Wednesday, August 7, 2019
And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.
There are so many remarkable, God-inspired lessons we can learn from this last chapter of Acts. One of the most striking is this: true freedom comes not from circumstances but from trusting God’s faithfulness.
Paul has arrived in Rome at long last. He still wears his chains. He still has a Roman guard at his side at all times. But don’t miss what Luke says: he is unhindered.
Paul himself gives us a glimpse into what that means in his second letter to the church at Corinth. He writes in chapter 12, verses 9-10:
And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul has experienced everything on that list, hasn’t he? He has faced countless riots. He has been beaten and stoned nearly to death. He has been imprisoned and mocked and hated. He has suffered unjustly at the hands of both Roman and Jewish officials. He has faced a hurricane, a shipwreck, and a venomous snake bite. Yet he still looks back at all these events and says with unwavering confidence, “This is all for Christ’s glory. The trials are good for me because in my weakness Christ displays His strength.”
This sums up the entire narrative of Acts in a single sentence. God displays his power through our weaknesses and fulfills His promises in the midst of Satan’s attempts to nullify them.
Frankly, if we come to the end of the book of Acts and miss that point, we’ve missed the main point.
When Paul reviewed his life, he saw God’s faithfulness—even though he was in chains. When he looked at the Church, he saw God’s faithfulness—even though she was persecuted. When he looked at his Jewish brothers and sisters, he saw God’s faithfulness—even though many were still unbelieving. God uses the weak things of the world to shame the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27), and when we truly get a grip on that truth, we will live an unhindered life as Paul did.
The book of Acts is the revelation of God’s faithfulness—then and now. Although life is full of surprises, setbacks, difficulties, and sorrows, it is built on the sure foundation of God’s promise that He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6). Paul encouraged the Philippians, “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
Trust God’s faithfulness. Share His gospel. Don’t be hindered by your weaknesses. See them as opportunities for God to express more of His abundant grace and power.
Now, more than ever, engage in—and enjoy—the glorious work of Christ as you trust His faithfulness today.
Are you suffering through some weakness or trial in your life right now that you have allowed to hinder you from trusting God? Pray for God to expose that area and commit it to Him. Pray something like, “Lord, I believe you are faithful and that this trial is for my good. Today, I’m going to rely on Your strength and trust that you will use this trial for your glory.”
Read the full chapter of Acts 28 (again) and then go all the way back to the Old Testament and read Isaiah 48. Listen to what God says about Himself to his wayward people. Look at the things He uses to accomplish His works. Most of all, prayerfully consider His unwavering faithfulness both to the nation of Israel . . . and to you.