October 25, 2017
Fall Bible Study Series: Part 6
The seventh session of the fall Bible study series on “The Life and Teachings of Paul” was held on October 25. The topic, taught by Samuel Asaya, was Paul’s arrest and journey to Rome, and the text was Acts 23:3 through 28:16. Brother Samuel began by speaking about how Paul had a unique opportunity to share the Gospel with Roman leaders because he was a Roman citizen, and therefore had the right to present his case in a trial. Rather than just use that opportunity to plead for his freedom, Paul always shared his testimony during his hearings, clearly recognizing that God brought him before rulers not just to be a witness of temporal events, but also of spiritual truths. Brother Samuel pointed out that when Paul spoke to King Agrippa, he did not speak as one would expect—with fear for his future or worried about a bad judgment regarding his case. Instead, Paul spoke boldly to Agrippa and urged him to believe the Gospel message. No matter what the hardship he was under, Paul knew God was in total control of the outcome, and this enabled him to focus completely on his God-given commission of spreading the Gospel rather than his own welfare.
It was also brought out that even though Paul was imprisoned and went through adversity, God’s goodness was still apparent in his life. He was given favor with rulers and allowed to be homebound rather than locked up in a dungeon. When Paul was sent to Rome, he found favor with the centurion who had been charged to watch him, and when they stopped in Sidon, he was allowed to go visit his friends there. When they were shipwrecked, an angel assured Paul that no one would die in the accident. Thus, God showed His lovingkindness to Paul and caused him to understand that any suffering he endured was only to bring about a greater good. Because Paul trusted God fully, even while he was in jail his heart was free, and even while enduring difficulties he could send a word of encouragement to the churches under his care.
Brother Samuel closed with a comparison between the Apostle Paul and Florence Crawford, the founder of the Apostolic Faith Church. He said both experienced dramatic conversions and then became sold-out Christians who preached the Gospel boldly. Brother Samuel encouraged his listeners to devote their lives to the Gospel in the same way as Paul and Sister Crawford did, and to give their full support to the church leaders God has called to be over them.
Watch the full service in the Media Center.