Summary: WE often make mistakes about suffering simply because we do not understand suffering. This messge gives 5 reasons for suffering
MAKING SENSE OUT OF SUFFERING
Acts 28:1-16 (quickview)  When they had been brought safely through, then we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The natives showed us extraordinary kindness; for because of the rain that had set in and because of the cold, they kindled a fire and received us all. 3 But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, "Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, and though he has been saved from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live." 5 However he shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 But they were expecting that he was about to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had waited a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god. 7 Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the leading man of the island, named Publius, who welcomed us and entertained us courteously three days. 8 And it happened that the father of Publius was lying in bed afflicted with recurrent fever and dysentery; and Paul went in to see him and after he had prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him. 9 After this had happened, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases were coming to him and getting cured. 10 They also honored us with many marks of respect; and when we were setting sail, they supplied us with all we needed. 11 At the end of three months we set sail on an Alexandrian ship which had wintered at the island, and which had the Twin Brothers for its figurehead. 12 After we put in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days. 13 From there we sailed around and arrived at Rhegium, and a day later a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli. 14 There we found some brethren, and were invited to stay with them for seven days; and thus we came to Rome. 15 And the brethren, when they heard about us, came from there as far as the Market of Appius and Three Inns to meet us; and when Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage. 16 When we entered Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.
INTRODUCTION: AS WE HAVE WORKED OUR WAY THROUGH ACTS, WHAT WE HAVE SEEN IS THAT GOD WAS DETERMINED TO SEE PAUL IN ROME. HERE WE ARE AT THE LAST CHAPTER AND PAUL IS GETTING TO DO JUST THAT – GET TO ROME. WHAT IS ALSO INTERESTING IS THAT AS PAUL IS GETTING TO ROME, WE ARE ALSO SEEING THE GREAT COMMISSION LAID OUT FOR US IN THE PAGES OF ACTS. CHAPTERS 1-7 WE HAVE THE GOSPEL IN JERUSALEM. CHAPTERS 8-12 WE HAVE THE SPREAD OF THE GOSPEL. CHAPTERS 13 TO THE END WE HAVE THE MISSIONARY EFFORT OF THE CHURCH TO SEE THE GOSPEL GET TO THE KNOWN WORLD (WITH PAUL AT ITS CORE – ROME).
FOR OUR STUDY THIS MORNING, I WOULD LIKE TO LOOK AT ONE PARTICULAR POINT – THE REASON FOR SUFFERING. WE SEE THIS COME UP IN THE LIFE OF PAUL AS HE IS BITTEN BY A SNAKE. WHAT IS INTERESTING IS THE REACTION OF THE PEOPLE. NOW, IT IS EASY TO SEE HOW ANYONE WOULD SUFFER IF HE WAS BITTEN BY A SNAKE. I WOULD THINK IT WOULD HURT. WHAT INTERESTS ME IS WHAT THOSE AROUND ARE THINKING. THEY BELIEVE THAT IT IS SOME SORT OF RETRIBUTION FOR A PAST DEED.