Summary: Exposition of Acts 23:12-35 about the excessive deliverance of Paul from the Jews
Text: Acts 23:12-35, Title: A Mightier Deliverance, Date/Place: NRBC, 5/17/09, AM
A. Opening illustration: reminisce about our yearly deliverance at Camp Jubilee
B. Background to passage: Remember Paul has now been delivered from three riots in a row by the Lord and the Romans. And now the enemy is really mad. As we move on in Acts the deliverances of the Apostle seem to get more and more powerful as we go along. And what ratchets up the level of terror here is the plot on behalf of about 40 Jews plus the Sanhedrin Council to fast until they kill the Apostle. But as usual, God shows Himself mighty on behalf of those whose hearts are faithful to Him—2 Chron 16:9
C. Main thought: God really shows out this time.
A. The Vehemence of the Enemy (v. 12-15)
1. This was the last straw for a group of Jews for whom justice wasn’t moving fast enough. Their covenant for a total fast was to signify the intensity of their commitment. This sort of oath carried the effect of placing oneself under a curse if the commitment is not carried out. Killing someone in a riot is one thing, when even rational people get caught up in emotion. But plotting to kill, taking an oath, enlisting political forces, and drawing up a plan to carry it out is really taking it to another level. The enemy is really bound to destroy Paul.
2. Eph 6:12, John 10:10, 1 Pet 5:8, 2 Cor 2:11,
3. Illustration: Witnesses say that suddenly he reached up behind his neck and slumped over the wheel. The car swerved and went into a culvert, and he was killed. His car was completely demolished. An autopsy was ordered. Ad they began to put together the details, a keen-thinking physician noticed a small pinprick behind the man’s ear where a wasp had probably flown from behind the seat, or some part of the car, and had stung him, temporarily paralyzing a particular area of the nerve and blinding him with pain. He slumped over the wheel, lost control of the car, and died. Normally a grown man with normal strength can just swat away a little wasp with no problem. But when that wasp struck its mark, it led to a fatal crash. Martin Luther wrote: “For it is not enough to have defended ourselves against the enemy, and to be able to stand against him when he attacks us, so that we are not defeated; that is called defense. We must also be able to take the offensive--that is, to pursue the enemy, and put him to flight. Similarly, here it is not enough to ward off the devil with faith and hope as our shield and helmet, but we must draw the sword, hit back at him, hunt him down, and make him flee, thus gaining the victory ourselves.”
4. As believers we are called to submit to authority, and refrain from vigilantism. Rest assured that the enemy is not taking the battle as lightly as you are. He knows full well that there is a war going on, and only those that enter the battle with blood-earnestness will survive. Satan will attack your minds, your marriages, your money, your jobs, your health, your family, and if possible your life. Always remember that God is in control of Satan’s ability to destroy. But he is not described as a kitten, but as a lion, who will devour. And if you are doing the work of God, then you are more in his sites. If you are sitting on the sidelines of the Christian life, or worse, going with the world, he has no need to harass you.