Sunday School Material 11-25-12: Paul Evangelizes in Rome

(Acts 28:16, 17, 23-31; 11/25/12)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that Paul was faithful in spite of his circumstances. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to be faithful to God’s will, in spite of our circumstances.

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Read Acts 28:16, 17

I. Arrival in Rome. In our Sunday School material Paul and company made it to Rome. He was allowed to live by himself with a guard.

In three days, Paul called a group of Jewish leaders together. He sought to explain himself as a Christian, not one who was tearing down the Jews or their customs.

Applications –

- God’s working things out. Notice in vs. 16 that God can work things out for the good of His people. Only God can take credit for a prisoner having his own rented house and people coming to him to be ministered to, while he is under house arrest.

In like manner, if we would simply obey God’s will for our lives, we can trust Him to work things out for good of His people. Even when He doesn’t make a way for us just like He did for Paul, we can trust Him to do what is best for us. Let’s obey God like we trust Him to work things out for our good.

- Striving for peace. Notice in vs. 17 of our Sunday School material that Paul gives diligence to setting things straight with the Jewish leaders. On one hand, as believers, we should strive to live peacefully with all people. This often means going the extra mile to resolve conflicts.

But on the other hand, everyone is not reasonable. There are some people who will not be at peace with you because the devil is keeping things in discord. Let’s do our part to be at peace with others. But we should realize that it takes more than our efforts to be at peace with others. They have to do their part as well.

Read Acts 28:23-24

II. Meeting with Jewish Leaders. Paul continued to talk to increasingly larger groups of people. He ministered from morning to evening. Some believed, but some would not.

Applications –

- Drawing and driving. Notice in vss. 23-24 of our Sunday School material that the word of God draws some and drives others. This was the case in our text. It was the case with Jesus. And we should not be surprised when it is the case in our lives.

Now, sometimes it is not the word of God that drives people; it is our behavior. Ephesians 4:15 urges us to speak the truth in love. Let’s make sure we are sharing the word of God with the realization that it draws some and drives others.

And let’s make sure we are a part of the group that is drawn to the word, instead of driven from it. We ought not allow our affection for how we have been doing things or our dislike of human personalities to stop us from lining up with God’s word.

Read Acts 28:25-29

III. Responding to Rejection. The amount of disagreement seems to be growing. Paul shared a scripture that essential taught that because the Jews would not accept the Gospel, it was being shared with the Gentiles. It is prophesied that the Gentiles will be receptive.

Applications –

- Applying God’s word. Notice in vss. 25-27 of our Sunday School material that Paul knew how to apply God’s word to the situation before him. It is important for us to study the Bible with a mind to answer the questions – what does it say, what does it mean, and what does it mean to me.

God wants us to be doers of His word, not just hearers. Let’s work on rightly applying God’s word to our lives and situations.

- Hearing and obeying. Notice in vss. 26-28 that some are like those who have ears but do not hear, nor obey. The danger of this situation is that those who don’t hear and obey are not blessed and are subject to punishment.

Let’s work on being people who hear and obey God’s word. There are too many people who soak up Sunday School lesson after Sunday School lesson and sermon after sermon but don’t live by any of the material.

- Thankful for their rejection. Notice in vs. 28 of the Sunday School material that it was because of the Jew’s refusal to hear the Gospel that Gentiles got a chance to hear and accept it.

On one hand, we learn that God doesn’t need us as much as we need Him. If He cannot carry out His will through us, He has other options. When He moves to another option, His blessings and favor goes to that option as well.

On the other hand, we should thank God that what was rejected by many Jews was received by many Gentiles like you and me.

Let’s live like we appreciate God’s allowing the Gospel to be preached to us. Such living includes obeying God’s will for us to love Him and others, as we love ourselves.

Read Acts 28:30-31

IV. Preaching to All. Paul continued his ministry for two more years. He worked from his rented house. He ministered the word of God to all who came to him with boldness and without hindrance.

Applications –

- Making the most out of our situations. Notice in vss. 30-31 of our Sunday School material that Paul was a wise steward of the situation that he found himself in. He used his time wisely and for God’s glory.

Too many people spend too much time complaining about what is not right in their lives, instead of using what is right for the honor and glory of God. Let’s learn to make the most out of our situation for God’s glory.

Conclusion: Let’s work on being faithful to God’s will, in spite of our circumstances. God has much for those who obey His will.

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