Acts 28:25-32 - Unhindered Ministry
Welcome to our Bible Study. We are studying Spiritual Applications from the Book of Acts. This is the last message in my series from Acts. All these short messages are available online here on our website. Today, my text is Acts 28:25-32.
As Luke tells the story, Paul had made the journey from Jerusalem to Rome. This passage comes at the end of Luke's story. When Paul arrived in Rome, he (Acts 28:16) was allowed to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him. After being there just three days, he invited the leaders of the Jews together for a meeting. He emphasized his innocence, explained his appeal to Caesar, and testified that he was in chains for the hope of Israel. They listened to Paul, indicated that they had no letters concerning him, and invited him to explain more about the "sect," as they called it, that Paul was representing. We will follow the story with several points.
1. Paul preaches about the kingdom of God.
A day was appointed for Paul to speak to the Jews. The Jews came to his lodging in large numbers. He expounded concerning the kingdom of God and tried to persuade them to believe in Jesus. He spoke from the law of Moses and out of the prophets. He spoke from early morning until evening. It must have been a powerful and intense day of witness. Some of the Jews believed, but some did not.
The message of Paul focused on the Kingdom of God. The kingdom of God was a major theme of the early church. The kingdom of God was a theme in the Gospels. Between His resurrection and His public ascension, Jesus (Acts 1:3) taught about the kingdom of God. The apostle Paul taught about the Kingdom. It is important to note that the Kingdom of God is a broad term that includes all of God's dominion. The church is included in the Kingdom and is an earthly expression of it.
2. Paul addresses the unbelieving Jews.
Because the Jews (verse 25) were in disagreement, they began to leave. However, they did not leave before Paul spoke one final word to them. Paul says, "The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers." The Holy Spirit inspired Isaiah with a message (Isaiah 6:9-10) to their ancestors. The Jews would hear but not understand; they would see but not perceive the truth. Their hearts were dull. If they had listened, they would have experienced healing and dramatic results. Because of their rejection, they would be judged and punished. Clearly, Isaiah's message applied now to his audience.
Through Christ, our salvation is free, but we must believe in Him. He is the only way of salvation. If we reject Him, then we will suffer condemnation and eternal separation from Him. The consequences of our unbelief are therefore very serious. We must not take lightly the opportunity that we have to repent, believe, and be saved.
3. Paul explains that the gospel is for the Gentiles also.
Now, as the Jews were about to leave, Paul declares (verse 28): "Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen." Another translation is, "and they will listen." This declaration was in total harmony with Paul's calling and ministry. Although it was his custom to go to the Jews first, he always went on to minister to the Gentiles. As it turns out, many Gentiles did listen. The Gospel was still for the Jews, but it was also for the Gentiles. The special calling of Paul was to reach the Gentiles.
Our Lord has commissioned us to take the Gospel to the entire world, to all men and women everywhere. We must reach Jews and Gentiles; we must reach friends and apparent enemies. Jesus Christ died for all. Some will believe, but others will reject the Gospel. No matter what, we must keep on telling the story.
4. Paul's ministry in Rome was "unhindered."
The Jews left, but the door was open for Paul to minister in Rome. For two years Paul dwelled in his own rented house and ministered to "all who came to him." His audience no doubt included Jews as well as Gentiles. We see no reason to limit the audience to Gentiles. Many Gentiles, of course, were reached. According to Philippians 4:22), some of the converts included members of Caesar's household.
Although Paul, in our terms, was under house arrest, he freely ministered. He was confined to his house, but the audience came to him. The apostle Paul had suffered much for the cause of Christ. He endured hardships, distresses, afflictions, beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labors, sleeplessness, and hunger (II Corinthians 6:4-5) in order to present Christ to the world. Nothing stood in the way of his faithful service to the Lord. Compared to all this, Luke regarded Paul as free. He says that Paul ministered" with all openness, unhindered." So Luke ends his story with a remarkable word about Paul's freedom to minister.
We often think we are "hindered" in our outreach. We have obstacles of all kinds. Lack of funds. We may be hindered by economy, circumstances, and people who oppose us. The temptation is to complain and to feel constricted by all these things. A better approach is to make the most of our circumstances and opportunities to minister. Our God is in control, and He will take care of the rest.
In summary, the message we take away from this story is that we ought to be about the Master's business in all circumstances. We must faithfully present the gospel. Some will believe, while others will not. The future of the unbelievers, as well as the believers, is in God's hands. He will judge them in perfect justice. As we minister, let us be positive about our circumstances and minster under the anointing of the Spirit. He will enable us to reach many souls with the gospel.