The apostle Paul so wanted to reach Rome. It took a strange set of circumstances to get him there. But he did get there after a storm and a shipwreck. And the result was that Paul had such a witness among his fellow travelers and even to people in Caesar’s household. (Acts 27-28; Philippians 4:19-22)
Speaker(s): Pastor Justin Schaller, Pastor Dennis White
6:30 PM on 10/25/2020
P. Dennis White –
Isn’t God good? Praise God! Wow! Partaking. Should I
speak on that? 2 Corinthians 4 this is an amazing chapter. Ever been in a trial, a difficult time? Maybe
some of you are going through that now. You look at the person next to you. You are my
difficult time! In team life, sometimes you love your team after you are off the mission field! I
shouldn’t say that! Whatever! We have trials in our life. This is a great chapter to read about
the trials in our life. I was reading a story about a 1980’s Olympic gold medalist. That was before
I was alive. A U.S. hockey team that beat the Russians. I was reading about the guys that got the
gold medal. One of them in 2002 sold his gold medal to have back surgery. Later, that medal
sold in 2012 for $300,000.
This little gold medal you work really hard for. You hope it’s above
your fireplace the rest of your life. What happens? You get old and a trial happens and find
yourself without money and have to sell this prize you worked so hard to get. Another guy
American swimmer in 1992 sold his gold medal for $1700 dollars. Imagine being so hard up you
are selling this prize you worked so hard, just to get what you need. That’s why I love the Bible
and being a believer. In the Bible are different types of hope. Those who don’t have any hope.
Those that don’t have hope are like a bird set free in the middle of a night and flies straight into
a glass window. They have no idea where they are going, and it brings them to death. We think
of our own life and who we are following and our relationship with God and we can say
something much greater.
In chapter 4, the Apostle Paul uses all these amazing words. Vs. 15. He says all things are for your sakes. All things are for your sake. Isn’t that amazing that thought? The fact that I am going through this trouble and it’s for my sake. Maybe you’re not in trouble but it’s still for your sake. The fact you are sitting here listening to the Word of God is
for your sake. That grace. One translation says abundant grace. Paul loves to use these words
and add something on top of them. Exceeding, abundant, above all we can ask or think. So
great but something greater. There is grace but then an abundance of grace. Vs. 16-17. Listen
to it one more time. Here are these athletes and they strive so hard and push for the
impossible. They do the impossible and get their reward and then what? Then what? That is
another kind of hope, a false hope placed in the wrong object.
They put their hope in their ability to perform, in their team to get money and fame. When all that is gone, what do I have left? If I have an abundance of grace, if in the light affliction I am in right now is for a far more
exceeding – one scholar says exceedingly exceeding. That’s what it’s saying. Exceedingly
excellent. Beyond what I think I can ever need. It’s beyond beyond. It’s beyond that. I’m sitting
here going through this trial, this trouble. God what is happening in my life? God is saying my
grace is an eternal weight of glory in your life. Think of the character of God. Forgiveness is an
eternal weight of glory in my life. Our hope is put in things in the future. One day we will be
saved. We are saved now but we will be in heaven with our Father. We’ll be in heaven with
Jesus Christ. And all of our faith will come to a realization. Does that mean my faith has no
substance now? Does that mean my hope has no value now in this life?
This isn’t the kind of message if you have enough faith you will get what you are praying for. Not like that. I hope in
God and because of God’s greatness and abounding grace in my life, what is going to happen?
That’s going to affect me in my life today. Living in obedience to God and rewards in heaven
and for walking by faith but what about now in this life? God is interested not only in the eternal but now. He’s concerned about you now in this life. I’m going to pull up my boot straps
and suffer well. I’m going to work harder. I’m going to do it. I’m going to persevere and follow
God to the end. The reason I do that is because I know some day in the future I’ll have crowns
in heaven versus someone like me who is stumbling along and saying God I have faith, or God I
believe but help my unbelief. God I love you but want to love you more. God I think I
understand what you are teaching but show me more.
I don’t know if I have enough to make it through this trial. God is saying I have an abundance of grace for you. That abundance of grace is going to shine through your life. That abundance of grace will be your eternal weight of glory
now in this world. We open our Bible and look at the great men and women. Why are we in
awe of them? Is it because of the great things they did? Yes, but more is because even though
they were weak – Paul hated Christians and wrote a lot of our Bible. We like Peter because he
was like us, emotional. Sometimes he’s on with God and sometimes he’s off with God. That’s
me. What we see in their life is they are looking towards God in their daily life, daily walk. We
don’t know what kind of leader Moses was. Maybe Korah was justified at being angry at Moses.
Maybe people were justified for hating David. Maybe it was a good reason, but they looked
towards God. God’s grace shined in their life.
I see that God is affecting us today. He is changing
our lives today. We can expect God to do something great now, not only in eternity future but
now in the present as he is loving us and being faithful and showering us with abundant grace
and we shower him with thanksgiving in the midst of our trouble. We come to understand what
it means in vs. 17 there is a far more exceeding eternal weight of glory. Vs. 18 we don’t look at
the medals, the clothes, the cars, the prestige. We don’t look at the seen, but the unseen. The
things seen are temporary. Mark Wells sells his gold medal to pay for back surgery. The medal is
temporary. The back is temporary. But my walk with God is an exceeding precious weight of
glory in my life. Amen.
P. Justin Schaller –
Good evening. How are you? Is it true Sunday we get loaded up to get ready
for Monday – Friday? Life is crazy sometimes. There can be so many things going on that keep
our focus off the important things. You know that one day we will not be here, right? P. Scibelli
said halleluiah! Let’s say the pastoral staff here are phenomenal men of God. P. Steve, P.
Scibelli, P. May up there, P. Jason, P. Renaldo, P. Love. We have pastors in this church that really
care for us. These men are real gifts to his church. We are so thankful for them. Their labor of
love and all the details of the ministry they handle and deal with so well. At least that’s what we
think! We know they do. Philippians. 4:19, Paul was in prison in Rome. He writes his prison epistles
Colossians, Philippians, Ephesians, and Philemon. He writes from Rome. Philippians is a joy
book. It’s the centerpiece of Paul’s heart toward that church in Philippi. He’s in prison. He’s in
house arrest. He’s not concerned.
Chapter 2, I don’t look after my own needs, but I look after the needs of others. He’s the perfect example of that. He’s assuring this church that God will supply. They supplied his needs financially by sending him money and a man from the church, Epaphroditus. Epaphroditus was his right hand man for a period of time while he was in Rome.
Paul was never griping or mumbling or complaining. Even though he was a prisoner, he was always building others up. That’s a mark of spiritual maturity that they can be in a situation far
worse than yours, but they are not looking on their own needs but looking on your needs. The
Apostle Paul was that type of man. He says at the end of the letter in vs. 19 that my God will
supply all of your needs. I want to look at Acts and say that statement Paul made is a testimony
of what he experienced on the way to Rome. If we look at Acts 22, the apostle Paul with Luke
and his crew are in this area of Turkey and get word there are needs in Jerusalem in the church.
So they go and they get financial monies from those churches and they head to Jerusalem to go
bring that support to the church in Jerusalem. As they are going to Jerusalem, Paul is stopped
by a prophet that tells him, Paul, if you go to Jerusalem you are going to be arrested. The
Apostle Paul believed very much so in the providence of God and the sovereignty of God and he
said well, if that is the case, then let it be that I will die in Jerusalem. When he goes to
Jerusalem, he’s there in the temple and he sees the diaspora, the Jews living outside of Israel
that were there for that festival. They falsely accused Paul and bring him before the Sanhedrin
and Paul pleads he is a Roman citizen and he wants to plead to Caesar. Because of that, the
Apostle Paul is sent to Caesarea, which is on the coast, the west coast on the Mediterranean.
He set up to Caesarea and is in prison there for two years.
While there, he is ministering to people. People are coming and going. One man with him is Luke, the author of the Gospel. It seems as though that Luke with the connections that Paul had in the ministry, that’s where
Luke got his information from to write the gospel of Luke. Paul is there preaching the gospel to
Felix and Festus. He makes his final appeal to stand before Caesar. This is an amazing thing
because the Apostle Paul had it in his heart he wanted to get to Rome. He believed it was God’s
will to get to Rome. He believed it was God’s will for him to go to Rome. He knew that if he got
to Rome what would probably happen that he’d lose his life. The Caesar was anti-Christian and
wanted to squash out any kind of rebellion or any kind of revolt in the Roman empire because
at that time they had world peace for 100 years in the Roman Empire. Any kind of religious
uprising they would squash out. What Paul was doing was worthy of trying to squelch or swash
out. Paul knew in his mind that he wanted to get to Rome and Paul knew if it is the Lord’s will,
he will get there.
Chapter 27 we see that the Apostle Paul after being two years in Caesarea he
is now going to be sent to Italy. Vs. 1. This man Julius was the head of the ship and taking these
Roman prisoners probably to Rome. Maybe their fate would be the colosseum or imprisonment
or whatever it might be, but they were all prisoners and Paul was one of them. Interesting thing
is as you read through the story, Paul found favor with Julius very early on in this trip so much
so that Julius trusted Paul. Vs. 2. They set sail and they went up into northern Greece and they
landed and when they got there, they changed ships and got into a larger Egyptian shipping
vessel with a few hundred men on board and they got into that one and it was to set sail to
Rome. They set sail in the fall and only had a short window of time to be able to sail the
If they didn’t get to Rome before the beginning of November, they would have
to wait until winter would pass to be able to set sail again to be able to get to Rome by early
spring. Vs. 3. “To refresh himself” meaning to get medical treatment. Luke was with him. Luke
was a physician and with him all through his journeys. We see in this instance that Paul in his
imprisonment that it must be he had some sort of medical injury or something that needed treated and Luke was there to take care of him, to heal him, to treat him. God supplies all our
needs through other people. God uses other people in our life to take care of our needs. God
allowed favor with this man Julius. Paul is a prisoner of Rome, right? And Julius says yeah you
can go. He trusted Paul enough. If Julius lost one of his prisoners it was worthy of death if he
was a Roman soldier.
He trusted Paul enough – his integrity, his character – that he said you can
go. It must have been that Paul and Luke and his crew went out and they met other people that
heard Paul was coming. They came and greeted Paul and had fellowship there and were
refreshed. There is more in these chapters of Paul’s journey in the sense of going from
Jerusalem to Rome than in the creation story in Genesis. It’s amazing. As you move through it,
you see that God is sovereignly protecting and covering and providing for Paul every step of the
way. Vs. 23. They change ships and head to Crete. As they go to Crete, they land in a harbor, the
Fair Havens harbor and when they are there, they have to make a decision. Is it too late in the
season to cross over to get to Rome.
The Apostle Paul says no. Don’t go. Not worth it. But the owner of the ship, you have to understand if the owner doesn’t get to Rome he has to pay his whole crew the wages to wait to wait in the harbor for months. Plus he has all the cargo on the ship as well. The Apostle Paul says, don’t go. If we go, it’s not going to be good. But you know
money always talks, right? Money talks. Vs. 11. They said Paul we trust you what you are saying
but money matters. We are going to go. They set sail. I like this part of the story. Vs. 13 they
were going to land in Sicily on the southern island of Crete. The winds coming off the north of
Africa are hitting them as soon as they take off. They’re going. Isn’t this nice. Warm winds. The
trip is good. See Paul. Everything is fine. They were covered by the island itself. Once they hit
the open seas, the winds that were coming off of Europe, they were northern winds, winterly
winds, they hit the ship and they had a shipwreck. They were shipwrecked for two weeks out
there. They didn’t eat. They were distraught but Paul was there.
The Apostle Paul steps us, and he becomes the leader of the ship. God is using him. Vs. 21. Sirs, you should have hearkened unto me. Don’t you love that. He had to get that in there. After two weeks he stands up and
says, guys, you should have listened to me. Vs. 22-23. It must have been at that point of just
utter – about to die, – they probably wanted to die, but Paul is a leader, a man of God and he
says the God I serve I belong to him. I serve him. He came to me and said fear not Paul. You will
be brought before Caesar. God has given all them that sail with me. They were lucky that the
Apostle Paul was on that ship. When you have a person like you and me people can be spared
because we have a word coming from God. He speaks truth to them. It must have been they
were saying, Paul, just tell us whatever. We learned our lesson. Paul tell us what it is. This is the
word. You are going to get to Rome.
If Paul knows that, can he relax? Can the people relax? Can they understand there is a sovereign plan going on, that God has revealed to Paul this is part of the plan and you’re going to get to Rome. He had that confidence. As the story goes, they land in Malta and are there for a period of time. They are healing people. Luke is there helping
people with medical needs. People are become believers. Vs. 16 of chapter 28. Amazing the
favor Paul had in his life. When Paul says my God will supply all of your needs, he’s not saying
bigger house or faster car or more money in your bank account. What he is saying is that every
person has a sovereign plan orchestrated by God and when you walk in it, you see the hand of God every step of the way. You’ll see a certain favor that is in your life and you’ll come to the
end of what God wants for you to accomplish in your life. This is one of my favorite things that
Paul finally gets to Rome. Philippians. 4, He’s in Rome now under house arrest. He is still able to
minister. There are people that are coming to him. He’s ministering to them.
He’s ministering to people preaching his gospel and he’s in his element even though a prisoner. When he is a
prisoner there, he doesn’t have the ability to work so who provides for him? The Philippians
church provides for him. Epaphroditus in caper 2 comes and provides what he needs. He’s
probably so excited and so happy about it. Don’t you think it’s so much better when you get
something when you know it is coming from the hand of God. I can work so hard and get $100.
I’d rather get $5 from the hand of God. I can do so many things, but I’d rather see God work in
my life and know it’s the hand of God in my life. Look at what Paul says in vs. 19. Look at what
he says in vs. 21. Then vs. 22. What? Caesar’s household. When did that happen Paul? God
sovereignly orchestrated that my path would be that I would get to Rome but in between
Jerusalem and Rome was shipwreck, sickness, anguish, pain, treading water for two weeks.
I had it in my mind God was orchestrating my journey to get there so I could preach the Gospel
to Caesar’s household. Paul is saying in vs. 19 there are people from Caesar’s household who
have come into the family of God. They are now brothers and sisters. God orchestrated for me
to go through all of this. He provided everything I needed to get here so I could lead these
people to Christ. How about us in our life? Do we see the hand of God in our life? Do we see
God working in our life so much that the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus says be anxious for
nothing. Look at the little birdies in the air. Are they fed? Don’t you think my heavenly Father
will feed you. Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you. Our focus
is we are just passing through this life.
We are just pilgrims moving through this land and our main goal and our main mission is to see people get into the ark, to bring people to the knowledge of Christ. I think as we move toward that mission and one day we reach the finish line, we are going to be just overwhelmed and we are going to see the hand of God and this
church probably has testimony after testimony just like the Apostle Paul did that God is
supplying all of our needs every step of the way. That’s comforting to me. As we step in to this
week, what are we going to be faced with? Bills, bosses, jobs, relationship problems, fear of the
future, whatever it might be, but can we learn this lesson from Paul? He went through a lot
more suffering than most of us will go through. He had a confident attitude. He had a security.
He had a trust. He knew when he was in the will of God doing what God wanted him to do God
would provide for him every step of the way.
God did it, didn’t he? Let’s close by saying if we look at Matthew 7:7-8, do you know God has a sovereign plan. He’s providentially providing for us every step of the way in that plan. What he wants to show us, and he wants us to learn he is so gracious to us. He is so gracious to us. We don’t deserve any of it. We don’t deserve one bit of
that grace. Like we heard from Pastor Dennis, superabundant, above all we can ask or think he
will provide for us. Maybe there is someone here and you are afraid of what your lot in life is.
You are afraid of what the future holds for you. You can have so many fears and it keeps you up
at night. You need to rest in the stories in the Scripture as you see the hand of God on these
women and men and see God dropping in grace into their lives every step of the way. Then you need to open up your own spiritual eyes to see in the past, has God providentially dropped in
bits of grace every step of your life? Has he provided for you? Has there been suffering? Yes,
but has there been abundant grace as well?
Absolutely. Abundant grace. If you are lacking or you are in the dark and you are like Paul out on the waters and you’re saying and it doesn’t look like I’m going to get to Rome, you need to hear the still small voice that will come to you in the evening, that will come to you in the morning and reassure you of where you are headed and
going so you can sit back and rest. Doesn’t he say in Philippians. 4 be anxious for nothing but in
everything through prayer and supplication make your request known to God? And the God of
all peace will guard your heart. Do you think that was a principle the Apostle Paul learned on his
ship ride to Rome? Probably. There are many times you could be anxious and fear but when
you see God providentially dropping in bits of grace on the journey, it makes you learn to relax
even in the midst of a ship that is in pieces.
You’ll get to the end goal. And you’ll be like Paul writing at the end of Philippians, hey, guys. He’ll provide. He got me to Rome. And guess what? People in Caesar’s house want to greet you as well. They have the same love that we have. What a victory of grace the Apostle Paul had in his life. What will our story look like as well. We
can sit back and enjoy the ride.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.