Summary: Paul has a few anchors for his soul. He knows the presence of God, the purpose of God and the promise of God.
Last week we read about Paul in Corinth, where he worked for a moment as a tentmaker, with Aquila and Priscilla. [See Map]
• From there he went to Syria and then to Ephesus with the tent-making couple, and subsequently left for Antioch. That concluded his 2nd journey.
End of Acts 18 records the start of his 3rd journey from Antioch. [See Map]
• After 3 months in Greece he planned to set sail for Syria (near Antioch) but “because the Jews made a plot against him just as he was about to sail for Syria, he decided to go back through Macedonia.” [20:3]
In Acts 20B he said farewell to the Ephesians elders who met him at Miletus.
• And Acts 21 records his trip back to Jerusalem. That concluded his 3rd and final missionary journey.
• End of Acts 21 tells us his enemies caught up with him.
Acts 21:30-33 “30The whole city was aroused, and the people came running from all directions. Seizing Paul, they dragged him from the temple, and immediately the gates were shut. 31While they were trying to kill him, news reached the commander of the Roman troops that the whole city of Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32He at once took some officers and soldiers and ran down to the crowd. When the rioters saw the commander and his soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33The commander came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. Then he asked who he was and what he had done.”
That probably saved his life. Now Paul has landed himself in the Romans’ hands.
• He was brought before the Sanhedrin. His Jewish enemies really hated him.
• Acts 23:12 tells us “the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13More than forty men were involved in the plot.”
• Paul’s nephew got to know, reported it to the Roman commander – [Acts 23:20-24]
The next few chapters we see Paul standing trials…
• King Herod Agrippa II came to visit and a hearing was arranged (Acts 25C–26).
Finally, they sent Paul to Rome because he appealed to Emperor Caesar. Acts 27 records Paul’s journey to Rome as a prisoner.
• In Rome, Paul was placed under house arrest for two years while waiting trial. He cannot visit the synagogues but kept an “open house” to anyone who is willing to come and hear him speak.
• Acts 28:30-31 “30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.”
• During these 2 years, Paul wrote the Epistles to the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.
According to history, there was no trial. So after two years, he was released (because 2 years was the maximum time they can hold someone without trial).
• It was likely that Paul went to Macedonia, Achaia, and Asia and even to Spain. [You see, you cannot stop him!]
• It was in these 3-4 years (AD 63-67) of freedom that he wrote letters to Titus (church at Crete) and Timothy (leading the church in Ephesus).
In his 2nd letter to Timothy, Paul was apparently arrested again, chained in a prison and treated as a criminal (cf. 2 Tim 1:16, 2:9).
• It was his last letter, written from Rome while awaiting execution.
• 2 Tim 4:6-8 “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
• Tradition tells us he was beheaded in Rome in AD 67/68.
Why was Paul able to stay above his circumstances and remain strong?
• He has a few anchors. We can see them in his life.
• I want to show you from Acts 27 today, where Paul encountered a great storm, and see the reasons for his strength.
[Read Acts 27:18-26] He was taken as captive onboard a ship on its way to Rome.
It was a violent storm and they have reached a hopeless situation.
Paul said to all the terrified people - “22But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me 24and 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.' 25So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.” (Acts 27:22-25)