Acts 23 – Are You Trusting God’s Promises? with Jeff Stapleton (Gateway Austin)

Punches and Promises.

Have you ever been let down because of a broken promise? Sometimes we use a promise as a hope for something. You might say, “I promise I’ll save up, and we’ll go on that vacation.” but you’ve gotta replace that roof, and pay off that surgery, and keep those kids fed. Or have you ever promised somebody that their job or relationship would work out, when none of it is in your control?

In Acts, Paul is resting on a general promise. A promise of a better life with Jesus. He also has a specific promise he’s been holding on to. In Acts 9:15, Paul is promised that he’d get to bear the message of Jesus to Kings. And here’s the deal. God’s promises are not like ours. They aren’t hopes or dreams. They are guarantees.

Chapter 23 stars with a bang…literally.  Paul is talking to the Jewish religious leaders. He makes a really strong statement – kind of a jab at the leaders, and gets straight up punched in the mouth for itl. All sorts of chaos erupts in the room. A roman commander grabs Paul and pulls him to the safety of a jail cell. 

If you’re new to the Bible, Rome is usually the ‘bad guy’ of the new testament – but here, they save Paul.

So Paul is… sitting in a jail cell, probably thinking about the chaos of the day, remembering God’s promises and where following God has taken him so far. Verse 11 says that  “The Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”

This sounds like a promise that Paul will get out of Jerusalem.

But that same night, a plot to attack and kill Paul is uncovered. 40 Jewish dudes promise to ambush and kill Paul. Luckily, their promise is a false hope.

Rome continues to do things we don’t expect them to do. Because of the plot, the commander orders 470 troops to take fresh horses and escort Paul safely to Caserea to speak with their governer – or their local king – Felix. God is faithful to his promises.

As we continue to read through Acts, we’ll see that Paul’s live is never a life of comfort, but God continues to guide Paul, staying true to his promises. And because of that, Paul is faithful to God to the end of his days.

Today if you feel like you are being punched in the mouth by life, what promises from God do you need to remember? Or if you are just exploring faith or are new to following Jesus, I want to encourage you to keep following with as as we journey through Acts, and see what kinds of promises you see from God in scripture.

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