Summary: Escape in the night
A. WARNING TO PAUL
1. At Tyre disciples said not to go. “Not to go up to Jerusalem” (Acts 21:4).
2. The prophet Agabus warned. “So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt” (Acts 21:11).
3. Paul’s response. “I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13).
a. Did God sovereignly want Paul stopped?
b. Did God just warn Paul of dangers, but wanted him to go with full understanding?
c. Compromise. Some say Paul was arrested (punished) because he went back to Temple worship. “Then Paul took the men, (who had a vow), and the next day, having been purified with them, entered the temple to announce the expiration of the days of purification, at which time an offering should be made for each one of them” (Acts 21:26).
d. Providence. Paul was arrested because he was in the wrong place (Temple) doing the wrong thing (paying for sacrifice), at the wrong time. “The Jews, which were of Asia . . . saw him in the temple” (Acts 21:27).
4. Met the elders at Troas. “For he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost” (Acts 20:16).
5. Predicated his imprisonment. “The Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me” (Acts 20:23).
6. Threefold duty of an elder.
a. To lead. “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock . . . overseers” (Acts 20:28).
b. To feed. “To feed the church of God” (Acts 20:28, KJV).
c. To protect and give pastoral care “watch” (Acts 20:31).
7. Tearful parting. “They all wept freely, and fell on Paul’s neck . . . that they would see his face no more” (Acts 20:37-38).
B. BEFORE THE SANHEDRIN
1. Old Friends.
2. Innocence. “I have lived in all good conscience before God, until this day” (Acts 23:1).
3. High Priest not recognized.
4. Theology divides. Pharisees and Sadducees. “Concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged” (Acts 23:6).
5. The Lord appeared. Testified in Jerusalem and Rome. “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for me in Jerusalem, so you must bear witness at Rome” (Acts 23:11).
C. ESCAPE IN THE NIGHT
1. Plans to kill Paul. “And when it was day, some of the Jews banded together and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul” (Acts 23:12).
a. Serious because of the curse.
b. Forty, the number of judgements.
2. Plot to bring Paul back to Sanhedrin. Jewish leaders are part of the plot (why God rejected the Jews and blinded them spiritually) (Acts 28:27).
3. Paul’s nephew alerted authorities (probably a believer). “Now when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard; but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him. And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: “Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans” (Acts 28:16-17).
4. Paul is saved. “And he called for two centurions, saying, “Prepare two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at the third hour of the night; and provide mounts to set Paul on, and bring him safely to Felix the governor” (Acts 23:23-24).
1. The Decision-Destiny Principle. “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord direct his steps” (Prov. 16:9). We make decisions about our life’s directions, as did Paul; but God directs how it works out.
2. The Test-Resolve Principle. Sometimes we make a decision about our ministry, but before it comes to pass; God tests our determination to see the depth of our commitment.
If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:
Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.