Summary: Stranded on a foreign beach, dripping wet and freezing cold, Paul’s plan was definitely on hold. But watch how this man of God continues to be effectively used in the middle of failure.
Passage: Acts 28:1-16
Intro: Standing on the beach of an unknown island, freezing cold with both seawater and rainwater dripping off his nose, I wonder if Paul was a little puzzled.
1. his plan had been to go to Rome and have an audience with the highest powers of his world.
2. and instead he is one of 276 half- drowned rats, at the mercy of a people who didn’t even speak Greek.
3. Paul’s plans were as wrecked as the ship being pounded to pieces by the storm surf just offshore.
4. His ministry! His plans! His dreams!
5. frankly, I love this passage!
6. as an organizationally challenged man, my plan isn’t ruined because I never had one in the first place!
7. but for the rest of you (ha ha), this passage is pure gold.
8. because in it we will find principles that can be applied to any situation, any time, anywhere, anything.
9. Jesus promised to be with us always, and sometimes we have to look for Him pretty hard.
10. so how do we remain faithful servants when the light of our own plan goes out?
I. Be the Light of the World Wherever You Are.
1. Malta is a 122 square mile island 58 miles south of Sicily and 180 miles north of Africa.
Il) in the 50’s we might have called is “nowheresville”
2. sailors had no idea where they were, had to ask.
3. clearly people of the island saw their shipwreck, ran down to help.
4. Luke calls them “barbaroi” =barbarians.
Il) not as bad as it sounds. Means they could not speak Greek, but sounded like “bar- bar-bar”
5. practical people, immediately built a fire to warm these guys.
Il) cold, OK. Wet, OK. Cold and wet, bad.
6. Paul pitched right in to help!
7. if not enough trouble, a snake comes out of the brush and sinks in the fangs.
8. amazing how fast the mind works. They see the snake, (venomous acc. to medical terminology), and come to an obvious conclusion (for them)
9. Paul is being pursued by Dike’, god of Justice. He must be a criminal
10. but Paul shakes the snake off without any apparent concern, and the people watch! (he is now on display)
11. after a while, the swelling that would precede his death never happened.
12. and suddenly he was a god! V6
13. out from these 276 men, Paul suddenly was unique. “The guy who survived the snakebite.”
14. in fact, the guy who didn’t seem that concerned about it at all.
15. in the midst of multiple crisis, Paul exhibited a unique calm, a peace that was beyond understanding.
16. the islanders didn’t know why, but you can believe they wanted to know.
17. we can be the light of the world without saying a word. God will send the opportunities
II. Be Available for the Divine Appointment
1. v7 does not say why the leading official of the island invited Paul and Luke, (at least) to his place.
2. but it would be unusual for a prisoner to be entertained by the head of the government.
3. not a stretch to conclude that Paul came to Publius’ notice because of the snakebite incident.
4. and surprise! Publius has a father who is very sick.
Il) Malta fever, typically lasts 4 months. 1887 was found to be caused by a microorganism in the Maltese goats. So be sure to boil Malted milk!
5. Dr. Luke was there, but Paul did the healing! V8
6. no doubt in my mind this was a divine appt!
7. word spread, people came, and though it doesn’t say it, I’m sure Paul dispensed the gospel with his prayers for healing.
8. Paul was getting to Rome, but God arranged this “divine detour.”
9. free from the interference of the Jews, Paul enjoyed a very productive ministry, and God’s wonderful grace was manifested.
10. we don’t know what is around the corner, but God does! He plans it!
11. the who, the where, the how, the why can be in our plans, but God often has other plans.
12. God makes the appointments. We need to be ready and willing do His will in His time and place.
III. Trust God to Provide.
1. this is probably where most ministry dreams die.
2. it’s the “how?” question that stops us from being used by God.
Il) constructing a building takes dreamer, architect, and contractor. God is the actual architect, but He works differently than we would like. Especially in terms of time.
3. look here at God’s provision for Paul and his team.
4. got them ashore alive.
5. ministry on the island gained them great favor. V10
6. lost everything in the shipwreck, so islanders provided what they need. (or God did)