Summary: Paul arrives in Rome
a. Someone came up to me last week and said that they almost got seasick from last week’s message, and Paul’s experiences there on the Mediterranean Sea were certainly compelling.
b. I believe that it is the storms of life, the tribulations that we face that really draw out our true character. It’s kind of like squeezing a tube of toothpaste. You don’t really know what color is going to come our until you squeeze it
c. Last week, we saw Paul’s true colors coming out in the midst of the typhoon bearing down on the ship. Everyone else was panicking; Paul on the other hand was praising. Everyone else was worrying, and Paul was worshipping. Everyone was fasting, Paul urged them to feast.
d. You see, Paul had something wonderful. He knew the One who knew the end from the beginning. Paul had that peace that passes all understanding at work in his life. He had no fear of dying, because dying was just a fulfillment of God promise, - to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
e. As Paul stood in that ship, ministering to those around him, in the midst of that storm, his flesh was peeled back a bit, and the inner beauty of the Spirit shone through. You see, Paul got squeezed, and God came out. I don’t know about you, but that’s what I want to happen to me when my toothpaste tube gets squeezed.
f. As we finish up the Book of Acts this week, we see that this is the story that happens over and over again. People that are serving God, people that are ministering, get squeezed, over and over again, and God leaks out.
g. In the first seven chapters, we focused on Peter, and how he and John came under persecution by the Sanhedrin because he and John were filling the city with their doctrine. This man that had denied the Lord three times on the night before His death was now proclaiming His Resurrection on the streetcorners, and from house to house. Why the big change? What happened? People marveled that this uneducated Galilean fisherman could expound the truths of God. What was the secret? I’ll tell you, and he would too – The Holy Spirit. He was full to overflowing with the Holy Spirit.
h. In the next few chapters, we focused in on a man who was a deacon in the church there at Jerusalem named Philip. Philip was called by God to go to Samaria, and when he gets there, a revival broke out. In the middle of the revival, he gets called down to Gaza, to the desert, to share the gospel with one man, and he is faithful to God’s calling, and the Ethiopian eunuch gets saved.
i. At that point, we met up with a man named Saul of Tarsus, whose surname, or Roman name was Paullus. His friends called him Paul. He was a persecutor of the church, who met with the Lord face to face on the road to Damascus. This was a life-changing experience for Paul, and over the course of many months, we have traced Paul’s tribulation filled journeys throughout the Roman Empire.
j. A small church had sprung up there in Rome itself, and Paul longed to go and encourage them. Today, we will see as he gets his chance. It was no small journey, and he would arrive in chains, but Paul would see Rome.
a. If you recall last week, and if you weren’t here you can get the CD, Paul and his 275 sailing companions were shipwrecked on a small island. They had tried to make a one day journey from Fair Havens to Phoenix, to winter there. Paul warned them not to go. After 14 days of being tossed about by a typhoon, and finally running aground on a reef, and swimming to shore, they probably felt a little like Gilligan after his three-hour tour.
b. I’ve entitled today’s message A Journey’s End, and not, The Journey’s End, because it wasn’t an end for Paul, it was a beginning of his life there at Rome. The Book of Acts doesn’t have a formal ending, leading to the speculation that Luke was going to write a third book, further chronicling the adventures of Paul.
c. However, this is doubtful, because we aren’t told of a book like his in any ancient literature, and we don’t have it included in the Bible today. Maybe it was Luke’s intent to write a third book, but never got to it, we aren’t told.
d. But, the model that God gives us for our churches today is found in the Book of Acts. I see churches all the time claiming “We’re like a Book of Acts church”. I kind of laugh when I see that, because I think all of us should be like the church found in the Book of Acts.