Summary: Our lives are not to be lived haphazardly, but guided by the purposes of God.
Living on Purpose
Intro: Video clip of Acts 28 & Paul’s life. [44:45]
Prop: Our lives are not to be lived haphazardly, but guided by the purposes of God.
Interrogative: How does this happen? How can we stay in alignment with God’s purposes?
TS: This closing chapter of Acts leaves us with a sense that God is in control and that He will guide our lives if we let Him. I’d like to uncover a few thoughts today that relate to God’s purposes and how that affects our lives.
I. God’s Purposes Cannot Be Stopped by Death or Disaster (Acts 28:1-6)
1Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. 3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, "This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live." 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.
-Paul had faced the possibility of death a number of times in his life and ministry. But he didn’t view death as his greatest enemy. In fact, we read last week in Romans 8:38-39, 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
-Paul stared death in the face during the storm when the ship was being tossed around, and when it finally wrecked. However, God had spoken to him about the purposes He had for him, and Paul knew that somehow he would survive.
-Now, after being bitten by a very poisonous snake, Paul is not overly alarmed. He knew God’s promise and God’s purpose. He knew he would get to Rome and not die from a snakebite.
-Folks, it would be good for us to stay in touch with God’s purposes for our lives. Because what God plans with our lives always works out. He’s a great planner. He is very strategic, and we don’t even need to know the details – just obey and stay in alignment with Him.
-Please hear me when I say that there is literally nothing that can stop God’s plans and purposes from being fulfilled in our lives. Let’s grab a hold of His words to us and His plan for our lives and live life to its fullest!
-TS: Well, in addition to being unstoppable, God’s purposes produce good things.
II. God’s Purposes Bring Life and Healing to Those in Need (Acts 28:7-10)
7 There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably. 8 His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. 9 When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. 10 They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.
-Paul has just been through a pretty rough time, but he is being carried along on the steady current of God’s purposes. Paul could have looked at his situation in a negative way, something like this. “You think you had a bad day… First, I was falsely accused by the Jews, then put on a stinking ship that almost killed me when it wrecked. Then to top it off, when I’m doing a good deed and gathering firewood, a snake bites me and could have killed me!” I don’t think that’s the way Paul told the story. That wouldn’t give much glory to God. No, I think he sang the praises of God to anyone who would listen. “Hey, did you hear? We almost died from a shipwreck, but God promised me that we would all be safe if we would stick together. Every last one of us made it to shore safe and sound! Then, a poisonous snake bit me, but God protected me and no harm came to me. Isn’t God awesome!”