Summary: This message describe what the enemy tries to do everytime that you and I stir up the fires of revival. Paul helps us by putting it all into perspective.
Stirring Up The Fires
Acts 28:1-10, “1Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta. 2And the natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold. 3But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. 4So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.” 5But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god. 7In that region there was an estate of the leading citizen of the island, whose name was Publius, who received us and entertained us courteously for three days. 8And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him. 9So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed. 10They also honored us in many ways; and when we departed, they provided such things as were necessary.”
Chapter 26 – Paul is going before Agrippa & is defending his actions. He had an opportunity with him and Festus. Paul almost converted Agrippa to Christianity. After summating that they can’t set him free (since he appealed to Ceasar), they send him off to Rome.
Chapter 27 – The voyage begins with many storms along the way.
Chapter 28 – Finally they arrive at Malta, an island in the Mediterranean Sea, shipwrecked for the next 3 months.
In the midst of troubles, storms, tempestuous trials; we need to be aware that God is still in control and He is there with us. Paul’s shipwreck on this island was no mistake – there were miracles to be performed & souls to be saved.
No different than today, God takes us through tough times and we are left wondering where He is in the midst of it all. Everything around us starts to crash in and seems as if there is peace after the storm.
But we are still not where we wanted to be in our experience with God. So, do we complain to God & let Him know that we have a better course or do we allow Him to use us where we are?
Walking in the Spirit & following God’s will can sometimes be hazardous to your health.
I don’t think anyone would disagree that wherever Paul went there was usually controversy that brought about change. Paul stood as a servant of God, in the face of religiosity. The religious people of his day, (the Jews & even some Gentiles) were not readily accepting the message that Paul brought.
So they landed on the Island Malta. Paul comes on the scene & is busy laboring and working> until a snake comes out and fastened itself to his hand.
The obvious question would be why? v.3 says, “a viper came out because of the heat”
Snakes lie dormant as long as it is cold. They aren’t even noticeable in cold settings. But you just wait until the fires are started. Wait until the coals of the fire are stoked and then see what happens. Snakes will show themselves in the heat of the fire, but it’s just to come out and try to intimidate> to bite.
But look at the reaction to what happened to Paul, “no doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live” in other words you can run but you cannot hide.
They didn’t perceive what was happening because they were natives. They didn’t speak a familiar language (gk. Or Latin). And many today also don’t perceive what is happening because they too are natives. They don’t speak to God – they don’t have an intimate relationship with Him; they don’t live in constant fellowship with Him – because if they did then they would perceive what is happening.
Paul’s reaction is what our reaction should also be. v.5, “But he shook off the creature into the fire” – SOMEBODY SHOUT “NO HARM”
This passage tells us that kindling the fire brings out the snakes. Today, in the church God is stirring Revival Fires and it will have the same effect – it will bring out the snakes.