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Paul's journey to Rome. Acts 27
Paul sails for Rome
Acts 27

Today we are going to finish our look at the Book of Acts

-Written by Luke, Gentile, Doctor, traveling companion of Paul, church historian
-The Book of Acts covers the first 30 years of the church's history
-The primary human figure of the Book of Acts is the Apostle Paul (one time persecutor of the church, then its greatest apologist and missionary)
-The Book of Acts shows Jesus' words obeyed-- being the taking of Gospel to all people (both Jew and Gentile everywhere)
-The person of the Holy Spirit is central to the Book of Acts and the life of the church. One critical point of application that the Book of Acts teaches us is this: Without the filling, leading, direction, and power of the Holy Spirit (being the Spirit of Christ), our work will be ineffectual, empty, and in vain.

In this, our last study of the Book of Acts (for a little while) we are going to take a look at Acts 27.

-In Acts 27, Paul finds himself a prisoner of Rome, on a ship, bound for an appearance before Caesar, the Emperor of Rome.
-Paul is on his way to Rome because, after appearing before the courts of various Roman Governors and Kings, he had appealed to Caesar. He made his appeal as a Roman citizen (which very few people were and accorded him a special status in the culture)
-Paul was also on his way to Rome to stand trial before Caesar as a fulfillment to a prophecy made 20 plus years before. Remembering that to Ananias, the Lord said "But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel" Acts 9:15
-Paul was a prisoner, for no other "crime" than declaring and preaching that Jesus had resurrected from the dead. Remembering that the chief message of the church is that we serve a risen Savior who died on the cross for our sins, that whoever repents of their sins and believes in him as Savior and Lord may escape the judgment to come-- a Judgment that will take place at the resurrection of the dead-- when all will be raised and appear before the judgment seat of God.
-In order to get to Rome from Caesarea, that he might stand trial before Caesar, Paul has to take a ship. As we will discover in moment the trip did not entail smooth sailing and sunny skies.

READ TEXT

LESSONS AND PRINCIPLES OF THE TEXT

1. For the advancement of His purposes and often the help of His people, God can and does shape and move various peoples hearts v.3, 42-43.

God does so without overriding or taking away free will!

Note: Julius allowed Paul - a prisoner in the custody of Rome- to go and visit his friends that he might obtain provisions for his journey. This is remarkable. Was it because Julius was a nice guy? Was it because Paul was such a good prisoner? Was it because God's hand was on Paul to protect him and supply all his needs?

Note also how God moved the centurions heart to spare Paul when the soldiers made plans to kill the prisoners v.42-44

This reminds us of Daniels experience in Daniel 1:9 "Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel," Being in response to Daniel's decision not to defile himself with the kings food and wine.

Verse to Ponder

Proverbs 16:7 When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him

Proverbs 21:1 "The Lord controls the mind of a king as easily as he directs the course of a stream." GNT

Ponder the ways in which God has used other people to show kindness, goodness and help to you!

2. Whose advice would you have listened to as it regarded sailing on? v.9-12

a. The pilot. Who no doubt had many years of sailing experience

b. The owner of the ship. Who owned the boat, was familiar with the water, and who didn't want to see his cargo spoil or suffer loss

c. Paul the preacher: Who who had been paying attention to how difficult sailing was, who had been shipwrecked 3 times (2 Corinthians 11:25)

Logic would dictate that you choose the pilot and the owner of ship but the fact is when worldly wisdom collides with the kingdom and purposes of God, the wisdom and plans of men does not stand.

As an outsider with the privilege of having the big picture: I'd take Paul's advice. He was a Spirit led, Spirit empowered man, who regularly heard the voice of God, who by the Spirit of God had miraculously been used to heal many people


2 big principles that go with the question

a. Before making a decision: Pray. Consider the circumstances. Read the Word. Seek Godly counsel. Check your motives. Listen to and for the still small voice of God.

b. We need to learn to be content

The sailors only wanted to go 40 more miles. They were on the island of Crete. They just wanted to go only 40 more miles along the coast of Crete. One can see 40 miles. Instead of going 40 miles they ended up going nearly 500 miles.

Observation: Our lack of contentment, our wanting a little bit more, sometimes leads to great harm to us.


3. Ponder how God elevated Paul on the trip to Rome. v.3,21-25, 31-32, 33-37

-Paul starts out as a favored prisoner
-He becomes the ships Chaplain and more than that-- a prophet--telling them the future as to how there voyage would go and what would happen
-He becomes the de-facto commander of the ship, instructing the soldiers to cut free the lifeboat that the sailors were planning on abandoning the ship in
-Paul was and became the most important person on that ship-- not for Paul's sake, but for his witness for Christ and the power of God

God did this for Paul as He did so for Joseph in Pharaoh's court, for Mordecai when the existence of the Jews was threatened while in captivity, For Daniel in the Babylonian courts, etc

Verses to ponder:

1 Samuel 2:30 "Those who honor me I will honor"

Philippians 2:14-16 "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life"

4. Have faith in God. There is a purpose and reason for everything. He is in control.

You and I struggle for meaning to things and life. We are always trying to connect the dots to try to make sense of things. Sometimes we are successful, sometimes not. Yet, the Bible teaches us that God is control. He is sovereign. Things happen for a reason. His perfect plans are being worked out.

Think about Acts 27.

-There was a reason Paul was going to Rome (to fulfill the prophecy of Acts 9)
-There was a reason why Paul's advice was rejected (that Paul's words would be heeded later)
-There was a reason the ship was driven by the storm winds, which God controlled, to the island of Malta (for the missionary work of Paul there)
-There was a reason why the ship was destroyed

Sometimes God tells us why, sometimes he doesn't. We are to trust God. We are to stay faithful.

Point: Often the circumstances of life serve this end: To prepare us for ministry and service in the name of Christ.

Further: Nothing can stop the plans of God from coming to pass: Not Rome, not a storm, not a shipwreck, not soldiers who want to kill the prisoners, nothing

Verses to ponder

Proverbs 16:4 "The LORD works out everything for his own ends--even the wicked for a day of disaster."

Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

5. It's possible to have peace of heart, even in the most trying of circumstances v.21-25

When I think of this point I can't help but think of Peter as he was tied changed between the soldiers awaiting his execution. What was Peter doing? He was fast asleep. Acts 12:6

Note the picture of Paul on the ship:

-He's calm and level headed, He's observant of what's going on (sailors planning to escape, etc)
-Strengthened by an angel from God, sent to encourage Paul and not just Paul- but the whole crew
-He's eating, when everyone else is despairing of life v.33
-While in the same boat, he's encouraging others. He's serving others in the midst of the storm.

Observation: To often people turn to the wrong thing for peace. They take up Yoga, Tai Chi, Buddhism, and delve into Eastern Mysticism. This will not bring true peace. If you are a follower of Jesus and do this, you will not have peace if you do this. You will trouble- for to do such is to dishonor Christ-- for you are involving yourself in other religions-- in broken cisterns.

"My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. Jeremiah 2:13

The call from our text

Be strong and courageous!
Have faith in God
Hold on to your faith in God.

Verses to ponder

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3-- CHOOSE TO TRUST GOD. Choose to give of your burdens to Christ who cares for you.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6


CONCLUSION:

A few months after the events of Acts 27 Paul went to Rome. While in Rome, Paul, while under a kind of house arrest, spent 2 whole years inviting people to his house and preaching the Gospel to them - boldly and without hindrance.

I trust that as you have read Acts and its account of the first 30 years of the church's history that you have been encouraged to rely upon the Holy Spirit for His power to serve and live and you are more keen than ever to live your life in service of Christ, telling as many people as you can of Jesus and the way of salvation and peace with God.

close by singing "Have faith in God" a song of application to some of todays points.