Summary: The greatest apostle in the New Testament was mobbed, arrested, jailed, and eventually executed. A person might ask, “Why would God do this to Paul?” Isn’t it sad that we look to blame God? People must understand that choices always have consequences. The

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Overcoming the Tendency to Blame God (for Our Choices) – Part 3

Acts 21


1. Have you ever noticed how we love to blame others when things fall apart? Did you know that this human characteristic goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden?

• When God confronted Adam about his sinful choices, Adam basically blamed Eve, and even God! – “…the woman thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree…”

• Eve blamed the serpent – “…the serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”

2. Do you think God ever gets blamed for bad things today? It happens all of the time. When problems and bad circumstances enter people’s lives, they will turn and look toward the heavens to lay blame at God’s feet.

3. God is not the author of sin, death, confusion, and evil. God is a good and gracious God. Problems enter our lives for many reasons, one of which is choices that we make.

• As Adam worked the fields with sweat pouring off of his head, he could think back to the perfect environment of Eden, and the fact that it was his own choice that led to this. It wasn’t, “God, why are you doing this to me?” It was Adam’s choices, not God’s.

• As Eve would also work and toil alongside her husband, and experience pain in child-bearing, she could think back to her own choices that she had made.

4. Here in our text, the apostle Paul is bound with two chains by the chief captain in Jerusalem (vs. 33). This would end Paul’s public ministry as a free man.

• No longer would Paul have the liberty to decide where he would go and preach the gospel. He was now in the hands of the Roman government.

5. Paul had entered the temple, and the Jews from Asia (who hated Paul) tried the same method as they did in Ephesus (vs. 27-29). A mob scene commenced (vs. 30-31) and the Roman officials came to Paul’s rescue, but they arrested him in the process (vs. 32-36).

6. How could this happen? The greatest apostle in the New Testament was mobbed, arrested, jailed, and eventually executed. A person might ask, “Why would God do this to Paul?”

7. Isn’t it sad that we look to blame God? God did not do anything to Paul! Paul brought all of this on himself. Paul made a series of choices that led to all of these problems.

8. People must understand that choices always have consequences. There are several lessons we can learn from Paul’s mistakes. How can you make godly choices in your life?

First, by determining to follow God’s instructions and warnings

Second, by refusing to give heed to bad counsel

Third, by resisting the urge to attempt good by doing wrong

1. As we pointed out earlier in this message, Paul’s intentions were noble and sincere, but good intentions and a sincere heart do not validate our actions, nor do they nullify consequences.

2. Paul felt responsible for leading Israel in their opposition to Christ, and stirring up hatred against Christ. His heart was to undo all the harm and damage he had done to the cause of Christ. His heart wasn’t to do evil. Paul truly wanted to lead his countrymen to Christ.

3. Paul believed that through his compromise (taking an Old Testament Nazarite vow and offering animal sacrifices), he could soften the hearts of the Jewish people toward him. vs. 21, 23-24, 26

4. He thought these compromises would open a door for a fruitful ministry to the Jewish people. Paul could not have been more wrong about this. vs. 27-31, 36

• Paul was very naïve to think that he could satisfy his accusers by observing some little Old Testament ceremony, or by making a token compromise.

• Paul compromised what he knew was right in order to appease the elders at Jerusalem and to accommodate the lost people in Jerusalem. It landed him in prison, and he lost his freedom to travel and preach the gospel. It did not work.

5. Remember this – you never appease evildoers by compromising with them. You must expose their evil if you are to do any good. Ephesians 5:11

6. Doing evil that good may come is a very bad and dangerous policy. It defiles and destroys.

• Christians do this often, and so do churches. It is very common today for churches to water down the gospel and resort to worldly tactics in order to “reach people.”

7. One of the most often referred to passages that is used to justify compromise is 1 Corinthians 9:20-22. Let’s read it together. This passage has been misused and mishandled by so many churches that want to validate a worldly mindset to ministry.

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