Sunday School Material 11-18-12: Paul Ministers On Malta

(Acts 28:1-10; 11-18-12)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is Paul continues to obey God’s will, in spite of snake bites and great hospitality. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to obey God’s will, in spite of bad times and good.

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Read Acts 28:1-2

I. Warm Welcome. In this section of the Sunday School material Paul and company make their way to an island. The island turns out to be Malta. The people showed great hospitality.

Applications -

- Famous for our love. Notice in vs. 2 of the Sunday School material that the people had a reputation for showing hospitality and kindness. Every church should be known for showing kindness.

At very least, we should work on smiling, shaking hands, and being warm towards one another. Believers are commanded to love one another, without regard to how we feel or what we prefer.

Let’s work on being a loving a church. Love is not only affectionate, but love responds to needs. In our church family, there are needs such as learning to be wise stewards of our health, finances, and political might.

Read Acts 28:3-6

II. Deadly Situation. A snake bites Paul. The islanders assumed he was bitten because of sin. After nothing bad happened to him, they changed their minds. They then concluded that he was a god.

Applications -

- Why Paul got bit. Notice in vs. 4 of the Sunday School material that the people were too quick to conclude that bad things only happen to bad people. We should learn from their mistakes.

Jesus was without sin but was crucified on Calvary. Let’s learn to think a situation through, before we reach a conclusion and surely before we announce the conclusion to others.

- Changing from error to truth. Notice in vs. 6 that the people changed their minds to another flawed conclusion. On one hand, it is good to see that they were able to change their minds.

There are too many who allow pride to keep them on the wrong road, going the wrong way.But on the other hand, they went from one wrong conclusion to another.

There is only one God, and even though God uses people, God is God all by Himself. We should note that the islanders were apparently polytheistic (i.e., believed in more than one god) and unaware of the God of Paul.

Let’s work on being open to changing our minds from error to truth, not from one error to another. An example that comes to mind is racial discrimination.

As African American Christians fight to gain and maintain equality with Whites, we must make sure we don’t strive to oppress and mistreat Whites, as some Whites have historically oppressed and mistreated African Americans.

That would be swinging from one error to another. We should aim to be aligned with God’s will, which sees all humankind as precious and in need of His salvation and lordship.

Read Acts 28:7-8

III. More Evidence. An official showed hospitality to Paul in this section of the Sunday School material. His name was Publius. His father was sick. Paul ended up healing the sick father.

Applications -

- Trusting God to bless obedience. Notice in vss. 7-8 that there is some merit to one reaping what one sows.

In this case, the people sowed hospitality and reaped miraculous healings. God has a way of blessing those who bless His people.

Let’s work on trusting God to do what is best for those who obey His will. The timing and methods of God are often beyond our understanding.

But we can trust that if we obey God, God will see to it that we are blessed, somehow and someway.

- Healing people. Notice in vs. 8 of the Sunday School material that Paul is used to heal the people.

We should remember that signs and wonders like healing are often used to validate the preaching and teaching of God’s word (see I Cor. 14:22), as opposed to an ongoing situation.

Therefore, we should be skeptical of those who claim to have a modern day gift of ongoing healing for believers.

We should be even more skeptical when the supposed gift is only used on those who buy a prayer cloth or some other type of trinket.

God can heal, but people having a gift of ongoing healing among believers is suspect. Let’s work on balancing our trust of God’s healing power with our suspicion of those who claim to have a gift of healing.

Read Acts 28:9-10

IV. Grateful Response. The islanders went and brought the rest of the sick people to Paul. Paul healed them. The people honored Paul and his company in many ways.

They gave supplies to Paul and company, when they made ready to leave.

Applications -

- Discerning and obeying God’s will. Notice in vss. 9-10 of the Sunday School material the focus on doing God’s will.

As receptive as the people were to Paul and his company, Paul stays focused on doing what God is calling him to do.

Every opened door is not designed for us to go through. Nor is every closed door an indication that there is no way in.

Let’s work on discerning and obeying God’s will. Prayerful study of God’s word with wise counsel and a mind to obey God can help us carry out this application.

Conclusion: Let’s work on obeying God’s will, in spite of bad times and good. God has much for those who obey His will.

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