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A Great Deliverance (Acts 23:23-35)

September 2, 2015

Reflecting on the Passage:

Here at East Point Church, we have begun a new sermon series entitled “Acts: The Spirit and the Church in the World“. This week’s sermon serves as a reminder to the providential care of God towards His people. Pastor Carter encourages believers to carefully consider the promises of God and His powerful hand in rescuing and securing them despite great opposition. The focus of this sermon is on observing the key elements of a great deliverance as seen in this account with Paul being transported to Caesarea, namely, a great distress, Deliverer, and design.

20140311-184658.jpgA Great Distress

Claudius Lysias, to his Excellency the governor Felix, greetings. This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them when I came upon them with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman citizen. And desiring to know the charge for which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their council. I found that he was being accused about questions of their law, but charged with nothing deserving death or imprisonment. And when it was disclosed to me that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, ordering his accusers also to state before you what they have against him (Acts 23:26-30;ESV).

The greatness of the danger provides an opportunity for a glorious deliverance. Pastor Carter highlights how strategic the Jews were in their planning, in the place they prepared for the Apostle Paul, and in the power they had to carry out their evil desires, but they failed to realize they were not simply contending with man, they were blatantly seeking to thwart the will of God (cf. Numbers 23; Psalm 2; Acts 5:33-39). God loves to deliver when the odds are stacked against His people, because in those times He is more than able to show Himself as the Great Deliverer.

A Great Deliverer

Then he called two of the centurions and said, Get ready two hundred soldiers, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go as far as Caesarea at the third hour of the night. Also provide mounts for Paul to ride and bring him safely to Felix the governor (Acts 23:23, 24; ESV).”

Claudius Lysias, the Roman Tribune, called a total of 470 soldiers (i.e. 200 foot soldiers, 70 horsemen, and 200 spearmen) to escort 1 man to Caesarea. Lysias thought he was delivering Paul from the hands of his accusers with his great army. In fact, he delighted in taking credit for the things God had done, but it was God who providentially arranged Paul’s escape, from sending his nephew to hear about the plot against his life at the appointed time to providing more than enough protection to get Paul to Rome for the sake of the Gospel (cf. Joshua 2; Daniel 3:8-30; Acts 12:6-19, 16:16-34; Romans 5:6; Galatians 4:3-5).

A Great Design

So the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. And on the next day they returned to the barracks, letting the horsemen go on with him. When they had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they presented Paul also before him. On reading the letter, he asked what province he was from. And when he learned that he was from Cilicia, he said, I will give you a hearing when your accusers arrive. And he commanded him to be guarded in Herod’s praetorium (Acts 23:6-10; ESV).”

The greatness in God’s deliverance of His people is found in the fact He has a purpose and plan. God delivered Paul from the hands of his accusers in order to accomplish His plan to send Paul to Rome with the Gospel in his head, heart, and hands. The Lord Jesus said the time was coming and now is when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him (John 4:21-26).

Do realize how gracious the Lord has been to you?

God does not just save and deliver for our sake. He saves and delivers His chosen people from being bound by the dominating power of sin to restore their worship to the true God and revive their spirits to witness of His great deliverance throughout the nations (cf. Exodus 7:16, 8:1, 20, 9:1, 13, 10:3, 13:17; Acts 26:12-18). Therefore, the Lord choses to deliver greatly with two purposes in mind, the salvation of His chosen people and the surpassing glory due Him for His wondrous deeds done throughout creation (cf. Romans 8:18-30, 11:36).

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free.

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