Summary: Disciples of Christ can expect to be attacked by bad things, but like Paul, we can shake it off.
First Christian Church in Earlington
Rev. Brian Morse
Traditional Worship: Sunday 9:30 am
Casual Worship: Saturday 5:30 pm
215 East Main Street, Across the street from the Post Office
(Note to the reader: Prior to this sermon the choir had just sung the old hymn, I’ll Fly Away.)
I) I’ll fly away. When bad things come my way, I’m not gonna run away. I’m gonna fly away. For as the Prophet Isaiah says, “Those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint”. (40:31).
“I’ll fly away. When the shadows of this life have grown, I’ll fly away. Like a bird from prison bars has flown, I’ll fly away.”
II) Does it ever seem like you can’t get a break? You know what I mean. Just when things start to look a little bit brighter, something nasty jumps out at you....trying to take you down. Bad things in life are going to happen. There is nothing that can eliminate them. I don’t want to downplay the pain and gruesome reality of these events. But you know what, when you spend your life in the service of Christ, you will find that often the very worst things that life can throw your way will not kill you. In fact, you will be surprised at just how often you will shake them off.
III) The biblical reading this morning is a short section of a long story. The story begins with Paul’s arrest in the 22nd chapter of Acts. Paul is held as a prisoner. He defends himself in court with keen intelligence. You see, the prosecution has trumped up some phony charges against him, but Paul is not just your ordinary fellow. He knows the law like a first-century Perry Mason.
He is in a situation where he can easily get the charges dropped and be on his merry way. However, legal defense is not his mission. Spreading the Gospel of Christ is. In a bold maneuver, Paul asks to defend his case before the emperor. This is kind of like having a guaranteed win in small claims court, but demanding to take the case to the Supreme Court.
Paul, however, has a plan. You see, Paul wants to give every ounce of his life to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to as wide an audience as possible. Therefore, he sees this as an opportunity to have an audience with the Emperor of the Roman Empire. This way, he will be able to proclaim the Gospel to the most powerful and influential person in the world. When it comes to evangelism, Paul goes for the gold.
The next thing he knows, he finds himself being loaded onto a ship, along with other prisoners. Destination - Rome. It doesn’t take long before there is trouble. Violent winds are slapping at the ship. The men are getting anxious. Paul, as usual, gives his unsolicited advice.
“Sirs”, Paul yells above the wind, “I can see that the voyage will be with danger and much heavy loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” (27:10) Now, bear in mind, Paul is a prisoner on this ship....but he’s the kind of guy who is hard to shut-up. Perhaps you know some people like that.