And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27
The video for lesson 22 concludes our series. You can view it by clicking here (scroll down to Lesson 22).
Read and meditate on Acts 27.39-44
Cutting the anchors away would have increased the boat’s speed, and hoisting the foresail would have lifted the bow, thus, hopefully, making it possible for the vessel to ride in closer to the shore. Instead, it struck a reef and lodged fast. Ouch.
1. The constant pounding of waves against the stern caused the ship to begin breaking up, so now it was push come to shove. Would everyone continue to listen to Paul’s advice? Would everyone be safe? Imagine the panic and fear. What would you as a Christian be doing about this time?
2. It’s a good thing Paul and the centurion had come to respect one another. What the soldiers were planning was standard operating procedure (v. 42). The centurion intervened however, contrary to accepted Roman military practice, in order to keep Paul alive. Here is Roman government fulfilling its God-appointed charge, and going against established laws (Rom. 13.1-4). Is there a place for not obeying wicked laws when it comes to some matters? Explain.
3. Then the centurion took over and, with all the authority and threatening power he possessed, directed everyone to do what Paul had previously advised. Consequently, and against all odds, everyone landed safely on the beach. Sometimes it helps to have friends in places of power. Like Paul. Like us. Compose a prayer that you might use to seek the Lord’s power for those who are in authority.
4. Lesson 4: In working to bring matters more in line with the will of the Lord, Christians should not scorn the help of people in places of power and authority. God has established government as a servant for good. Sometimes public servants can be encouraged to act in ways that may buck existing protocols but which, because they can see through to the larger vision of society’s welfare, they may be willing to risk. We need to be in communication with our leaders, and to be praying for them faithfully (1 Tim. 2.1-8). Which public officials do you presently hold up in prayer?
5. Meditate on 1 Timothy 2.1-8. It’s not a stretch to use this story of Paul and the shipwreck to think about our own roles in a society which is sinking in its own unwise choices. And the starting-point for making a solid contribution is prayer. Suggest some ways you might begin to be more faithful in praying for those who serve in places of authority. Share your thoughts about this with some other believers, and see if they’d be willing to join you from time to time to pray for these people.
Paul built up enough credibility with the centurion – by his patience, wisdom, courage, and resolve – to move that man to spare his life. Is it too much to expect that, if we were more encouraging and helpful to our leaders – even if only by praying for them, and letting them know we do – that they might show more of God’s common grace toward us and our cause? Explain.
Let the saints be joyful in glory;
Let them sing aloud on their beds.
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth,
And a two-edged sword in their hand,
To execute vengeance on the nations,
And punishments on the peoples;
To bind their kings with chains,
And their nobles with fetters of iron;
To execute on them the written judgment—
This honor have all His saints.
Praise the LORD!
T. M. Moore
Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies in Acts.
Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. This is the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven. Read more about the implications of this work in our new book, The Kingdom Turn (click here).
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