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August 2, 2021 12:00 am
Is it was common in this day for Caesars to attach the name Curry office to their own Lord, Lord Caesar.
In fact, the good Roman citizen, a faithful Roman citizen of the Empire would rise.
And every morning offer a pinch of incense to Caesar and he would honor the word Caesar is Lord.
The apostle Paul chained to a Roman soldier's preaching that Caesar is not Lord. There is only one Lord, and that is the Lord Christ Jesus. Recommend steadfast, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. That's exactly how Paul lived his life based on all you know about Paul.
What epitaph would you have inscribed on his tombstone. What words can suffice to sum up a life so holy spent on bringing glory to Jesus today on wisdom for the heart. Stephen Devi closes out his series from the book of acts were looking at the final verses today in this message. Stephen is calling the last turn this morning for our final session in the book of action to the last two verses is returning when we first opened the book of acts. A decade or so ago, the Lord Jesus was giving his disciples a mandate to take the gospel and reach Jerusalem with it. Going to Judea and Samaria and then to the uttermost heart of the earth, then, obey their Lord and what Luke is chronicling for us is the expansion of the gospel as it reached Jerusalem and went out into Judeo Samaria and now here is Luke puts down his coil.
It has reached to the center of the civilized world to read his last paragraph acts chapter 28 verse 30 in verse 31 and he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness unhindered. There are two points to the content of Paul's preaching and teaching point number one is the truth about the kingdom of God narrowly interpreted the kingdom of God would be the coming kingdom we know is the millennial kingdom that thousand year reign of God through Christ on planet Earth that will follow the tribulation.
When Israel is regathered.
Perhaps Paul was pointing to his Jewish listeners and Gentile, telling them of this coming kingdom when all earth kingdoms Rome included will be set aside and this this king will reign and rule on planet Earth broadly interpreted the phrase the kingdom of God simply refers to the realm where God is King, the place where his name is honored when his laws and his principles are obeyed and followed where he is glorified, the kingdom, that kingdom that loose interpretation can be here and it can be now. I wonder if we took that and and tried to apply it in our lives. I wonder if men and women if you showed up to the place where you work tomorrow and you announce to your boss and to your him your associates to be your partner. Maybe your employees stood and you said I want you to know that this is the kingdom of God and I am here to honor his name and follow his principles and obey his laws. My desk my cubicle my office my corporation is the kingdom of God be an interesting way to start the new week. I wonder men what would happen if you came home from work one day and you announced to your family are home is the kingdom of God within these walls. His name will be glorified.
We will honor him. We will follow his principles.
We will obey his laws. This house is God's kingdom. Point number two was the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ. The last part of verse 31. He simply gives us the full title, the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul rarely referred to Jesus simply as Jesus usually attached the triumphant names of the Lord and Christ and I encourage you to for the most part do the same. The term Lord or carry us simply meant master or ruler.
It was the name and that lordship that became a part of the first sermon ever preached in this dispensation of grace we call the church age when the apostle Peter stood and he preached whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. He declared a new truth. You see, it was common in this day for Caesars to attach the name Curry office to their own name. Lord, Lord Caesar. In fact, the good Roman citizen, a faithful Roman citizen of the Empire would rise. And every morning offer a pinch of incense to Caesar and he would honor the words Caesar is Lord.
The apostle Paul, which I find fascinating, chained to a Roman soldier's preaching that Caesar is not Lord.
There is only one Lord, and that is the Lord Christ Jesus. Jesus, by the way, was an ordinary Jewish name special to the church. It was at this time though borne by thousands of Jewish boys and in many cases it was the counterpart of the Old Testament name. Yes, you or Joshua.
It had special significance when attached to this one because he was indeed the rescuer, the Redeemer, which is what Joshua me Jesus me the last name here Christ Chris Doss was a special title reserved for the Messiah fact in Matthew 1616 Peter will say under the inspiring influence of God the father of Christ thou our the Christ the son of the living God means anointed one. It was the title reserved for the one who one, and redeem his people. So this is highly significant to hear the call was preaching in this flat, the truth about Jesus that he was master Lord and that he was also Messiah process that Paul endured two years of house arrest and then many believe was released it. It seems that when you put some of the clues together.
For instance, Philemon intimates visit to Colossae first Timothy references visits of Paul the, Macedonia, and even another visit back to the elders of Ephesus with them sir sure was surprising to them and wonderfully invited Titus mentions Paul's visit to the Coppola's in second Timothy mentions Truax as something happened. Evidently, according to Roman law. Others have pointed out that there was a statutory limitation of two years and it seems that no one it arrived from Jerusalem to condemn Paul to accuse him. And so that limitation. I was exceeded and Paul was released did Paul ever testified before Nero did. Did the Caesar never hear the gospel why we have no evidence. You do have the promise. So we believe that he did for in the previous chapter in this book of acts chapter 27 verse 24 God encouraged Paul during the time of ship wreck by saying the Paul you must testify before Caesar, Eusebius, the third century historian states the Paul made two defenses before Nero was released after his first offense affect uses second Timothy chapter 4 verse 16 as his evidence were Paul says at my first defense.
No one stood with me all deserted to what Paul did do though, after he was released is go about his missionary journey and travel for several more years then history informs us around this period of time that Nero degenerated into a mad he kicked his wife to death while she was carrying their child. The poison the number of relatives he was in full swing and do all kinds of immorality and and even married another woman after executing her husband and finally Nero set Rome on fire. What you listen to what Tacitus says who is a Roman historian living during the time of the apostle Paul. This is what he said as Nero tried to deflects us mission of having put the torch to Roman by the way, more than half of Rome was the right of the fire. Nero look for a scapegoat and he found one listen to what Tacitus said wherefore in order to stop the rumor Nero put forward as guilty and afflicted with exquisite punishments.
Those who were hated for their abominations and called Christian by the populace. Therefore, first of all those who had confessed to being Christians, were arrested and then as a result of their information. A large number were implicated not so much on the charge of burning Rome.
As for hatred of the human race find it interesting. They were brought before the judges and condemned for hating the human race were not told why they were condemned as haters of the human race that really set me thinking. I can only imagine it was because the Christians were the ones who were saying that all have fallen short of the glory of God in all our condemned and all are sinners must come to Christ. I guess they could make an argument upon that logic, the rights they died by methods of mockery. Some were covered with the skins of wild beasts and and torn by dogs. Some were crucified, some were burned as torches to give light at night. Men felt that their destruction was not so much on account of the public welfare, but simply to gratify the cruelty of Nero will Paul was a leader of the Christian community and historians say that while in Corinth he was rearrested and brought back to Rome.
This time however he is not given a little apartment and some freedom. He is imprisoned in the man Martin prison. It was up it was the dungeon that the darkest and deepest of Rome. It was nicknamed the ranks nests. It would be during this period of time that Paul would write his final words to his son of the faith and to the church and by the way, it will be in just a few months, that Nero himself before Paul is executed out, will commit suicide and I couldn't help but contrast these two men representing two different kingdoms ending their lives two different ways and yet having to totally different eternal destinies.
While I want to make some final points of application and and sort of tied up my final comments of this book and this man, if you're following in your notes.
I want to make two comments. First of all, it is this the most revealing times of a person's perspective are times of great opposition to go back to the very last word of the book of acts.
It's a rather surprising word to me. Paul was preaching verse 31 tells us that the kingdom of God and and of the Lord Jesus Christ teaching people all about him and it says that he did it with openness and hears the word on hindered how you come up with a word like unhindered.
Paul was imprisoned even though it had freedom to move about that that the apartment he was still chained to a Roman guard yet. From their perspective. Luke and Paul's under inspiration, revealing the perspective of God. In fact the gospel was going forth unhindered the design of God allowed this captivity but from his perspective. Nothing shackled the gospel using the book of acts is not the triumph of Paul isn't the triumph of Peter isn't even the triumph of the church.
It is the triumph of God through the church and through his servants. Nothing can hinder the gospel which is the power of God unto salvation and that apartment became the headquarters for a global missionary movement. The same perspective. By the way of Paul, came through in first Corinthians chapter 16 verse nine where he said there is a wide door for effective service open to me and there are many adversaries now which is it is in a wide door open or effective ministry or many adversaries to the perspective of Paul. You can have both. One does not exclude the other. Can you imagine us today, saying, look at all the challenges facing the church and the hurdles in the opposition and the adversaries made. What a great opportunity. It's a wide open door. This is Paul's perspective in this perspective of Paul and our perspective today. By the way comes through loud and clear during times of great opposition second thought is this the most revealing times of the persons values are times of great adversity.
One anonymous author wrote adversity introduces a man to himself have ever met yourself with fresh understanding while under great adversity is true and I went to this will show you the values of Paul take your Bibles and turn to Paul's last words. Second Timothy chapter 4 Paul wrote this letter while he was locked up in the rats nest. The man Martin prison and he ends his last letter to Timothy was some very personal request which revealed by the way what Paul treasured the most. Verse nine make every effort to come to me soon. Timothy's writing to for Dimas, having loved this present world is deserted me going to Thessalonica creations is going to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service calls first personal request was deeply emotional Timothy, I am in this dark dungeon and I want to see you again and would you come and be with me and bring with you on your way. Mark. In other words, bring my friends I need them and value them. Did you notice the words in verse 10, Dimas, having loved this present world, has deserted me this painful words.
The apostle Paul wasn't above this notice verse 16. At my first offense. No one supported me for complaining is sharing his heart, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them. Notice verse 70, but the Lord stood with me and strengthen the gap all work. You're supposed to say that wasn't the Lord good enough. The Lord was good enough but in verse 21. Paul goes back to say make every effort to come to me before winter. It's interesting to me, ladies and gentlemen, the is one author wrote in the good times are friends know who we are right.
But in the bedtime. We know who our friends are. So come and be with me. Request number two in my coat, verse 13, I left it at trial. As with carpets roughly translated Timothy. I forgot my coat at carcasses house bring it when you come so encouraging to hear that the great apostle was a bit forgetful you ever lost your glasses are your keys, even the great one lately apostle Paul left his coat that that fella's house. Also, verse 13 bring the books request number three.
These were secular books. By the way, this is history and poetry. We know from his sermon to the Athenians that Paul was well-versed in secular poetry, and he evidently love to read it will bring the books I want that kind of intellectual stimulation, and enjoyment, but most importantly the last words in verse 13 bring especially the parchment. This was a reference to the Valium or the letters skinned copies were Paul had portions of the Old Testament written that he wants his copy or his version of the Bible all the Old Testament bring the Scriptures. Charles Riley suggested that Paul may have one of the Old Testament Scriptures, that he could read certain passages over and over again such as all nations before God are as nothing God brings the princes of the earth to nothing or maybe to read an Old Testament passage over and over again like thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on the because he trusts us in will lying here in the member team prison. He wanted to read. He wanted to read the word most of all is William Tyndale.
By the way was waiting in the castle dungeon for his execution wasn't sure was going to happen. We know that it eventually did this month some 400 years ago now. He wrote this letter to the governor of the castle is dungeon he was incarcerated by the way, it is the only letter or written element of his personal life to survive history.
This is all we have, but want to listen as he writes this letter to the governor. I believe that you are not ignorant of what has been determined concerning me by the Council. Therefore, I can treat your Lordship and that by the Lord Jesus that if I am to remain here in prison during the winter.
You will be kind enough to send me from my goods. A warmer, for I suffer extremely from cold, which is considerably increased in the cell.
The procurator has a woolen shirt of mine if he will be kind enough to send it.
I wish also his permission to have a lamp in the evening, for it is wearisome to sit alone in the dark establishment did you hear what he just said here's the man who gave us. In effect, the English Bible is ending his life by sitting alone cold and in the dark, and he asks for a lamp errors as solely says it's wearisome to sit alone in the dark. But above all, I can treat and and beg you to kindly permit me to have my Hebrew Bible.
Hebrew grammar and dictionary that I may spend my time with that study, and in return may you obtain your dearest wish provided always to be consistent with the salvation of your soul. But if before the end of winter a different decision be reached concerning me. I shall be patient abiding by the will of God, to the glory of the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ signed W. Tyndale an amazing how similar the ending of these two lives were in their faithfulness and I had asked the question I want to ask you if you only had a few months to live. What would you ask for what you value would comfort you. Better yet, could you be comforted or would you, as I tried to imagine myself what would I did in that dark cold dungeon and rail against God who would allow this to happen in my life or would we be drawn near to God. After a few months, church historians record the Paul was dragged from his dungeon cell and taken outside were his crimes read before an audience. We don't know was he allowed another opportunity to testify before Nero. We don't know that although he knows he was taken outside the city gates beheaded with the Romans sword. Perhaps he was taken outside the city gates to keep the Christians and the Roman citizens from rallying. How can you do this. This heinous crime to the apostle will know but frankly the order to execute Paul made no sense at all, like Hitler, ordering the execution of a few believers only months before he would commit suicide himself didn't make sense. Esther Bonhoeffer was one of those men, the digester just a matter of days before the liberation. It didn't make earthly sense, but some time before Nero's final breath as Satan clutched with a stronger grip than ever around this man who had become a madman by following this evil one, sometime before Nero plan to run from his kingdom and escape his praetorian guard sometime before he packed in his goods. The poison that he would take some time during those final maddening days. The enemy whispered in his ear.
You have unfinished business in the prison to all. The apostle Paul was not a threat to the kingdom of Rome. He had already written the Roman should pray for Nero he'd written that they should pay their taxes. Ladies and gentlemen, Paul was the best that Rome could ever hope to have nipple was a threat to Satan's kingdom of this world. Paul was an obstacle to the doctrines of demons. Paul lies in animate of the Prince of darkness, Nero ordered God allowed so the historian Eusebius records first call was taken 1 mile outside the city of Rome along the road called Diaz the way where there is a monument today, marking place, he was told to kneel down. The sword was raised by the Roman soldier in it last for a moment of sunlight and that it came down in the apostle of grace, champion of Christ reached the tape that we bring to a close this message and this series from the book of acts.
Today's message is called the last lap on our website. We posted the archive of Stephen's exposition of acts and you can listen there or download the full length messages free of charge. In addition, Stephen has a set of three Bible study guides that go along with this series. The series we just wrapped up is acts, volume 3, but all three volumes take you through the entire book of acts.
If you're a teacher or the leader of a group Bible study.
Many others have used these books for that as well.
Our website is wisdom online.org. Our phone number is 86 648 Bible or numerically. It's 866-482-4253, call us any business day between 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM. Well, thanks again for joining us today. Next time, Stephen begins a series from the life of Joseph join us for that right here on wisdom