During Paul’s life as a witness of the Lord Jesus Christ he was beaten, and left for dead; he was whipped; he was shipwrecked; he suffered at the words of false brethren, and he endured it all for Christ sake.
My heart’s desire is that I could have that said of me. Someone could say it, but would it be true? It is true of Paul. Everything that happened should be seen as the closing or opening of a door by the Lord as He directs our paths. That is the way Paul viewed things. He was truly a PRISONER OF THE LORD.
“And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle. And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of Me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.” Acts 23:10-11 (KJV)
The prisoner of the Lord often encounters problems with the religious crowd. The Sadducees, and the Pharisees were united against the apostle at first. Then Paul realized their differences, he used that to proclaim the truth of the gospel of Christ (Acts 23:6). At issue was the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
If Jesus is alive then the religion that crucified Him is greatly in error. One group did not believe in resurrection, or anything spiritual. These religions who are stuck on religion, but not the truth completely miss out on Christ Jesus and the salvation that is available to all who will believe.
In verse 11 where the Lord speaks to Paul giving him assurance that he will go to Rome and be a witness of the resurrection of Jesus. He receives a message for the Lord that he might be courageous. It is also a message of commendation for ministry and the power of the Holy Spirit within him and upon him. Can you imagine what this did for Paul’s confidence? Wonders.
When people do not like the truth being spoken they will more often than not attack the one speaking it (vv. 12-22). Get this in your heads: The messenger is not the one making you the way you are. The truth often hurts, and if the truth makes you angry then you are the problem.
These are some who hate the truth; no matter where it comes from. They are blind to the providence, and sovereignty of God. Enraged mobs are thoughtless and heartless.
Some things we can learn from chapter 23 of Acts:
- Most times God uses what some would call “Unapparent means”;
- God uses time, that seems wasted, as a time for ministry to others;
- God uses people to accomplish His ways.
The following are the persons He uses:
- The government;
- The rebellious;
- Willing servants.
Let us be willing to trust the Lord. Trust Him in such a way that He will work in our lives changing us, then work through us to change the lives of others. Every open door should be viewed as an opportunity provided by God unless by going through it you would be violating His Word, His Spirit, or your conscience.