Sunday, May 26, 2013

From Acts to Revelation Part 75 – Paul Sails to Rome

From Acts to Revelation
Part 75  – Paul Sails to Rome
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

Paul testifies before King Agrippa, sent by Festus, in hopes of finding some charge against Paul.  Paul, having appealed to Caesar, will be sent to Rome for trial, however, Festus has no official charges to send against Paul.

After hearing Paul testify, along with the priests and pharisee leaders who accuse him, King Agrippa comes to the conclusion that Paul could have been set free, since no tangible charges could be made against him, had he not appealed to Caesar at his trial before Festus.

Now, Paul must stand before Caesar, which is exactly what the Lord had told Paul he would do, go to Rome and preach the message.

This week we will read about Paul beginning his journey to Rome, and we will see a couple things in today's scriptures.

Acts 27:1-26

Paul Sails for Rome

27 When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment. We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us.
The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs. From there we put out to sea again and passed to the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us. When we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia. There the centurion found an Alexandrian shipsailing for Italy and put us on board. We made slow headway for many days and had difficulty arriving off Cnidus. When the wind did not allow us to hold our course, we sailed to the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone. We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.
Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Day of Atonement. So Paul warned them, 10 “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.” 11 But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship.12 Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest.

The Storm

13 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. 14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island. 15 The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along. 16 As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure, 17 so the men hoisted it aboard. Then they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Because they were afraid they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along.18 We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. 19 On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.
21 After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23 Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”

In today's scripture we will look at;
1.      Majority-Rule is seldom right, but the wisdom of God is always right.

2.      When God speaks, we need to listen, even when it doesn't seem possible.

3.      When we don't listen, there is a chance for forgiveness, when we ask, repent, and put God first in our lives.
a.      Paul could have been freed
i.       Acts 26:32, King Agrippa tells Festus that if Paul would not have appealed to Caesar at his trial with Festus, he could be freed, because there was no tangible charges made against him.

ii.    Some may view this as a missed opportunity by Paul, however, remember perspective!
a.      The Lord told Paul he was to go to Rome...this was God's Will

iii. Sometimes in life, things may appear one way to us, but are really something completely different.
a.      If we are listening to the Will of God, and following the Lord's leading, sometimes things will look random, and even out of control, yet, be the perfect Will of God.

b.     So Paul begins his journey to Rome
i.       Just as the Lord told Paul, he was heading for Rome

c.      Things begin to look bad, but the men press on

a.      Paul, who is in tune with the Holy Spirit, knows troubles are coming, and tries to warn the men on the ship, but they don't listen
i.       Sometimes we try to warn others by the leading of the Holy Spirit that disasters are coming their way.

ii.    Most of the time, they won't listen

iii. Sometimes people try to warn us, and we don't listen

b.     The scriptures say that the Centurion in charge of Paul would not listen to him, rather, the words of the master and owner of the ship weighed heavier
i.       It's frustrating when you try to warn others, and they listen to friends or the majority rather than you.

ii.    Especially frustrating when God has lead you to say something, and you know your warning is 100% from God.

c.      Majority-Rule is seldom right, but the wisdom of God is always correct

a.      Disaster strikes, as Paul had warned

b.     Paul reminds them of his warning
i.       Not to boast, or brag, or say, "ha ha, I told you so..." Rather, to show that he was hearing from God, and God is in control of all things, and it would do you good to listen to what God has to say.

ii.    God will show us He is in control, and we should listen to what He has to say.

iii. We can simply believe and trust in His Holy Word, or He can teach us through the circumstances in our lives.

iv.   Either way, He is God.

c.      Paul then gives them courage
i.       Paul lets them know, "Hey, we may be in the middle of a terrible storm, lost all control of our direction, all of our supplies and reserves are gone, and we have nothing left, but God is still in control."

ii.    This vessel you used when you were warned not to, will be destroyed, but you will remain alive, because of God hand and Grace.

iii. This is a picture of our lives.

d.     The illustration of a life out of control
i.       The ship representing our will in life
a.      Warned by God not to travel in a certain direction because of the storms which await you, instructed rather to wait a "season" in the port.

b.     This is all about "God's Timing", and the "Seasons" in our lives we talked about a few weeks ago.

ii.    We are warned, sometimes by the Word of God, sometimes by the messenger of God, and we go anyway.
a.      We choose "our will" over "God's Will"

iii. And the storms come
a.      When they hit, like the men on the ship, we do what we can to keep from sinking.

b.     We try to strengthen our vessel "our will"
1.      I'm not wrong, my way was right, I'm not giving up
2.      Quitting is for losers..."Unless your quitting something you should have never started..."

c.      When strengthening our will does not work in the storm, we try to change tactics, still refusing to turn back.
1.      We "drop anchor" and try to weather the storm out

d.     It's not until we confess, or admit that our way, our will, our ship is lost at sea and will be destroyed, at this point, we can move forward in the Lord.

e.      Once we confess the error of our way and our will, and turn from it, accepting that God is in control, we can be saved, though our vessel (our will) must be destroyed.
i.       They will lose their ship, but no men will die this day, because of the Grace of God. They will be saved by His hand alone, and not of their own doing.

1.      Majority-Rule is seldom right, but the wisdom of God is always right.
2.      When God speaks, we need to listen, even when it doesn't seem possible.
3.      When we don't listen, and we find our ship (or will) in troubled storms, there is a chance for forgiveness, when we ask, repent, and put God first in our lives.

Revelation 3:3 "Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you."

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

From Acts to Revelation Part 74 – The Light and Obedience

From Acts to Revelation
Part 74  – The Light and Obendience
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

Last week we read about Paul explaining his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus with King Agrippa during his trial.

This meeting was set up by Festus, who hoped to figure out what he was to charge Paul with when he sends Paul to see Caesar.

Acts 26:19-32
19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”
24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”
25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”
28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”
29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”
30 The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. 31 After they left the room, they began saying to one another, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.”
32 Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”

In today's scripture we will look at;
1.      How Paul is guilty of nothing more than obeying Christ, and believing in what his accusers were taught in the scripture, to have hope in the resurrection, and the coming messiah.
2.      What is obedience to the Lord?
3.      Examining our obedience

a.      Paul explains he was obedient to the vision from heaven
i.       First taking the Truth to those in Damascus (he preached here immediately after being saved)

ii.    then taking the Truth to those in Jerusalem and all of Judea

iii. and then taking the Truth to the Gentiles (this was the greater portion of Paul's ministry)

iv.   Paul had faithfully carried out what the Lord told him to do!

b.     This is why they hate me
i.       Paul explains that the Jews do not hate him because of their stated reasons, rather because of his preaching Jesus.

c.      Festus cries out
i.       Interrupting Paul, "You're out of your mind!"

ii.    "Your great learning has driven you insane!"

iii.  Festus could not understand these things the way that King Agrippa could, because he was not a follower of God.

iv.   It was too difficult for Festus to accept that Jesus dying on the cross was fulfillment of the prophets and Moses' teachings of God's prophecies of the coming Messiah.

d.     I'm not mad, most noble Festus
i.       ...but speak forth the words of Truth and Soberness
ii.    King Agrippa knew of Jesus, now, he has been presented with the Truth, which gives him opportunity to know Jesus as Lord.

a.      Paul was a sinner
i.       Paul explained his life to King Agrippa before he had met Jesus on the road to Damascus

ii.    He explained how he hunted followers of Christ, putting them in chains, and casting his lot against them for death, even trying to force them to blaspheme against God.

iii. Paul even says of himself in his letter to Timothy (I Timothy 1:16) "for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life."

b.     However, Paul met the Lord on the road to Damascus
i.       The Lord offers us freedom from the bondage of sin
ii.    Bondage that will take us straight to hell if we do not repent
a.      Paul recognized the Lord as deity before He revealed himself as Jesus

c.      Paul explains that when he met Jesus on that road;
i.       He was the worst of sinners

ii.    But he recognized salvation, and accepted the Lord as his savior

iii. He repented (or turned away from sin) to receive forgiveness

iv.   He obeyed what the Lord commanded him

v.      And he showed works which demonstrated his repentance.

a.      Do you think your sin is too great for the Lord to forgive?
i.       Paul hunted, imprisoned, tortured and killed followers of Christ

ii.    However, when he saw that he truly was a sinner, he accepted Jesus as his Lord...everything changed from that point on.

b.     All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved
i.       Acts 2:21 & Romans 10:13, "EVERYONE who calls on the name of the Lord WILL BE SAVED."

ii.    Is this God's "new" thing for the New Testament?
a.      NO. Joel 2:32 "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

b.     Lamentations 3:54-58
54 the waters closed over my head, and I thought I was about to perish.
55 I called on your name, Lord,  from the depths of the pit.
56 You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.”
57 You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.”
58 You, Lord, took up my case; you redeemed my life.

c.      Psalm 116:13  "I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of  the Lord."

d.     Psalm 116:3-9 "3 The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Lord, save me!”
5 The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.
6 The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me.
7 Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.
8 For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling,
9 that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living."

c.      When we repent, our sins are forgiven
i.       It is true that the Lord will save everyone who calls on His name, we must then REPENT, which means to turn away from the very sin that once held us in bondage.

ii.    Luke 5:32, Jesus says, "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

iii. Luke 13:5 "I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
iv.   Luke 15:7 "... there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."

v.      Luke 17:3 "So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them."

vi.   and about 50 other scriptures saying this in the New Testament...

d.     We then obey what Christ commands
i.       Jesus tells us in the great commission that after we accept Him as Lord, and are baptized into the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we are to obey all that He commands.

e.      And lastly, show works (what we "do" in our life) that demonstrate our repentance, or show that we are no longer the "old" us.

1.      How Paul is guilty of nothing more than obeying Christ, and believing in what his accusers were taught in the scripture, to have hope in the resurrection, and the coming messiah.
2.      What is obedience to the Lord?
3.      Examining our obedience

Revelation 3:3 "Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you."

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!