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  • Apr 07 / 2019
  • Comments Off on What Did you Lose and Gain for Christ? (Acts 23:11-35)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

What Did you Lose and Gain for Christ? (Acts 23:11-35)

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11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”

The Plot to Kill Paul

12 The next morning the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 More than forty men were involved in this plot. 14 They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have taken a solemn oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul. 15 Now then, you and the Sanhedrin petition the commander to bring him before you on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about his case. We are ready to kill him before he gets here.”

16 But when the son of Paul’s sister heard of this plot, he went into the barracks and told Paul.

17 Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him.” 18 So he took him to the commander.

The centurion said, “Paul, the prisoner, sent for me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.”

19 The commander took the young man by the hand, drew him aside and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?”

20 He said: “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul before the Sanhedrin tomorrow on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about him. 21 Don’t give in to them, because more than forty of them are waiting in ambush for him. They have taken an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are ready now, waiting for your consent to their request.”

22 The commander dismissed the young man and cautioned him, “Don’t tell anyone that you have reported this to me.”

Paul Transferred to Caesarea

23 Then he called two of his centurions and ordered them, “Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at nine tonight. 24 Provide mounts for Paul so that he may be taken safely to Governor Felix.”
25 He wrote a letter as follows: 26 Claudius Lysias, To His Excellency, Governor Felix: Greetings. 27 This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him, but I came with my troops and rescued him, for I had learned that he is a Roman citizen. 28 I wanted to know why they were accusing him, so I brought him to their Sanhedrin. 29 I found that the accusation had to do with questions about their law, but there was no charge against him that deserved death or imprisonment. 30 When I was informed of a plot to be carried out against the man, I sent him to you at once. I also ordered his accusers to present to you their case against him.

31 So the soldiers, carrying out their orders, took Paul with them during the night and brought him as far as Antipatris. 32 The next day they let the cavalry go on with him, while they returned to the barracks. 33 When the cavalry arrived in Caesarea, they delivered the letter to the governor and handed Paul over to him. 34 The governor read the letter and asked what province he was from. Learning that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will hear your case when your accusers get here.” Then he ordered that Paul be kept under guard in Herod’s palace.

[Background to Paul's story]

Paul confessed that he would go to Jerusalem, and that the Holy Spirit told him he would face many trials and hardships there.

Chp 21, he arrived – and they seized him immediately and tried to kill him. The Roman commander came and bound Paul in chains – and tried to torture Paul to know the truth. But Paul revealed his Roman citizenship. So, the commander put him before the Sanhedrin – and even they were divided by his confession in the resurrection.

The commander then took Paul out and put him in the barracks. Paul was staying in the barracks that night. There may be no record, but we can guess at his emotion – tired, humiliated, lonely, depressed – but the fact was, he was not alone. Jesus was with him and said, “Take heart – take courage. You shall go to Rome. You shall not die until you testify in Rome.” The story from the beginning to the end of this section of Acts is a set of circumstances that brought Paul from Jerusalem to Rome.

[/Background of Paul's story]

23:11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”

The Plot to Kill Paul

12 The next morning the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 More than forty men were involved in this plot. 14 They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have taken a solemn oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul. 15 Now then, you and the Sanhedrin petition the commander to bring him before you on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about his case. We are ready to kill him before he gets here.”

16 But when the son of Paul’s sister heard of this plot, he went into the barracks and told Paul.

17 Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him.” 18So he took him to the commander.

The centurion said, “Paul, the prisoner, sent for me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.”

19 The commander took the young man by the hand, drew him aside and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?”

20 He said: “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul before the Sanhedrin tomorrow on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about him. 21 Don’t give in to them, because more than forty of them are waiting in ambush for him. They have taken an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are ready now, waiting for your consent to their request.”

22 The commander dismissed the young man and cautioned him, “Don’t tell anyone that you have reported this to me.”

Paul Transferred to Caesarea

23 Then he called two of his centurions and ordered them, “Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at nine tonight. 24 Provide mounts for Paul so that he may be taken safely to Governor Felix.”

25 He wrote a letter as follows: 26 Claudius Lysias, To His Excellency, Governor Felix: Greetings. 27 This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him, but I came with my troops and rescued him, for I had learned that he is a Roman citizen. 28 I wanted to know why they were accusing him, so I brought him to their Sanhedrin. 29 I found that the accusation had to do with questions about their law, but there was no charge against him that deserved death or imprisonment. 30 When I was informed of a plot to be carried out against the man, I sent him to you at once. I also ordered his accusers to present to you their case against him.

31 So the soldiers, carrying out their orders, took Paul with them during the night and brought him as far as Antipatris. 32 The next day they let the cavalry go on with him, while they returned to the barracks. 33 When the cavalry arrived in Caesarea, they delivered the letter to the governor and handed Paul over to him. 34 The governor read the letter and asked what province he was from. Learning that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will hear your case when your accusers get here.” Then he ordered that Paul be kept under guard in Herod’s palace.


Jesus said to Paul, “take courage” – but this does not mean “easy life”. Also he said, “you will go to Rome” – but this does not mean “with nothing to do”. There would be hardships and sufferings yet. He must overcome and prevail.

Paul was in the barracks and heard the voice of Christ, but almost at the same time, more than 40 men took an oath to kill him.

How foolish! They should eat and drink WELL to kill Paul! But actually at that time, people would vow with “May God curse me if I fail” – yet God had promised Paul to deliver him to Rome. So, these men could NEVER kill Paul. They went to the chief priests and elders and asked them to request Paul at the council chambers again – they would ambush him along the way.

v. 12-15

“12 The next morning the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 More than forty men were involved in this plot. 14 They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have taken a solemn oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul. 15 Now then, you and the Sanhedrin petition the commander to bring him before you on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about his case. We are ready to kill him before he gets here.” “

Please, when you decide to do some thing – be careful to do the WILL of God. Actually if we decide to do something against the will of God, it will be like a curse to me. Their plan was laid bare to the nephew of Paul.

v. 16-22

“16 But when the son of Paul’s sister heard of this plot, he went into the barracks and told Paul.

17 Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him.” 18 So he took him to the commander.

The centurion said, “Paul, the prisoner, sent for me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.”

19 The commander took the young man by the hand, drew him aside and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?”

20 He said: “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul before the Sanhedrin tomorrow on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about him. 21 Don’t give in to them, because more than forty of them are waiting in ambush for him. They have taken an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are ready now, waiting for your consent to their request.”

22 The commander dismissed the young man and cautioned him, “Don’t tell anyone that you have reported this to me.” ”

Their evil plan was revealed to the nephew of Paul. This was the first (and last) biblical record of Paul’s family (Paul’s sister’s son). We know nothing about him – name, age, job, nor how he heard about this plan. Anyway, he found out the plan and came to Paul in the barracks (he was able to visit him) – because at that time, Roman prisoners were accessible by their families – to bring food or clothes, etc.

Immediately, Paul heard the bad news, and called the centurion to bring the commander. He brought him to the commander and relayed his story. The commander took him by the hand (maybe he is very young, like a teenager). The nephew then told of the plan of the Jews.

The commander heard this and sent him away (“Do not tell anyone you have said this to me.”) The commander then prepared an amazing thing – 470 soldiers to escort this ONE man. God is so interesting.

v. 23-24

“23 Then he called two of his centurions and ordered them, “Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at nine tonight. 24 Provide mounts for Paul so that he may be taken safely to Governor Felix.””

(Paul even got a horse)

The commander knew that if Paul was killed by the assassins, it was his responsibility – so he wanted to get him OUT of Jerusalem and send him to a higher office (the governor).

Can you imagine this picture?

  • 200 soldiers
  • 70 horsemen
  • 200 spearmen

vs.

  • 40 would-be assassins

At that time, Caesarea was the Roman headquarters for that area even though Jerusalem was under Roman control. Felix was the governor of the Jewish people at that time – the same position as Pontius Pilate.

The commander wrote a letter to send:

v. 25-30

“25 He wrote a letter as follows: 26 Claudius Lysias, To His Excellency, Governor Felix: Greetings. 27 This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him, but I came with my troops and rescued him, for I had learned that he is a Roman citizen. 28 I wanted to know why they were accusing him, so I brought him to their Sanhedrin. 29 I found that the accusation had to do with questions about their law, but there was no charge against him that deserved death or imprisonment. 30 When I was informed of a plot to be carried out against the man, I sent him to you at once. I also ordered his accusers to present to you their case against him. “

The commander’s full name is here for the first time: Claudius Lysias. (Lysias was a Greek name – maybe he was born Greek. Claudius was probably added to his name when he purchased his Roman citizenship – Claudius was the emperor at that time.)

In his letter, he rearranged the order of events, omitting his own fault in these things – bound Paul and tried to beat him.

Paul left Jerusalem for Caesarea:

v. 31-35

31 So the soldiers, carrying out their orders, took Paul with them during the night and brought him as far as Antipatris. 32 The next day they let the cavalry go on with him, while they returned to the barracks. 33 When the cavalry arrived in Caesarea, they delivered the letter to the governor and handed Paul over to him. 34 The governor read the letter and asked what province he was from. Learning that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will hear your case when your accusers get here.” Then he ordered that Paul be kept under guard in Herod’s palace.

In his career, again and again Paul was smuggled out of towns under the cover of night

  • chp 9, Damascus – they waited day and night at the gates to kill Paul, but his followers lowered him from the wall in a basket.
  • chp 17 – Thessalonica – they tried to seize Paul, but his followers sent him away at night.
  • chp 23 – Paul left town at night – like a king – on a horse, surrounded by 470 soldiers, not like a prisoner)
  • From Jerusalem to Antipatris – 470 soldiers – to avoid ambush
  • From Antipatris to Caesarea – only 70 horsemen for speed.

Practical lessons

  • Q: not happy, but serious and important:
    • 1. What did you LOSE / give up for Jesus?

This is a serious but important and practical question.

  • What did *I* give up for Christ? – who gave *all* things for me?

If Jesus is really your Lord, Savior, God, King, continually ask yourself, “What did *I* give up for Christ?”

Phi 3:7-9

“Whatever I gained I consider as loss for the sake of Christ … for whose sake I have lost all things – I consider these things rubbish so I may gain and be found in Christ alone.”

“I want to *know* Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his suffering!”

Are you disciples of Christ?

If you are really disciples, be very careful to listen to his voice.

Matthew, Mark, Luke

  • “Anyone who loves his father/mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who does not take up his cross daily and follow me is not worthy of me. If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. “ – not once a week, not once a year – daily
  • Jesus gave us his life – “I give you eternal life; you shall never perish; no one can snatch you out of my hand. My father is greater than all, so no one can snatch you out of my hand.”

Yes, God is so dramatic in handling these things. Be encouraged by the fact that God is there, Jesus is THERE – not only in the case of Paul, but even today.

  • “I will never leave you, nor forsake you; I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

In our darkest dungeon, Jesus is there.

Is is a scary hospital? Hardworking factory? Lonely kitchen? Jesus is THERE – he is spirit.

  • Psalm “Where can I go to flee from your Spirit? If I go to the heaven, you are there; if I go to the depths, you are there; if I rise on the wings of dawn, you are there; if I settle on the far side of the sea, you are there.”

Recognize and proclaim this: fact is fact: God is here and now with me.

Our ways are so very limited. Our ideas are limited, desires, place, etc. But God’s ways, designs, source, are limitless. Don’t you agree? Then don’t limit God yourself by asking God to do things YOUR way.

When God intervenes, things can happen so much MORE and BETTER than we can anticipate! Let God surprise you.

“Let God surprise me!~”

  • Isaiah 55 “My thoughts are not your thoughts; my ways are not your ways. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways.”

God is present anytime, anyplace. He is providing, preserving, preparing, prevailing.

Conclusion:

“God prevails”

Preach the Word in season and out of season. God prevails. God overcomes. Are you ready?

Let’s pray.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Listen