April 14, 2019
 And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who guarded him.
 After three days he called together the local leaders of the Jews, and when they had gathered, he said to them, “Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.  When they had examined me, they wished to set me at liberty, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case.  But because the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar—though I had no charge to bring against my nation.  For this reason, therefore, I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain.”  And they said to him, “We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken any evil about you.  But we desire to hear from you what your views are, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against.”
 When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.  And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved.  And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet:
 “‘Go to this people, and say,
“You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
 For this people's heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed;
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.’
 Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”
 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. (ESV)
Is that the end?
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
As Christians, we are called upon to put the advance of the gospel at the very center of our aspirations. What are your aspirations? To make money? To get married? To travel? To see your grandchildren grow up? To find a new job? To retire early? None of these is inadmissible; none is to be despised. The question is whether these aspirations become so devouring that the Christian’s central aspiration is squeezed to the periphery or choked out of existence entirely.
- D.A. Carson
What are we to learn?
Do you have a guide rope?
After three days…
“…I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain.”
Are you stewarding your suffering?
The Medium is the Message
2 Corinthians 4:7-12
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
From morning till evening…
Expounded. Testified. Persuaded.
He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcome all who came to him…
2 Corinthians 8:9
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.
…proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.
2 Timothy 2:8-9
Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!
Confess the ways you have not lived on mission.
Celebrate the faithfulness of Jesus to fulfill the mission.
Commit to joining Jesus in His work of renewal.
A Prayer for Salvation
“Heavenly Father, I admit that I am weaker and more sinful than I ever before believed, but through your Son Jesus I can be more loved and accepted than I ever dared hope. I thank you that he lived the life I should have lived and paid the debt and punishment I owed. Receive me now for his sake. I turn from my sins and receive him as Savior. Amen.”