Acts 27-28: From Caesarea to Rome
Finishing up the Acts Series, pastor David preaches on Acts 27-28. This sermon examines Paul's inspiring journey from Caesarea to Rome, highlighting his faith and dedication to spreading the Gospel. Many lessons are drawn as the sermon explores the challenges faced by Paul at sea, some miraculous encounters, and the impact of Paul's discipleship.
Well. Good morning everyone. this is it wig at the end of the book of Acts not sure when it was when we started this but it's quite a while ago and today we polish It Off so to speak so if you've got your Bibles there you might like to turn with me to these these couple of chapters Acts chapter 27 and 28. sandal said it's uh it's a long passage so we won't be reading at all however we will be covering it all and hopefully either you've read it already during the week or you'll read it in the coming weeks so I just want to read a selection of verses um and uh there we'll see what we can learn from this passage and just do a bit of a recap on the book of Acts as well so Acts chapter 27 and verse 1 it says when it was decided that we would sail for Italy Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to Centurion named Julius who belonged to the Imperial regiment we boarded a ship from oh sorry about this we boarded a ship from Adra maitium or something like that about yourself reports along the coast of the province of Asia and we put it we put out to see aristarchus and macedonius from thessalonica was with us do you know the longest word in the Bible is this is not this is for action no you don't have to pay extra for this not the longest word in the Bible is it's in Acts chapter sorry Isaiah chapter 6 and verse 1. and it's a person's name and his name was mahershbas so Paul and a few others set off to sell for rain um then to chapter 27 verse 11. um it's headed this section the storm when a gentle South Wind began to blow they thought they'd obtained what they wanted so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete before very long a wind hurricane of hurricane Force called a northeaster sweat from the island and the ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind so we gave way to it and were driven it along they were ultimately Shipwrecked could read about that we'll refer to it chapter 28. and verse 1 where did they land once safely onshore we found out that the island was called Malta The Islander showed unusual Cutlass they built a fire welcomed us all because it was raining and cold Paul has an encounter with the snake is bitten and and survives first though locals think he's being bitten by a snake he's escaped judgment so far so he must be a murderer and the gods have sent this snake as judgment and he's going to going to die he's going to die as a result of that but he survives doesn't have any effect and so the Islanders instead of thinking that um that he's a murderer they think oh he's a god he's really special and so all of this gives opportunity for Paul to to share more about Jesus verse 11 of chapter 28 it says um verse 11 that's headed arrival at Reign after three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island there's an alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin Gods caster and Pollux they arrived in it rained and what what happened they discovered that there were already Christians there does that surprise us no because if you remember right back in Acts chapter 2 on the day of Pentecost when uh when the spirit was given to the church and they all heard the Jews that were there heard the gospel being preached in their own language there were some from Ryan and so they obviously went back and uh so but just amongst the Jews uh the gospel was the they're aware that Paul was coming and so they met him then however Paul's still under guard so down in verse 17 of chapter 28 three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews and when they dissembled Paul said to them my brothers although I've done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans they examined me and wanted to release me because I was not guilty of any crime deserving of death but the Jews when the Jews objected I was compelled to appeal to Caesar not that I had any charge to bring against my own people for this reason I've asked to see you and talk with you is because of the hope of Israel that I'm bound with this chain and I replied we have not received any letters from Judea concerning you and none of the brothers who have come from there has reported or said enter said anything bad about you but we want to hear what your views are for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect another opportunity to preach and then in verse 28. therefore I want you to know that God's salvation has been sent to the Gentiles and they will listen the two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ that's the end of the book of Acts I don't know how you find that ending I actually find it always have found it somewhat inadequate it sort of seems to just cut off mid story and often wonder why why was there not a chapter 29 written in actual fact there is a chapter 29. do you want to know where Acts chapter 29 is look in the mirror look at the person beside you in front of you behind you because the story of The Acts of the Apostles acts of the Holy Spirit did not end in at the end of chapter 28 but it continues and it's a story which is continuing to die and is still being written and we are a part of that story isn't that exciting I reckon that is anyway okay so let's have a look to see what we can glean from this passage in the time allotted to us so if we're into Maps this is the journey which which Paul took and uh so this is just the journey too far back a bit yep that's the journey so you see started off at caesarea down down in Judea and it took a couple of ships three ships to get from caesarea over to Rome all the way up to there um first ship took them so far and then it wasn't it was going in the wrong direction so there needed to be a change of ship um which headed towards Rome um they got onto that ship the change of the weather the change of season Paul warned them and said Hey listen it's not the right time to sail but they said no we've got to go they set off so that ship became Shipwrecked so we just mentioned that and so the ship was destroyed and so I had to stay there for about three months or something like that before another ship came and finally they ended up in in Rome so it's quite a duty it's not the usual Mediterranean Cruise which we'd expect today if we were to do something like that but that was something of the path of the traveling of the ships in those days and so let's have a look at some of these through some of these things and there are just three things that I want to highlight today In this passage this next slide's not the end so the three things about the see the snake and the savior so the sea is really what we just mentioned about this traveling by see remember that Paul had appealed to Caesar and they said to Seas you've got to go to Rome remember the god who'd told him that he was going to go to Reign I remembered an angel came and affirmed that to him and said remember you're going to Rome everything's going to be all right so all along there was this awareness that Paul was going to go to Rome he needed the reassurance of the Angel somewhere along that line because when the ship was being Shipwrecked it's as though all afraid including Paul I all thought they were going to die and yet this Angel appeared to Paul and said no Paul remember you're going to get to Rome so those who really into sailing there's 11 nautical terms here and we're not going to go through them because I'm not into sailing and I don't understand all of them but if you're interested in it shows something of the authenticity of this of this passage of where um of all the nautical terms which are being used there was interesting that Paul was able to take a number of companions with him there's a number of stopovers changing ships a warning the storm and the Shipwreck so there's the sea in all of this this travel but then there was this snake which I've already referred to this incident in chapter 28 and verses 1 to 10. so it's a Malta so the locals very hospitable with those who are Shipwrecked and build the fire and pull um gets out to help picks up this pile of wood and uh to put on the fire and the snake grabs onto him and obviously a poisonous snake and wouldn't let go Paul held it over the fire and and um and the snake fell off obviously killed in the fire as I said the locals thought here is the guy who's a murderer hasn't been found guilty yet and the gods had sent along this night to bring judgment that was the way they thought and as I watched Paul expecting him to die and he didn't there's this change of heart thinking oh if he's if he's not a murderer maybe he's a God that getting bitten by this poisonous snake and he survives and and when he is uh I mean he doesn't suffer and there's all sorts of healings that take place in their stop over there at Malta and then this end of this passage these these two chapters chapter 28 verses 11 to 31 we find Paul in reign traveling there and what do we find Paul doing remembering that this is this is the um the theme which we've been covering or been focusing on in the book of Acts about disciples making disciples or more accurately disciples making disciples who make disciples and so Paul in every opportunity as we have seen throughout the Book of Acts with the story of Paul and every opportunity is sharing the gospel put on trial oh you want to know my defense well it's all about the gospel I want to know what's happening to me is he's traveling along well it's all about the gospel and now he is in Rome and he's under house arrest so he still chained to uh to a Roman soldier but under house arrest but has this this relative Freedom people coming and going and all along Paul continues to preach and to teach he's not only preaching but we know that he is writing and in our Bible we have these uh these these books in in the New Testament with Paul's writing which are called the prison Epistles the prison letters and so Paul while he is there in prison chained to or in house arrest chained to a Roman god is there riding away wouldn't you love to have been that God um the gospel spread amongst the Roman god I assure you that Bible says that but while he's there Paul's writing letters to the churches and what's accepted as being the the prison Epistles of these Ephesians Philippians Colossians and Philemon here are these books in the Bible which we love to read love to preach love to learn about God from it's happening while Paul is chained to this Roman soldier isn't it interesting that God brings about these circumstances or allows these circumstances to occur and and they're not the end of the world but whatever the circumstances are that God is able to use them and to use them for Eternal benefits do you think he still does that um we all say yes Sunday morning we're in church we have to say yes do you think he's can use that whatever your own personal circumstances are do you think whatever your circumstances are right now that God is there and somehow is using that to shape you but also to influence others as well and there's this one verse which which Lindell read to us which is a key verse here of course isn't it proclaiming the kingdom of God this is what Paul did in Rain proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with full boldness and without hindrance what's the kingdom of God well most simply is the kingdom of God is the reign of God that God is King and wants to be king or needs to be king of your life of my life the king in the sense of being the ruler not being a figurehead so when you have a king who is really a figurehead does all the things opens Parliament whatever else the king does opens this and that Charities all the rest of it but if there's a war there's not going to be the king out there used to be in the past of course in in hundreds of years ago and whatever the king said happened well King can only say certain things these days and sometimes when you want Jesus we want God to be that sort of a king the king that we can push around and become a figurehead in our lives but that's not the sort of King which God says when I'm King I'm going to be the ruler I'm going to tell you this is how to live your life and that is what makes most sense in life is to live our lives under the hand of God so this is what Paul is preaching preaching that Jesus that God needs to be king of your life and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus hey does this sound familiar to us or remember the the Great Commission which says hey remember you're to make disciples by what going baptizing and teaching obedience to the commands of Jesus teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus and Paul was able to do so with full boldness and without hindrance interesting isn't it that still while in captivity he was able to do that that's the all that we know about Paul well what happened to Paul the reality is we we're not sure we don't have any authoritative statement about the life of Paul we know that he wrote several of his lists we've referred to them while he's in rain but this is this is what tradition tradition says that he was beheaded and that he died a martyr the um the Roman rule at the time was uh was nere and those of you who know history that in ad64 that there's this great fire in rain some people suspected it was actually Nero who organized the fire because he wanted all of this land to for himself to do certain things with it and others say that wasn't Nero but others say yeah it was Nero who did it but whatever the cause of this big fire Nero blame the Christians and Paul is caught up in that and so um and so tradition hasn't that Paul was um was beheaded as a result of this uh of this Nero getting at the Christians here's a good excuse to get rid of the Christians good excuse they weren't really like so let's blame them for the fire as well so that's the story of Paul but what is it the things that we can learn about discipleship with Paul well we know this that there's a lot of blessings in discipleship and here are some things which we learn from Paul this was Paul's experience and this can be ours as well here the some of the blessings in discipleship one there is sharing of life with others that's really one of the great blessings in discipleship about doing lost Journey with other people it's one of the great pluses of ministry is sharing with people through life through the good times and the not so so good as well but but discipleship is the is a people-focused role Ministry is people focused sometimes we tend to think that we can do this from our desk with the with the computer or whatever but that's not Ministry Ministry is getting out and amongst people easy for extroverts or easier for extroverts to get them out amongst people not so easy for introverts but nevertheless it's something which God has uh has said and we the way God is created his faith whether we're extroverts or introverts God Is Creative to live in community that's right from beginning it's not good for a man to live alone it's we've got to live in community and so this is one of the blessings of discipleship is about doing life with others don't you enjoy one of the benefits of Sunday morning is catching up with other people one of the great things is that we put on um tea and coffee Dickies afterwards some weeks are far better than others thank you last week had morning tea last week the rest of the week we're trying to work it off but uh but but more important than that is the conversations that take place and the relationships which are being built you know it's also one of the blessings in discipleship is being an ambassador for Christ as well we are Christ's ambassadors the Bible says is that we're his Representatives that we go in the name of Jesus now we don't go in our own neighbor in our own authority in our own power but we go in the name of Jesus another benefit is this is that we see God at work in people's lives um it's it's such a thrill to see the change in other people's lives the change that God is bringing about and as he changes other people in our discipling of other people we are being changed as well and that's equally important we see the impact of the Gospel in in changed lives there's a lot of good stuff about Ministry it's a lot of good stuff about being involved in discipleship I want to say this is that there are some difficulties as well just think of some of the things we've talked about this morning but Paul addresses these when he's writing to the church at Corinth and here's the summary of what Paul went through listen to this I have worked much harder been in prison more frequently been flogged more severely and been exposed to death again and again five times I received from the Jews the 40 Lashes minus one three times I was beaten with rods once I was pilted with stones three times I was Shipwrecked I spent a night and day in the open sea I've been constantly on the move of being in danger from rivers in danger from bandits in danger from my fellow Jews in danger from Gentiles in danger in the city in danger in the country in danger at Sea and endanger from false believers I have labored and toiled and have often Gone without sleep I have known hunger and thirst and have often Gone without food opening cold and naked and besides everything else the pressure of my concern for all the churches welcome to discipleship fake is this a recruiting poster that might God might put up hey come and be a disciple and this is what you might go through well it's what Paul went through um and probably very few others have gone through such hardship and of course as we're saying uh ultimately the tradition has that that pull was Martin you see discipleship is not easy there's a lot of blessings in discipleship but there's also hardship let's be realistic about this one of the great things about discipleship is working with other people one of the tough things about discipleship is working with other people and sometimes I am a difficult people and sometimes you are too we all can be in certain circumstances and but that's establishing that's the reality of life but the blessings I want to say this is that the blessings always outweigh the toughies time and time again numerous ways so what about Paul is the discipleship well here are some things that we can note about it half a dozen that I've picked out one he responded to the Great Commission he went he baptized and he taught obedience Paul did that if we're going to be disciples fulfill the Great Commission that's what we've got to be involved in does that mean that we've got to go yes does it mean we've got to be back we've got to baptize well maybe maybe not in the involved directly in baptizing others but certainly talking about about teaching Obedience of course we do prayer was always a natural thing with Paul and it was assumed in Paul's Ministry it was assumed that disciples would be prayers and it's fair enough for us to achieve that that prayer is going to be a natural part of our day-to-day lives sometimes we do special times at pre like we're going to tonight Paul was also totally devoted to God as well he was he was this passion for God not just an interesting God but a passion he was truly sold out to God and and he always expected God to work there's always this miraculous involvement God would work in his life I want to just pause and just say a bit about miracles do I believe in miracles you bet I do do I think they still occur I sure do do I expect them to occur all the time in my previous role is to go out country a fair bit visiting pastors and churches that used to go past this particular Country Church fairly frequently and I can't remember exactly what the sign said it's not not a Baptist Church but you just have his son out the front that said come on Sunday and see your Miracle or this is a place where Miracles always occur or whatever and yes sir you know if if the Miracles were always occurring there wouldn't be Miracles they'd be usuals that'd be normals um Paul was exposed to the Supernatural and and if it was occurring all the time it wouldn't be Supernatural would just be natural and so I I just want us to to just have some perspective here is God the god of Miracles absolutely is anything too hard for God absolutely not does God still do Miracles today yes he can and he does do we expect them all day every day God doesn't work that way he is chosen not to so he expected God to work he he just did whatever he could do and if anything beyond that was required he just allowed God to step in and to do whatever God wanted to do at that time in fact we need to with whatever passion and energy and gifting whatever we have to do our utmost for God and whatever God chooses to do with that if that also includes doing something miraculous something Supernatural so be it let's give the glory to God and let's never ever I this was our doing as well of course the most miraculous thing of course is the Forgiveness of sins is it not the the fact that we who are so alienated from God have been brought back to him sometimes people wave in his face as I said he was worried sometimes he there's there's some doubts there but but only momentarily and only an incy Wincy bit because if he's dated he staked his life on Jesus there is this focus on the Great Commission so here we are at the end of the book of Acts has it been a good story have we learned a lot I hope so in both of those but the question that need to ask is this is what difference what difference does it make and we need to have our discipleship response to the book of Acts you see how effective this Series has been it's not how much you've enjoyed it but what has been the change in your life and in mind as we've been exposed to the word of God so it's important that we go baptize and teach obedience to the Jesus commands it's important that we all recognize that if we are disciples it's all important that we realize that God is calling you to something God has a call on your life no exception no exception fake if you belong to the Lord Jesus when you gave your life to the Lord Jesus he said I've got a job for you so he wants to work in our life in in doing things to us but he also wants to do things through us as well it's important that we understand that that we accept that and and that we know what it is um if you're not sure then by all means see somebody on the church Council or your extended family group leader or one that passes or somewhat that you can sit together and work out with that might look like expect God to work and get in and have a go um you had Dave today this morning about lack of ministry leaders and sometimes you know we we do lack leaders in various places but I just think if the whole church was mobilized just how much more Ministry might we be able to do in the name of Jesus so get in and have a go the church councilor said you know we're a busy church and some people are just too busy but the church Council said there ought to be a minimum commitment to these three things committing to attending one service committing to being belonging to one extended family group and being committed to one Ministry in the church so if you're not sure about any of those things then today is a great time to to get moving on it for your sake in obedience to to what God is saying to us well I just want to read this this quote and then we're going to have a moment of silence before we sing Our Song I've read this before here and so some of you may remember it but it's talking about this about this being totally sold out to the Lord Jesus in Zimbabwe it was a young African preacher who was um who was martyred and following his um his martyrdom um they they found this this letter amongst his belongings this quote of his amongst his belongings he said this and I wonder how you respond how you identify with this this statement he wrote this I'm a part of the Fellowship of the unashamed I have holy spirit Power the die has been cast I've stepped over the line the decision has been made I'm a disciple of his I won't look back lit up slowed down back away or be still my past is redeemed my present makes sense my future is secure I'm finished and done with low living sight walking smooth knees colorless dreams tamed Visions worldly talking cheap giving and dwarfed goals I no longer need preeminence Prosperity position promotions Portage or popularity I don't have to be right first tops recognize praised regarded or rewarded I now live by faith lean in his presence walk by patience am uplifted in play in prayer and I labor with power by faith is that my gate is fast my goal is heaven my road is narrow my way is rough my companions are few my guide reliable my mission clear I cannot be bought compromised detoured lured away turned back deluded or delayed I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice hesitate in the presence of the enemy Pander at the pool of popularity or Meander in the Maze of mediocrity I won't give up shut up let up until I've stayed up stood up prayed up paid up and preached up for the cause of Christ I am a disciple of Jesus I must go till he comes give till I drop preach till all know and work till he stops me and when he comes for his own he will have no problem recognizing me my banner will be clear and yours let's pray it's just a moment of silence think back maybe there's been a lesson or two in the book of Acts that we want to take on and say this is for me sing these words which also came out of another setting in Africa Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus look full in his wonderful face have decided to follow Jesus I have decided to follow Jesus no turning back and none go with me I still will follow the World Behind me the cross before me Lord God we thank you for our brother Paul who one day will sit together in heaven and rejoice together with his ministry just as he was faithful to you so to we would want to be found faithful in our discipleship making disciples who make disciples for the King of Kings and the Lord of lords. Amen.