A Testimony of Providence.

August 28, 2022 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Acts - The Gospel in Motion

Topic: Christian Living Scripture: Acts 22:23– 23:11

In our text today, we see how God moves people and circumstances like pieces in a chess game to bring about His plans for His servant Paul. God had a plan for Paul and we see how God was working behind the scenes in Paul's life so as to get him to Rome to preach the gospel to governors and kings. 

  1. God's Providential Protection of Paul (v.23-29)
  2. God's Providential Deliverance from an Angry Sanhedrin (22v30-23v10)
  3. God's Providential Declaration to Paul (23v11)

For Paul, things had turned from bad to worse in Jerusalem.  He was a Roman prisoner, in Roman barracks and under Roman guard. Notice in this verse it tells us that The Lord told him to take courage. Paul must have been discouraged!  His witness before the Sanhedrin had not gone well. And the future looked uncertain and bleak. He didn’t know if he ever would get to Rome, as he had hoped.

At that moment, the Lord Himself stood at Paul’s side and said (v.11), “Take courage; for as you have testified to the facts in Jerusalem, so you must  testify also in Rome.” What words of encouragement and hope! Notice the grace and encouragement that the Lord extends to His servants. This was the fourth time that the Lord had appeared to Paul. Just when Paul needed it, the Lord came and spoke these words of encouragement.

Even though our witnessing may not bear the fruit we desired or turned out the way we had hoped, or we never got to see our loved ones embrace Jesus as their Lord and Saviour on this side of eternity, we can find encouragement today that GOD IS GOD. WE CAN ONLY SEE PART OF THE PICTURE HE IS PAINTING.

All we can do is trust God to use our feeble attempts, and to remember that God doesn’t need perfect disciples to accomplish His sovereign plan. To say this is not to excuse our weaknesses, but rather to exalt God’s greatness and power.

We all are responsible to speak out for Christ, despite the circumstances we find ourselves in. Be encouraged. Sometimes you will blow it, or things will not go as you had hoped.  But even, like the apostle Paul, if you feel you have blown it as a witness for Christ, get back up to the plate and swing again. Don't let your past experiences and feelings of inadequacy keep you from being faithful and obedient to our Lord's commands. Our gracious Lord will use you in spite of your mistakes if you will speak out for Him!

Discussion Questions

  1. What are some ways to turn a conversation toward spiritual things?
  2. What are your main fears about witnessing? How can these be overcome?
  3. Why is it important for Christians to acknowledge their sins and ask forgiveness, even before unbelievers?
  4. Some people may argue, "If God is sovereign, why should we evangelize?" What is your response?

More in Acts - The Gospel in Motion

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To the End of the Earth

November 20, 2022

Weathering Tempests

November 13, 2022

Crazy for Jesus