses 30-31 tells us that this story had a happy ending!
30-31Paul lived for two years in his rented house. He welcomed everyone who came to visit. He urgently presented all matters of the kingdom of God. He explained everything about Jesus Christ. His door was always open.