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158: Paul; Chained for Christ and Bound for Rome [from Man’s perspective]

May 19, 2009

OR Paul; Chained for Rome and Bound for Home [from God’s perspective]

Text: Acts 27:1-28:31

Outline:

  1. Paul’s Ministry Aboard Ship             Acts 27:1-42
    A Character Focus
  2. Paul’s Ministry on Malta                     Acts 28:1-10
    A Loving Focus
  3. Paul’s Ministry in Rome                      Acts 28:11-31
    A Messianic Focus

Context/Discussion/Comments:

The focus in the Outline above serves a single purpose; that of promoting fellowship, offering encouragement, and giving hope to mankind. I will write more on this later.

An interesting exercise for personal study is to compare the final journey of Jesus as he traveled toward Jerusalem with these final days of Paul as he travels to Jerusalem and then on to Rome. There are many similarities. Likewise today many Christians will also have similarities in that the real conflict is between God and Satan. The battle tactics have not changed over history.

Paul and other prisoners under the control of Julius together with Luke and Aristarchus board ship and begin their journey to Rome. Their first stop is at Sidon and Julius is kind enough to let Paul visit his friends. They continue on to Myra where they change ships and continue their journey toward Rome. They had slow sailing and put in at Fair Havens on the island of Crete. Paul will end up visiting Crete again on his fourth missionary journey, leaving Titus in charge for a time. They had lost so much time thus far that Paul warns them not to set sail for fear of losing their cargo, the ship, and their lives to the sea. But Julius listens to the pilot and the ship’s owner and they begin sailing for Phoenix on the western side of Crete. Soon a hurricane-type gale from the northeast takes control of the ship. The crew works hard to secure the ship but in the end they toss out the anchor, jettison their riggings and cargo, and lose hope.

In so many words Paul says “I told you so” but he continues to encourage them by repeating what an angel had told him. “The ship will be destroyed but all will survive and arrive in Rome.” After fourteen days adrift they began to approach land. Some of the sailors wanted to abandon ship but Paul warns them that only those who stay with the ship will be saved. Paul urges them to eat so that they will have the strength to survive. Paul asks a blessing for them and follows with more encouraging words. The ship runs aground, a final plot to kill all the prisoners is thwarted, and they all swim or float on the ships planking to shore. They land on the island of Malta and are shown kindness.

Paul was bitten by a snake while helping to gather firewood. The natives are superstitious and think Paul is a murderer. When nothing happens to Paul, they believe he is a god. Paul and his friends stay with Publius, the chief official. Paul heals Publius’s father and many others. Therefore, the people of Malta were happy to supply them with provisions to continue their journey. After staying on Malta for three months, they charter another Alexandrian ship and begin sailing toward Rome.

They arrive at Petuoli, near Naples today, and the believers there want Paul to stay. They continue to Rome on foot and are met on the way by the believers from Rome. This was of great encouragement to Paul. When they reach Rome, Paul is allowed to live with a guard by himself. Paul calls the Jewish leaders [non-Christians] together and explains his situation, giving his own testimony of the events in Jerusalem and of Jesus. Interestingly, they had not heard news of Paul’s arrest but they returned to hear more about Jesus; that Jesus was also the Lord and Savior of the Gentiles too. Some believed in Jesus as the Messiah and some refused.

Paul had opportunity to preach and teach from his house in Rome for about two years.

Lessons/Applications:

  1. Paul’s Ministry Aboard Ship [Acts 27:1-42]
    1. Our friendship with non-believers should be so great that they would willingly do us favors without fear of embarrassment. [vs. 3]
    2. Wisdom comes from listening to God’s voice instead of our own voice. [vs. 11]
    3. In situations of life and death, make sure your counsel is from On High. [vs. 11, 23]
    4. In difficult circumstances, ask and anticipate that the Holy Spirit will provide you Words of Wisdom, Peace of Mind, Authority to Act, practical Common Sense, and a Vision for Unity for the sake of all. [vs. 9-42]
    5. Be willing to confront and act on wrong behavior. [vs. 31]
    6. Preservation is based on Unity regardless of one’s position i.e. prisoner, soldier, sailor, leader, owner etc. [vs. 31]
    7. Respect those in authority, advise them, yield to them, support them, but hold no grudges. [vs. 21-26]
  2. Paul’s Ministry on Malta [Acts 28:1-10]
    1. Hospitality is the Divine Bridge Builder. [vs. 2, 7-9]
    2. When beaten up, one should work for a handout instead of looking for a handout. [vs. 3]
    3. Sowing on behalf of the Lord doesn’t always involve preaching, but it does always involve Loving Service. [vs. 1-10]
  3. Paul’s Ministry in Rome [Acts 28:11-31]
    1. We ought to anticipate the visits of those who taught us, trained us, lead us, and went before us; seeking their fellowship, encouraging them, and showing them our appreciation for their sacrificial work on behalf of Our Savior. [vs. 15]
    2. Our enemies, not our friends should take priority in our ministry. [vs. 17]
    3. In spite of our circumstances, we are never retired from serving and ministering to the needs of others, including the Gospel message. This is called DELIGHTFUL LIVING. [vs. 30]
  4. General Perspectives
    1. As we mature physically and spiritually, our influence becomes greater but our circle of friendship tightens.
    2. The lives of God’s Servants are Rich, Meaningful, Adventurous, Dangerous, and Triumphant.
    3. CHARACTER, FELLOWSHIP, and PURPOSE are the key ingredients to successful and DELIGHTFUL LIVING on Earth.
    4. FAITH, LOVE, and HOPE are the key ingredients to a successful and DELIGHTFUL PREPARATION for Heaven.
    5. A CHARACTER FOCUS, A LOVING FOCUS, and A MESSIANIC FOCUS results in genuine FELLOWSHIP, in strong ENCOURAGEMENT, and an ETERNAL HOPE.

Life begins with chains [restraints of gender, parents, education, job, city, country etc.], but……

Our journey Home begins when we are Chained to Christ and for Christ.

Claim Him and Proclaim Him as Your Lord and Savior.

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