Sunday 9th August

Life of Paul – Protected

This week we will be finishing our series, looking at the life of Paul. We will be looking at Paul being protected, and thinking about how God can protect his people. The reading will be from Acts 23:12-35.

Song: Give thanks to the Lord, our God and King

Psalm 136

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures for ever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures for ever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures for ever.

to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures for ever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures for ever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures for ever.
who made the great lights –
His love endures for ever.
the sun to govern the day,
His love endures for ever.
the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures for ever.

to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
His love endures for ever.
and brought Israel out from among them
His love endures for ever.
with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
His love endures for ever.

to him who divided the Red Sea asunder
His love endures for ever.
and brought Israel through the midst of it,
His love endures for ever.
but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;
His love endures for ever.

to him who led his people through the wilderness;
His love endures for ever.

to him who struck down great kings,
His love endures for ever.
and killed mighty kings –
His love endures for ever.
Sihon king of the Amorites
His love endures for ever.
and Og king of Bashan –
His love endures for ever.
and gave their land as an inheritance,
His love endures for ever.
an inheritance to his servant Israel.
His love endures for ever.

He remembered us in our low estate
His love endures for ever.
and freed us from our enemies.
His love endures for ever.
He gives food to every creature.
His love endures for ever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures for ever.

The psalmist there is going back through history, right back to Genesis 1 about creation and God creating the world, well actually before that – it talks about God being the God of gods and Lord of lords, so He was always there. And then throughout the history of the nation of Israel – He brought them through out of the land of Egypt, through the red sea, and leading them to their inheritance of the promised land – His love endures forever. God’s purposes and plan are fulfilled throughout.

We’ve seen that a bit in the life of Paul, how step by step through the various things we’ve looked at. How he was called and went through what God wanted him to do. God’s plan was being fulfilled all the time through Paul.

It’s the same in our lives as well. We can look back and see what God has done in many of us, and see the process God has brought us through, where He’s brought us to, but also that knowledge and understanding that we have an inheritance, because His love endures forever. We’re no longer bound, we’re no longer slaves to sin, we’re no longer slaves to an uncertain future. We have that wonderful inheritance and release from sin, which is available to us.

Song: No longer slaves

Song: It is well with my soul

Reading: Acts 23:12-35

Message

Hopefully you found that helpful. Thanks to the Olive Mennonite Church for recording that message.

Although our ‘P’ this week was protected, if we look back over our series on the life of Paul we could add another ‘P’ in there – ‘Plan’. It’s clear that God’s plan is always fulfilled.

Perhaps there’s elements of that as individuals – God’s plan in our lives, but it’s also relevant for us as a church – our future and where we go now. One of the things the chap said was that sometimes we don’t know what God is doing, and it feels a bit like that. Before the pandemic we were starting to look at our future and wondering about whether to employ another full time worker and our future. Then the pandemic came and changed everything yet again. We’re at this place where we don’t know what God is doing, and where He’s taking us. But He knows the plans for us! God is with us and will take us through.

Hopefully as we finish this series, as we move forwards as a church, that we can be encouraged both individually, and as a church, that God’s plan will be fulfilled. Even though we’re small numbers and might think we’re ineffectual. Look at the passage – There was a phenomenal number of Roman soldiers sent to protect Paul. It might have seemed overkill, but that’s God’s way of making things happen. From the little things like Paul’s nephew, to the mighty Roman army to fulfill His purposes.

We don’t always know the path, or even the next step, but we can keep going with God leading us in the way He wants us to go.

Song: The Blessing