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Acts 28

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Acts 28:1–6 ESV
1 After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta. 2 The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold. 3 When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. 4 When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
Today we finish the book of Acts. This is our 58th sermon out of this book.
Don’t you hate it when you come to the end of a book or moive and everything is not tied up in a pretty little bow and there are things left un-finished.
We like everything to be tied up in a nice little bow.
I hate that feeling wondering what happened. Why couldn’t the author just finish the story.
We have been leading up to Paul going to Rome to be presented before Caesar. However as you will see today we never get that far in the story before the book ends.
We love the idea that everything is resolved and we know how it all turns out.
Some of us hate things where their is the clift hanger and things lef
Paul is in chains, but we will not see any resolution from these chains.
As one scholar put it Dr. Luke may have done this because the book of Acts is not primarly a story about Paul. it is primarly a story about Him using individuals and churches to advace the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Acts 28:1–6 ESV
1 After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta. 2 The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold. 3 When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. 4 When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
After being at sea for some time. After going through a major storm and giving up hope. I could only imagine what it must have been like for their feet to hit the soul and feel the sand.
As a youth pastor I carried my youth group to Carowinds. There was this ride I believed called the dropzone. It is where they raise you up the side of this tower about 100 ft in the air and then they release you to just drop. Before you know it your heart is up in your throat. When I got off that ride I got on my knees and kissed the ground. Being on solid ground had never felt any better.
I am sure this is what these guys felt like.
The natives built them a fire. Could you imagine what that fire would have felt like to them after being on the open water in the winter.
When the Bible uses the word Native here. They are not talking about savages or uncultured people groups. They are referring to these group of people not being Greek oriented.
Notice what Paul was doing in verse 3. Picking up wood for the fire. It shows us that no job was below Paul. He was a servant.
I hate to say this but we live in a nation where people think many jobs are beneath them.
You have young adults who come out of college and won’t settle for anything other than their dream job right away. They look to a older generation with jealousy because of they have not realizing they had to work to get their.
In our churches today you have people who won’t pick up the sticks. They want to pass the buck to someone else.
A toilet is clogged and instead of the church member unclogging the toilet they call the matience guy.
A pieace of trash is in the pew they don’t pick it up they wait for the cleaning crew to do it.
A person needs to be told about Jesus so instead of them doing it they call the pastor.
We have babies they need to be held, but many think that should be someone elses job.
The Church today needs some more Paul’s who will pick up sticks
We need some more Pauls at THBC.
Notice Paul was willing to do whatever it took. He had a servants attitude.
In our churches today we need more servants rather than those who come to be served.
Can I get a witness.
William Barclay said this:
“It is only the little man that refuses the little task.”
The natives beleived in Karma. They believed that since Paul was bitten by a snake then it was punishment and that he had to be a murder.
We say things like this all the time. They got what they deserved because they had done this or that.
We say things like What comes around, goes around.
The problem with these statements and Karma in general is that they are anti-gospel and go against a Soverign God.
If we all got what we deserved we would get Gods wrath. We would get a devil hell.
Romans 6:23 ESV
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
But God in his love for us showed us grace a mercy
Romans 5:8 ESV
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
This is not us getting what we deserve. This is Christ getting what we deserve.
Also as Christ followers we don’t believe in coincidences. We don’t believe in luck or happen stance.
God wills all things or he allows all things. For God is in complete control.
God is the one that allowed the snake to bit Paul. And it will be God that does not let Paul die from the snake bit.
Notice that the natives of the land went from thinking Paul was a murder to thinking Paul was a God in verse 6
Because God had showed Paul mercy and grace and Paul had lived through the snake bite. There next assumption about Paul is that Paul must be a God.
This is not the first time in the book of Acts a man of God was thought to be a God.
In Cornelius bows at Peter feet worshipping him because he assumed he was a God.
In in Lystra the people bowed to Barnabas and Paul because they thought the Gods had come down.
Even though the scripture does not tell us, in knowing Paul he is going to take this opportunity to point people to Jesus. Because that is what Paul is all about.
Acts 28:7–10 ESV
7 Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days. 8 It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him, healed him. 9 And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. 10 They also honored us greatly, and when we were about to sail, they put on board whatever we needed.
Acts 28:2–10 ESV
2 The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold. 3 When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. 4 When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god. 7 Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days. 8 It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him, healed him. 9 And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. 10 They also honored us greatly, and when we were about to sail, they put on board whatever we needed.
Notice the hospitatlity of the natives to Paul.
Paul did not avoid the lost. Paul instead recieved them and ministered to them.
In many of our churches the lost are not welcomed and we avoid hanging out with the lost. Because Paul was willing to hang out with the lost it gave him opporunities for him to minister to them and ultimalty share the gospel.
We must be on the mission that God has called us to be on. And that mission is not for us to hide in the 4 walls of the church but for us to go and minister to the lost and share Jesus with them. We must be willing to go to the lost person house.
Paul did and stayed three days with him.
The mans father was sick Paul healed him. Word traveld and people from all over the island came for Paul to heal them.
Because of this the people honored them and gave them whatever they needed.
The Lord had provided for Paul. They had landed on the sure with nothing. They had been lost at sea and they ship wrecked because their ship ran a ground and then in their moment of need the Lord provided for them.
In our moments of need the Lord will provide for us as well. All we must do is trust him. Some times God provides for us in the most unusal way and places. These natives will care for Paul and meet his needs.
Sometimes God will use the least likley person to provide what you need.
Sometimes God will use the lost person to provide what you need.
7-10
Acts 28:11–16 ESV
11 After three months we set sail in a ship that had wintered in the island, a ship of Alexandria, with the twin gods as a figurehead. 12 Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days. 13 And from there we made a circuit and arrived at Rhegium. And after one day a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli. 14 There we found brothers and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome. 15 And the brothers there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage. 16 And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who guarded him.
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Acts 28:11–16 ESV
11 After three months we set sail in a ship that had wintered in the island, a ship of Alexandria, with the twin gods as a figurehead. 12 Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days. 13 And from there we made a circuit and arrived at Rhegium. And after one day a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli. 14 There we found brothers and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome. 15 And the brothers there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage. 16 And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who guarded him.
Paul was on the island for three months. I am sure in those 3 months Paul spent time sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As Paul and his companions where heading toward Rome he ran into friends who where believers.
After pentecost the Jews from all nations returned home as they returned they would have shared the gospel and their would have been believers along the way to Rome.
We see in verse 16 they finally make it to Rome upon entering Rome Paul was greeted by fellowChrist followers who had made their way to meet him. Paul was respected and dearly loved.
He was allowed to stay by himself, with a soldier guarding him.
Paul would have spent a lot of time writing letters from this location that would become part of the New Testament.
Dr. Luke may have recorded Acts here.
Even though this was a down time in the ministry meaning Paul was not on a mission trip it was still one of the most fruitful times of ministry Paul would ever have. The Letters he wrote are still reaching people today.
Sometimes our slow or down time in ministry. Our valley in ministry may be our most fruitful time. Or the times that will leave the longest legacy.
I think of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Being in a Burhigham Jail and writing a letter to the white evangleical pastors who were asking Dr. King to keep quiet. Those letters are still encouraging people to day and they are some of the highlighs of his movements.
Sometimes God uses us the most in our down times.
Acts 28:17–22 ESV
17 After three days he called together the local leaders of the Jews, and when they had gathered, he said to them, “Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. 18 When they had examined me, they wished to set me at liberty, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. 19 But because the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar—though I had no charge to bring against my nation. 20 For this reason, therefore, I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain.” 21 And they said to him, “We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken any evil about you. 22 But we desire to hear from you what your views are, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against.”
Acts 28:17-
Paul calls the leadership of the jews together. He explains the charges against him. He explains why he appealed to Caesar.
He wants to clear the air with them and explains this is why he has invited them to speak with him.
Paul in verse 20 explains to them the reason he is wearing the chains is because of the hope in Isreal.
The hope that Paul is speaking to them about is the same hope that you and I have. It is the hope of Jesus Christ.
It is the hope that Jesus Christ is the son of God who loved us enough to come and take on the sins of mankind and take on the full wrath of God by dying on the Cross so that our sins might be forgiven.
The jews respond back and say we have heard nothing but we desire to hear more about your views of this hope.
Acts 28:23–27 ESV
23 When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. 24 And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved. 25 And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet: 26 “ ‘Go to this people, and say, “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” 27 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’
They appoint a time and when they come together Paul preaches the gospel of Jesus as he had so many other times. And just like in other places some recieve the gospel and some reject the gospel.
When it comes to the gospel you can’t be luke warm. You will either receive the gospel or you will reject it.
The ones who rejected the gospel departed from Paul .
Acts 28:28–31 ESV
28 Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.” 30 He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.
Paul says this gospel has also been sent to the gentlies because they will listen to it.
We see next that he stayed at this location for two year at his own expense.
And as he lived their being on house arrest many came to see him and when they came he proclaimed the kingdom of God and thought them about Jesus Christ with boldness.
This is what we are to be doing. We are to be proclaiming the gospel with boldness.
And that is the end. It ends with Paul under house arrest sharing the gospel with boldness.
Why does Dr. Luke end acts this way. Because this story is not primarly about Paul. This story is primary about Jesus calling the church to a mission to go and share the gospel. And the church has not accomplished it mission yet.
As far Paul goes scholars believe that he is set free for a period of time. He goes and maybe visits some of the house churches he planted. He then may have made his way to Spain. He is arrested again about the age of 67. He writes some more letters to the church like 2 Timothy and then he is put to death.
The mission that we have been given in
Acts 1:8 ESV
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
This mission is still being carried out by the church. It is our mission. We have been called to the great Commission.
The book of Acts ends the way it does because the story is not over. We are still carying the gospel to the ends of the earth. We are still trying to fulfill .
For in Revelation we see that there will be people from every tribe, language, and nation at the throne of God.
God mission will be completed. The question that we have got to ask ourselves at THBC is are we going to join God in his plan or are we going to sit on the sidelines and watch the plan be fulfilled.
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