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When God Turns it Around, Part 2

Sound of Faith / Sharon Hardy Knotts and R. G. Hardy
The Truth Network Radio
April 11, 2022 8:00 am

When God Turns it Around, Part 2

Sound of Faith / Sharon Hardy Knotts and R. G. Hardy

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April 11, 2022 8:00 am

When he arrived in Rome, his testimony was bigger than anything he could have ever imagined.

Learn how to see your detours and delays as God’s turn-arounds!

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Welcome to The Sound of Faith.

I'm Sharon Knotts thanking you for joining us today because we know that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. If you like stories where God takes a series of misfortunes and satanic attacks against his children and boomerangs them on the devil, then you're going to like today's message when God turns it around. Paul had an irrepressible desire to go to Rome. And in part to the Christians, they're a spiritual gift.

But it took two years, two prison terms, two cruises, one shipwreck with an island vacation before he got there when God turned it around. So Paul said, don't you worry about me. I know you love me. I know that you're concerned about me.

I understand that. But I want you to know that all of this, like they've been detours and obstructions in my way. And it seems like they've been distractions and detractions. It seems like the devil's had his way.

Don't you worry about it. God is working it all together for the good. God has got a master plan the devil don't know anything about. When the devil thinks God's going to move this way, he's going to move that way. When he goes over there to attack that one, God's going to move over here. But don't you worry about it because my God is going to turn it around. You may not be able to see it now, but I tell you he's going to turn it around.

Oh, yes he is. And so Paul was rejoicing because he said all of the things, all of these things that you thought that would discourage me. I want you to know they don't discourage me one bit. So when they're telling him don't go, don't go to Jerusalem, don't go, he wouldn't hear no more of it. He said I'm going to Jerusalem in spite of everything.

Why? Why was he so bound and determined to go to Jerusalem? Well, he may have been buying a ticket to go to Jerusalem, but he was not interested in going to Jerusalem. Paul was interested in going to Rome. Paul knew that he was going to Rome one way or another, he was going to Rome. And if he was going to Rome, then somehow or another, no matter what happened at Jerusalem, he was still going to Rome. So he wasn't going to worry about it. I mean, he'd already been raised from the dead.

So, you know, that wasn't even that didn't scare him. He knew that he was going to Rome. You see, he might have bought a ticket that said Jerusalem, but really Paul's mind and heart was already on Rome.

But what he had to do in order to get to Rome, you know how it is when you want to fly somewhere, you want to go down to Florida, you want to go down there and have a nice vacation, you like to get a flight that's straight through, don't you? Don't you hate to have to go somewhere else? You want to go to Florida, but they make you go to Minneapolis and change planes. And then you got to sit there in that airport for two hours so you can get on to your to your destination.

You don't like to do that, but a lot of times you can't get straight through flights where you want to go. And Paul knew that maybe he might have to go to Jerusalem. And even when he got to Jerusalem, he's going to find out that he was going to have to get another ticket. And that ticket was going to be to go to Caesarea. And then when he got to Caesarea, he was going to have a two year layover.

And we get upset over a two hour layover. He was going to have a two year layover in Caesarea on his way to Rome. And if that wasn't enough, he was going to finally get a ticket on a boat to go to Rome.

But guess what? Before he got to Rome, he was going to have to go to the island of Mileta and have a three month layover. But God was going to turn it all around. Every detour, everything that looked like a detour, that looked like the devil had his hand right in the middle of it. And it looked like he was messing everything up and causing everything to go haywire. God was going to turn it around.

Oh, yes, he was. Because he knew where he was going. His mind was made up to go to Rome. Let's look at Romans, the first chapter. We're going to hear it out of Paul's mouth.

I don't want you to take my word for it. I want you to hear Paul's mouth. Verse eight. He said, First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all. And your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. What a testimony. I mean, when Paul would hear the stories about the faith of the Christians at Rome, it just lit that fire in his heart.

He had to get there. See, he did not plant the churches in Rome. All the other churches and all throughout Greece and Turkey and Asia Minor and all of the letters that we read.

All the other ones, Corinthians and Thessalon, Nicaeans and Philippians and Colossians and Ephesians and all those. He planted those churches, but he didn't plant the one at Rome. But he still wanted to get there. He wanted to get there because their faith was heard up throughout all the world. And that means throughout the entire Roman Empire.

And that was a huge empire. And so he says, Your faith is heard of everywhere, for God is my witness whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his son. There's no other way to serve him. Then without ceasing, I make mention of you always in my prayers. Now, he's praying for them, but he's also praying for himself. Oh, he's praying for them, but he's getting his own little request in because he says, Make in request if by any means.

What did he say? If by any means. I want you to remember that because Paul said, If by any means, now at length, I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. So because he says, For I long to see you, I want to impart a spiritual gift.

I'm paraphrasing. I want to impart a spiritual gift unto you. He says, I've got fruit amongst all the other gentile churches, but I don't have any fruit amongst you, but I want to come and get some.

I want to come and have a harvest of the Roman Christians, too. I just got to get there, he's saying. And verse 15, let's drop down there. So as much as it as in me is. Now, that's hard to say because you don't want to say it like that. You want to say so as much as it is in me, but it's not what he said. So as much as in me is.

I mean, do you understand? Paul is really making a point here. So as much as in me is, I am ready. I am ready to preach the gospel to you and all that are at Rome also. So Paul clearly has an agenda. Wherever he goes in the next days, weeks, months, years, he's going to get to Rome. Live, die, sink or swim, he's going to get to Rome. He's made up his mind.

And I think he must have had a promise from God. You're going to Rome. I promise, Paul, you're going to Rome. Calm down.

Just, you know, just cool down a little bit. You're going to Rome. But we've got some other things to take care of first.

We've got a few more adventures you have to do before you get there. But he said as much as is in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel at Rome. I am going to get there, and this is what he said, if by any means. Did he say that?

How many saw it? All I can tell you is watch out what you pray for. When you say, God, I want it no matter what you have to do, watch out what you pray for. God, I just want you to work this thing out.

It doesn't matter what I got to do, where I got to go, how I got to do it, who you got to use. Oh, God, just do it. Watch out what you pray for. Because Paul said, by any means, I got to get to Rome. And I've been making my request. Did he say without ceasing?

Is that what it said? He said without ceasing, I'm telling God, I want to go to Rome. I want to go to Rome. Whatever I got to do to get there.

Whatever I got to endure. However I get there, whenever I get there, whoever takes me there, whatever the situation is. God, will you please let me go to Rome?

Will you let me go to Rome and preach to the Christians there? And he had a fervent desire. And when you've got a fervent desire, nothing but nothing is going to stop you.

And when things come in your way that seem to be absolutely opposite to what you prayed, and it seems like there's no way now it can come to pass because this is totally opposite of what I prayed, you're going to believe that God is going to turn it around. And so Paul said, I'm going to end up at Rome, but just get there. I got to go to Jerusalem first. And that's not the direction he wanted to go in. Jerusalem is in the opposite direction of Rome. But this is the way that the Lord was going to take him. So he has to go to Jerusalem, and I'm going to start paraphrasing because I know that you all have been good, good Bible students, and you read Acts 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27. And so therefore, when I paraphrase, you're going to be right on the same page with me. We're just going to go right along because you already know it. Amen?

So he said it by any means. So he got his ticket, and they got to Jerusalem. And at first they were received very warmly by the brethren and also by the elders, including James, who was the brother of Jesus, the half-brother of Jesus, who was the pastor of the church at Jerusalem. And they were met there, and they asked Paul, they said, Paul, we want to ask you to do something, a favor. We would like for you to take a vow of purification with some other of the brothers who are going to take this special It was a Jewish thing, to take a special vow, and I think it was for seven days. I don't know if they fasted. It included shaving their heads. And, you know, special prayers and sacrifice during that time.

He said, would you be willing to do that? To show all the brethren that you are not coming in here trying to tear down all their Jewish customs and trying to rip all their Jewish culture away. Would you be willing to do that to prove to them that that is not what you're doing? All you're doing, all you're saying is, do not force the Jewish customs onto the Gentiles to be saved when they never kept them in the first place. It doesn't save them. It doesn't even save you.

If you want to do them, fine, do them. It won't save you, but if you like having your little feasts and your little things, that's fine. But you can't force it on the Gentiles and tell them they have to do that to be saved. And so Paul said, I don't have a problem with that.

No. I'm still Paul, a Jew. I'm still a Hebrew. I still love my Jewish heritage. There's no problem.

I'd be glad to do that. So he agreed to do it, and he did it. But there were some that stirred up a rumor, and they claimed they lied and said that Paul had taken a Gentile, a Greek, into the Holy Temple, which was against the law. It was against the word of God. It was a lie, but you know, people, when they hear a rumor, people will run with it before they ever check out the facts.

People, oh, I saw so-and-so down there on the street, and they were with somebody else, and they heard somebody else say it, and they heard somebody else say it. They said they saw Paul go in there with the Greek. It was a lie.

It was a lie. But they took that rumor, and they ran with it. And the next thing you know, they went into the temple, grabbed Paul, drug him out, slammed the temple doors, and they started questioning him, and then a mob came, and the next thing you know, they were beating him.

This is what religion will do for you. They were beating him. The man hasn't even had a chance to defend himself, and they were beating him to the point that somebody ran and got the Roman authorities, and they came, and they had to take Paul out of their hands lest they kill him, and they got him aside to try to find out what on earth is going on, and they're all there yelling and hollering and screaming, so they put Paul in jail to save his life. Now, you know the devil doesn't like you when you've got to go to jail to be safe. You know you're really in a trial to test when it's safer for you to be in jail than out of jail. So they kept him in there overnight and let everybody cool down and sleep, and the next day they were going to bring him out, and they were going to have a civilized trial, or so they thought.

But the same thing happened all over again. They started screaming and yelling, and Luke says they almost pulled Paul to pieces, so they got Paul again and sucked him back in jail. And here he is back in jail again. They're trying to figure out what on earth this man must have done.

I mean, what has this man done to deserve this kind of treatment? And that night, Paul's nephew overheard a conversation where it was told that there was a conspiracy of over 40 men who had come together in such hatred. They said, We'll not eat another bite of food until we kill Paul. And so the boy heard that. He went and told the authorities what they said. And so when the captain of the guard heard, he knew if he would try to bring him out for a trial, they were going to be lying in ambush, they were going to kill him.

So what did he do? I love this. I just love it. You've got to love it.

You have to love it. Now, you read it, so you already know, right? You know that he called for 200 soldiers, and he called for 200 men with spears and 70 men on horses to take one rather short, not very young or athletic, rabbi to Caesarea. I mean, what an entourage! One little Jewish rabbi who has an escort of 200 soldiers, and you know what the Roman soldiers looked like with all their armor and their red little fuzzy stuff up here. And then 200 that had spears and then 70 on horses to escort one little preacher. I tell you, he was a dangerous man.

Yes, he was. He was dangerous to the kingdom of darkness. And in the dark of night, they whisked him out of town, and they took him to Rome.

I don't hear any protest. You were supposed to have read this stuff. They took him to Caesarea. He wants to go to Rome, but he's got another layover.

So they sent him to Caesarea, and when he got to Caesarea, he ended up staying in jail in Caesarea for two years. Now, you know, that would have discouraged you. Don't you think you would have got discouraged? Don't you think you would have gotten discouraged somewhere along the way? But you know why he didn't? I want to digress for just a moment and back up and let you see one reason why he didn't get discouraged. We'd have to go back to Acts.

It's got to be around 21, 22. When they were still in Jerusalem, the second night in jail, before they took him away, he said, the Lord stood by me. Jesus Christ himself showed up in that prison cell. He said, the Lord stood by me, and he said, Be of good cheer, Paul, for as you have testified of me in Jerusalem, you must, somebody say must, somebody say must is important, he said you must also testify of me in Rome. When God knows you're going to go through a long, long haul before you start seeing answers to your prayers, he is so wonderful, he is so good and so gracious, he'll always give you something to hold on to.

We only see, I think, recorded, I'm trying to think sincerely. I'm trying to think, I can only think of three times, and somebody will correct me if I'm wrong, I'm sure, because you already read the whole book of Acts. But I can only think of about three times when Paul says that the Lord came or an angel came specifically and spoke to him.

It's not like it happened every day, saints. He was getting beaten, persecuted, whipped, going to jail, all kinds of things were happening to him continually, but these supernatural things didn't happen all the time. God doesn't always every day, every day give you a dream and a prophecy and a word and a confirmation, an angel and a trumpet. He doesn't do that day after day after day, because if he did after a while, you would depend on that, and you wouldn't depend on the word of God, and your faith would shrivel up and it would be worthless. But when you really need it, I mean when you really, really need it, when you've come to the proverbial end of your rope, when you've come to the proverbial skin of your teeth, God will give you a word. And God gave him that word that night in that prison in Jerusalem, and that was a good word, because when he went to Caesarea, he languished in that jailhouse for two long years.

But I know that there might have been many times when he had to be discouraged. There had to be many times when he would have said, God, what am I doing sitting in here? You gave me a gift, you gave me a calling, you gave me anointing, signs, wonders, miracles. I should be out holding revivals. I should be out preaching in the churches.

What good am I here sitting up in this jail? You said I was going to Rome. But he had that word from God. God said, Paul, be of good cheer, because just like you had faithfully testified in Jerusalem, you must. And when God says you must, then you will. When God says it's going to be, it's going to be.

And I don't care how it looks. Instead of going to Rome, he's going to Caesarea. And from there, he sat there for two years. And at one time after another, he told his story so many times, because when he first got there, Felix was the governor. Now, Felix was a Greek, but he had knowledge of both Christianity and Judaism. Luke said he had more perfect knowledge of the way. And whenever you see the way in the Book of Acts, it's referring to Christians.

They were called the people of the way before they were called Christians. And he said Felix had perfect knowledge of the way. Not only that, Felix was married to a woman named Jerusalem, and she was a Jewess.

In fact, her father was Herod the Great. Bad guy. That's another sermon. Real bad guy.

You know, Saddam Hussein type bad guy. But she was Jewish, so he knew about Judaism and Christianity. So when Paul made his defense to him, he could follow the arguments between the accusers and Paul. He could understand the logic of what they were saying. But he chose to just keep Paul there and go on and on, and he called Paul back. He says, I'll hear you again another time. And the Bible says many times, and this is a whole other message, a whole other sermon.

It's good stuff, but I'm not going to bring it out tonight. Really good stuff about just the whole Caesarea part. But finally, after two years, Paul was still sitting up there in jail, and Felix was just letting him sit there until Rome yanked Felix out, sent in a new governor, Festus. Now, when Festus got there, he didn't have a clue. He didn't know anything about the way, the Christians, or the Jews. He didn't know nothing. So when they got up to give their defense and they got into all their theology about Judaism and Christianity and the resurrection, he didn't know what they were talking about.

He thought they were all crazy. So he didn't know what to do with Paul. So he said, I've got to do something.

I've got to figure out what to do. He said, Paul, the only thing I know to do is let's go back to Jerusalem, and we'll have the trial there, and would you be willing? We'll go back there, and we'll get all your accusers, and we'll get all the people that know all the lawyers and all the defense, and then we'll have a trial in Jerusalem, and we'll get this thing settled. Paul said, are you crazy? Go back to Jerusalem?

I don't think so. He said, I've been trying to get to Rome for two years. I appeal to Caesar. You see, he couldn't appeal to Caesar until all the other things had been exhausted. You can't go from the little district court down in Baltimore City straight to the Supreme Court. You've got to go to the appellate court, and you've got to go to the federal court, and then if you don't like it there, you go to the appellate court, and you've got to go through. I mean, it may take you years before you finally get to the Supreme Court, and then when your case does get before the Supreme Court, because they get about 100,000 cases a year come to them, they only choose about 100. They don't choose all of them.

They only choose the ones that they think are important that will have something to say for the whole nation. You cannot appeal to the Supreme Court until you've gone through all the other avenues, and when Festus said that, go back to Jerusalem, Paul said, this is my chance. I've been waiting. I'm going to Rome. Here I come.

Get my suitcases out now. He said, I appeal to Caesar. And Festus said, well then, to Caesar you will go. And Paul said, that's the best news I've heard in two years, because when God is ready to move, he'll turn it around. The devil will try to get you to go back to Jerusalem, where your enemies are waiting to kill you. But when God says you must, then you will.

You will go all the way where God says you will go. So they were finally going to get to go to Rome, and he got his ticket signed and sealed. Passageway. Only thing was, it was on a boat, it was on a ship, and well, it wasn't exactly the Queen Elizabeth or the Queen Mary. I don't know what some of those other cruisers are that they have now.

It wasn't exactly one of them. It was a ship where there were other prisoners. They were all going to jail in Rome. So there he was, still in handcuffs and still in shackles. But he was going to Rome. He says, these things don't move me.

I can't be worried about this. Now, I can imagine that it had to get on his nerves, because I've got to tell you, I thought about doing it, but I thought about it, and real quick, I forgot about it. I thought about coming out here and trying to preach to you in handcuffs all night. And I realized that that would be nearly impossible, because for one thing, one reason why I had this lapel mic is because I've got to preach with my hands too, and I'm not even a Jew. How many say amen? And if you've ever seen a Jewish rabbi, if you've ever watched them, they don't only preach with their mouth, they preach with their hands. Amen? And so can you imagine Paul trying to stand up and give his defense and trying to preach with handcuffs on?

I mean, it must have been awfully hard, because a lot of times they had their little figures of speech that they used, and they would say things like, now, on one hand, you're an heir of God, but on the other hand, you're a joint heir with Christ, and you really need your hands to be able to preach like that. How many say amen? Paul said, I don't care if I'm in handcuffs. I don't care if I'm in shackles. I don't care if I'm on some old stinking boat with a bunch of criminals. I'm on here for preaching the Gospel.

They're on here for murdering, killing, thievery, lying, cheating, rape, and every other ungodly thing you can think of. But that doesn't move me. That doesn't upset me, because I know that God's going to work it all together for good. I know that God's going to turn it around.

He will turn it around. So he didn't get upset. I tell you what, I can think of a lot of preachers today. They can't go first class. They ain't going. Oh, my, they've got to have, everything's got to be first class. You know, they've got to have somebody roll out the red carpet. They've got to have somebody come up and wipe the sweat off their brow. How many say amen? God, they couldn't have hung in there with Apostle Paul.

They couldn't have made it. But Paul said these things don't bother me. I've been through these things before.

I've got one thing on my mind. I've got to preach the Gospel. And if we would back up to the first scripture that we read, he not only said, I've got to preach the Gospel, but what I like, and this stands out in my mind, he didn't just say, I've got to preach the Gospel. He said, I've got to give testimony of the Gospel of grace, of the Gospel of grace. And that not only means grace for the sinner, that he can save you from all of your sins, but that means grace for the Christian who's in the battle, who's in the fight, who's in the warfare, and you feel weary and tired and weak. Paul said, I can tell you something about grace because I've been there.

Because one of the other few times that God ever spoke personally that he put it in the Word was when he said that he'd been buffeted for by that thorn in the flesh, and he'd be sought the Lord three times to take it away. But God said, no, no. How would you like God to tell you?

No. He said, I'm not going to take it away, but my grace is sufficient for you. I'm going to give you the grace that you need.

How many say amen? There have been a lot of things that I haven't liked in my life. There have been a lot of hard places. There were a lot of things when I was young growing up in the Lord. There were a lot of things I had to learn the hard way when we used to go out in revivals and going out and preaching and stuff. And I didn't like them, and I didn't understand them, but oh, I found out that they were all for my good, that God was working all those things together for my good because I know that I've been through some battles. I've been through some places, and I know that God will bring you out.

I know that you don't have to fold up, and you don't have to fall in, and you don't have to give up. You can hang in there when you're sick in your body. When the devil says you can't do it, you're not strong enough. You're too weak.

You can't make it. You can say, oh, I know that God's grace is sufficient for me. Amen. I hope you're enjoying Paul's journey to Rome in our message, When God Turns It Around. Rome was the only New Testament church that Paul did not found, and he had a fervent desire to go there and impart to them a spiritual gift. But first he wanted to go to Jerusalem where he had many enemies who wanted him dead and were willing to kill them themselves. There were many warnings to Paul not to go, but he was determined knowing God would allow him to get to Rome eventually.

But this began a two-year saga that was filled with beatings, prison time, a midnight escape, a shipwreck detour to an island in the winter, and a poisonous snake bite the first night. But what was meant for Paul's demise, God turned it around, and one of the great revivals of the New Testament resulted on that pagan island. Paul did make it to Rome, where he was imprisoned again in the dungeon cell of the emperor's palace shackled to a soldier day and night. Now, Philippi was Paul's favorite church. He called them his joy and crown, and they were troubled when they heard he was in prison and wrote him of their concerns. Paul's answer to them swung on the hinge of one word, rather. That is, instead of my being discouraged about being in this Roman jail, I'm rejoicing because what has happened to me has fallen out rather to the furtherance of the gospel.

First, my shackles are known throughout the whole palace of Rome, the capital of the world. Everyone knows I'm in jail for Christ, not crime. And secondly, many brethren who were shy about preaching the gospel are now bold to preach without fear. This is truly the boomerang principle of God.

What Satan attempts for our harm, God turns around for our good and for the furtherance of his gospel and kingdom. To order when God turns it around on CD, send a love gift of at least $10 to help us with the cost of radio time. Request offer SK117, that's SK117, to Sound the Faith, P.O. Box 1744, Baltimore, Maryland, 21203, or you may order online at, where you can also order MP3. But to order by mail, request SK117, send a minimum love gift of $10 to P.O. Box 1744, Baltimore, Maryland, 21203. Until next time, this is Sharon Atzain, Maranatha. . . .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-06 00:30:43 / 2023-05-06 00:43:35 / 13

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