The Book of Acts: Chapter 28 (pt 15 of 16)

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In the following verses (Philippians 1:19-26), Paul wrote about his uncertain future. He might go free, or he might be executed. I realize that is a pretty stark statement but that was the reality Paul faced. So how did Paul feel about it?

For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. My confident hope is that I will in no way be ashamed but that with complete boldness, even now as always, Christ will be exalted in my body, whether I live or die. For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. Now if I am to go on living in the body, this will mean productive work for me, yet I don’t know which I prefer: I feel torn between the two, because I have a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far, but it is more vital for your sake that I remain in the body. And since I am sure of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for the sake of your progress and joy in the faith, so that what you can be proud of may increase because of me in Christ Jesus, when I come back to you —Philippians 1:19-26

Paul was not concerned about his life—or his death. Death would actually be a promotion! The most important things for Paul were the progress of the gospel and the growth of the saints. If being given more time would edify the saints at Philippi and elsewhere, then so much the better, even though heaven was Paul’s preference.

This chapter is not about Paul standing before Caesar in Rome, or even about Paul being released by Rome. It is about the advance of the gospel! In particular, it is about the advance of the gospel by the beginning of the Times of the Gentiles. This is a monumental moment in history, far more important than the fate of any one man, or of any one city (Jerusalem).

The rejection of Jesus and the gospel by the Jews brought about an open door for the gospel to be proclaimed to the Gentiles. We saw this pattern in Paul’s preaching throughout the Book of Acts. He went to the “Jew first” and then, when the Jews rejected the gospel, Paul went to the Gentiles. When we reach the end of the Book of Acts, we see, as it were, the final act of rejection by the Jews, and the “times of the Gentiles” officially begins.

If interested, you can download the entire study of The Story of Acts

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