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July 30, 2021 12:00 am
He said in another passage I would to God that I were occurs for the sake of my brethren, do you know ladies and gentlemen. Anybody that would be willing to go to hell so that their friend could go to heaven he desired nothing more than for his people to accept Christ.
But at that moment, as those Jewish leaders left debating be at that moment he wished he wasn't in chains that he could follow after them.
He could go to their synagogues and preach and teach the true what he had to stay little the last several broadcasts we've been looking at the closing chapters of the book of acts and the apostle Paul's legal battle with the Roman Empire. Paul's main desire in life was to reach Gentiles for Christ in order to do that he was willing to joyfully endure whatever God had for him. He endured hardships stoning's shipwrecks and other setbacks just to preach the gospel in Rome. In today's message from acts 28. Paul finally gets there. But even though he arrived as a prisoner that won't stop him from proclaiming Christ. Here Stephen Devi with a message called finally if there was a character that we have studied in sessions together, who was a man who rushed and undoubtedly had to learn the way a man who I am convinced, drove his chariot at the top speed. It was Paul a man who lived life with the throttle wide open and if you wanted to make anyone's life miserable make his miserable by confining him, especially confining him to one room. If you can imagine that for the last 2 1/2 years. Paul has struggled with life turning out far differently than he dreamed in God has taught and is teaching him to wait and we can walk through it with him as we have studied his biography and now Paul's ship after all of this time.
After all of these delays, including this recent shipwreck that made the oh a month journey turn into almost a year he sales into and I tell the import. He will arrive at Rome at last. Let's return to our story in acts chapter 28 and pick up where we left off. Verse 11 and at the end of three months. We set sail on an Alexandrian ship which had wintered at the island.
If you remember where he was shipwreck ship is come by and wintered there another on their way. Luke records for us maybe to let us know the Paul again is an pagan company that had the twin brothers for its figurehead. This is politics and castor positively.
These twin sons of Zeus have been carved into the woodwork of the ship, which would supposedly give him safe passage of all the others.
Verse 12 and after we put in at Syracuse.
We stayed there for three days and from there we sailed around and arrived at radium and a day later as Southwinds sprang up and on the second day we came to if you tell. There we found some brethren and were invited to stay with them for seven days and thus we came to Rome. There's a volume by the way there and we can't take time to explore it. We've exported already, but it's as if Luke says thus we arrived finally Rome verse 15 and the brother and when they heard about us came from there as far as the market of APS and three in to meet us. And when Paul saw them he thanked God and took courage. Now that implies that there were some things that he was running short on will explore that in a moment. But now, just a few miles outside the capital city of the Roman Empire. Rome itself which is the headquarters of pagan unbelief, you discover as well. In this verse that there is also a small but growing church or maybe even a group of churches, some believers from that church met Paul on the road they had heard that he was coming and they went out and met him of the way and joined him on that highway just an hour or so now outside of the main capital city and as I study this. The key phrase that jumps off the page at me with this phrase in verse 15, the latter part. Paul thanked God and took courage. If you've ever been tempted to think that Paul was above the stress and the pressure of his trials and afflictions, think again.
We have already studied him through these storms and he is been transparently exposed to us, but we have to be careful not to put them on so high a pedestal that we think he never felt discouraged and nor was I should say completely wiped out here came a few believers to meet them outside this capital city just to walk beside him. They would offer some food to him and maybe some drink and they were smiling and they were happy. Already some 24 months earlier they had received the letter from him we know is the book of Romans, and that it established church and now the author was on their way to meet them and they were so excited that they came out and gave him sort of a he rose a welcome to Rome, which I'm sure surprised him and they just showed up at the right time and Paul thanked God and he found or took courage. That meant the courage was sort of on running low in this tank and that he prays was not so close to his lips and at that moment, here is trudging along in chains with soldiers and here came some believers, and at that moment they brought him great encouragement to have anybody do that to you here trudging along and then here comes a card aura call or maybe it's a handshake or somebody pull you cited church and says you know how you doing and you can tell they want to hear and I give you the time to hear and you have to just sort of stop and thank God and you take courage and they show up at the right another other people who show up who you wish would not show up at that time, but they do right. You had the privilege of being a Bible conference a couple weeks ago in Pennsylvania. Speaking of three days in on one like to present the college invited me to his home in one of the guests with him was a veteran pastor and his late 70s, white haired gentleman who'd pastored who had taught who was now and was the president of a Christian college and now is the Chancellor and we sat in the living room until late into the evening close to 11 o'clock.
I just encourage them and they were glad to do it. They just shared stories and forth of their years of ministry to present this college. The other colleges. Also, having been in the pastor and I just sat there it is, drank it in and they conspired me to go further anybody in your life that does that argue that way in anyone's life. Paul was on his way to inevitable suffering and perhaps death is he's met by these Roman believers who both share his courage and inspire his courage. They had already paid the price.
By the way, they could inspire this man. They were already the laughing stock of the Roman Empire. They had already established the church that was less than perhaps two years old and they knew it was like to be different to standalone to be mocked. In fact, from the first century archaeologists discovered a drawing on the wall of the barracks attached to Caesar's household is the palace of the Caesar's someone was mocking a Roman soldier who evidently had trusted Christ the Savior because it is a picture of a man nailed to a cross, an obvious reference to Christ, but it was the body of a man the head of a donkey and a Roman soldier who is kneeling before this cross worshiping underneath the caption reads Annex Minos worships his God is an obvious insult to Christ.
Some of these believers in Rome, maybe even a soldier or 2 Who Pl. their faith in Christ come alongside Paul who is shackled and they encourage this apostle in chains and their presence and their enthusiasm. They have any money to give a more maybe just a little food or drink, but just their presence and encouragement brought about this thing and Paul so that he stopped and had a little prayer meeting and it says he thanked God and he took courage to go to verse 16. When we entered Rome. Paul was allowed to stay by himself and the soldier who was guarding him stop here. Call had expected to arrive in Rome and you know his dream had been to establish churches in the preach and teach freely as he moved about going from synagogue to synagogue, as he always did, establishing and discipling developing but God had a different plan heat.
He sequestered Paul away. Acts 28 will tell us at the end of the chapter for two years, where he will spend a large portion of his time writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
These these great doctrinal truth is that will establish the church. In other words, while Paul would have rather been out preaching God wanted him inside writing and by the way, the key phrase that informs us how Paul could ever endure this affliction is in verse 20 looked down at the latter part of that verse. He says to these Jewish leaders as we look at in a moment but he says to them.
I am wearing chain for the sake of the hope of Israel, that phrase the hope of Israel as a messianic phrase. Paul is referring to the Messiah that is come, and he is saying, in effect, I am representing that hope of Israel that has resurrected from the dead. The Old Testament Job and Isaiah and others, and even David talked about that Messiah that would indeed not undergo decay that would rise and he says I am representing the hope of Israel, I am willing because of that the to bear these chains and so here he is chained to a guard historians tell us. The guards will be changed every six hours will have a fresh soldier chained to him every six hours.
You tell me who the captive audience was here. I can imagine the soldiers in the barracks, looking over the schedule thinking okay his gut called duty today. Oh my. I had them three days ago and had to listen to sermons and he kept wanting me to read what he was writing and we do know by the way from another passage of Scripture that several soldiers came to faith in Christ were attached to the household of Caesar. Some of these men who heard Paul preach and teach.
He turned them into his recruits came to faith in Christ and he wrote on the road during his house arrest recorded in acts chapter 28. When I told what he wrote to go to other passages. By studying and getting the chronology of the books in line and you can uncover the fact that it is during this time that Paul wrote the book of Ephesians. Maybe Paul was inspired by God and provoked in his thinking as he looked at the soldier chained to him and he looked at the armor and then he wrote the classic passage, but the armor of the believer as he just worked his way from the helmet to the shoes while in the solitude of this little apartment. He wrote that famous challenge to the Philippian as he said, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence in anything whatever is worthy of praise, think on these things.
In other words, Paul says now that we know the context of worries writing it from don't think on the chain.
Don't meditate on the affliction, whatever is worthy of praise, think on these things. And Paul gives us the discovery that the battle in the Christian's life is primarily the battle in the mind and heart. Was it easy for Paul to be imprisoned. No while he was under house arrest. He wrote to the Colossians in which he ended that letter by saying remember my imprisonment to forget while he had hoped to disciple hundreds of people and impact the lives of thousands more.
He could only wait for someone to knock on his door for someone to come that he invited and God brought along an uninvited guest on one occasion a runaway slave and Vanessa and Paul lead that young man to faith in Christ and then returned him back to his master with a letter saying to his master. In a letter, we have called Philemon.
He said the Philemon treat him as a brother are no longer as a slave. This is what Paul did for 17 and it happened that after three days he called together. Those were little. The leading men of the Jews and when they had come together, he began saying to them, brethren Paul had done nothing against our people of the customs of our fathers, and I was delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans when they examined me they were willing to release me because there was no ground for putting me to death when the Jews objected, I was forced to appeal to Caesar. Not that I had any accusation against my nation. For this reason, therefore I requested the ceiling to speak with you, for I am wearing this chain for the sake of the hope of Israel, and they said to him, we need to receive letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren, come here and reported or spoken anything bad about you that the been refreshing. I was new somehow they had made it around that grapevine and with her before it ever reached Italy was a blessing absurd to him, but we desire to hear from you what your views are for concerning this sect. It is known to us that it is spoken against everywhere. I didn't know anything bad about Paul, but they had heard about this sect. This tangent belief and they said we want you to know when I hear a little bit about this but before you start. We want to know it's being spoken against everywhere is that for an introduction that polls like to say Willie has some things to say. Verse 23 when they set a day from the came to him at his lodging in large numbers they crammed into that little apartment when he was Pierce's threefold homiletical approach. He was explaining phenomenally that word to them.
That's carefully laying out the data. The facts effect by fact by solemnly here's the second were testifying that is to emphatically declare about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them that's the verdict oriented approach you simply interested in giving content. He wants them to make a decision for Christ concerning Jesus from both the law of Moses and from the profits from morning until evening. Notice the result. Verse 24, and some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe so here again Paul has divided audience.
Some will believe and some refuse to believe. Ladies and gentlemen, remember that as you testifying to Claire and and speak and lay out the facts and try to persuade that the gospel always divides wherever it is talked about or preached or spoken, John Phillips of the Holy Spirit drives his plowshare to the audience and divides some believe in some choose not to believe in.
The difference between those two opinions lies an eternal heaven or an eternal hell. So was here but Paul sought to persuade them that word by the way the original text is the word pathos that means with greater motion great feeling great intensity. The text tells us from morning until evening.
You can almost see him pacing back and forth dragging a Roman soldier with him. He's just doing his best to somehow persuade them to see that this was indeed the Christ, the Messiah of the risen one, but the results will remembers well the results are not the business of Paul nor the business of any Christian result of evangelism of the work of Christ with the responsibility of evangelizing is the work of the Christian when you are more people willing to embrace the responsibility rather than pining about the lack of results and so with Paul so with you. Some will believe in some will not. From a human standpoint. Think about this why would anybody believe Paul is just arrived. They don't know much about them they heard about this little sect and here he comes in chains, claiming to be the ambassador of God who would who would listen to him. He's trying to convince them that throw off Judaism and all of their heritage and follow this new thing called the church follow this new one called Christ and leave all of that behind can is a look at all like an investor from God is unimpressive and some sort of stuck there and stuck their noses in the air and said, if God were to move in our world. We are sure he would use something a lot more impressed, and this gentleman in our church sent me a story true story about the president of Harvard, who in 1884 made the mistake of being deceived by appearances them just quickly read this to you. A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband in 1884. Her husband dressed in a homemade suit stepped off the train in Boston and walked quietly without an appointment, into the president's outer office. The secretary to tell. In a moment that they didn't belong in Boston, much less Cambridge. We want to see the president. The man said softly. They were told, have a seat and then they were ignored for several hours in hopes they would become discouraged and go.
I they didn't. Finally, the president decided to see them for just a moment, obviously someone of his importance didn't have the time to spend with them. Thought he walked toward the couple and then waited for them to speak first lady spoke up. We had a son that attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard was happy here, but about a year ago he was accidentally killed my husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him somewhere on campus.
The president wasn't touched and replied Mme. we can put the statue for every person who attended Harvard and died if we did this place would look like a cemetery all know the lady explained quickly, but we don't want to erect the statute. We thought we would give a new building to Harvard, the president was shocked.
He glanced at the gingham dress in the homemade suit and exclaimed outbuilding. Do you have any earthly idea how much of building costs. We have over 7 1/2 million dollars in the buildings alone at Harvard for a moment the couple was silent. The president was pleased they would leave now and the lady turned her husband and said quietly, if that's all it costs to build a university. Why don't we just start her own.
He nodded in agreement as the president of Harvard wilted and can fusion and bewilderment.
Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford walked out. They jointly found its Hanford university and endowed it as a memorial to their son, Leland Stanford Junior it was chartered. The following year, 885 hopes in a sense, Paul walked this day out of the office of the Jerusalem or Jewish I should say leaders who had their orders from jurors.
They were impressed by this apostle in chains. So Paul will in a sense go across town and begin the church and continue its development among the who will listen. The Gentile is the difference between the Stanford and Paul is that the Stanfords according to history left the office quietly.
Paul is a few things to say number one instead of retreating. He delivers a rebuke first 25 and when they did not agree with one another.
They began leaving keyword here after Paul had spoken one parting word he knows their leaving, but he says men before you leave. I one more thing to say they stopped turning, he says, verse 26 or verse 25. The latter part the Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet, dear father, saying, go to this people. That's the Jewish nation and say you will keep on hearing but will not understand you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive for the heart of this people has become dull, and with their ears, they scarcely here and they have closed their eyes, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and I should heal them. Instead of softening his message.
Secondly, he delivers a verdict. As in verse 28 let it be known to you therefore is going to apply some degree.
Isaiah's, that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles. They will listen and when he had spoken these words, the Jews departed, having a great dispute among themselves. Now, don't you think that it was easy for Paul to deliver this review. He said in another passage I would to God that I were a curse, for the sake of my brethren, do you know ladies and gentlemen. Anybody that would be willing to go to hell so that their friend could go to heaven.
That was Paul's heart. He desired nothing more than for his people to accept Christ. But at that moment, as those Jewish leaders left debating heatedly arguing, saying, in effect, Paul, you're out of your mind were gone. Maybe at that moment he wished he wasn't in chains that he can follow after them. He could go to their synagogues and preach and teach the truth but he had to stay in that little room and wait and wait. I think for Paul, he realized the gutter brought into his life, limitations, and he was willing instead to grasp every opportunity in the way that he wrote one modern day example of this kind of commitment is John Erickson taught a woman that you probably know, is injured in a diving accident paralyzed from the neck down and for a number of years now. She's been used of the Lord my life and I've had an opportunity to meet with her talk with her and she so winsome, but she wrote these words can God use me paralyzed. Can I paralyzed his taught me that I can make God's gift to me is my dependence on him.
I will never reach the place where I am self-sufficient for God is crowded out of my life.
I'm fully aware of his grace to me every moment of my life. If you follow this woman's ministry. You know she teaches, speaks and writes and she even paints by holding a paintbrush with her teeth, has gotten sequestered you away as he put you in some apartment or some obscure place far from where you drain the taking.
You've learned to Roche and God is going to be teaching you how to await just what are your limitations. Better yet, making Paul was unable to fulfill the deepest longings of his heart, as it were, God replaced his pulpit, so to speak with the pen. Yet we know from church history. The pen of Paul would reach the world. He would ultimately fulfill the desires of the heart of God. And you know something in the final chapter of anyone's life. That's really the most important thing is fulfilling the desires of God. I hope that in the final chapters of your life, you'll be found, like Paul, fulfilling the desires of God's heart. I'm glad you tuned in today. This is wisdom for the hearts if you'd like to know more about our ministry, please visit our website which is wisdom online.org. We've taken the complete archive of Stephen's 35 years of Bible teaching and we've posted it all there for you to access free of charge. We also post each day's broadcast. If there's a day that you miss a broadcast but you want to keep caught up. You can go to our website and do that. The archive of Stephen's teaching is available as audio that you can listen to, or manuscripts that you can read by the way, one of the best ways you can support our ministry is by sharing it with others.
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