Back to the Future – Acts 22:21-23:35January 25, 2015
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Speaker: Jerry Cisar
What would the world look like today without Paul? Of course, we cannot know, but knowing that Paul was the chosen instrument for the Gospel to come to the world, had the forces arrayed against Paul in Jerusalem succeeded, the world would be a very different place today. One writer conjectured,
“…without Paul, the Christian mission, which eventually overtook the entire Roman empire, may never have happened as it did….What would have happened had the empire never converted? The vast majority of people living in it would have remained polytheists; and Christianity would have remained a sect within Judaism—a group of Jews who believed that the Jewish messiah had come for the Jewish people. To be a Christian, in other words, one would first have to become a Jew.”
If the plots against Paul had succeeded, we would rightly wonder whether there would be anything known today as Western civilization. Whether we would be gathering tomorrow morning at all. In our text this Sunday we find ourselves at the intersection of various forces: various forces that desire to kill Paul, Roman government forces, and the Lordship of Jesus. Though invisible to everyone in the story, except Paul, Jesus is directing each event to His desired outcome.
It is comforting to know that the outcome of world history is not left in the hands of Paul’s Jewish opponents or the officers of the Roman government, but in the capable hands of our Lord Jesus Christ—the One who laid down His life for us. Join us in worship tomorrow morning as we go “Back to the Future” to explore these events, what almost happened, and how the future of the Gospel was kept sure.