The Challenges and Joys of Being on God’s Mission
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES ARE INTENDED TO BE USED ALONG WITH THE AUDIO OF THE SERMON. THE NOTES PROVIDED ARE NOT COMPLETE THOUGHTS BUT ARE NOTES ONLY.
We have come to the end of our study in the book of Acts.
We’ve seen the powerful good news of the kingdom rock the known world as Jesus is preached, believed on and brings the healing of the kingdom to all domains and repentant people as God’s people take this gospel to the public square.
We’ve seen the power of the Spirit to witness to Jesus as he makes the message known through his people, empowers his people for signs and wonders and regenerates the spiritually dead to life as well as the physically dead to life.
We’ve seen the marvelous and wonderful providence of God to weave the real decisions of women and men and children with his eternal purposes to converge a moment and people to do his will for God’s glory and our good.
Jesus has been glorified, and Acts 27-28 is no exception.
This morning, we are going to make a potpourri of concluding observations from two chapters that will have some impact on some of us with some points and all of us with some points.
So, we want to invite you to listen by having Spirit empowered ears to hear that you may take to heart what the Lord has for you this morning.
Observations: What do we see? What does it mean? How do we obey?
- Trust the sufficiency of God’s word. (27-28)
Paul is where Paul is because he knows the word, Jesus has made his will in his word known and revealed it removing Paul’s blindness and sending him on the mission to make his name great among the Gentiles.
Paul has to believe that what is written is true and what he is doing is right.
If it is, then that’s enough.
Paul’s next action is to obey.
If we really believe that Jesus wants us to disciple the nations for his glory by being radical followers of Jesus (UP/IN/OUT), then that has to be worked out.
- Faithful friends in the work of the kingdom are a must. (27:2)
Jesus sent the disciples out two by two.
We can make the argument that you should always have someone present for help, courage and accountability.
Regardless, we need faithful people to serve alongside of.
- Expect that the mission will be difficult. (27:4, 8-10, 14)
Storms will come. No one is immune.
Difficulties cannot hide God’s face, nor can they hinder God’s purposes. Challenges can be opportunities to serve.
- Hang on to God’s promises. (27:23-25)
- Don’t quit when things get hard. (27:30-31)
People were trying to bail from the ship undercover likely because they are ashamed of their bailing. We don’t do things in secret because we are proud of them. Sure, they want to save themselves, but they are not bold enough to just do it. They are ashamed of it.
People who quit the work don’t usually come out and say they don’t want to do it, they find excuses when it gets hard.
First, don’t quite kingdom work. Keep at engaging your domain with the gospel and by making things better and serving people in your domain.
Second, if you do want to quit at least be honest so someone can help turn you back and keep you on mission.
- Be people of kingdom-saturated hope because you know God and his will. (27:33-34)
Paul’s hope hinged on him knowing God’s will and then he could take courage when it was at a hard moment.
You and I need that when on mission in our domains.
Knowing God’s word, knowing God’s will and being an agent of hope when things are hard is a hallmark of Jesus followers.
- Make your trust in Jesus visible to unbelievers. (27:35)
- Sometimes repairing what is broken is why God puts us in a place. Paul and his team did not preach here. (28:1-10)
Paul and his team give no indication they preach the gospel on Malta. Paul did heal sick people and thus put on display the glory of God.
God does this sometimes. The Spirit will tell you to be quiet. You have to obey.
I will preach to a signpost. However, I have to listen to the Lord and follow his good purpose in every situation.
I encourage our church to preach the gospel everywhere we go because I fear we don’t preach it enough. But there are times when we have to engage our domain with healing through being the best employee we can be in quality and innovation and then trusting Jesus to bear witness to himself.
Sometimes we “sow”, other’s “water” and some “harvest” but God gives the increase.
“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.” – 1 Corinthians 3:6-9
- Everyone should be a servant all the time. (28:3, 7-9)
Service is for every follower of Jesus.
- Sometimes while serving we may get wounded. (28:3-6)
A snake, while gathering sticks for the fire, bites Paul.
Note that Paul is gathering sticks.
Note that Paul gets hurt.
Note that God takes care of Paul.
- Trust the providence of God. (28:14-15)
- Believe that Jesus has been at work long before we get engaged. (28:15-16)
Jesus will build his church.
Disciples will be multiplied.
God’s glory will be put on display.
We should never overplay our role in kingdom advancement.
We should never underplay our role in kingdom advancement.
We should seek to hear and obey.
- With boldness, and when the time is ripe, preach the kingdom. (28:17-31)
“He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.” – Acts 28:30-31
Living at his own expense means that the Romans were not providing for his house arrest bill. Since Paul was not employed due to being arrested, this expense was the church’s expense. Philippi particularly cared for Paul.
- Persevere in the work!
Please understand that this imprisonment does not shut Paul down. Paul will be released and continue to preach the gospel until Nero gets him around AD 65.
Don’t let hindrance to the work shut us down!