MINISTRY IN CHAINS

Scripture Reading:  Acts 28:11-31

“He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.”  (Acts 28:30,31)

We now come to the end of the book of Acts.  Paul arrived in Rome as a prisoner of the state.  However, he was given a great amount of freedom:  “Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier that guarded him” (v. 16).  During his first days in Rome, he called together the local Jewish leaders in the city (v. 17).  He told them that he was innocent of the charges that the Jews in Jerusalem had brought against him (v. 18).  Later he spoke to a large crowd of Jews from morning until evening telling them about Jesus (v. 23).  Some of them were convinced by what he said and others were not (v. 24).

Paul also reached out to the Gentiles in Rome (v. 28).  During the two years he was there, he proclaimed the kingdom of God to them and taught them about the Lord Jesus Christ (vs. 30,31).  His chains did not prevent him from having a bold witness to all he came in contact with.  He even had a ministry to the Roman soldiers who guarded him (Philippians 1:13). Evidently some of them became believers and shared the good news with other soldiers in the imperial guard.

Paul not only ministered in person to Jews, Gentiles and soldiers, he also wrote several of his epistles while he was in prison (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon).  He ministered powerfully, boldly and without hindrance during his imprisonment in Rome.

While some people could have been bitter about being imprisoned, Paul was not.  He knew this was part of God’s sovereign plan for his life.  He wrote these words to the Philippians:  “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.  And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear” (Philippians 1:12-14).

Paul was later martyred for his faith.  When he came to the end of his life, he wrote these words to Timothy:  “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing” (II Timothy 4:6-8).

Lord Jesus Christ, because of what you did for Paul, he was willing to die for you.  Let me keep my eyes on you regardless of the circumstances I face.  Enable me to be a faithful witness no matter where I am.  I desire to fight the good fight until I complete the race that You have set before me.  I look forward to the Day when You return and make things right again.  Until that time, enable me to keep the faith.

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