Summary: Exposition of Acts 25:1-12 about the providential hand of God upon Paul’s life and journey to Rome
Text: Acts 25:1-12, Title: The Providence of God, Date/Place: NRBC, 8/16/09, AM
A. Opening illustration: The story of the guy who wrote “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” “The providence of God means the continuing action of God in preserving His creation and guiding it toward his intended purposes…It means that we are able to live in the assurance that God is present and active in our lives. We are in His care, and can therefore face the future with confidence, knowing that things are not happening merely by chance.” –Millard Erickson
B. Background to passage: To refresh your memories, Paul had gone back to Jerusalem against the advice of all his Christian brethren, but in the power of the Spirit. There he was seized and almost beaten, imprisoned, and kept by the Romans. When an assassination plot was hatched, God delivered him, because He had promised him work in Rome. Paul witnessed to Felix, but Felix was looking for a bribe, and kept Paul under house arrest for two years, in which time he crushed a rebellion in Caesarea, and the Jews sent a delegation of men to Rome, and had him removed. Enter Festus, the new provincial governor. And just to show that it was not just a favorable ruler that spared Paul his life, and directed him to Rome, God moved in powerful ways to secure Paul’s trek to Rome.
C. Main thought: God’s providence superintends our lives throughout all circumstances.
A. Providential Delay (v. 1)
1. This kinda reminds you of Joseph being falsely imprisoned, and basically forgotten about. You gotta wonder what is going through Paul’s mind. He knows that the Jews want him dead, and he is just stuck in a Jewish city. But Paul believes that “time spent waiting on God is not wasted time.” He is working on a kingdom agenda while being delayed. Every time that you read the account of Jesus birth in the gospels, and especially in Luke, you read the fruit of Paul’s stay in Caesarea. Speak about Paul’s need of a more Gentile gospel, and the time and investigation that it would take to have Luke (a Greek Physician) look it all up. So the kingdom is eternally affected by Paul’s delay.
2. Rom 8:28, Mar 5:22-25, Gen 50:20,
3. Illustration: even in much flexibility last week, there was a lot of frustration when things didn’t kinda stick to a plan, was working as a law office clerk, and had a godly legal secretary that really helped me out spiritually send me on an errand on an extremely hot day walking, and when I got back I realized that I had left something there, and she said, “God must have had something that He wanted you to see,” have you ever been delayed in the car, gotten mad, then realized an accident happened on the route you would have taken had you been on time? "A valuable study of the Gospels could be made, noticing how many times Jesus gave some of His greatest teachings in circumstances where he had simply been interrupted. How different this is from us; we hate to be interrupted. To Jesus, the importance seemed to lie in the person whose path had crossed His own. Things don’t just “happen” in the providence of God. The interruption may well be our highest task at that very moment.” "Jesus . . . wants us to see that the neighbor next door or the people sitting next to us on a plane or in a classroom are not interruptions to our schedule. They are there by divine appointment. Jesus wants us to see their needs, their loneliness, their longings, and he wants to give us the courage to reach out to them"
4. Most of us are usually on a schedule, and most of those schedules are really busy. And we get really bothered by things that interrupt our day. But we must realize that even if interruptions are caused by things or people that we consider sinful, God has allowed them for a reason. And so if we are angry in a situation like this, we should be angry at God. So if your kids or spouse are slow, be angry with God. So instead of yelling at others, yell at God. But the SS answer is that you don’t get mad at God, and we really deserve to get our way, and be treated better than this. We serve God and He owes us, right? If we want to react biblically, receive the interruption as a God-sent way to slow you down for some reason. Ask God what it is that we are to learn or know, but know that God isn’t required to justify Himself to you or me. But know that He is absolutely sovereign over all interruptions. And that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t plan, but that we shouldn’t fall apart. This brings up how we should deal with anger issues too.