A Vision That Becomes Reality: The Hero of the Book of Acts Locked up but Not Shut Up
February 10, 2007
INTRODUCTION: You can lock-up a man like Paul, but you cannot shut him up! Wherever he is, he will find a mission field, and every person he meets will be a potential convert to Christ.
Paul remained a prisoner, confined to his house. He was not at liberty to go where he wished, but he was at liberty to receive all who cared to come to him.
Why should Paul be removed from circulation, to be shut-up for two long years at Caesarea, and for a further two years at Rome, when he was so obviously equipped and eager to conquer a continent for Christ?
We do not know all the answers and reasons, but we are indebted to Paul's imprisonment for his letters (epistles) to the Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon. One thing we can be sure of is the fact that the Lord of the harvest, Who is in charge of the entire mission program of the church, makes no mistakes.
Luke did not write this book to simply record ancient history. He wrote to encourage the church in every age to be faithful to the Lord and carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth. When God has identified a plan for ministry, we stay with it despite chains, guards, or shipwrecks.
I. PAUL'S EXPLANATION. 17-20
Paul's ministry in Rome will begin in the same manner as always, with the Jews - normally in the synagogue. This is his sixth defense before the Jews in Acts.
A. NO CRIME. 17
This concerns his faith; he was falsely accused of sedition against Rome, being the leader of a sect, violating the Temple.
B. NO CONDEMNATION. 18
This concerns the Roman trial; three Roman officials had affirmed his innocence.
C. NO CRITICISM. 19
This concerns his nation (Israel). Paul was the accused, not the accuser
D. HIS CHAINS. 20
Why? "the hope of Israel". This is the real issue behind his arrest and imprisonment. The ...
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