Summary: Paul faces three things in Acts 28, but he keeps on going cause he knew the secret of shaking it off.
SHAKE IT OFF Acts 28:1-1-6
The Apostle Paul and 275 others were sailing across the Mediterranean Sea, Paul on his way to stand trial before Caesar in Rome, when they encountered a horrendous storm that caused the ship to break up into the bay of an island that was unknown to them at the time. The crew jumped off the ship, some swimming to shore and others grabbing hold of pieces of the ship, drifting to the island.
They all arrive safely as God had promised!
As always, Paul soon makes himself useful. The fire which the natives of the island had kindled for the ship wrecked victims needed some more wood if it was to be kept going wood. Paul did not stand upon his dignity, nor did he plead exhaustion and fatigue. Nor did he complain about the rain, wind, and the cold. Nor did he fight for a place near the fire, BUT off he went to get wood to keep the fire blazing for the benefit of others.
At this juncture of the story, Paul has his encounter with a viper. As Paul was throwing a bundle of sticks on the fire, a venomous snake fastened on his hand.
When the barbarians saw this they said, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth him not to live.”
Paul calmly shakes off the beast and keeps on going. Two other times we read in the book of Acts of Paul’s shaking off some thing (Acts 13:51; Acts 18:6). Paul made an impact for the Lord on that island.
I read last week, you can visit Malta and witness the appreciation of the people there for what Paul accomplished over 2,000 years ago. There’s a church in the area of Melita today called, “St. Paul’s Shipwreck Church.”
Through the power of God, we can also shake off the challenges that are thrown at us.
I. When you are STRANDED, shake it off (1,2)
Paul was stranded on the island of Melita. On a map Melita was a small dot in a very large sea. Melita is an island some 17 miles in length, 9 miles in width, and about 60 miles south of Sicily. So that’s the island where Paul finds himself stranded.
He was stranded on an island in the biting cold. He is wet and exposed to the wind
A. He was physically marooned.
He is stuck on an island with nowhere to go. He is cold, wet, and hungry. Pieces of wreckage were strewn all over the beach that must have reminded him of his condition.
Paul does not complain; he has a large captive audience he can evangelized.
There may come a time in our life when we are physically stranded. We are not able to go and come as we once were.
What will you do?
B. He was politically marooned.
Though he was shipwrecked, Paul was still a prisoner who was bound for Rome. He had already been stuck at Caesarea for over two years, and now he is stuck again.
Paul did not get down. He went out and gathered sticks to keep the fire burning. What an example for us was the Apostle Paul. He continued to serve even though he was marooned.
Humble and helpful service is what God wants even when we are stranded.
Do something for God instead of sitting and stewing when you are stranded.
II. When you are STRICKEN, shake it off (3)
If you do something for the Lord instead of sitting, stewing, and shivering, you will stir up the devil.
Heat wakes snakes. When believers are cold or asleep, the devil does not need to worry. BUT let the child of God get busy, and the old serpent will attack.
Paul had faced a storm, a shipwreck, and now he is bitten by a serpent.
He has now been wounded. The devil will attempt to wound those who hurt him the most. The devil does not like a happy, serving Christian.
A. You may be wounded by your foe.
B. You may be wounded by your friends.
Job said about his friends who had come to comfort him that they were miserable comforters. Instead of coming to comfort him they criticized him.
1. Wounded by the ungratefulness of others
2. Wounded by the unfaithfulness of others
3. Wounded by the unthoughtfulness of others
III. When you are SLANDERED, shake it off (4-6)
In verse 4, there was a ready explanation why Paul was bitten by the serpent. He was bitten because he was wicked. We need to be careful about declaring a man’s merit from their calamities or the lack thereof.
A. It was a painful accusation.
To be falsely accused hurts.
1. He was accused unjustly.