Year 2 Day 150
Read - Acts 28v11-16
Message - Scott Woodburn
Paul’s journey to Rome has been nothing short of an ordeal. He has faced another shipwreck and just as he is warming his bones in Malta a snake jumped out and bit him. But finally after spending the winter on Malta, he sets sail again on a ship with the twin gods as a figurehead. These false gods are Castor and Pollux the twin sons of Zeus and it was believed that they brought good fortune on the sea. Paul didn’t trust tin these false idols, instead his hope was fixed on Christ and it was by the hand of the Lord that he finally arrived in Puteoli which is just a few miles away from the city of Naples.
After a long journey what is it that you long for? Perhaps a hot bath? A night spent in your own bed? Ten minutes to yourself to catch up with the mail? Paul sought none of these and instead he was sought out by his fellow Christians. He is blessed with fellowship in Puteoli where his fellow believers allow him to stay with them for a week (v14) and when he finally enters Rome, Christians come from far and wide to great the Apostle (v15).
Paul’s road has been incredibly difficult but Luke tells us that the fellowship he enjoyed caused him to thank God and to take courage (v15). Once more in the book of Acts we see the beauty and the power of the local church. A harassed and bruised and beaten Apostle is embraced by the church and takes great comfort from the fellowship.
It should always be this way! We are speaking the truth when we say that the church on earth is not a perfect body. She is divided by inside and outside forces. Often she is a place where we experience great hurt. On occasion she is a place where forgiveness and love and grace is in short supply. These things may all be true but once more let us remember that the local church is God’s plan to bring the Gospel to the world around us.
I urge you my brothers and sisters to take your place in your local church. Covid has robbed us of so much fellowship and it has even instilled in us a streak of independence. We haven’t been to church in 18 months and perhaps we now feel like we don’t need to go back. Child of God, please do not forsake the local church. Paul would later write that we are not to neglect meeting together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10v25)
What does life look like while we wait for Christ? Meeting together and taking courage and comfort from the fellowship. Church life is needlessly busy with endless running around. I hope that when Covid lifts we don’t start the running again but instead may we replace it with beautiful sweet fellowship. When you nearly drown in the shipwreck and when the serpent bites you unexpectedly, where do you go? Where do you turn? Go to the place of encouragement. Go home. Go to the body for whom Christ died. Go to the local church.
Q38 What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection? At the resurrection, believers, being raised up to glory, shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God to all eternity.