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Rome: Facing Limitations   Acts 28:16-25, 28-31   Aug. 31, 2008

Introduction
Can you imagine being a guard and receiving the assignment to be chained to Paul? Some of these guards probably cared very little for Christians or Christianity in general. But in the Book of Philipians the testimony is given about the affect of his imprisonment, "it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard, and to everyone else, that my imprisonment is for Christ." (Php 1:13 HCSB) Paul used this opportunity to declare Christ even though in Rome: Facing Limitations!

1. Facing Limitations From . . Traditional Jews. 28:16-20

A. Paul Faced Limitations . . Calling to the Jewish Leaders. 28:16-17a
16 And when we entered Rome, Paul was permitted to stay by himself with the soldier who guarded
him. 17 After three days he called together the leaders of the Jews. . . ."

B. Paul Faced Limitations . . Clarifying To the Jewish Leaders. 28:17b-20
". . . And when they had gathered he said to them: "Brothers, although I have done nothing against our
people or the customs of our forefathers, I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the
Romans 18 who, after examining me, wanted to release me, since I had not committed a capital offense.
19 Because the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar; it was not as though I had any
accusation against my nation. 20 So, for this reason I've asked to see you and speak to you. In fact, it is for
the hope of Israel that I'm wearing this chain."

C. Paul Faced Limitations . . Confronted By the Jewish Leaders. 28:21-22
21 And they said to him, "We haven't received any letters about you from Judea; none of the brothers
has come and reported or spoken anything evil about you. 22 But we consider it suitable to hear from you
what you think. For concerning this sect, we are aware that it is spoken against everywhere."

        Paul acted aggressively as he initiated the call to these Jewish people. The accusations made about him were false and he wanted these Jews to hear his explanations first hand. He clarified the charges made about him claiming he did nothing wrong. Paul expressed himself boldly as he proclaimed Jesus as the hope of Israel. These Jews would recognize this statement as a reference to the Messiah. In answer to him The Jews confronted him saying that Christianity was a sect, and that it is spoken against everywhere. I think Paul felt at least a little threatened by this kind of reception. Paul continued to desire to share with them. This is a great lesson for us as we persistently share the message of Christ.


2. Facing Limitations Through . . Teaching The Jews. 28:23-25

A. Teaching Limited Because Of Rejection Of the Gospel . . Message. 28:23-24
23 After arranging a day with him, many came to him at his lodging. From dawn to dusk he expounded
and witnessed about the kingdom of God. He persuaded them concerning Jesus from both the Law of
Moses and the Prophets. 24 Some were persuaded by what he said, but others did not believe.

B. Teaching Limited Because Of Rejection Of the Spirit's . . Ministry. 28:25
25 Disagreeing among themselves, they began to leave after Paul made one statement: "The Holy Spirit
correctly spoke through the prophet Isaiah to your forefathers

            Paul's message received a mixed reception. Some rejected his persuasive presentation while others received the message. That generally is true for all of us who witness. Some reject while others respond positively. We must focus on the positive while not forgetting to pray for and continue to reach out to those who reject. Today in every church there are leaders who at one time refused the invitation to accept Christ. It is sad when people reject the message of Christ. Paul declared a verse from the prophet Isaiah telling these folks they were rejecting the ministry spoken of by the Holy Spirit. This rejection of His prophecy causes all of us who witness great concern. The Spirit grieves when we do our best to follow Him and receive rejection, but when people reject the Word of God and the direction of the Spirit that is very dangerous.


3. Facing Limitations Through . . Turning To The Gentiles. 28:28-31

A. Paul's . . Pronouncement Related To Turning To The Gentiles. 28:28-29
28 Therefore, let it be known to you that this saving work of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they
will listen!" [29 After he said these things, the Jews departed, while engaging in a prolonged debate among
themselves.]

B. Paul's . . Proclamations Related To Turning To The Gentiles. 28:28-29
30 Then he stayed two whole years in his own rented house. And he welcomed all who visited him,
31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with full
boldness and without hindrance.

            How do you share when a group of people reject your message? You do like Paul and go to a different group. He probably got this idea from the example of Jesus as He turned away from one group and declared His message to another. Paul made the pronouncement that he was turning toward the Gentiles with his message. Notice how this statement left the Jews debating among themselves. As Paul turned away from the Jews He proclaimed boldly to The Gentiles. I am sure that any Jew who wanted to hear was welcomed, but Paul's focus was on the Gentiles. The Spirit certainly led Paul as he spent those two years in Rome: Facing Limitations!  Amen? Amen!