First Baptist Church of Howard City
January 2, 2022
      • Genesis 18.22-24ESV

      • Genesis 18.25-26ESV

      • Genesis 18.27-28ESV

      • Genesis 18.29-30ESV

      • Genesis 18.31-32ESV

      • Genesis 18.33ESV

  • Acts 28:1–30 NKJV
    1 Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta. 2 And 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. 3 But 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. 4 So 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.” 5 But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 However, 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. 7 In 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. 8 And 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. 9 So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed. 10 They also honored us in many ways; and when we departed, they provided such things as were necessary. 11 After three months we sailed in an Alexandrian ship whose figurehead was the Twin Brothers, which had wintered at the island. 12 And landing at Syracuse, we stayed three days. 13 From there we circled round and reached Rhegium. And after one day the south wind blew; and the next day we came to Puteoli, 14 where we found brethren, and were invited to stay with them seven days. And so we went toward Rome. 15 And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage. 16 Now when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard; but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him. 17 And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: “Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans, 18 who, when they had examined me, wanted to let me go, because there was no cause for putting me to death. 19 But when the Jews spoke against it, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar, not that I had anything of which to accuse my nation. 20 For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.” 21 Then they said to him, “We neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren who came reported or spoken any evil of you. 22 But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.” 23 So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. 24 And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved. 25 So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, 26 saying, ‘Go to this people and say: Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; And seeing you will see, and not perceive; 27 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” ’ 28 “Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!” 29 And when he had said these words, the Jews departed and had a great dispute among themselves. 30 Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him,

    1. God accomplishes His plan by protecting His people.

    Acts 28:1–6 NKJV
    1 Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta. 2 And 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. 3 But 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. 4 So 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.” 5 But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 However, 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.
    “You are invincible until you have accomplished the task God has for you.”
    The hero catches a break!
    The islanders are super friendly.
    They welcome the 270 some shipwrecked people.
    They end up building a fire for them.
    So Paul catches a break… until he decides to help out.
    Paul gathered up a bundle of sticks to throw on the fire.
    Possibly because of his poor eyesight.
    And because it was cold.
    In the bundle of sticks is a viper.
    And it bit him.
    Paul calmly shook it off.

    (1) A. Bad things happen to people who are doing the right thing.

    Bad things don’t happen to good people.
    Bad things happen to people made righteous by the blood of Christ.
    Any good that happens is God’s grace!
    Paul was doing the right thing.
    He was following God’s will.
    He was also just trying to help.
    The islanders thought Paul must have been a murder.
    James 1:2–3 NKJV
    2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
    1 Peter 4:12 ESV
    12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
    But we are surprised.
    We act like the other men on the ship and try to bail out.

    (1) B. God will only put us through what is necessary for us to go through to accomplish His purpose in our life.

    God will give us more than we can handle, but never more than we need.
    Romans 8:28–29 NKJV
    28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
    We can count on God’s protection during these trials.
    God’s didn’t save Paul from...
    Being beaten by the Jews.
    Unfair trials.
    Prison.
    Shipwreck
    But He did save His life.
    Because God had a plan for Paul and He wasn’t finished with him.

    2. God accomplishes His plan by providing for His people.

    Acts 28:7–10 NKJV
    7 In 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. 8 And 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. 9 So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed. 10 They also honored us in many ways; and when we departed, they provided such things as were necessary.
    Part of God’s protection is His provision.
    Paul was able to be a blessing to the leader of the Island.
    In turn God used him to provide their needs.
    “Such things as were necessary.”
    Psalm 37:25 NKJV
    25 I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.
    God will give us what we need to keep going.
    We need to recognize what are needs and what are wants.
    Philippians 4:10–19 NKJV
    10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 14 Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. 15 Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. 16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. 18 Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. 19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

    (2) A. Paul’s contentment was something he learned.

    vs 11 I have learned to be content.
    Learning to be content with God’s provisions is a process.

    (2) B. Paul was content when times were slim .

    Not just when he was given a gift.
    Not just when he had what he thought he needed.
    But also in hunger.
    Yes, God let him get hungry.
    He had the food he needed, not the food he wanted.

    (2) C. Paul was content when times were good.

    This may seem weird, but the Bible teaches that it is hard to be content when things are good too!
    Proverbs 30:8–9 NKJV
    8 Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to me; 9 Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God.
    Jason Sautel: “If we were always alright, we wouldn’t need Jesus.”

    3. God accomplishes His plan by encouraging His people.

    Acts 28:11–15 NKJV
    11 After three months we sailed in an Alexandrian ship whose figurehead was the Twin Brothers, which had wintered at the island. 12 And landing at Syracuse, we stayed three days. 13 From there we circled round and reached Rhegium. And after one day the south wind blew; and the next day we came to Puteoli, 14 where we found brethren, and were invited to stay with them seven days. And so we went toward Rome. 15 And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.
    Paul had been through a lot. God lovingly encourages him through brothers in Puteoli.
    God knows we need encouragement and makes sure we get it.

    (3) A. God’s primary means of encouraging His people is through His people.

    Ephesians 4:11–12 NKJV
    11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
    Hebrews 10:24–25 NKJV
    24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

    I. We gather to give as much as we gather to get.

    You are the means God will use to encourage His people.

    II. If you want to be encouraged you need to be where God’s people are.

    The first thing we do when life gets hard is abandon God’s people.
    We quit gathering.

    (3) B. God provides time for us to be with His people to be encouraged.

    In Paul’s case, God stopped him and put him with people for 7 days.
    There are times for you to gather and be encouraged.
    Sunday School
    Sunday morning service.
    Sunday evening.
    Wednesdays.
    Fifth Sundays and holiday weekends.
    Examine your priorities.
    What keeps you from gathering?
    We make time for what is important.

    4. God accomplishes His plan through obedient people.

    Acts 28:17–30 NKJV
    17 And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: “Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans, 18 who, when they had examined me, wanted to let me go, because there was no cause for putting me to death. 19 But when the Jews spoke against it, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar, not that I had anything of which to accuse my nation. 20 For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.” 21 Then they said to him, “We neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren who came reported or spoken any evil of you. 22 But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.” 23 So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. 24 And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved. 25 So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, 26 saying, ‘Go to this people and say: Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; And seeing you will see, and not perceive; 27 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” ’ 28 “Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!” 29 And when he had said these words, the Jews departed and had a great dispute among themselves. 30 Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him,
    Paul continues to live on mission!
    No matter what is going on in his life...
    No matter how hard
    No matter how unfair
    He knows he has one purpose… be an ambassador for Christ!
    No matter how open hearts are.
    He quotes Isaiah: their hearts have grown dull.
    The outcome is familiar.
    Some believed and some didn’t.
    This is a valuable lesson.
    Stay on mission for the ones that will be saved.
    What we have seen is that Paul has been obedient.
    No matter the cost.
    No matter the outcome.
    Are we obedient in theory or agreement?
    Or are we actually obeying God’s Word?
      • Acts 28:1–6ESV

      • James 1:2–3ESV

      • 1 Peter 4:12ESV

      • Romans 8:28–29ESV

      • Acts 28:7–10ESV

      • Psalm 37:25ESV

      • Philippians 4:10–19ESV

      • Proverbs 30:8–9ESV

      • Acts 28:11–15ESV

      • Ephesians 4:11–12ESV

      • Hebrews 10:24–25ESV

      • Acts 28:17–30ESV

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