Introduction: A key idea in the book of Acts is that believers should be witnesses for the Lord, everywhere we go. Today, we hope to continue our discussion of Paul’s defense.
Read Acts 22:12-30
1. Paul’s Arrest And Defense (continued). Paul continues with his defense. Acts Ananias shares with him how God will use him to be a witness. Paul is be baptized. He gets to the point in the story where he is sent to the Gentiles, because the Jews would not receive him.
The crowd turns hostile. The Roman official was about to have Paul flogged, until he found out that he was a Roman citizen.
In verse 30 of this section of the book of Acts, we see that on the next day the Roman official had Paul to stand before the Jewish religious leaders. He wanted to understand what all of the commotion was about.
- God’s use of those who have shady backgrounds. Notice in vss. 12-16 that God used Paul, in spite of his background. There are too many who think that their sinful backgrounds keep them from being used by God today.
However, as we study the Bible, we see that God often uses those the church would have probably over looked.
Let’s be open to God using us and using others, in spite of our background. We should also balance this application with the church’s duty to provide a safe place for its members and give people an opportunity to prove themselves faithful.
A person should not be able to walk out of prison for child molestation and be put in charge of the children’s ministry without a significant amount of proving himself trustworthy.
- Baptism. Notice in vs. 16 of the book of Acts the mention of baptism. As believers, we should be baptized soon after we accept Jesus as our savior by faith.
This ritual is a symbolic identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. It is a symbolic identification with having the penalty of our sins washed away.
More important than baptismal formulas and traditions is the matter of living like baptized believers. Those who have risen with Christ should live by His word.
Jesus wants us to focus on loving God and others, as we love ourselves. Let’s work on living like baptized believers.
- Discerning and obeying God’s will. Notice in vss. 17-20 of the book of Acts that Paul thought that his fellow Jews would understand his conversion.
However, the Lord told him it was time to go, because they would not understand. It is important to remember that God knows people much better than we do.
When God says it is time to move on, we ought to move on. When God says stay, we should stay. Let’s work on discerning and obeying God’s will for how to interact with people.
One of God’s principles to keep in mind is to avoid being unequally yoked. We should remember principles like we can tell the tree by the fruit that it bears, not but what the sign says.
- Trusting God more than people. Notice in vs. 22 that the crowd switched so quickly. They went from listening in vs. 21 to wanting to kill him in vs. 22.
In like manner, people can be with you and supportive of you today and be your worst enemy on tomorrow. The reason for putting our trust in God, instead of people, should be obvious.
Another way of saying this is to say that we should do what we do because we believe it to be God’s will, instead of doing what we do counting on people to do something in response to our behaviors.
Let’s work on trusting God more than we trust people who are known to switch so quickly.
- Stewardship of civil rights. Notice in vss. 23-29 that Paul exercises a wise stewardship of his civil rights. As a Roman citizen, he was exempt from certain mistreatments and entitled to certain privileges. He knew and used his civil rights to his advantage.
Especially as Americans, God has blessed us with so many rights and privileges that are easily taken for granted, until we have toured other countries. We take for granted the right to assemble and to speak freely, until such rights are denied.
Let’s work on being familiar with and using our civil rights in ways that bring glory to God.
A great example of living by this application is to use our right to vote as a means of putting good people in positions of influence to develop and maintain systems that are just and even merciful for those who are less fortunate.
- Settling church matters. Notice in vs. 30 of the book of Acts that the religious controversies of the text escaped the understanding of the government officials.
In similar fashion, there are some things that happen in our churches that would not make much sense to those outside the church.
Thus, we are urged to give our best to solving especially church matters within the church, instead of within the court systems. And sometimes, it is better to simply take a loss for the sake of the greater good than to be a part of embarrassing the church for the sake of personal gain.
Let’s work on settling church matters within the church. It should be noted that in our text, we had Jews (i.e., not Christians or members of the church) and Christians (i.e., Paul and others), which means this text is not an example of the application, but it does inspire the application.
Conclusion: Let’s work on being witnesses for the Lord, everywhere we go. God has much for those who obey His will.Please click here to let us know, if this has been quality and helpful information for you (i.e., make sure you let us know the name of the article). Feel free to share your questions and comments about the article as well.