Scripture Text: Acts 28
I love movies because I love good stories. I don't like unresolved endings, and I definitely don't
like unhappy ending. In a way Acts give us both.
It's unresolved because we know that Paul has all of these plans, but winds up in Jail. And then
the story just stops. It's not happy because.... Paul winds up in jail, and the story just ends there.
We know from Church history that there is more to Paul's story, but as far as Acts is concerned
Paul seems to be stuck.
We left him on the beach saying a tear-filled goodbye to the Ephesians. After that he slowly
made his way back to Jerusalem where he was arrested based on a lie. He spent a couple of
years in jail while the leaders in that area tried to figure out what to do with him, and eventually
was sent to Rome because he used his right as a Roman citizen and appealed to Caesar. So he's
traveled a lot, avoided a murder plot, sat in jail, was shipwrecked, and bitten by a snake. Not
really a good time.
From there we pick up with this:
Acts 28:17-20 I. Did Jesus Fail? – verses
It can feel that way when things don't go as planned. Paul just wanted to tell people about Jesus.
His life had been transformed by his meeting with Christ, and he was passionate about telling
others about his Savior.
What did he get for his trouble? Kicked out of several towns, stoned, beaten, caught up in a riot,
deserted by friends, attacked by his countrymen, jailed multiple times, and misunderstood by
even those he reached for Christ.
You have to just wonder, at what point to you start to think that you missed something
somewhere? Can you relate to that?
We tend to define success as our comfort and prosperity, but God doesn't define success that
II. Redefining Success – verses
What did Jesus actually say that He would do?
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes - The Spirit came just has He promised. He
gave them the power to heal, to endure hardship and persecution, and most importantly to be
You will be my witnesses - They were definitely witnesses. Peter, John, Stephen, Barnabas,
Paul, Silas, Timothy, Apollos. Priscilla, Aquila, and so many more whose names we don't know.
They were witnesses even to the point of losing everything, facing jail, mobs, beatings, and
In Jerusalem, all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth - Let's look at it. Here's
where the Gospel was spread just during the lifetime of people who lived at the same time as
Jesus. A lot more has been accomplished since then, but here is still work to do.
What did Jesus say about Paul?
Acts 9:15 - 16
This man is my chosen instrument - God showed time after time that He chose Paul. He sent
Barnabas to come along side him, God preserved Paul's life, and He gave him strength and
courage through the difficult times.
to proclaim my name to gentiles and kings - God gave Paul the opportunity to proclaim His
name just as He promised. Paul took the Gospel to places no one had been able to yet. He spoke
to Jews, and Gentiles, and thanks to the efforts of those who were trying to stop him, he was able
to share the love of God to governors and eventually the Emperor.
I will show him how much he must suffer - There is no doubt that Paul suffered, but his
suffering had a purpose. God wasn't punishing him. He was using Paul's weakness to bring
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
...Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a
messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from
me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in
weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s
power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in
hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
It may not seem like success to us, God brought Paul to Rome as a part of His plan. While there
Paul was able to accomplish exactly what God had for him. Paul was able to take the Gospel to
places that no one else during the time did because he was willing to look at success through
III. What does this mean for us? – verses
God will not be defeated
The hope for our world is not found in politics, social reform, money, healthcare, education, or
nature conservation. The hope for this world is found in Christ.
Being Witnesses is a church thing, and a me thing
Paul often compared living for Christ to a race. He said he wanted to run in a way that was
worthy, and also that he wanted to run so that he could win the prize.
Will you take the baton and run the race?