Summary: I need to remind myself, from time to time, that He has a reason for everything. Adapted from a series by Pastor Jerry Shirley.
Just When I Need Him Most Acts 23:10-11
Imagine, with me for a moment that you are sitting in your favorite chair, watching “wheel of Fortune” and suddenly you hear a loud crashing sound as the battering ram knocks your door off its hinges. In the midst of the confusion you hear voices shouting… “Sheriff’s office!!” When the deputies enter you ask what it’s all about and the deputy in charge says, “We’re here to arrest you for because you told an informant that you are a Christian.” He asks you if this is true and you quickly respond, “Yes I am a Christian” You may even quote from [Rom 1:16 NKJV] “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”
They cuff and take you off to jail, for being a Christian. You have just been jailed for the cause of Christ, what would going through your mind, as you sat there? How about your attitude?
You know, from this point through the rest of the book of Acts Paul was a prisoner, for Jesus.
The amazing thing is that during this time he wrote several books of the Bible that we call the ‘prison epistles.’
Let’s check out some of the statements he made from jail.
[Eph 4:1 NKJV] “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,”
Paul’s attitude was, “Whatever happens to me, I will walk worthy of the call.”
Paul could feel this way because he never saw himself as a prisoner of the state. He considered himself a prisoner for the cause of Christ. Not only was he a prisoner for the cause of Christ but Paul thought it to be a privilege!
[Eph 6:20 NKJV] “for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Paul is in prison, yet he has an Ambassador attitude, meaning that he sees himself as is a representative from a foreign land.
Paul stood on the truth of [Phl 3:20 NKJV] “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,”
I pray that each of us would think like Paul who considered himself a missionary to the other prisoners, in each prison he was in. And not only to the prisoners but the guards, as well as those he could write letters to.
Paul wrote, from a prison cell, [Phl 1:12-13 NIV] Where he said; “12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.”
Paul was guarded by the notorious Praetorian Guard, the elite soldiers who guarded Caesar himself.
The average Christian could never have gotten close enough to witness to these men. God did what He had to in order to get His voice heard there.
If we are serious enough to ask, God will give us opportunities to share the gospel. Some may seem a bit unusual but opportunities just the same, if we will be willing to recognize them as opportunities.
If you are wondering if it worked for Paul, all you need to do is look to Scripture for the answer.
[Phl 4:22 NIV] “All God's people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar's household.”
So maybe the next time you find yourself in a situation that would not have been your first choice, look around for a door of opportunity to be opened by God.
I need to remind myself, from time to time, that He has a reason for everything. I thought about this Monday as I was writing this message and thinking about my doctor’s appointment for Wednesday. We all know that you never get to see the doctor on time and you spend a lot of time just sitting in the waiting room, so why not look for that door that He will open.
When I look at Paul’s journey from this point, I can’t help but notice that Paul understood something I need to understand. [2Ti 2:9 NET] “for which I suffer hardship to the point of imprisonment as a criminal, but God's message is not imprisoned!”
The world can restrain the man but it cannot restrain the message!
Paul was considered to be a great man and he was just that BUT he was still just a man. He had real feelings, just like you and I have. He needed to know he wasn’t all alone. How many times have you had that need?