Acts 28:1 – 10 Paul on Malta
[28:1] After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta.  The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold.  When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand.  When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.”  He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.  They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
 Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days.  It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him.  And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured.  They also honored us greatly, and when we were about to sail, they put on board whatever we needed.
Keller, Piper, and Carson
<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/44525285″>Did Jesus Preach the Gospel?</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/gospelcoalition”>The Gospel Coalition</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
Acts 27:13 – 44
Having faced obstacles of court charges, strong opposition and riots, Paul has concluded his final defense before King Agrippa and been declared innocent of any charges (26:31-32). He is finally bound for Rome…only to be met by a series of natural disasters! Luke, as an eyewitness, gives us a detailed account of the journey.
1. Briefly summarize the passage. What are the main ideas/themes emphasized in this section?
2. In the details of 27:1-20, show how Luke emphasized: a.) that they faced very real danger.
b.) the poor judgment of those in charge.
3. Why did Paul’s assessment of the situation change in 27:21-26? What effect did this have on Paul and his fellow travelers?
4. Why do you think Paul was disregarded in 27:10-12 and then listened to in 27:30-32?
5. How and why does Luke emphasize that Paul, by his words and actions, was now full of confidence?
7. In the midst of the reality of a hurricane, a shipwreck, near drowning, and, what is the dominant picture Luke portrays of Paul in this chapter? What accounts for it?
8. In what ways are you personally encouraged by Paul’s experience?
Have there been times when God has given you unexpected blessings in times of difficulty?
9. What do you think Luke’s main purpose was in relating this detailed journey?
This week’s text: Acts 27:20 – 44
 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.
 Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss.  Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.  For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship,  and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’  So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.  But we must run aground on some island.”
 When the fourteenth night had come, as we were being driven across the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land.  So they took a sounding and found twenty fathoms. A little farther on they took a sounding again and found fifteen fathoms.  And fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come.  And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, and had lowered the ship’s boat into the sea under pretense of laying out anchors from the bow,  Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.”  Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it go.
 As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing.  Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength, for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.”  And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat.  Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves.  (We were in all 276 persons in the ship.)  And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea.
 Now when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned if possible to run the ship ashore.  So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders. Then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach.  But striking a reef, they ran the vessel aground. The bow stuck and remained immovable, and the stern was being broken up by the surf.  The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape.  But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land,  and the rest on planks or on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land.
This week’s text at Christ Church Westshore
Acts 25:1 – 12 Sermon Title “Being Accused”
[25:1] Now three days after Festus had arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea.  And the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews laid out their case against Paul, and they urged him,  asking as a favor against Paul that he summon him to Jerusalem—because they were planning an ambush to kill him on the way.  Festus replied that Paul was being kept at Caesarea and that he himself intended to go there shortly.  “So,” said he, “let the men of authority among you go down with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them bring charges against him.”
 After he stayed among them not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea. And the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought.  When he had arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him that they could not prove.  Paul argued in his defense, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense.”  But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and there be tried on these charges before me?”  But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you yourself know very well.  If then I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar.”  Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council, answered, “To Caesar you have appealed; to Caesar you shall go.”
Making Sunday Special – ??’s to consider Acts 24:22 – 27
1. In vv. 22-27, we learn that Felix put off making a formal verdict but met with Paul several times over a two-year period. What things did Paul choose to emphasize in his discussions with Felix?
2. Why do you think he did that and why was Felix fearful?
3. What is the main theme of the passage?