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We Serve the Lord God Almighty!

The Book of Acts  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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We can serve the Lord: 1. Through the ordinary routines of life (vs. 11-13). 2. Without the world's recognition (vs. 13-15). 3. Refreshed by fellow believers (vs. 13-15). 4. Reaching out for Jesus Christ (vs. 16-20).

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We Serve the Lord God Almighty!

The Book of Acts - Part 92

Acts 28:11-20

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - July 26, 2015

*There is no greater privilege in this world than being a servant of the most high God. Christians, we serve the Lord! And here God's Word gives us some important truths about our service.

1. FIRST: WE CAN SERVE THE LORD THROUGH THE ORDINARY ROUTINES OF LIFE.

*In tonight's Scripture, Paul, his friends, the soldiers, the crew and the rest of the passengers, 276 people in all, have been spared from the terrible storm that wrecked the ship they were on. Now, vs. 11-13 describe some of the routine details as they resumed their journey to Rome:

11. After three months we sailed in an Alexandrian ship whose figurehead was the Twin Brothers, which had wintered at the island. (The twin Brothers were Castor and Pollux, the Gemini Twins, sons of the pagan god Zeus.)

12. And landing at Syracuse, we stayed three days.

13. From there we circled round and reached Rhegium. And after one day the south wind blew; and the next day we came to Puteoli.

*Instead of "circled around" the KJV says they "fetched a compass." I used to think that expression meant they bought a compass, but the original word means "to go about, stroll, wander, veer or make a circuit." A. T. Robertson explained that here "the ship had to tack to reach Rhegium and was not able to make the 'straight course' that described another ship in Acts 16:11. "Fetching a compass" then meant tacking into the wind. In other words, they had to sail in a diagonal, zigzag line, because the wind was against them. (1)

*Why in the world would God bother to put these trivial details in His Word? There are probably some wonderful reasons I don't know, but here's what it says to me: Just because we serve the Lord doesn't mean we won't go through the ordinary routines of life.

*We still have to go through the everyday humdrum of life. We still have to take care of the house, the yard and the car. We still hit traffic jams. We still have fender benders, still have to wait on the plane, and still get stuck at the airport.

*Sometimes we will have to "sail into the wind," and some of our best service can come through these ordinary things of life. One way is to have a godly reaction to setbacks and disappointments.

*Galatians 5:22-23 tells Christians that the fruit of the Holy Spirit in us is "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance." That should make a big difference in the way we react to everyday irritation and frustration in life.

*We can shine the light of Jesus Christ, IF we react in a Christlike way when we have to sail into the wind. Those situations also give us opportunities to help other people stuck there with us. And we get new opportunities to tell people about our Savior Jesus Christ.

*Sometimes our best service can come through the ordinary activities of life. I think of the Lord in John 4 when He witnessed to the Samaritan woman at the well. Please listen to the story in John 4:1-14:

1. Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John

2. (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples),

3. He left Judea and departed again to Galilee.

4. But He needed to go through Samaria.

5. So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.

6. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

7. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink.''

8. For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

9. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?'' For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

10. Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.''

11. The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?

12. Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?''

13. Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again,

14. but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.''

*Of course, the Samaritan woman got saved that day, and so did many of the other Samaritan villagers. But one of the small things that stands out to me in this story is that Jesus was tired and thirsty. The omnipotent Lord God of the universe allowed Himself to get tired and thirsty.

*I am so thankful that our Lord was willing to go through things like that for us. And He shows us that we can serve the Lord through the ordinary routines of life.

2. WE CAN ALSO SERVE WITHOUT THE WORLD'S RECOGNITION.

*This world is upside down in its priorities. The most important work in the world will not register with most people. Acts 28 reminds us of this reality starting in vs. 13, where Luke said:

13. From there we circled round and reached Rhegium. And after one day the south wind blew; and the next day we came to Puteoli,

14. where we found brethren, and were invited to stay with them seven days. And so we went toward Rome.

15. And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.

*John Phillips brought this scene to life when he said: "This was Paul's triumphal entry, this unsung Jewish missionary, walking in chains, on his way to the Imperial City to appear before Nero in defense of the gospel of Christ. All about Paul thronged the busy life of this major thoroughfare to and from Rome. Wealthy lords would pass in their litters, surrounded by attentive slaves.

*Some post rider with urgent dispatches would thunder past, flogging his horse and using his spurs. Young-bloods would come tearing along in their chariots. Great wagons would be passed, lumbering, taking up the road, bearing the produce of the country to the hungry markets at Rome.

*Slave dealers would pass, herding their captives. Businessmen and housewives, peddlers and entertainers thronged the way. And here, perhaps, would be a train of wagons bearing wild beasts for the arena, or a troop of gladiators being transported to Rome to make a holiday for the masters of the world. And in the midst of all that hurly-burly of busy metropolitan life marched Heaven's ambassador in bonds. . ." (2)

*The world had no idea who was walking along that road. It was 62 AD, and here is some of the year's top news:

"After the death of Burrus and the disgrace of Seneca, Nero, free from their influence, became a maniacal artist fascinated by Hellenism and the Orient. Tigellinus became Nero's counselor. From that time onward, Nero's rule became highly abusive. A great earthquake damaged cities in Calabria, including Pompeii. A violent storm destroyed 200 ships in the port of Portus.

*In the Arts and Sciences: Lucan wrote a history of the conflict between Julius Caesar and Pompey. Plus, Roman orator, author and statesman Pliny the Younger was born. (3)

*Here are a few of the top news stories ABC picked from 2014: The Ebola epidemic, the rise of ISIS terrorists, the loss of comedy legends Robin Williams and Joan Rivers, and the robot that made the first-ever landing on a comet.

*But the really big news of 2014 was seldom if ever reported by major media outlets. That's because the most important news is the work of God in our world. God is ever working to give comfort, truth, light and life. God is working in and through His people to share the good news about Jesus Christ. And thank God, we don't need the world's recognition! We can faithfully serve the Lord without it.

3. WE CAN ALSO BE REFRESHED BY OTHER CHRISTIANS.

*Anybody who tries to serve Jesus Christ will need rest, encouragement and help along the way. God will make sure we get all the help we need, and often it comes from other believers.

*In vs. 13-14:

13. From there we circled round and reached Rhegium. And after one day the south wind blew; and the next day we came to Puteoli,

14. where we found brethren, and were invited to stay with them seven days. And so we went toward Rome.

*John Phillips explained vs. 14 by saying, "Always kind toward Paul, and now not only deeply indebted to him, but probably in considerable awe of him, the centurion gave Paul permission to seek out the Christian community in town.

*No sooner did Paul make contact with the Christians at Puteoli than they were eager to extend their fellowship to him and the other Christians with him. Paul's name was a household word by now in all Christian communities. And his letter to the Romans had doubtless been read in all the Italian churches.

*To have this apostle in their midst, if only for a few days, was an opportunity too precious to be wasted. So off Paul went, both to be ministered unto and to minister. What a week it must have been! Everyone would want the latest news from Jerusalem and the Holy Land. People would want to know all about the voyage. And Paul's story of the storm and shipwreck would keep everyone on the edge of their seats.

*There would be frequent ministry of the Word, questions and consultations, and urgent prayer meetings about Paul's future. Paul, too, would want the latest news form Rome. So the week sped by." (2)

*In vs. 14-15, Luke tells us what happened next:

14. (In Puteoli) we found brethren, and were invited to stay with them seven days. And so we went toward Rome.

15. And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.

*John Phillips reported: "The non-Christian travelers must have marveled at Paul's friendships as much as they marveled at his faith. They did not know the wonder and reality of fellowship within the Body of Christ." (2)

*This godly fellowship greatly encouraged Paul in vs. 15, and the same fellowship belongs to us, because we belong to Jesus! Christians: We are all part of the family of God! We could all share stories of the blessings, joy, help and strength we have received from other believers.

*Ted Husing was a famous sportscaster and radio announcer from the 1930s to the 1950s. In 1956, Ted's voice was suddenly heard no more. Brain surgery left him blind, paralyzed, and unable to speak. Ted became very bitter in his suffering. He refused to see anyone except his mother, his wife and his daughter.

*Ted gave strict orders that no one should be told where he was hospitalized. But somehow the word got out, and some of his friends went to see him. They were told they were not wanted, but they kept trying. Ted could not understand their patience and stubbornness to help him.

*Finally, Ted agreed to go with a friend to a baseball game. He longed to again hear the crack of a bat and smell the various odors of the ballpark. There at the ballpark Ted's friend whispered to him, "Ted, you are going to make it with the help of God."

*God used those few words to turn Ted's heart around. Suddenly he saw his mistake and repented of his bitterness toward God. Loyal friends, thousands of letters and prayers from all over the country brought Ted back to God and the simple trusting faith of his childhood. Ted later wrote: "I am grateful when I consider that through the goodness of undeserved friends, God became a loving reality for me." (5)

*Church: We can keep on serving the Lord, because we will also be refreshed by other Christians.

4. AND WE MUST KEEP SERVING THE LORD BY REACHING OUT FOR JESUS CHRIST.

*Paul was always trying to reach people for Jesus Christ, and we can see this happening again in vs. 16-20:

16. Now when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard; but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him.

17. And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: "Men and brethren, though I have 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. who, when they had examined me, wanted to let me go, because there was no cause for putting me to death.

19. But when the Jews spoke against it, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar, not that I had anything of which to accuse my nation.

20. For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.''

*Paul was always trying to reach people for Jesus Christ.

[1] May God help us to do the same, because our witness is crucial.

*These verses remind us how urgent it is for us to reach out to lost people. In vs. 17, Paul only waited 3 days before he contacted the Jewish leaders to share the gospel with them. As soon as he got settled in, he tried to tell them the truth about Jesus. And Paul could not go to them, but he didn't let that keep him from witnessing. Paul invited the Jewish leaders to come to him.

[2] Our witness is crucial. And it must be tactful.

*There was a lot Paul could have said to accuse both the Jews and the Romans for the terrible way he had been treated. But Paul did not do that. John Phillips said Paul treaded lightly over the events that led up to him becoming a prisoner, because he was seeking to win the good will of his visitors. Paul convinced them to at least listen to the gospel more by what he left unsaid than by what he said. (2)

*Our witness must be tactful, because it is so crucial. We must try our best to reach people for the Lord. And we can! We can serve the Lord by reaching out for Jesus Christ.

*And we must, because as Christians we have the only real hope for the world! Paul reminds us of this truth in vs. 20, where he told those men: "For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because FOR THE HOPE OF ISRAEL I am bound with this chain.''

*Jesus Christ is the real hope of Israel. Jesus Christ is the only real hope for the whole world! There is no hope without Jesus. Warren Wiersbe tells us that in Paul's day, a typical grave inscription went like this: "I was not. I became. I am not. I care not." (6)

*There is no hope without Jesus Christ! George Bernard Shaw was a superstar playwright and sharp-tongued personality of the early 20th century. He was best known as the author of "Pygmalion," which later was famously adapted to stage and screen as "My Fair Lady." Shaw was a vegetarian and teetotaler, but also a radical socialist and atheist. He died in 1950 at the age of 94.

*Here is a quote from George Bernard Shaw's last writings: "The science to which I pinned my faith is bankrupt. Its counsels, which should have established the millennium, led, instead, directly to the suicide of Europe. I believed them once. In their name I helped to destroy the faith of millions of worshippers in the temples of a thousand creeds. And now they look at me and witness the great tragedy of an atheist who has lost his faith." (7)

*There is no hope without Jesus Christ, but Christians we have hope! Paul explained it this way in Ephesians 2:11-14:

11. Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands

12. that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

13. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been made near by the blood of Christ.

14. For He Himself is our peace. . .

*In Romans 5:1-2 Paul also wrote:

1. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

2. through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

*And in Romans 15:13 Paul said, "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

CONCLUSION:

*May God help all Christians to keep serving the Lord, because we serve the Lord God Almighty! And because Jesus is the only real hope for the world.

(1) Sources:

WORD PICTURES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT by Archibald Thomas Robertson - Acts 28:13

"Tack" - 4. a course sailed with the wind coming from the side of the boat or sailboard. 5. one leg of a zigzag course steered in beating to windward

"Fetch" - 1. the distance over which wind blows across the water's surface 2. In some countries, "Fetch" or "Fetching" is the same as being on a close reach

"Close Reach" - a point of sail where the boat is sailing towards the wind but is not close hauled or in irons. . .

http://www.photographers1.com/Sailing/NauticalTerms&Nomenclature.html

(2) EXPLORING ACTS by John Phillips, Kregal Publications, Grand Rapids - "Power over situations" - Acts 28:11-31

(3) WIKIPEDIA - TOP NEWS OF 62 AD

(4) The Biggest News Stories of 2014 - Dec 26, 2014 by Meghan Keneally

(5) Adapted from Sermons.com sermon "Called into Friendship" by Garfield Beckstrand - John 15:14-15

(6) BE READY by Warren Wiersbe, p. 83 - Source: Sermonillustrations.com

(7) Sources:

http://www.answers.com/george+bernard+shaw&r=67

George Bernard Shaw quote from Sermonillustrations.com

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