Chapter Twenty-Eight — Part Four: The Book of ActsBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 06/11/2023Foundation Scriptures:
1. Division Over the Word.
a. Acts 28:25 NKJV — 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,
b. The Holy Spirit had inspired Isaiah the prophet when he prophesied this to Israel (2 Peter 1:21; Acts 3:21; Hebrews 1:1).
Acts 28:26 NKJV — …saying, ‘Go to this people and say: ‘Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; And seeing you will see, and not perceive;
c. ‘Go to this people and say…’
d. This is the 21st Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in Acts (Isaiah 6:9-10; Matthew 13:14-15).
e. God presents the Gospel alike to all.
f. He is not responsible for their choices—it is up to them whether they choose to believe Him and receive His Word, or not.
g. And He will hold them accountable for refusing to believe Him.
h. As Moses declared to them, even after all the signs and wonders they witnessed: “Yet the Lord has not given you a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day” (Deuteronomy 29:4 NKJV).
i. Acts 28:27 KJV — For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
j. Waxed gross (Greek pachynō) — to make thick; to make fat; fatten; metaph. to make stupid; to render the soul dull or callous.
k. Because their hearts were calloused, their understanding was compromised.
l. Father God implored the Jews repeatedly not to harden their hearts against Him, as their forefathers had done (Psalm 95:8; Hebrews 3:8,15, 4:7).
m. This hardheartedness is both the work of Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4) and also man’s choice to be rebellious against God.
2. Salvation to the Gentiles.
a. Acts 28:28 NKJV — “Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!”
b. The Jews received the first invitation to the Wedding Feast but turned it down.
c. Because of their unbelief, God was justified in sending the Gospel to the Gentile world.
d. Sometimes people do not appreciate what is offered to them until they see someone else taking advantage of the offer.
e. Since the Jews thought so little of the great Salvation offered to them, they should not begrudge those who do believe and receive.
f. Romans 11:13-14 NKJV — For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them.
g. Paul hoped that the Jews would be provoked to receive salvation when they saw God’s blessing on the Gentiles.
h. Acts 28:29 NKJV — And when he had said these words, the Jews departed and had a great dispute among themselves.
i. The Jews departed, still arguing with each other.
3. Church in the Rented House.
a. Acts 28:30 AMPC — After this Paul lived there for two entire years [at his own expense] in his own rented lodging, and he welcomed all who came to him,
b. The Roman authorities showed him great favor in allowing him to live in his own rented house whilst still a prisoner.
c. Since it was a rented house, the Christian brethren must have been supporting him financially.
d. For the next two years, Paul’s house became the hub of the Church in Rome, as he graciously preached to whomever came to him.
e. Acts 28:31 AMPC — Preaching to them the kingdom of God and teaching them about the Lord Jesus Christ with boldness and quite openly, and without being molested or hindered.
f. He boldly and openly preached and taught all who came to him, unopposed and unmolested by anyone.
g. For the rest of his life, his ministry was directed primarily toward the Gentiles—who were more receptive to the Gospel than the Jews.
4. The End of the Book—Not of the Story.
a. This is the end of the Book of Acts, and we are not specifically told all the details of what happened to Paul after the two years was up.
b. All we know for sure are the things he mentions in his letters to the Churches.
c. During his two years’ imprisonment he wrote his epistle to the Galatians, his second epistle to Timothy, then to the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and to Philemon.
d. In these letters, he mentions several things particularly concerning his imprisonment.
e. Lastly, he wrote his epistle to the Hebrews just after he was released.
f. Paul affirms that all the things that happened to him to bring him to Rome—good and bad—turned out to be for the furtherance of the Gospel.
g. Philippians 1:12-13 NKJV — But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, 13 so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ
h. Philippians 4:22 NKJV — All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household.
i. He even became known and respected in all of Caesar’s household, in much the same way as Joseph (in prison) became known to Pharoah in Egypt.
j. Philippians 1:14 NKJV –– …and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
k. And Paul’s example inspired and emboldened many other Christians to boldly preach the Gospel.
l. Like Paul, and the Early Church, each of us are agents of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we are to endeavor to boldly preach the Truth of the Gospel to all, in season and out of season; bound, or free.