Sunday, September 9, 2012

ACTS 29 

Acts 28:30-31 "Then he stayed two whole years in his own rented house. And he welcomed all who visited him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with full boldness and without hindrance."

The book of Acts concludes rather abruptly…Paul is still in prison, nothing about his court date, or about those who visited him. No further details...if this was a movie or a novel, we would be disappointed. There are many thoughts and ideas about why this is, but if we believe, and I do, that the Scriptures are God-breathed, that men wrote as moved by the Holy Spirit, then the ending is as it should be…but what happened next, is the question that many still ask.

While there is some debate over the details, what we appear to know is this: Paul waited for two years for his case to be brought to trial. This was not uncommon in his day, especially when evidence was to come from some distance. If the information on Paul & his case was lost in the shipwreck, then they would need to send for it again, which would have been very time consuming. So they waited for the Jewish authorities to come and present their case, and it appears that they did not show up. There may have been many reasons for this as well, but two that stand out are that Paul was out of sight, and then out of mind. He wasn’t a present issue, and time and distance made pursuing him as a threat even less of an issue. The other reason may have been that they knew they did not have much of a case, and they did not want to incur the wrath of Nero if they were to present a case with no merit. As a Roman citizen, Paul had the right to face his accusers, and most likely, once adequate time had lapsed, the charges were dropped, and Paul was set free.

During this brief, 2 to 3 year period of freedom, Paul wrote 1 Timothy and Titus. He most likely visited Philippi, Colosse, and several other Asian churches. He may have even made his intended trip to Spain that we read about in Romans 15:24 & 28. He was imprisoned again around AD 66, and this time his prison accommodations were not as comfortable. If you will read 2 Timothy, written at that time, you will see the loneliness and suffering he endured. He was martyred sometime around AD 66 or 67. As a Roman citizen, he could not be crucified, and tradition says that he was taken outside of the city and beheaded. He had finished his course and kept the faith. 

And so the earthly life of this follower of Jesus, comes to an end.

Of course, Paul did not come to an end...he went to glory to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In a similar way, although the book of Acts seems to end reality, it has never really ended.

You see, the book of Acts is all about the church.
The church is all about the gospel.
The gospel is all about Jesus.

And the church, the gospel, and Jesus does not end in chapter 28.

With that, I have decided to change the name of this blog to: ACTS 29

Acts 29 - The Story Continues

Acts 29????

"Where do you find ACTS 29 in the Bible?" you may ask..but the reality is this: YOU ARE ACTS 29!!!!

Because the book of Acts is about the church, the growth of the church, and the church is still growing today!

But for her to grow we must be about the gospel message, we must preach the gospel message, and there is no better example of this than Paul.

Over the next few days we will look at the way that Paul preached this message, and how you and I, as believers in Jesus Christ, followers of Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit, sent out with a commission from our Lord, must be about our Father's business. This is no time for us to look fondly back at the book of Acts, or at times of great revival and long for the days of old...the church must boldly proclaim the gospel, knowing that for those who love Jesus the best days are always ahead of us!

Trembling and pierced by the Word,
Pastor Dave

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