2015.07.05 Acts 23: 12- 35
The LORD delivers Paul from 40 Assassins
This morning, we are continuing our study in the book of Acts…. As we pick up in Ch 23… the Apostle Paul is now a prisoner…. By way of review… turn with me to Acts 23: 11… Here in Acts 22 and 23…
Paul had just been through three riots….. They were all caused the hatred of the unbelieving Jews…. Paul was delivered from death by the Romans three times in less than 2 days… . Now, he sits alone in the Roman fortress…. Although they have been trying to kill him… Paul isn´t worried… He knows that the Lord has given him more time… The Lord himself called him to fight the good fight of Faith… One day He will lay down his life for the Lord…. But not yet…. that comes later…. The Lord Jesus comes to him…. and says these words of comfort…
Acts 23:11 NKJV slt 2000
11 But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”
11 Aber in der folgenden Nacht trat der Herr zu ihm und sprach: Sei getrost, Paulus! Denn wie du in Jerusalem von mir Zeugnis abgelegt hast, so sollst du auch in Rom Zeugnis ablegen.
The Lord comes in the middle of the night to a discouraged and sad apostle and cheers him up….. He says take courage…. Then because of what Jesus says…. We get a look into Paul´s heart…. He was discouraged about his poor testimony… However (aber) That´s not how the Lord looked at Paul´s work… Jesus appeared to him and said…. It´s ok Paul… You gave a good testimony… Be encouraged…
He needed to be encouraged too… He failed in his attempts to Proclaim the Gospel to his own people and the Sanhedrin… That was his mission… Paul was certainly encouraged to hear that the Lord approved of his ministry… And to make it even worse… It seems that the whole world is trying to kill him….
I am sure that even before the Lord Appeared to him…. The Word of God was his comfort and strength… I often quote the Psalms and the scriptures to my self during hard times…
Maybe Paul felt a little bit like David…. David ran for so much of his life from those who would murder him….
This must have been the feeling of Paul…. as the Lord had just said, "You're going to live, and you're going to go to Rome."
As Paul sat in the fortress prison cell..… I believe that Paul was comforted by remembering The scriptures….. And now the presence of the Lord in his time of disappointment and despair… Brought him great comfort… He was encouraged….
So now he's secure in God´s blessing and protection… He is more than willing to lay down his life….. But he knows that he is not finished running his race yet…. As he takes courage and comfort from the Lord that night….. It was a very tempory relief from the storm…. Paul did not know about the plot that was going on against his life…. Moment by moment…. His faith and trust was in God…..
It will be 2 years before Paul actually gets to Rome…. He will face many trials and disasters…. But he never let´s go of God´s promise…. He hangs on to the Lord day by day… As we continue in Acts 23… verse 12…. there is an incident that helps Paul to know that his trust and hope in the Lord is correct… God will deliver him again… Let´s read Acts 23…v12…
Acts 23: 12-15 NKJV
12 And when it was day, some of the Jews banded together and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.
13 Now there were more than forty who had formed this conspiracy.
14 They came to the chief priests and elders, and said, “We have bound ourselves under a great oath that we will eat nothing until we have killed Paul.
15 Now you, therefore, together with the council, suggest to the commander that he be brought down to you tomorrow, as though you were going to make further inquiries concerning him; but we are ready to kill him before he comes near.”
Acts 23: 12-15 NKJV
12 Als es aber Tag geworden war, rotteten sich etliche Juden zusammen und verschworen sich, weder zu essen noch zu trinken, bis sie Paulus umgebracht hätten.
13 Es waren aber mehr als vierzig, die diese Verschwörung gemacht hatten.
14 Diese gingen zu den obersten Priestern und Ältesten und sprachen: Wir haben uns mit einem Fluch verschworen, nichts zu genießen, bis wir Paulus umgebracht haben.
15 So werdet nun ihr samt dem Hohen Rat bei dem Befehlshaber vorstellig [mit der Bitte], daß er ihn morgen zu euch hinabführen soll, [indem ihr so tut,] als ob ihr seine Sache genauer untersuchen wolltet; wir aber sind bereit, ihn vor seiner Ankunft umzubringen!
v12… Saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul… These men are full of zeal…. But their zeal is not according to knowledge (Romans 10:2)…. Zeal and devotion alone prove nothing about some ones relationship with God…. They are only fanatics… And as we see…
v14… Would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul… Did these men who made the vow of fasting die because they failed to kill Paul???
Not likely… The Ancient rabbis allowed for a vow to be broken…. For example when vows that cannot be fulfilled because of being prevented from outside forces…
v15… Suggest to the commander that he be brought down to you tomorrow, as though you were going to make further inquiries concerning him… These wicked men think nothing of lying to the Roman commander…. They will readily disobey God to accomplish their wicked plans… They think nothing of lying to the Romans as part of their plot… They were willing to lie in the name of Religion…. That is a very popular idea today…. You may not know this… But many cults and even entire religions say that it is ok to lie…. JW´s… Mormons.. and many cults teach that they must lie to unbelievers to protect themselves… Islam even tells Muslims to lie when it will help them defeat their enemies… For many of these groups… Unbelievers don´t count for anything… Let´s continue in Acts 23…v16…
Acts 23: 16-22 NKJV
16 So when Paul’s sister’s son heard of their ambush, he went and entered the barracks and told Paul. 17 Then Paul called one of the centurions to him and said, “Take this young man to the commander, for he has something to tell him.” 18 So he took him and brought him to the commander and said, “Paul the prisoner called me to him and asked me to bring this young man to you. He has something to say to you.”
19 Then the commander took him by the hand, went aside, and asked privately, “What is it that you have to tell me?”
20 And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask that you bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire more fully about him. 21 But do not yield to them, for more than forty of them lie in wait for him, men who have bound themselves by an oath that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him; and now they are ready, waiting for the promise from you.”
22 So the commander let the young man depart, and commanded him, “Tell no one that you have revealed these things to me.”."
Acts 23: 16-22 slt 2000
16 Als aber der Sohn der Schwester des Paulus von diesem Anschlag hörte, kam er, ging in die Kaserne hinein und berichtete es dem Paulus.
17 Da rief Paulus einen der Hauptleute zu sich und sprach: Führe diesen jungen Mann zu dem Befehlshaber, denn er hat ihm etwas zu berichten!
18 Der nahm ihn und führte ihn zu dem Befehlshaber und sprach: Der Gefangene Paulus rief mich zu sich und bat mich, diesen jungen Mann zu dir zu führen, der dir etwas zu sagen hat.
19 Da nahm ihn der Befehlshaber bei der Hand, ging mit ihm beiseite und fragte ihn: Was hast du mir zu berichten?
20 Und er sprach: Die Juden sind übereingekommen, dich zu bitten, daß du morgen Paulus in den Hohen Rat hinabführen läßt, als ob sie seine Sache noch genauer untersuchen wollten.
21 Laß dich aber nicht von ihnen bereden, denn mehr als 40 Männer von ihnen stellen ihm nach; die haben sich verschworen, weder zu essen noch zu trinken, bis sie ihn umgebracht haben, und jetzt sind sie bereit und warten auf deine Zusage.
22 Da entließ der Befehlshaber den jungen Mann und gebot ihm: Sage niemand, daß du mir dies angezeigt hast!
v16-22… Paul´s nephew hears of the plot?? What a coincidence… In these very unusual circumstances…. we see God's protecting hand… God knows how to take care of His servants!... v23..
Acts 23: 23-33 NKJV
23 And he called for two centurions, saying, “Prepare two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at the third hour of the night; 24 and provide mounts to set Paul on, and bring him safely to Felix the governor.” 25 He wrote a letter in the following manner:
26 Claudius Lysias, To the most excellent governor Felix: Greetings.
27 This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them. Coming with the troops I rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman. 28 And when I wanted to know the reason they accused him, I brought him before their council. 29 I found out that he was accused concerning questions of their law, but had nothing charged against him deserving of death or chains. 30 And when it was told me that the Jews lay in wait for the man, I sent him immediately to you, and also commanded his accusers to state before you the charges against him. Farewell.
31 Then the soldiers, as they were commanded, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 The next day they left the horsemen to go on with him, and returned to the barracks. 33 When they came to Caesarea and had delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him.
Acts 23: 23-33 slt 2000
23 Und er ließ zwei Hauptleute zu sich rufen und sprach: Haltet 200 Soldaten bereit, daß sie nach Cäsarea ziehen, dazu 70 Reiter und 200 Lanzenträger, von der dritten Stunde der Nacht an;
24 auch soll man Tiere bereitstellen, damit sie Paulus daraufsetzen und ihn sicher zu dem Statthalter Felix bringen!3
25 Und er schrieb einen Brief, der folgenden Inhalt hatte:
26 »Claudius Lysias schickt dem hochedlen Statthalter Felix einen Gruß!
27 Dieser Mann wurde von den Juden ergriffen, und er sollte von ihnen umgebracht werden; da griff ich mit der Truppe ein und befreite ihn, weil ich erfuhr, daß er ein Römer ist.
28 Da ich aber den Grund ihrer Anklage gegen ihn ermitteln wollte, führte ich ihn in ihren Hohen Rat hinab.
29 Da fand ich, daß er wegen Streitfragen ihres Gesetzes angeklagt wurde, daß aber keine Anklage gegen ihn vorlag, die Tod oder Gefangenschaft verdiente.
30 Da mir aber angezeigt wurde, daß von seiten der Juden ein Anschlag gegen diesen Mann geplant ist, so habe ich ihn sogleich zu dir geschickt und auch den Klägern befohlen, vor dir zu sagen, was gegen ihn vorliegt. Lebe wohl!«
31 Die Kriegsknechte nun nahmen Paulus, wie ihnen befohlen war, und führten ihn während der Nacht nach Antipatris.
32 Am folgenden Tag aber ließen sie die Reiter mit ihm ziehen und kehrten wieder in die Kaserne zurück.
33 Jene aber übergaben bei ihrer Ankunft in Cäsarea dem Statthalter den Brief und führten ihm auch Paulus vor.
v23… Prepare two hundred soldiers… Again we are impressed with the wisdom of the Roman commander… He is determined to protect Paul… He writes a letter to Felix the Governor…
v27… I rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman… Claudius says nothing of the way Paul was bound twice and almost scourged even though he was a Roman citizen…
The assessment that Paul had nothing charged against him deserving of death or chains was important for Luke to record….. Since Roman officials trying Paul's case were going to read this document…. they needed to know that other Roman officials had already judged Paul "not guilty."
Acts 23: 34,35 NKJV
34 And when the governor had read it, he asked what province he was from. And when he understood that he was from Cilicia,
35 he said, “I will hear you when your accusers also have come.” And he commanded him to be kept in Herod’s Praetorium.
Acts 23: 34,35 slt 2000
34 Nachdem aber der Statthalter den Brief gelesen hatte und auf die Frage, aus welcher Provinz er sei, erfahren hatte, daß er aus Cilicien stammte,
35 sprach er: Ich will dich verhören, wenn deine Ankläger auch eingetroffen sind! Und er befahl, ihn im Prätorium des Herodes zu bewachen.
v34,35… And he commanded him to be kept in Herod's Praetorium… Now Paul awaits trial in Caesarea… how do you think he was doing? How would you be doing? Afraid? Discouraged?
Because he had received the Lord's words of encouragement…. He remembered the LORD´s promises…. Even in his hard times… Paul firmly trusted in God´s will and Sovereignty…. Have you received the Lord's words of encouragement and promise to you? Are they making a difference in your heart and mind?
Let me show you something at the end of verse 35…. it's really interesting….. And he commanded him to be kept in Herod’s Praetorium…. It was the residence of the governor….. He said, "Keep him in my house."
Do you know what the Praetorium was in Caesarea? It was once the palace of Herod…. Herod had built a magnificent palace there…. But Herod wasn't really able to enjoy it…. God struck him and worms ate him because he didn't give glory to God….. That's in Acts 12…..
Paul was escorted by Romans Soldiers to safety… and now no prison for Paul…. He is to be the guest of the Governor….
Can you imagine… Paul is in the palace praising the Lord for a promise given just the night before…
It is the Love and care of the Lord for His children….. God has miraculously delivered Paul and His people on many occasions… Do you see a miracle in the passage? No miracle this time….
What you see is God at work in His providence… ordering the circumstances…. ordering the lives of the people…. moving all the scenes and characters on the stage to accomplish His sovereign will…
Beloved, this passage tells us a important thing about The LORD our God....
1 God is faithful… He always keeps his promises
What a faithful God…. He makes a promise to Paul in verse 11…. And That very day….The Lord brings it to pass…
God wonderfully confirmed that promise in his heart….. Time and time again… Paul learns by experience that God is faithful…. Phil 1….. He will complete the work that he has started in us too…
Can you see the love and care of God in Paul´s life and ministry?
We can see how The Lord takes care of His servants.… He knows how much Paul can handle…. He knew that this wasn't the time for Paul to be beaten or stoned…. He knew how much Paul had endured… This man of God´s life was not about prosperity or about suffering…. It was about Glorifying the Lord Jesus with his life….. The circumstances did not matter…… He was determined to finish his race….. And to do it with joy…
Paul saw Jesus on the road to Damascus….. The Lord Radically transformed his life…. He heard the call of God to proclaim Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior….. No matter what the cost…. Paul was not shaken off of his course when he was told that suffering and bonds and afflictions awaited him….. Do you remember what he said? Turn with me to Acts ch 20…v…24…. He said….
Acts 20: 24 NKJV slt 2000
24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
24 Aber auf das alles nehme ich keine Rücksicht; mein Leben ist mir auch selbst nicht teuer, wenn es gilt, meinen Lauf mit Freuden zu vollenden und den Dienst, den ich von dem Herrn Jesus empfangen habe, nämlich das Evangelium der Gnade Gottes zu bezeugen.
v23,24…chains and tribulations await me… This was not the first time that Paul heard these things….This is what he heard when he got saved… What do you think that Paul would have said about all of these preachers of today…? Well I guarantee you that they would not have fooled Paul into claiming the perfect life… the perfect wife…. Perfect health…. No…. Paul was very clear about our mission as believers…. He properly understood the Call of God on His people….
None of these things move me…. Paul was determined to finish his race with joy…. the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God…..
Paul was not at all concerned about his life or his comfort…… He was totally dedicated to the mission…. No matter what the cost… This is exactly what Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3… let´s turn there to close……. Paul was writing to Timothy to encourage him and to prepare him for the hard times to come…
We need to take these warnings to heart…. We are in the last days…. We are looking at difficult times…. The world is still trying to shut Jesus up….. They don´t want to face their sin and pride and rebellion…. They are trying to shut all Bible believing Christians up too… They do not want to know what the Word of God says about their lifestyle choices…
As we study the birth of the church…. I hear Paul’s words with greater power than ever…. Paul proclaimed the Gospel no matter what the personal cost… He proclaimed Jesus Christ…. Jesus was at center of everything he did….. That is as it should be…. Jesus Christ is at the center of all of creation…. He is the focus of God´s revelation of Himself… Over and over Paul wrote to the churches….. We are proclaiming the Lord Jesus Christ…
I would like to finish our time this morning by listening to the warning that Paul gave to Timothy…. It is a sober warning that describes the very difficult environment that we are facing…
2 Timothy 3: 1-12 NLT
1 You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
6 They are the kind who work their way into people’s homes and win the confidence of vulnerable women who are burdened with the guilt of sin and controlled by various desires. 7 (Such women are forever following new teachings, but they are never able to understand the truth.) 8 These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses. They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith. 9 But they won’t get away with this for long. Someday everyone will recognize what fools they are, just as with Jannes and Jambres.
10 But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. 11 You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it. 12 Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
2 Timothy 3: 1-12 Neues Leben
1 Außerdem sollst du wissen, Timotheus, dass in den letzten Tagen der Welt schwere Zeiten kommen werden.
2 Denn die Menschen werden nur sich selbst und ihr Geld lieben. Sie werden stolz und eingebildet sein, Gott verachten und ihren Eltern ungehorsam und undankbar begegnen. Nichts wird ihnen heilig sein.
3 Sie werden lieblos sein und zur Vergebung nicht bereit; sie werden andere verleumden und keine Selbstbeherrschung kennen; sie werden grausam sein und vom Guten nichts wissen wollen.
4 Ihre Freunde werden sie verraten, leichtsinnig handeln, sich aufspielen und ihr Vergnügen mehr lieben als Gott.
5 Sie werden so tun, als seien sie fromm, doch die Kraft Gottes, die sie verändern könnte, werden sie ablehnen. Von solchen Leuten halte dich fern!
6 Das sind genau die Leute, die sich in Häuser einschleichen und das Vertrauen von Frauen gewinnen, in deren Leben sich viel Schuld angesammelt hat und die sich von ihren Leidenschaften beherrschen lassen.
7 Solche Frauen wenden sich ständig neuen Lehren zu, ohne dass sie je die Wahrheit verstehen könnten.
8 Und so wie Jannes und Jambres sich Mose entgegengestellt haben, so leben auch diese im Widerspruch zur Wahrheit. Ihr Geist ist verdorben und ihr Glaube nur geheuchelt.
9 Aber sie werden damit nicht weit kommen. Eines Tages wird für jeden sichtbar werden, was für Narren sie waren, so wie es auch bei Jannes und Jambres geschah.
10 Aber du hast dich an das gehalten, was ich gelehrt habe, Timotheus, und hast dir die Art, wie ich lebe, und meine Ziele zu Eigen gemacht. An meinem Glauben, meiner Geduld und meiner Liebe hast du dir ebenso ein Beispiel genommen wie an meinem Durchhalten im Leiden.
11 Du weißt, wie viel Verfolgung und Leid ich ertragen habe und wie ich in Antiochia, Ikonion und Lystra verfolgt wurde - aber der Herr hat mich aus allem errettet.
12 Jeder, der an Christus Jesus glaubt und ein Leben zur Ehre Gottes führen will, wird Verfolgung erleben.