Tha Final Act of Tha Holy Spirit of Truth Be Tha Same as Tha First Act
Paul proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance! Acts 28:31 (Acts 28:17-31)
Three days after he reached Rome, Saul Paul called ter gether tha leaders of tha Jews. When all had assembled at his rented house, he began ter try ter convince ’em ’bout tha Son. Starting with tha Law of Moses and working his way through tha Prophets, he explained and declared tha kingdom of Skipper.
Like be fer, like in other places, some fellers whar convinced. Others refused ter believe. At last Saul Paul made this final statement:
“The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet that you will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”
Indeed some Gentiles did believe and some Gentiles continue ter believe.
Fer two whole years Saul Paul remained ah prisoner in his rented house while awaiting trial fer trumped up charges that be false. Even though tha Jews in Rome ne’er received letters from Judea concerning Saul Paul, nor did anyone come from Judea or Jerusalem ter report or say anything bad about him, ah good many folks continued ter speak ill agin tha Way.
This always be tha way when it comes ter tha Way. Folks with tha veil of tha devil over thar eyes kin ne’er see tha truth of tha Son and his holiness. Only when tha veil be lifted kin we see tha Son fer who he be: Skip’s very own boy, tha fullness of Skipper in tha flesh.
Fer two years while in Rome Saul Paul spake boldly and without hinderance. He preached tha kingdom of Skipper and taught about tha Son. He wrote letters ter tha churches, warning ’em ter ‘ave nothing ter do with blatant sexual immorality, divisive folks, and perverting Skipper’s good spiel. This be tha starch of Saul Paul, a feller who started off by persecuting tha Son, came about, and became one of his most devote followers.
Tha final command of tha Holy Spirit of Truth be tha same as tha first command: go forth and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).
Make it yer task ter teach Skip’s truth, preach Skip’s truth, live Skip’s truth.
Do this and some ‘ill listen and turn ter tha Son and be saved, ya may lay ter that.
Paul thanked God and was encouraged. Acts 28:15 (Acts 28:11-16)
After three months on tha island of Malta, Saul Paul and tha crew put out ter sea on ah ship from Alexandria. On tha bow of this vessel be tha figure-heads of tha twin gods Castor and Pollux. Think on this a wee little bit: Castor and Pollux whar believed ter be both both mortal and divine. Tha Son of Skipper be both mortal, ah man, and divine, tha Son of Skipper. So right off tha counterfeit of tha Messiah, tha antichrist, be tha very gods leading tha crew.
Now ya might think that after losing thar ship, cargo, and near ’bout thar lives, tha crew would ‘ave learned thar lesson and denounced such false gods. But when ya follow tha dark hearts of tha Devil and tha false security found in his lies, gaining a bit of discernment be ah rare thing. Folks do tha same ter day. When they get in ter a fix, they call on Skip ter bail ’em out. Once he does and things be square and ship shape, they go right back ter thar wicked way of thinking.
With tha tiny god-sons of Zeus as thar guardians, and Saul Paul praying, tha crew sailed first ter Syracuse. Thar they remained three days. From thar they sailed ter Rhegium, then on ter Puteoli whar some brothers met Saul Paul and his mates. At tha sight of friendly faces, Saul Paul made it his task ter spend ah week with ’em.
When some brothers from Rome learned that Saul Paul be near, they trekked down tha coast ter tha Forum of Appius and Three Taverns ter meet up. At tha sight of these brothers from Rome, and knowing his long voyage be near ’bout complete, Saul Paul thanked God and whar encouraged and fer good reason.
Fer ah good long while Saul Paul wanted ter reach Rome. At every stop he had preached ter all who would listen how Skipper sent his Son ter save all folks. Ah good many refused ter head this good spiel, but them who did received back thar life. They gained entrance in ter tha Kingdom of Skipper. In all ways at all times Saul Paul ne’er wavered from his goal of making his case that tah Son be tha Messiah. Now, at last, Saul Paul be in tha very city whar tha most powerful man on earth lived. If Skip allowed, Saul Paul would present tha good spiel ter Caesar.
When he reached Rome, Saul Paul whar allowed ter live by himself with only a soldier ter guard him. Safe at last, he rested. He wrote letters of encouragement ter tha churches he helped form. He wrote words of admonishment ter tha churches. He wrote ter tha leaders of tha churches with instructions fer how ter shepherd tha flock. He also prepared ter make his case ter Caesar that tha Son, who being in his very nature Skipper himself, died on a Roman cross so that Caesar could be saved from his sins.
Ah long time ago a feller by tha name of Jabez prayed: “Oh, Lord, bless me indeed. Enlarge my territory. May your hand be with me. May you keep me from evil. May I not cause pain.” And Skipper granted Jabez his request.
May this be our prayer as well, that Skipper would bless us indeed. That he would enlarge our territory fer him. That his hand would be upon us. That his Holy Ghost of Truth would keep us from evil. That our words and deeds might not cause pain ter others. This was Saul Paul’s goal from tha get go. Though his voyage ter Rome be one filled with perils and persecution, he reached his destination.
Make it yer task to stick ter tha course Skip plots fer ya. By doing so, ya may jest find them ya love most be saved cause of yer persistence.
When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. Acts 28:9 (Acts 28:7-10)
On tha island whar tha crew regrouped from thar disastrous voyage, thar whar an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, tha chief official of tha island.
He welcomed Saul Paul, Luke, and some others in ter his home and showed ’em generous hospitality fer three days. As ya well know, fish and visitors stink after three days, so when ya get an invite ter rest in ah feller’s home, make it yer task ter be on yer way by tha forth day.
Now it may be that hospitality whar not tha only reason Publius wanted Saul Paul ter visit. Seems Publius’ pop lay sick in bed, suffering from fever and a bad case of tha trots. Paul went in ter check and after praying over tha sickly feller, laid on hands. At that moment, through his mighty power, tha Son healed Pop Publius.
When this happened, tha rest of tha sick on tha island came and whar cured.
We doth not know how this healing took place. Whar all cured at tha same time Pop Publius whar healed? Did Saul Paul lay on hands and pray over each one? Did he simply spake a word and all whar healed?
All we know is this: when it came time ter sail, Publius and others on tha island furnished ’em with all tha supplies they needed. Such be tha gratitude the islanders felt fer Skip’s presence and power.
When ya consider tha danger tha crew faced when tha ship left Fair Havens . . . when ya consider tha 276 souls in peril of going down ter Davy Jones . . . when ya consider tha number of folks on that island who whar healed . . . and when ya consider Saul Paul’s faith in Skip and his Son, we kin conclude that in all ways and at all times Skipper whar at tha helm of that vessel. Though disaster seemed likely, deliverance came due ter Saul Paul’s faith in Skipper’s providential protection and mercy
When facing impossible odds and in desperate need fer an improbable outcome, place tha voyage in tha hands of Skipper. Let him guide ya. Listen ter his voice. Follow his nudging. Obey his commands. Might very well be that 276 and more ‘ill be saved and healed —and possibly ah great many more saved through tha Son’s glorious death and resurrection.
Only Tha Son Kin Take It Away tha Veil of Dullness
The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god. Acts 28:6 (Acts 28:1-6)
Once Saul Paul and all made landfall and safely reached tha beach, they found out that tha islanders whar unusually kind ter ’em. Because it whar raining and cold, tha islanders built ah fire and welcomed tha crew. Saul Paul went about gathering ah pile of brushwood fer tha fire, but as he done so ah viper, driven out by tha heat, fastened itself on his hand.
Ah bite from such ah viper be normally more severe than from other venomous snakes in that part of tha world and very painful. It generally be thought that around 5% of all untreated bites leads ter an excruciating death. This particular serpent be responsible for 90% of all cases of snakebite in and around Rome and it be tha only deadly snake in tha mountains north of Rome.
Think on this a wee little bit:
Ah serpent be responsible fer deceiving Eve in tha Garden and causing Man ter fall (Genesis 3:4–5, 22). Because of tha serpent’s deception and Adam and Eve’s disobedience, sin entered tha world.
When Moses doubted that Skipper had called him ter be tha one ter lead Skip’s people out of slavery, he asked fer proof that Skip would be with him. Skip instructed Moses ter toss his rod onto tha ground. When he done so, it became ah serpent. Like any reasonable feller, Moses high-tailed it from that place, only Skipper encouraged Moses ter come back and grasp tha serpent by the tail. As ya well know, only ah fool picks up ah snake by its tail, but Moses obeyed and tha serpent went back ter being only a rod (Exodus 4:1–5). Later Moses cast down his rod, agin. It turned in ter ah serpent and attacked Pharaoh’s magician’s serpents and ate ’em whole.
In the Book of Numbers, while Moses and Skip’s people wandered about in tha wilderness, they spoke agin Skipper and agin Moses. Tha crowd said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!” So Skip sent venomous snakes among them. Tha serpents bit folks and many died. Then tha crowd came ter Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” After Moses prayed, Skip instructed Moses ter mount a bronze snake on ah pole. If folks looked at that bronze snake they would be healed (Numbers 21:4–9).
Years later tha Son said, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up (John 3:14). In tha wilderness tha serpent’s bite brought death. Looking ter tha bronze serpent brought healing. When tha Son came, he brought judgement upon all folks, fer he made plain that he were tha Chosen One, tha Messiah, tha author of all things and tha one who redeems us from our wicked, sinful ways. Looking ter tha Son on tha cross brings healing ter all folks fer thar sins.
Looking away from tha Son on tha cross, pretending he ne’er came, not caring that he came, brings judgement upon yer head and leaves ya bound fer eternal torment.
When tha islanders seen tha snake hanging from Saul Paul’s hand, they said ter each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.”
Right then Saul Paul shook off tha viper, flinging it in ter tha fire. Folks expected his hand ter swell up or fer him ter suddenly fall out dead; but after waiting ah good long time and seeing nothing unusual happen ter him, they changed their minds and said he was a god — which he whar not, but he knowed tha true God, Skipper, and that always be better than being a little man god.
Odd how folks see ah feller get bit by ah snake and ‘spect him ter fall over dead. Then these same folks see ah feller sin and doth not expect him ter suffer any ill affects. Such dull thinking kin only come due tha veil of tha old covenant which some still cling ter: ah covenant based on good works and keeping Skip’s rules, and sacrificing animals, but not sacrificing our own wants and will. With most folks this veil remains, fer only tha Son kin take it away. And yet whenever any feller or lass turns to tha Son, tha veil be lifted and they see plain tha glory of tha Son and his Father (2 Corinthians 3:14-16).
What says ya? Will ya turn ter tha Son ter day and allow him ter lift tha veil from yer face. Will ya ask ter see him clear fer tha savior he is? Some where, some place, some one is praying ya will.
In this way everyone reached land safely. Acts 27:42 (Acts 27:27-42)
On tha fourteenth night tha great storm still drove tha battered ship acrosss tha Adriatic Sea. Near ’bout midnight some sailors sensed they whar approaching land. Ter confirm thar hunch they took soundings and found that tha water was ah hundred and twenty feet deep ‘neath tha ship’s keel. Ah short time later they took soundings agin and discovered it whar only ninety feet deep.
Fearing they would be dashed against tha rocks, they dropped four anchors from tha stern and prayed fer daylight. Or maybe they prayed ’till daylight, fer praying fer tha sun ter come sooner than it be fixed by tha heavens be ah tall order.
Pretending they whar going ter lower some anchors from tha bow — though in secret they be attempting ter escape from tha ship —tha sailors let down tha lifeboat. Jest then Saul Paul warned tha centurion and other soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” Because of Saul Paul’s words tha soldiers cut away tha ropes that held tha lifeboat and let it drift away. Now all had no choice but ter stay with tha ship.
This be tha way of Skip, sometimes. In order fer us ter put all our trust in him, he ‘ill force us ter let go of ever source of hope ‘cept him. All our wealth, health, friends, anything we might rely on other than him, he ‘ill cut away. Saul Paul had warned that Skipper promised ter preserve all souls aboard even though tha ship and cargo would be lost. That should ‘ave been comfert enough fer ’em.
Only sometimes we also want jest one more thing ‘cept Skip and his Son. When this urge arrises, ya kin be sure yer faith be weak fer tha task ahead. This be tha time ter pray, “Lord, I believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)
Ah little bit be fer dawn Saul Paul urged all ter eat. “For the last fourteen days you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food—you haven’t eaten anything. Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.”
After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks ter Skipper in front of ’em. Then he broke tha bread and began ter eat. Think on this a wee little bit: right in tha midst of a great storm and after many days of trials and torment, Saul Paul paused ter give thanks ter Skipper fer provision and tha protection they enjoyed. In life we might wish our circumstances whar different, only know this: if Skip and his Son be standing watch with ya, then that be comfert enough fer tha moment.
Because of Saul Paul’s prayer and his calm appearance, all whar encouraged and ate some food. Altogether there were 276 souls aboard. When they finished eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened tha ship by throwing tha grain in ter tha sea. At last tha crew got tha message Saul Paul had spake about day after day: fellers and lasses doth not live by grain and bread alone but on ever word of Skipper.
In Loving John’s Revelation of tha Messiah he seen this:
There before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. (Revelation 19:11-13)
Our very life be in tha Son, Skipper’s boy. He alone is our provision and his words be true fer ever and ever.
When tha sun come up, they seen ah bay with ah sandy beach. Taking ah last bit of courage they cut loose tha anchors, untied tha ropes holding tha rudders, and hoisted tha foresail. With tha wind at thar backs they made fer tha beach. Only fer they could reach tha bay, tha ship struck ah sandbar and ran aground. With its bow stuck fast and pounding waves breaking agin tha stern and ripping it ter pieces, it all appeared what lost. In order ter prevent tha prisoners from swimming away and escaping, soldiers drew swords ter kill ’em.
Only ah centurion wanted ter spare Saul Paul’s life so tha chap kept tha soldiers from carrying out thar devilish plan. Tha centurion ordered those who could swim ter jump overboard first and get ter land. Tha rest were ter grab ah plank or one of tha other pieces of tha ship and get ter shore as best they could. In this way all reached land safely. Thus, tha term “walk tha plank” came ter be known as tha way a feller or lass gets ter shore when all they got is two legs and a board. Later it whar perverted by some notorious pirates, but tha first use of “walk tha plank” whar meant fer good, not evil.
Think on this a wee little bit:
Skipper saved Noah and his family through ah great flood. Inside thar vessel they remained safe.
Skipper saved Jonah through ah great drowning. Inside tha belly of ah large fish he remained safe.
Skipper saved all them who sailed with Saul Paul. Though tha ship be lost, all souls whar saved.
Ter day ever person kin be saved through certain and eternal death by tha blood of tha Son. Our water baptism be our way of showing that our old self be dead. When we come up out of tha water, that be our way of showing we now be alive in tha Son.
If ya ne’er died ter yer old self and be born agin in ter tha fer ever living life of tha Son, will ya make it yer task ter do so now? Some one, some place, at some time be praying ya will, of this ya kin be sure.
Make It Yer Task Ter Be Found Faithful, Not Fearful
Keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Acts 27:14-25 (Acts 27:25)
It whar not long after tha ship cleared tha coast that tha gentle south wind clocked around and ah Nor’easter began ter howl. Hurricane force winds swept down from the island. Caught in tha storm, tha ship could not head up and keep course. Overpowered by waves and wind, tha pilot and captain gave way and allowed tha vessel ter be driven along by violent gusts.
This often be tha result of discarding Skip’s Code of Conduct and wise council. When we think we ‘ave tacked in ter a gentle, more kind, more thoughtful and compassionate wind, such a breeze ‘ill often clock around, grow in strength, and threaten ter destroy both ship and crew.
As Saul Paul and crew passed ter tha lee of ah small island called Cauda, they whar hardly able ter make tha lifeboat secure. Fearing tha tiny boat might be lost, tha men hoisted it aboard.
With planks in tha hull bending and seams separating so much so that water flooded tha lower decks, tha crew passed ropes under tha ship so as ter hold it tergether.
Still tha vessel groaned and threatened ter break apart as waves bashed in ter her. Because they whar afraid they would run aground on tha sandbars of Syrtis, tha crew lowered tha sea anchor and let tha ship be driven along. Fer days tha crew took such ah violent battering from tha storm that they began ter throw cargo overboard.
On tha third day at sea, they threw tha ship’s tackle overboard with thar own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared fer many days and tha storm continued raging, all gave up hope of being saved — all ‘cept one, that is.
Only Saul Paul trusted that Skipper would see ’em through tha blow.
“Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete,” he told them. “Then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, for last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me. He said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar. God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you. Not one of you will be lost,’ tha angel said. ‘Only the ship will be destroyed.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.”
This be tha value of one faithful follower of Skip among a crew of unbelievers.
Back in tha days of tha Great Wickedness, when every inclination of tha thoughts of fellers and lasses whar evil all the time, Noah found favor in the eyes of Skipper and saved his family. Back in tha days of Abraham, when tha Great Outcry agin Sodom and Gomorrah reached heaven, Lot found jest enough righteousness and faith ter save his family. On and on we find in Skip’s Code of Conduct that when one feller or one lass finds tha courage and starch ter stick with Skip they kin bring others through disaster. Though great loss might come ter belongings, homes, nations, if we ‘ill side with Skip in all matters, he ‘ill oftentimes bring us and others ter safety.
Make it yer task ter be found faithful, not fearful, during times of distress. Tha way we deal with disaster ‘ill often be tha only testimony of tha Son some ‘ill ever see or hear. May we be found ter ‘ave faith in Skip, belong ter Skip, and serve Skip at all times.
When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity. Acts 27:13 (Acts 27:1-13)
When tha time came fer King Agrippa and Festus ter ship Saul Paul off ter Rome, tha apostle and some other prisoners whar handed over ter ah centurion by tha name of Julius who belonged ter tha Imperial Regiment. They boarded ah ship from Adramyttium (an ancient city in what now be called Turkey) and put out ter sea. Fer company ah chap from Thessalonica, by tha named of Aristarchus, sailed with Saul Paul and Luke.
When they reached Sidon, Julius showed Saul Paul ah wee bit of kindness and allowed him ter go to his friends so they may attend ter his needs. After this, tha ship set sail and attempted ter make fer Cyprus, only tha winds whar agin tha vessel and she took ah bashing. Struggling ter skirt along tha coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, tha ship finally sailed across open sea and landed at Myra in Lycia.
No doubt Saul Paul reflected on all tha folks he met and ministered ter while in Pamphylia and Macedonia. With land ter tha north and open water south, Saul Paul stood on tha deck of that ship, most likely knowing he would ne’er pass that way agin.
Such moments often come ter all us. We think we ‘ill see loved ones, friends, mates, agin, but often times our “goodbye” be tha last words we spake ter ’em. If we don’ make time fer friends, we ‘ill often find we ‘ave neither friends nor memories of times spent tergether. Such be tha way of Saul Paul: always reaching out ter bring one more in ter tha kingdom of Skip.
Tha decision whar made ter sail on, only Saul Paul warned such a voyage so late in tha season be a terrible idear. “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.”
Instead of listening ter Saul Paul, though, tha pilot and owner of tha ship persuaded tha majority ter sail on. So it whar that with great difficulty, tha ship moved slowly along tha coast of Crete until at last tha ship reached Fair Havens near tha port of Lasea.
This often be tha way of folks who doth not ‘ave tha ear of Skipper or ears ter hear Skipper’s wise council. Tha majority rules, even when tha majority be putting tha lives of all at risk by hasty and foolish decisions.
We often see such thinking among Skip’s crew ever day. Congregates gather ter discuss and debate tha merits of abandoning ah wee bit of Skip’s Code of Conduct in order not ter hurt folks’ feelings. One side pleads fer broad-mindedness, compassion, charity, and tolerance fer all.
Only tha Son warned that intolerance be tha way ter Skipper.
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
Ah compass be narrow, intolerant, and lacks compassion. Ah compass doth not care that in fixing our position far, far away from whar we wish ter be, we ‘ill be uncomfortable, dejected, and faced with ah long voyage rife with difficulties. No, ah compass ‘ill always point ter true north. Ter do otherwise would be ter leave all lost at sea.
Tha Son said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
Putting up with any old course ‘ill not get ya ter Skipper. Sailing along on ah broad reach in order ter gain comfort might be tha easy, popular way, but it’ll lead ter death and destruction, often on rocks and reefs and sandbars. When tha winds of change blow across tha deck, some congregates ‘ill take it as ah sign that Skip be in favor of casting off all moral restraint.
Doth not be fooled.
Thar be only one way ter Skipper and that be by sailing with tha Son. Stick ter his words — all his words, both them he spake in person and them he gave ter Moses, tha Prophets, and tha wisdom writers.
Soon ah gentle south wind began ter blow. Tha pilot, crew, and passengers of Saul Paul’s ship took this as ah confirming sign that tha little gods of man be with ’em. Tha devil often gives us confirming circumstances that our sinful behavior be tha right course ter sail. Obstacles disappear, others clap us on tha back ter encourage our rebellious behavior. In good spirits, and often consuming strong spirits, we shove off, convinced all ‘ill go well with us.
Sensing ah pleasant voyage whar in tha cards, tha crew weighed anchor and sailed along the coast of Crete. Only Saul Paul knew of tha disaster that lay ahead.
This be tha way of them who stick with Skip and tha Son, who hold ter his words and wisdom. Though others might vote us down, vote us out, if we remain with Skip and his Son we be in tha majority.
When ah crew of congregates vote ter cast off Skip and his Son and sail by tha moral compass of men, doth not cause a ruckus. Doth not pitch a fit. Instead pray fer tha souls of tha pilot, tha captain, and crew. If it be in yer power ter escape ah vessel headed fer disaster and sail aboard one that adheres ter Skip’s wise council, then abandon ship. But if not, prepare lifeboats fer tha time when disaster strikes. Take inventory of provisions. Stock up on water so all may keep thar strength. Be a beacon of love, kindness, and truth.
This be tha way of Saul Paul. This be tha way of tha Son. This be tha way of Skipper. Make this yer way, fer in doing so tha lives of many may be spared.