If God Gives Us Another Day in this World...

The Book of Acts  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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What should we do? 1. Be grateful to God (vs. 1-2; 10). 2. Have servant hearts (vs. 3). 3. Strongly trust in our Savior (vs. 3-5). 4. Give the glory to God (vs. 5-6). 5. Be a blessing to other people (vs. 7-9).

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If God Gives Us Another Day in this World...

The Book of Acts - Part 91

Acts 28:1-10

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - July 19, 2015


*Please open your Bibles to Acts 28, as we focus on what to do, if God gives us another day in this world. In this last chapter of Acts, the Apostle Paul had been an innocent political prisoner of the Roman Empire for over two years.

*Paul was a prisoner for only one reason, and that was preaching the truth about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As a Roman citizen, Paul had the right to appeal his case to Caesar, and in Acts 25:1-12, the Apostle was forced to take this legal step. Paul's appeal seemed necessary to escape the murderous intentions of the Christ-rejecting Jewish rulers in Jerusalem. But Paul's appeal to Caesar also seems to be God's way of getting Paul to Rome. And I say that because the Lord had already promised Paul he would get to witness for Christ in Rome.

*Paul had been arrested by the Romans in Acts 21:33 after the Jews stirred up a vicious riot against him. Then two nights later in Acts 23:11, "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.'''

*Once Paul appealed his case to Caesar, Acts 27:1 tells us that the Roman authorities decided to send Paul and some other prisoners to Italy by ship. Thankfully, Paul was accompanied by Luke and some other Christian friends. Then in Acts 27:14, the ship was caught by a terrible storm. Two hundred and seventy-six people were on that ship. They all almost died, and they would have died, if Paul hadn't prayed.

*Acts 27:20-26 gives this report:

20. Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up.

21. But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, "Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss.

22. And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.

23. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve,

24. saying, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.'

25. Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.

26. However, we must run aground on a certain island.''

*Acts 27:41-44 adds this information about the shipwreck:

41. But striking a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the violence of the waves.

42. Now the soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim away and escape.

43. But the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from their purpose, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land,

44. and the rest, some on boards and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.

*Now here in Acts 28, we see what happened next. Let's begin by reading vs. 1-10. And as we read, please think about what we should do, if God gives us another day in this world.


*I surely don't appreciate this truth as much as I should, but every day of life is a gift from God. In fact, every breath is a gift from God.

*Daniel spoke to wicked King Belshazzar about the judgment that was soon to fall on him. And here is part of what the prophet said in Daniel 5:23: "You have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. . . and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified."

*God holds our breath in His Hands, and He is protecting us moment by moment. By His amazing grace, God has let me live longer than my brother, my father, my grandfather, and my great-grandfather.

*Today, the Lord has given me another day to live in this world. The same thing was true of the 276 men on board that wrecked ship. And the same thing is true of you. So, if God gives us another day in this world, what should we do?


*We should be supremely grateful to the Lord God! These men had many great reasons to thank the Lord. It was a miracle of answered prayer that they were even alive.

*Listen to the warning Paul gave to them in Acts 27:10: "Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives." Then in Acts 27:20, they had run into that terrible storm, and Luke gave this report: "Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up."

*But a couple of verses later in Acts 27:22-25, Paul promised a Heaven-sent rescue. There, the Apostle said:

22. "And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.

23. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve,

24. saying, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.'

25. Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me."

*Now here in Acts 28, God's promise had come true, so these men had many reasons to thank the Lord. Not only were their lives miraculously spared, God also brought them to shore near some compassionate natives.

*We see this happening in vs. 1-2 of tonight's Scripture:

1. Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta.

2. And the natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold.

(The KJV calls these natives "barbarous people" and "barbarians." The original word is where we get our word "barbarian," but that word didn't mean what it means to us today. At the time, "barbarian" simply referred to any foreign people who didn't speak Greek.)

*Again in vs. 2, "The natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold." In vs. 10, Luke added that the island people "also honored us in many ways; and when we departed, they provided such things as were necessary."

*God blessed those shipwrecked survivors to land near hospitable people who showed "unusual kindness" to them. (By the way, that's the kind of people God wants us to be.)

*Those shipwreck survivors had many reasons to thank the Lord. And Church, so do we! God has blessed us beyond measure. God spared all 276 lives on that ship, and by His grace He has given us another day. We ought to have great and growing appreciation for all that the Lord does in our lives. But too often we don't.

*Baptist preacher and author Charles Lowery once wrote an article about gratitude. Here's part of what he said: "I travel around the country telling people that their attitude is either their best friend or worst enemy. It isn't the position in life. It's the disposition. I do tell everyone that it's a fallen world. I even tell them that every day the world rolls over on someone who was just sitting on top of it. I just wasn't expecting that someone to be me.

*I had an accident, but I guess it happened on purpose. I was playing my son-in-law and grandson in basketball. I've discovered at my age your mind makes commitments that your body can't keep. I wish I could say I fell the wrong way after dunking the ball a little too hard. Actually, I just fell.

*I couldn't preach because I had a blood clot. The next week I'm in surgery for a ruptured Achilles tendon. Next, I'm showing up at the hospital where I discover that my insurance covers just about as much as my hospital gown. And then I'm writing checks for services rendered. I asked them why I received a time-released pill. They told me it starts working when my check clears. So, then I'm sent home on crutches and in a cast.

*Life is going downhill. Now the great attitude guy is sitting on the couch being a grouch potato. But only for a day. I decided to practice what I preach. I've noticed that ungrateful people become hateful people and eventually destroy everything around them. Grateful people become great people and develop everyone around them.

*From my position I must say that I've had a great month at home. Symbolically speaking, I've been burning wood for many years. And it was a great time to chop some and store it for future fires.

*It's been a time of dependence where my wife literally had to do everything. I have experienced what my dad told me years ago. He said that marriage is like a shade tree. You plant it while it is young, take care of it, and one day you will enjoy the shade. It was nice to rest in the shade of my wife's love. Now I'm back on the road. I'm truly grateful for the opportunity to speak again." (1)

*That's a great testimony about a grateful heart. And if the Lord gives us another day, we should be supremely grateful to God.


*In vs. 3, Paul shows us the heart of a servant. There he "gathered a bundle of sticks" for the fire. Paul was just as cold, just as wet, and just as worn out as anybody on that beach. But he had a servant's heart.

*I am sure that Paul knew about an incident that happened in Matthew 20. James and John's mother asked for her sons to have the most prominent seats in the Lord's Kingdom. Then, starting in Matthew 20:24, God's Word says:

24. And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brothers.

25. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them.

26. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.

27. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave:

28. just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.''

*Paul surely knew about that incident, and he had learned the lesson well. Paul had a servant's heart, and so should we.

*Pastor James Moore gave this testimony about a servant-hearted Christian he was privileged to meet: "Some years ago, more than a hundred volunteers from St. Luke's worked with their hands and their hearts to build an Eye Clinic in Belize, Central America.

*When the building was completed, a group of us went down to Belize to participate in the formal dedication and opening of the eye clinic. It was quite an occasion, a wonderful experience. The acting Premier of Belize was there. The Minister of Health was there. The United States Ambassador to Belize was there. The Mayor of Corazal and the General Superintendent of the Belize Methodist Church were there. There were also representatives from our church and our conference.

*But the person who caught my attention most was an older Belizian gentleman. He was so excited. He couldn't do enough. He was arranging the chairs, welcoming folks, passing out the bulletins, and bringing hymnals to people.

*After the dedication service, he came looking for me. He shook my hand and warmly said: 'I want to thank you and the people of your church.' Then he said: 'I am eighty years old and all my life I have heard that there are great Christians in the United States, and now I know it's true because of what St. Luke's has done here.'

*I said to him: 'We want to thank you for welcoming us so graciously into your country and for giving us the privilege of working with you.' Then I added: 'You seem especially excited about the opening of the Eye Clinic. Is there a special reason?' 'O yes,' he said. And then reaching up and touching the corner of his right eye, he said through grateful tears, 'Once, I was blind, but now I see!'

*Dr. Downey Price, an ophthalmologist from here in Houston had operated on him and had restored his sight. And he was so grateful that he couldn't do enough. He had to help. He had to serve. . . And that's the way every Christian should feel, for we once were blind, but now we see." (2)

*Church: If the Lord gives us another tomorrow in this world, we should have a servant's heart.


*Paul definitely needed to trust the Lord in vs. 3-5, because just as he was doing the best he could to help other people, something terrible happened. Or rather, something happened that should have been terrible:

3. But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand.

4. So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, "No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.''

5. But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.

*John Phillips tells us that "the incident horrified those who saw it. The islanders had a ready explanation, one that could have only occurred to those who did not know Paul: He must have been a murderer. He had escaped the sea but not the gods. Neptune had failed to take him, so Nemesis had taken him. It was a case of poetic justice.

*Perhaps Paul smiled to himself when he heard what they were saying. Paul knew that neither one god nor the other had power over him, nor Satan, the dark lord who stood behind all pagan gods, and who doubtless would have been delighted to destroy him.

*But Paul knew that he was in God's Hands, and the Lord had already given Paul the promise of a safe trip to Rome. No power on earth or in hell could reverse that decree. The poisonous snake could not harm him. Paul was immortal until his work was done. And that work would not be done until Paul had at least preached the gospel to Caesar. So, with majestic calm Paul shook the snake off into the fire, and quietly went about his business, closely watched by all." (3)

*John Phillips said that Paul "was immortal until his work was done," and Christians, so are we! God has a perfect plan and purpose for our lives. He is watching over us moment by moment. And we can fully trust the Lord to take care of us.

*That's what prompted King David to write these words in Psalm 37:

1. Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

2. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

3. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

4. Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

5. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

*If the Lord gives us another day, we should strongly trust in our Savior.


*We should always give glory to God for the good things in our lives. In vs. 5-6 Paul:

5. . . shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.

6. However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead; but after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.

*How do you think Paul responded when he heard they thought he was a god? I am sure he straightened them out in no time flat! We see Paul's attitude in Galatians 6:14 where he wrote: "God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."

*Paul gave glory to God, especially for the cross. And we should do the same. Psalm 96:7-9 tells us:

7. Give to the Lord, O kindreds of the peoples, Give to the Lord glory and strength.

8. Give to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come into His courts.

9. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth.

*We should always give God the glory for the good things in our lives.


*We should be a blessing to other people every way we possibly can. God did amazing things through Paul in vs. 7-9:

7. Now in that region there was an estate of the leading citizen of the island, whose name was Publius, who received us and entertained us courteously for three days.

8. And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him.

9. So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed.

*We can't heal like Paul did, but there are many good ways we can be a blessing to other people. Best of all, we can tell people about the greatest blessing they can ever receive from God. We can tell people about Jesus! We can tell them who Jesus is, and what He did on the cross for us. We can also tell people what Jesus has done in our lives, how He is changing us, how He is always there for us, how He loves and comforts us, and how His mercy endures forever.

*One day a man called a church by mistake. The church secretary was distracted at the time, and she did not answer the phone in the usual way. She just said, "Hello." (I've done that before.) Then the man said, "I want to order one pound of barbecue, two pints of coleslaw and a dozen hush puppies."

*The secretary replied, "Wait a minute, sir. We are not a food service operation. You must have the wrong number." The man hesitated a moment and then asked, "What do you sell? What business are you in?"

*Memphis Pastor Bill Bouknight heard that story and said, "That IS a fair question to ask. What is the church selling? What is the principal message we declare or goal we seek? Are we here primarily to improve the morality of East Memphis? Are we here primarily to offer spiritual first-aid to our members when they go through hard times? Is our main message that if you keep the Ten Commandments, then life will go better?

*No!" Bouknight said. "I'll tell you our primary message. Here is our bottom line: We are not selling. We are giving away this truth: Jesus Christ came down from Heaven to save us from our sins by his sacrificial death on the cross. That is the central message of the whole Bible." (4)


*Christians: If God gives us another day in this world, here's what we should do:

-Be grateful to God.

-Be servant-hearted.

-Strongly trust in our Savior.

-And give all the glory to God.

*We also should be a blessing to other people, and bless them most of all by spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let's ask God to help us.

(1) Adapted from "The Angels Are Laughing" by Charles Lowery - SBC LIFE - April 2008

(2) Sermons.com sermon "Just Do It" by James W. Moore - Romans 12:1-8

(3) Adapted from EXPLORING ACTS by John Phillips, Kregal Publications, Grand Rapids - "What the people thought" - Acts 28:3-6

(4) Sermons.com sermon "Jesus Replaced Someone at Calvary" by Bill Bouknight - Mark 15:1-15

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