Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Evening Sermon Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/ev/ev19981011.htm
ACTS: THE LOCAL CHURCH AS GOD'S AGENCY FOR DISCIPLING
Part LIII: God's Sovereign Oversight Of His Servants' Geographical Placements
F. Overcoming The Pressure Of Discouraging DELAYS Under Duress To Achieve God's Will
Lesson: When Paul was at his end of resources, it was GOD Who had first DIRECTED him to get to ROME who undertook for his ENCOURAGEMENT to offset the EMOTIONAL price he had to pay to overcome the obstacles in his many months of traveling from Jerus alem.
- A godly, mature believer is known for being patient according to the teaching of James 1:2-4.
- However, due to the limitations of human weakness, even when a mature believer has gone through much stress for a long time, his having STILL to wait for needs or goals to be met can be emotionally crippling.
- Paul faced this trial, and how he made it through as recorded for us in Acts 28:11-16 is instructs us:
- Overcoming The Pressure Of Discouraging DELAYS Under Duress To Achieve God's Will.
- Jesus told Paul that it was necessary (dei) for him to witness in Rome as he had in Jerusalem, Acts 23:11.
- Yet, Paul faced many ups and downs to his getting there that would have exacted a human price on Paul:
- Paul had come through several obstacles in traveling from Jerusalem as far as Malta en route to Rome:
- He had fled his countrymen who had laid wait for him between his prison and the sanhedrin in Jerusalem, and that with the help of his nephew and the Roman soldiers, cf. Acts 23:12-35.
- Next, Paul had offset false charges by the high priest at Caesarea where he had been relocated so that he could bide time for another two years and stay alive, Acts 24:1-27.
- Third, Paul had used his "trump card" of Roman citizenship to appeal to trial under Caesar to skip a plot by the Jews to kill Paul by manipulating Festus to move his trial back to Jerusalem, Acts 25:1-12
- Fourth, Paul had seen his advice to avoid sailing in dangerous, fall seas overlooked to paying the unfair price of two harrowing weeks at sea only to be shipwrecked on Malta, Acts 27:1-28:1.
- Fifth, having made it to shore in the cold and rain, Paul had survived snakebite by a poisonous serpent, seeing God turn the trial into a service opportunity on Malta, Acts 28:2-10.
- Yet, just when it seemed all would work out, Paul faced delays that sapped what motivation remained:
- The ship used to transport Paul from Malta had the figureheads of Castor and Pollux, 28:11. If their constellation, Gemini, was seen during a storm, it was a sign of good luck, Bib. Know. Com., N.T., p. 429. Well, Paul's ministry was opposed to such errant trust in idolatrous beliefs, and the last thing he wanted to see on board ship was another storm, so this figurehead would have annoyed him!
- Coupled with this were more delays at sea: (a) After a day's sail north to Syracuse in Sicily, Paul's ship had to wait three days apparently for wind to sail, 28:11-12, Alford's Grk. Test.: Acts - Cor., p. 283. (b) Well, when a contrary, northerly wind finally came up, the ship had to move unnervingly out to deep sea to escape the wind shadow of island mountains, and tack back and forth to make headway to get to Rhegium, Italy, Ibid., Alford. [The Greek word, perielthontes ("fetched a compass" KJV; "set sail" NIV) implies an indirect route, and epigenomenou, describing the south wind in v. 13b, indicates the first sail from Malta to Rhegium was not favorable.] (c) At Rhegium, they had to wait yet another day to try getting a better wind, Acts 28:13c!
- At this point, God arranged for circumstances to change to encourage Paul, Acts 28:13c-16
- The south wind arose, making it easy for the ship to go under direct, full sail up to Puteoli, 28:13c.
- Since the ship had business in Puteoli for 7 days, some Christians met Paul there, and encouraged him as it meant the Gospel had spread from Rome (cf. Acts 2:10c) south for 100 miles, Acts 28:14.
- Then news spread of Paul's coming, and the believers sent a welcoming delegation 50 miles south to meet Paul at the Apii forum and the Three Taverns, Acts 28:15. This also encouraged him, 28:15c.
- Finally, Paul made it to Rome and got to live in rented quarters as a respected prisoner, Acts 28:16.
Application: (1) The PROMISE of our omnipotent GOD that is in accord with His WILL (in Paul's case, reaching Rome) is all we need to supply all our mortal needs so that we can FUNCTION in God's will! (2) Thus, as did Paul, focus on God's W ILL alone, and let GOD worry about the needs!