Summary: The journey Paul took was ONLY about Jesus and it is the same for us today! Our lives are not about our wants, our needs, our preferences, or our desires. For the Christian, life is about JESUS and nothing else!
Completing the Journey
We are called to have a common purpose in what we do
-- The purpose is to worship, to love, and to celebrate Christ and share Him always
-- That is our challenge, mission, and it is STILL where we find ourselves today
Even when we are shipwrecked in life, God is still in control … always!
-- We always look for ways to change the outcome, but only God knows it!
-- Paul lived and witnessed for the One who control everything
-- Even though life may be difficult; Salvation is STILL His promise
Today, we conclude our series in Acts which has taken us more than ¾ of a year
-- The journey many would say has been focused on Paul, written by Luke
-- Some would eve say that this has really been about the early church
-- But, I’d like to correct that … Acts is about one thing only: JESUS
If it weren’t for what Jesus has done:
-- Paul would never have been saved
-- The church would have never formed
-- Living Faith Church (we) would not be here to study this
IMP: If we gather for ANY other reason than Christ, we’ve lost our focus
-- Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
As we close this study let’s keep that as our focus and see how this book ends
Point 1 – God gives favor (1-10)
Read Acts 28:1-10
God has a way of making insurmountable situations into favorable ones
-- This is because we (again) like to control what’s happening and see no hope
This snake (v3) was looked at like a curse; something to be feared and avoided
-- APP: Belief was that Paul was a murdered, this was obviously God punishing
-- Murder has been around since Cain and Abel; and it’s a horrible crime
-- God is obviously punishing Paul for his actions; which they approved of
IMP: Man often wants others punished for things they’ve done wrong
-- But, this is not what is happening … God’s timing is perfect in this scenario
It is God who sets this record straight, as Paul’s actions in v4-5 show
-- APP: In times of great struggle, having faith in God reveals who you trust
-- Often we refer to a snake in scripture as the enemy (Garden of Eden curse)
-- Now see Paul’s response to this imagery of wickedness: v5; shakes it off!
God shows us in this event that He controls all that is happening; even in danger
-- Remember the shipwreck? God’s promise is clear: you WILL go to Rome
-- God even provides a place for them to stay to rest and (again) demonstrate faith
-- Paul heals a man who is sick, then healed others, while being treated well
-- APP: Why? Because when God sets you on a journey He brings you through it
-- Philippians 1:6, “… he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Point 2 – Giving Thanks (11-16)
Read Acts 28:11-16
I’d like us to see something interesting here … can you remember your last trip?
-- Surely we talked about the memories, the sights, the places we’ve encountered
-- But, why is it important that ever discuss the actual journey itself?
Paul recounts step by step of his journey for one reason alone: God’s provision!
-- He traveled with other believers; he had fellowship & was taken care of
-- IMP: Let’s remember something here … PAUL IS A PRISONER!
-- Explore: Have you ever seen a prisoner treated so well?
Can you imagine all this happening and what Paul is doing in his quiet time?
-- God has put all of this in place not to glorify Paul, but honor Himself!
IMP: It is in this honor that we see the revelation of Paul’s character:
-- v15, “At the sight of these people Paul thanked God and was encouraged.”
-- Even in all that was happening, God deserves the thanks and the praise!
Challenge: When you are facing adversity, who do you thank and praise?
-- You have EVERY reason to be thankful, even in persecution and trials
-- Why? The Bible says you are a child of the King, a joint heir with Christ:
-- Romans 8:17, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs -- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
-- John 1:12-13, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God -- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”