By Eric Barton
Scripture Reading: Acts 22:30-Acts 23
Topic: Surrounded but Standing
Focus Scripture: Acts 23:11-12
Paul has radically been changed by Jesus, from one who persecuted and imprisoned Christians to now he is spending his life to spread the message of the hope and grace of Jesus! Wow.
Shouldn’t everything be perfect in his life now, with everything going his way?
That’s not what happens, we find him here in Acts 23 bound in jail by the Romans, accused and hated by the religious leaders and with plots to kill him from some of the Jews.
Verse 12 says that a group of Jews made an oath to not eat until Paul was dead. That’s pretty serious commitment to Pauls demise. All because he was spreading the gospel of Jesus, doing what he was supposed to.
Things aren’t promised to go our way and be perfect. Maybe you are surrounded what seems like enemies, maybe it’s difficulty, or pain. It could even seem impossible to overcome.
But this treasure that we have in Jesus isn’t just worth it when things are going our way, but even when it seems everything is opposed.
When there is struggle.
When we may not understand.
In verse 11 the Lord had appeared to Paul and told Him to be encouraged because he would preach the good news in Rome. This was Pauls dream to preach in Rome, so he knew it wouldn’t end here!
So what did Paul do when it seemed everything was against him?
He could has just stopped and said. “why God?”. I’ve given so much God, where are you.
But instead Paul stood firm, full of faith, focused on Jesus, remembering the Promise he’d received.
In 1 Cor 4 Paul says we are hard pressed on every side but not crushed, but then he says to not lose heart. Outwardly we may be wasting away but inwardly we are being renewed day by day. And we fix our eyes not on the seen but the unseen, the eternal!
Paul stood firm. He remembered the promise of Jesus. This wouldn’t be the end, he would accomplish his dream.
No matter what surrounds you. Jesus is Lord. He is worth the good the bad and the in between. Remember his promises. Stand Firm. Be encouraged. You have purpose to still fulfill.
Let’s fix our eyes on the eternal.
Lord Jesus, we thank you that your promises are still true. No matter what I’m faced with today I fix my eyes on you. You still have purpose and calling for me. You are worth whatever cost it takes because you are the real treasure in life. Holy Spirit empower me today, against all odds, to live boldly for the Kingdom of God! Amen.