The Church: Paul headed to Rome.

Paul and his companions boarded the ship with a Roman Centurion, soldiers and the rest of the prisoners. There were 296 people on the small sailing ship. They sent out in the middle of winter in the Mediterranean sea. At first, the weather was accommodating. Then the winds blow contrary. They sailed close to land as possible. Paul spoke to the captain and centurion that they should winter in Crete. He said there is a real possibility of losing the ship and lives. Both the captain and centurion disagreed. They sailed on. Then arose a storm. The bible calls it a tempest called Euroclydon. The storm lasted 14 days. They couldn’t sail but let the ship be driven by the wind. They came close to land and the crew wanted to jump ship. Paul told the Centurion. He stopped them. Paul told them that they must all stay together if they are to survive. They headed to shore and ran aground on Malta. There they wintered. Even if you are doing the will of God, it doesn’t mean that you will not go through trials. Paul knew where he was going and it did bother him how he got there. God was in control and would take care of him. (Acts 27).

Crain Blanchard.

Www.joseph1637.com

The Church: Paul before kings.

Paul was still in Caesarea. King Agrippa had come there for a meet and greet. Festus had asked Agrippa to hear this Paul, because he had no accusations against him. He couldn’t send Paul to Caesar without them. Festus, Agrippa and the whole entourage came to listen to Paul. He began to speak and tell his story from the beginning. As Paul talked about Jesus, His death and resurrection, Festus jumped up as said, Paul you are mad and beside yourself. When Jesus is preached, people react differently. You never know what they will do. Because when God touches your heart, it will shakes you to your core. King Agrippa said, Paul you almost persuade me to be a Christian. Afterward, Festus and Agrippa talked. They both said Paul has done nothing worthy of death. He would be free except he appealed to Caesar. Paul knew he would stay in captivity if he appealed to Caesar. The plan of God in your life is more important than what you think or say. We sing that old song, I surrender all. Would to God that everyone would.

Crain Blanchard.

Www.joseph1637.com

The Church: Paul before Festus.

Luke has been traveling with Paul for several years. Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles. He has been at Paul’s side all the time. Paul has been held at Caesarea since he was captured in Jerusalem. No one has been able to prove that he did anything but teach the word of God. The Jewish religious leaders hate Paul because he is a follower of Jesus and was one of them before. A new governor comes to the land of Israel. Festus went to Jerusalem and the chief priest immediately went to Festus and told him of Paul. They wanted him to send Paul to Jerusalem, so they could kill him. Festus said they had to come to Caesarea to face Paul and talk to him about it. As soon as Festus returned, the religious leaders were before him. After everybody spoke, Festus asked Paul if he would go to Jerusalem. Paul appealed to Caesar. Festus said, to Caesar you will go. Paul had done nothing wrong, but God had a plan for him. He was going to preach the gospel before kings. Paul stayed in captivity at Caesarea for about 2 years. God’s plan will lead you from here to there to accomplish what God wants. If you are willing the kingdom of heaven will unfold before you. And God will be glorified.

Crain Blanchard.

http://www.joseph1637.com

The Church: Paul before Felix.

Paul was taken to Caesarea by the Romans. The Jewish leaders want to kill Paul. Felix waited until the religious leaders came to him. Felix was married to Drucilla, a Jewess. She had told him about the followers of the Way, Jesus. So he understood some what. They all gathered in the judgement hall. Felix let the religious leaders speak first. They accused Paul of everything they could. When Paul spoke, he explained that he wasn’t guilty of anything, except that he believed in the resurrection of the dead. Felix said he would wait for the Captain of the Garrison to come and tell his side. Paul remained a captive, but was free to have any visitors. During this time, Felix and his wife had Paul to come and talk to them about Jesus. Paul was there by the plan of God. The plan was working exactly like God wanted. Paul was going to preach the gospel to kings and rulers. Sometimes we are in the oddest plan to preach the gospel. If we forget about ourselves and let God lead us wherever, the gospel will be preach to the uttermost parts of the world. Acts 24.

Crain Blanchard.

http://www.joseph1637.com

The Church: An Attempt on Paul’s life.

Paul went to Jerusalem. He was taken captive. The Romans stopped the riot that was caused when Paul was in temple. The Romans took Paul into fortress because the Jews wanted to kill Paul. About 40 men brought a plan to the religious leaders, saying they wouldn’t eat or drink until the killed Paul. They wanted the religious leaders to have the Romans bring Paul to the Council. Paul’s nephew found out about it and told the Romans. The chief captain of the Romans had about 500 men take Paul to the governor Felix at Caesarea. He wrote to the governor and told him about Paul being a roman. Paul didn’t know that it would be this entailed. But he was going to follow the plan no matter what. When things blow up in our lives, what do we do? Are we willing to follow the plan of God or do we have to do it? Paul knew that there was a real possibility that he could be killed. But he choose God’s plan. Acts 23.

Crain Blanchard.

http://www.joseph1637.com

The Church: Paul Captured.

Paul knew if he went to Jerusalem, he was going to be captured by the Jews. God told him to go. Paul arrived in Jerusalem and greeted the saints. He told them about his missionary trips, how God had moved and built churches in every city. Everyone was concerned for Paul’s safety. Paul knew that he was supposed to do this. He didn’t care what was going to happen, because God had a plan. Sure enough, Paul went to the temple. People recognized him and threw him out of the temple. They tried to kill him. The Romans stopped them. Paul on the steps of the Roman fort, spoke to the people. He gave his defense of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The people tried to take Paul from the Romans. The Romans moved Paul inside the fort. That is when they found out that Paul was a Roman citizen. As bad as it got, Paul was still ready and willing to defend the gospel. He would go anywhere to preach the good news. Jesus’s last command to the disciples was, go into all the world and preach the gospel. All the apostles did that very thing, including Paul. What does that say to you?

Crain Blanchard.

http://www.joseph1637@juno.com

The Church: For I am Ready.

Acts20:13 “Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Everyone can talk a good game, but how many are ready? Several times in Paul’s letters, he talks about being dead in Christ. But like Paul it became real in his life when he had to face it. Self preservation is a strong desire in us. We don’t want to die. This is why the Children of Israel didn’t want to met God in the Sinai desert. They were going to die to themselves and live for God. Every person in this world has to face their mortality and know that they will die. Paul wrote, I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ who lives in me. Jesus had to come to grips with His own death. In the garden of gethsemane, He asked God to let it pass from Him. When He accepted God’s will, Jesus was able to face the cross with joy. Paul knew that this was the will of God. He was going to Jerusalem, whether or not he died.

Crain Blanchard.

http://www.joseph1637.com

The Church: Paul set his face.

Luke 12:48 “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” Paul sailed from Ephesus to Miletus. He called for all the elders from Ephesus. He meet with all of them to tell them goodbye without any disturbances. Paul told them,

Acts 20:19 “Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:
20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,
21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:

Paul didn’t know what the future would hold, but God was directing him to go to Jerusalem. And he was going, no matter what happened. Everyone was telling this man who lead them to the Lord and care for them, goodbye. They cried and couldn’t stop. They hugged his neck and didn’t want to let go. Finally, Paul got on the boat.

Crain Blanchard.

http://www.joseph1637.com

The Church: Paul strengthening the Body.

Paul knew what God was expecting. He was revisiting the churches he had started. They were having problems that needed to be resolved. For those churches that Paul couldn’t get to, he wrote letters. Paul wrote most of the New Testament. Again remember that Paul didn’t have the New Testament to refer to. He was writing from the Old Testament. Every book in the bible was written by an orthodox Jew, both new and old testament. Paul left Philippi for Corinth. The Jewish leaders were still looking for Paul. He had to be careful about where he went and said. But Paul was there to encourage the church. He left Corinth with the leaders from Thessalonica, Berea and Corinth. They sailed to Ephesus. He was teaching the leaders how to teach and run a church. At Ephesus, the churches gathered to hear Paul. The bible calls Paul long winded. So much so, that a young man fell asleep in the third loft and fell to his death. They brought him to Paul. He prayed and the boy came alive. Paul said his goodbyes and left with Luke and Silas headed to Jerusalem. How many people do you know that have purposed in their hearts to follow God unto the death? This is the only way to serve God.

Crain Blanchard.

http://www.joseph1637.com

The Church: Paul revisiting the churches.

In the winter of 57AD, Paul was in Philippi. He was headed to Corinth next. Paul wrote to the Roman Church to tell them he was coming. Just in case he didn’t get there, he wrote as complete an explanation of the gospel as he could. Jewish believers were trying to turn the Christians into Jewish believers. It is the story of how we are justified by faith. Paul used Leviticus as his point of reference. This was so the Jews and Christians could understand that from the beginning we were all justified by faith. Faith is what pleases God. Without it we can do nothing. With it we can with the help of God do all things. It’s funny how each church had a different crisis that Paul needed to address. Remember the cannon of the bible or the books in it, didn’t come together until the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. So each church had a letter from an apostle and the Old Testament to read. God kept the saints in the first century as well as He keeps us. Faith in God is how to reach God. You must first believe that He is, and He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

Crain Blanchard.

Www.joseph1637.com