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The Story Ends, Yet It Continues 

We continue the history of the Book of Acts

Acts 28

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • July 16, In the year of our Lord, 2017


  1. I had Billy read Romans 1.9–13 because 
    1. it is Paul’s prayer for going to Rome, and
    2. why he wanted to go to Rome.
  2. Did he make it to Rome? 
    1. Did he do there what he planned to do?
    2. Some people in desperation ask God for things.
      1. Then He gives them, but
      2. they forget what they promised to give Him.


  1. Acts 28.1–2 | Receiving Unusual Kindness 
    1. Undoubtedly this was not the first shipwreck on the island of Malta.
      1. You will discover that the people had a spiritual inclination.
      2. Therefore, they may have seen as part of their purpose as rescuing people.
    2. Luke pointed out that locals showed the 276 people “unusual kindness”
      1. by starting a fire, and
      2. by making everyone welcome.
        1. Doing that for 276 took a lot of effort.
        2. They had the resources and organization to handle it suddenly.
  2. Acts 28.3–6 | Murderer or a God? 
    1. Paul, the rescued, helped to get fire wood.
      1. Not knowing how long a bundle of sticks had been there,
      2. he picked it up, but
        1. a deadly viper came out when it got close to the flames, and
        2. latched onto Paul’s hand.
          1. My bat experience.
          2. Laura’s spider experience.
    2. Paul must have had prisoner clothes on, or
      1. the Romans still had him chained, and
      2. the locals knew he was a prisoner.
        1. Therefore, they concluded that though he escaped death in the storm,
        2. as a killer the viper took the place of the storm,

          4 So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.”
    3. Then in fulfillment of Mark 16,
      1. Paul merely shakes off the viper into the fire, and
      2. he himself suffers nothing from the bite,

        18 …they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them…” (Mark 16.18).

        1. Yet, the locals expected that he would swell up or
        2. fall down dead.
    4. When that did not happen,

      6 However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.

      1. Remember Acts 14.
      2. There almost sacrificed to him and Barnabas as gods.
  3. Acts 28.7–10 | Helping the Hosts 
    1. A wealthy citizen got in on the hospitality.
      1. He helped the rescued for three days.
      2. If he received and hosted all 276 people for three days,
        1. he had a great deal of resources.
        2. May the Lord make us all so capable
          1. that we may do as he did.
          2. As Paul wrote to Timothy,

            17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life (1Ti 6.17–19).
    2. However, the life of Publius, this wealthy citizen was not a perfect dream.
      1. His father had a serious fever and dysentery, an infection of the intestines.
      2. Paul the prisoner went to this man,
        1. prayed for him,
        2. touched him, and
        3. healed him.
    3. The word spread quickly, of course, and
      1. soon everyone else on the island with diseases
      2. went to Paul, and he healed them.
    4. The rescued so became a blessing to the island
      1. that the locals honored the shipwrecked people in many ways, and
      2. when they had to move on after three months,
        1. spending the winter there,
        2. they provided whatever the 276 needed,
          1. while on the island and
          2. after they found a new ship going to Italy,
  4. Acts 28.11–14 | Finding Brethren 
    1. They found another Alexandrian ship with the figurehead the Twin Brothers.
      1. It had wintered on the island,
      2. just as Paul and the rest of the people from his ship had.
    2. From Malta they sailed to Syracuse and stayed three days.
    3. They sailed again and circled round and made it to Rhegium.
      1. They waited one day and the south wind blew,
      2. allowing them to sail north,
        1. taking them to Puteoli, and
        2. they found something wonderful.
  5. Acts 28.15–16 | Things Look Better 
    1. As Paul approached Rome,
      1. brethren heard of it and
      2. went to greet him.
    2. Then Luke wrote,

      15b When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.

      1. He thanked God because Paul prayed to go to Rome, but
      2. not just go to Rome,
        1. he wanted to see the brethren there.
    3. The Roman centurion treated Paul differently than the other prisoners, for
      1. he could tell that Paul was different, and
      2. his friends would have been different than the friends of other prisoners.
        1. The centurion had a job to do, and
        2. he would do it, but
          1. he could see just like the other Romans in the Book of Acts,
          2. that Paul was not the problem.
    4. Therefore, the centurion let Paul dwell by himself, and
      1. not with the other prisoners,
      2. as long as the guarding soldier stayed with Paul.
        1. Conduct such as Paul’s changed the Roman Empire, and
        2. by this means the prophecy of Daniel and John found fulfillment,

          44 “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Dan 2.44).

          15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev 11.15).

          1. All without firing an arrow or catapult.
          2. They conquered kingdoms and nations by the love of Christ.
  6. Acts 28.17–20 | Informing Your People 
    1. Paul had already seen members of the body of Christ in Rome, but
      1. another group of people meant much to him, and
      2. he wanted to meet with them also.
        1. After he had been in Rome for three days,
        2. he called for the leaders of the Jews to come to him.
    2. When they arrived, assuming that his enemies had preceded him,
      1. he explained why he was in Rome,

        17b “Men and brethren, though I have 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, 18 who, when they had examined me, wanted to let me go, because there was no cause for putting me to death. 19 But when the Jews spoke against it, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar, not that I had anything of which to accuse my nation. 20 For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.”
      2. He wanted them to know
        1. that he had not sinned against their fellow Jews,
        2. that he had been captured in Jerusalem and the Romans took him,
        3. that the Romans saw his innocence,
        4. that the Jews spoke against releasing him, and
        5. that he had no choice but to appeal to Caesar.
          1. He did not appeal to Caesar to accuse the Jews, but
          2. to save his own life.
    3. He wanted them to know
      1. that he had contacted them to let them know
      2. that speaking on the hope of Israel led to the chains on his body.
  7. VII.Acts 28.21–22 | People Want to Know about the Church 
    1. The Jews only said two things:
      1. They had not received letters or anyone from Judea speaking evil of him.
      2. However, they wanted his opinion,
        1. since he had come from Jerusalem,
        2. on “this sect,”
          1. referring to the Way or the Church, because
          2. what they had heard so far was negative.
  8. VIII.Acts 28.23–24 | Speaking of the Kingdom of God and of Jesus 
    1. Of course, Paul would gladly speak, but
      1. they did not have him speak then, for
      2. he had called for the leaders, and
        1. the leaders and no doubt Paul,
        2. wanted all the Jews in Rome to hear him.
    2. On the appointed day,
      1. many went to him, and
      2. he did what we know him as always doing.
    3. He explained and gave his solemn testimony of
      1. the kingdom of God,
      2. including showing what the Law and the Prophets say of the Messiah.
        1. He would have shown them the true nature of both
        2. the kingdom of God and Jesus as the Messiah.
    4. Paul had energy, driven by his zeal, because
      1. he spoke from morning till evening,
      2. persuading some of them, but
        1. not all of them, for
        2. some just did not believe.
  9. Acts 28.25–28 | Who Will Hear the Salvation of God?

    25 So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, 26 saying,

    ‘Go to this people and say:
    Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand;
    And seeing you will see, and not perceive;
    27 For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
    Their ears are hard of hearing,
    And their eyes they have closed,
    Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
    Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
    So that I should heal them.’

    28 Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!”

    1. Since they could not agree on what Paul had shown them from Scripture,
      1. he gave them a warning from Scripture.
      2. They needed to know that the Holy Spirit foresaw these things, and
        1. revealed them through Isaiah the prophet,
        2. that some people,
          1. even after hearing an explanation,
          2. would still not see the truth, because
            1. they had a problem of understanding, and
            2. that problem arose from their lack of repentance.
    2. Paul announced that since the Jews would not accept the truth of Jesus,
      1. God wanted His salvation to go to the Gentiles,
      2. saying that they would hear it, and
        1. they did, and
        2. they still do.
    3. For 1800 years up to the very present,
      1. the Gentiles hear and embrace the salvation of God,
      2. what God gave originally through the Jews.
  10. Acts 28.29 | The World Disputes Over Christianity

    29 And when he had said these words, the Jews departed and had a great dispute among themselves.

    1. Even now the majority of the Jews and
      1. the majority of the Gentiles,
      2. do not know what to do with the Way, the Church, Christianity.
    2. We can only continue to do what Paul did next.
  11. Acts 28.30–31 | Preaching and Teaching the Kingdom and Jesus

    30 Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.

    1. Apparently many people appealed to Caesar and
      1. Caesar had plenty of other things to do.
      2. What does it take to run a massive empire such as Rome?
    2. For two years Paul could live in his own place,
      1. not having to pass the time in a jail cell,
      2. which allowed people to go to him.
        1. They heard Paul preaching the kingdom of God,
          1. announcing the arrival the church of God, and
        2. they heard Paul teaching things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.
    3. He preached and taught with all confidence.
      1. He believed what he said.
      2. He spoke without persecution.
        1. No one forbid him.
        2. That sounds just like our situation.
          1. However, his situation eventually changed, and
          2. ours could also, or it could continue as it is.
    4. What do you think of the ending of the Book of Acts?
      1. Luke did not show what happened to Paul.
      2. Luke did not show all the other things going on with the church.
        1. He stopped after showing some things from the first 30 years of the church.
        2. Israel has centuries of their history revealed,
          1. shown in Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Esther, Nehemiah, Ezra, and the Prophets cover much of the history.
          2. Why did the Holy Spirit not do something similar for us?
          3. Why is the history of the church not still being written by Spirit-guided men?
    5. What I have concluded is that we are to pick up where Luke left off,
      1. not necessarily writing, but
      2. doing what Paul was doing.


  1. Do What You Told God You Would Do 
  2. Show Unusual Kindness 
  3. People Can Change Their Opinions about You 
  4. Bless While You Wait for Answers to Your Prayers 
  5. Be Patient with People You Teach 
  6. Participate in the Ongoing History of the Church