Onto Caesaea

Witness to the word; Book of Acts  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  54:53
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Romeward bound

Paul had a heart for Rome and intended to go there, but first had to go to Jerusalem to deliver the love gift from the churches of Macedonia. Because of Prophesy he knew what awaited him and that is exactly what had happen. Tonight we look at another example of God’s protection and provision for God’s will and purpose to be fulfilled. As Paul starts the journey to Rome.
Paul in Jerusalem
(Insert Paul In Jerusalem Picture here)
Gives mission report to James and elders (Act21:17-20)
Mission report stirs up trouble and a request (Act21:21-25)
From the request then can the prophesy of Agabus fulfilled (Act21:26-30)
From trouble, arrest can God’s provision of protection (Act21:31-39)
From God’s protection to addressing angry mob and more problems (Act21:40-22:21)
Then Paul’s Roman citizenship brought into play (Act22:22-29)
Paul addresses the Sanhedrin (Act22:30-23:11)
(Transition) Now that brings us to our passage tonight, Paul is going to start the journey to Rome, not the way he intended but a fully paid trip, but it is not without tribulations, but always with God’s provision.
So, tonight, Lord willing we will look at
The Plot in Jerusalem (Act23:12-22)
Gods provision, travel plans (Act23:23-35)

The Plot in Jerusalem

The Lord had spoken to Paul (Act23:11) and told him he was going Rome, but Paul was in hot water with the Jews at the moment, but Paul had faith that God would do exactly as He said. Let’s now see how the first part works itself out.
Acts 23:11 NASB95
11 But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, “Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.”
Question: What confidence could Paul find (v.11), it’s OK to use your own words here?
So now is the time for all good bible students to turn to the Lord in His Word and lets study together.
Acts 23:12–13 NASB95
12 When it was day, the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty who formed this plot.
Acts 23:14–15 NASB95
14 They came to the chief priests and the elders and said, “We have bound ourselves under a solemn oath to taste nothing until we have killed Paul. 15 “Now therefore, you and the Council notify the commander to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case by a more thorough investigation; and we for our part are ready to slay him before he comes near the place.
Acts 23:16–17 NASB95
16 But the son of Paul’s sister heard of their ambush, and he came and entered the barracks and told Paul. 17 Paul called one of the centurions to him and said, “Lead this young man to the commander, for he has something to report to him.”
Acts 23:18–19 NASB95
18 So he took him and led him to the commander and said, “Paul the prisoner called me to him and asked me to lead this young man to you since he has something to tell you.” 19 The commander took him by the hand and stepping aside, began to inquire of him privately, “What is it that you have to report to me?”
Acts 23:20–21 NASB95
20 And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down tomorrow to the Council, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more thoroughly about him. 21 “So do not listen to them, for more than forty of them are lying in wait for him who have bound themselves under a curse not to eat or drink until they slay him; and now they are ready and waiting for the promise from you.”
Acts 23:22 NASB95
22 So the commander let the young man go, instructing him, “Tell no one that you have notified me of these things.”
What do you see, what do you notice, what sticks out to you?
Gleaning from the scripture:
Question: What is the conspiracy formed and by whom is it formed by (vv.12-13)?
To kill Paul by about 40 Jews who put themselves under an oath.
Question: What is the demand made of the chief priests and the elders (vv.14-15)?
Notify the commander to bring him (Paul) down so they could slay him before he got there.
In (vv.16) we see God’s provision of protection introduced, a relative of Paul (nephew) we do not know much about.
Question: Paul heard the plot and had a plan himself (vv.17-18) what was Paul’s plan?
To have the young man taken to the commander to report to him the plan the Jews had plotted against Paul.
Question: Paul did three things with the young man (vv.19-22) can you pick them out?
Took him aside privately (v.19)
Asked him what he had to say (v.19)
Told him to tell no one that he has been told (notified) of these things (v.22)
(Insert Pauls Life In Danger PowerPoint here)
Paul’s life had been in danger since his conversion.
At first in Damascus (Act9:22-25)
The Jews plotted to do away with him, they wanted to put him to death.
In Jerusalem after three years (Act9:29; Gal1:18)
The Hellenistic Jews in Jerusalem were attempting to put him to death
In Antioch in Pisidia (Act13:50-51)
In Antioch Paul and Barnabas were driven out of the city.
I think you can see the pattern here, so this is nothing new to Paul and was told by Agabus that this was forthcoming to him.
The Lord revealed to Paul that he was going to suffer much for the gospel, but also be delivered for the gospel too (Act9:15-16; 26:16-17)
Acts 9:15–16 NASB95
15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; 16 for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
The Lord had spoken these words to Ananias, God’s reluctant servant.
Then we have the Lord’s words to Paul.
Acts 26:16–17 NASB95
16 ‘But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; 17 rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you,
The radical Jews, who these could be ones that came out of Asia and followed Paul to stir up trouble in Jerusalem like everywhere else. They, about 40 of them made an oath until Paul was killed. What these men forgot was that Paul was an apostle of Jesus Christ and that He was in control and watched over Paul and directed Paul from heaven. Sometimes in dramatic, miraculous ways (conversion, prison doors) sometimes in less visible ways (i.e. a Roman Commander now for a 2nd time)
This plat that they had was:
A foolish plot (vv.12-15)
These forty men conspired to manipulate the situation so Paul could be killed. They were willing to face the wrath of Rome in doing such a thing to a Roman citizen.
The plot had them going to the Chief Priest and the elders and not the Sanhedrin.
This many people knowing about the plot had little chance of succeeding, it just happens (yeah right) that there was someone there who would inform Paul.
A failed plot (vv.16-22)
We know Paul had counted all things as loss (Php3:8) and there is nothing said about relatives, much less a sister and nephew.
Failed plot because God had his hand in it and used an unlikely source (teenager) to give word to the Commander.
Augustine once said regarding God’s providence:
“Trust the past to the mercy of God, the present to His love, and the future to His providence.”
Claudius had a simple plan that was wise too; and that brings us to the next point.

God’s provision

A Teenager, an Apostle and a Roman Commander, what do they have in common? Well they are all a part of God’s travel plans to accomplish God’s prophesy given to Paul.
So here we have Claudius who has a Roman citizen locked up, who was beat up by the Jews and he protected him, then another uprising was in the works to kill him so whatever decision he made he better be careful.
He knew he better get it right for it was a Roman citizen and he did not want to get accused of illegally holding a Roman Citizen.
So here is how it played out, let’s look together.
Acts 23:23–24 NASB95
23 And he called to him two of the centurions and said, “Get two hundred soldiers ready by the third hour of the night to proceed to Caesarea, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen.” 24 They were also to provide mounts to put Paul on and bring him safely to Felix the governor.
Acts 23:25–26 NASB95
25 And he wrote a letter having this form: 26 “Claudius Lysias, to the most excellent governor Felix, greetings.
Acts 23:27–28 NASB95
27 “When this man was arrested by the Jews and was about to be slain by them, I came up to them with the troops and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman. 28 “And wanting to ascertain the charge for which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their Council;
Acts 23:29–30 NASB95
29 and I found him to be accused over questions about their Law, but under no accusation deserving death or imprisonment. 30 “When I was informed that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, also instructing his accusers to bring charges against him before you.”
Acts 23:31–32 NASB95
31 So the soldiers, in accordance with their orders, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 But the next day, leaving the horsemen to go on with him, they returned to the barracks.
Acts 23:33–34 NASB95
33 When these had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him. 34 When he had read it, he asked from what province he was, and when he learned that he was from Cilicia,
Acts 23:35 NASB95
35 he said, “I will give you a hearing after your accusers arrive also,” giving orders for him to be kept in Herod’s Praetorium.
What do you see, what do you notice, what sticks out to you?
Question: Look at the large continency that Claudius calls for in (v.23)?
Two centurions, two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen.
Question: Who is the letter addressed to in (v.26)?
Most excellent governor Felix
Question: what was the accusation that is found (v.29)?
Questions about their law (the Jews)
No accusation deserving death or imprisonment. (the Commander)
Question: The results of the letter are found in (vv.34-35), what are they?
The governor read the letter and said he would give a hearing after the accusers arrive
So we have looked at the text and now a couple of things more we can pull from this section.
(Insert God’s provision and protection PowerPoint Here)
Paul was protected by the Romans
With God’s provision through Roman guards (Act23:23-24, 31-32)
With God’s provision through a Roman letter (Act23:25-30, 33-35)
Here we have that mass number of protectors sent, 200 hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, two hundred spearmen (so about 470 men)who set out under the cover of night (about 9pm) off to Antiparis (which is about 37 miles away); some then turned back to Jerusalem, while others went on the other 27 miles to Caesarea where Paul was handed over to Antonius Felix.
Antonius Felix was married to Drusilla, who was the daughter of Herod Agrippa I (see Act12:1) who left her husband to become Felix’s third wife. She is the sister of Herod Agrippa II (act25:13) and according to the Roman historian Tacitus (56AD-120AD) said:
“Felix exercised the power of a king in the spirit of a slave. He was known as a ‘master of cruelty and lust, a vulgar ruffian.’”
It would seem that Paul was bold, confident, polite and daring. As God’s witness who was told was going to Rome he had no fear knowing God would provide. Paul knew while alone he was not alone, God was with him as he walked by faith in God’s will.
God’s deliverance, God’s protection came from a teenager and and army, Paul knew God was in charge and had faith no matter what.
So, more about God’s provision here through the Roman’s. Paul was not put into a regular prison awaiting his accusers. He was taken to Herod’s Praetorium.
I guess a good take away in this at this point is that God is in control of our lives even when our lives take us through hard, difficult, trying and even dangerous times.
This leads to a few observations to make before we close out tonight.

Some observations

Just a few things to touch on a little more. More on God’s providence, man’s failing and then wrap it up with a conclusion.
Paul’s life is an example of God’s providence (Act23:11, Ref: Gen37-50)
Acts 23:11 NASB95
11 But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, “Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.”
This is reminiscent of Joseph’s life found in (Gen37-50). In both cases God made a promise.
To Joseph in a dream that his brothers and father one day would bow down to him. And that did happen as He was God’s tool to save the Hebrew people.
Paul was God’s tool to bring the good news to the Gentile people. God fulfilled the promise to both.
In both it took years for the promises to be fulfilled, both came with difficult challenges, both with time in prison. Both had to place their trust in God that He would work it out.
They set an example for us, to trust God to work out all things for the good (ref: Rom8:28)
This passage demonstrates man’s failings ( (Act23:24-29; ref: Ps15:2, 4; 146:3-7; Jer17:5-6)
While the picture painted for the commander was good, it does also demonstrate man’s failings
Claudius was a good noble man up front
Rescued Paul x 2 from angry mob.
Protected Paul using his troops in Jerusalem and on the way to Caesarea
He wanted to know the truth and sought the truth about who Paul was.
Claudius then wrote the letter and the failings of man are seen.
He claims he rescued Paul knowing he was a Roman Citizen (Act23:27)
Acts 23:27 NASB95
27 “When this man was arrested by the Jews and was about to be slain by them, I came up to them with the troops and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman.
The reality is that he did not know he was a Roman citizen until he was bound and ready to be scourged. (ref: act22:24-29) a
So he was twisting the truth to make himself look good. Something we can do too for it is a common failing among men, a common weakness.
Now may a draw in a comparison with a righteous man, a man who walks in integrity?
Psalm 15:1–2 NASB95
1 O Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? 2 He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart.
Psalm 15:3–4 NASB95
3 He does not slander with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor takes up a reproach against his friend; 4 In whose eyes a reprobate is despised, But who honors those who fear the Lord; He swears to his own hurt and does not change;
Psalm 15:5 NASB95
5 He does not put out his money at interest, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.
Speaks the truth in his heart
Even when evil is against him will never be shaken.
(Conclusion) so who do we put our trust in today? Are we willing to demonstrate the faith of Paul, to look to apply the integrity and righteousness we just read in Ps15?
Paul’s life as was Joseph’s and your’s can be too, a life that demonstrates that God keeps his promises. It will come with some difficulties (Jesus says tribulations) but may we remember and share with others.
Isaiah 55:6–7 NASB95
6 Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the Lord, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.
(Prayer) (Exit)
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