Editor’s Note: This week we welcome Paul Mannino to the blog, and he will be discussing Acts 28. If you want to watch the sermon, it’s posted on Paul’s YouTube Channel here. My wife, Michelle, and I met Paul and his wife, Mary Kate, at the Evangelical Congregational Church’s Pastoral Assessment Center this past January. There they not only got the green light for pastoral ministry, but we began a friendship. After 20 years in local church ministry, the Manninos are pursuing church-planting. I’m excited for you all to hear how Paul communicates God’s Word. If you want to learn more about the Mannino’s ministry, click here to contact them on Facebook.
Well, are you? A confident and complete Christian? Or do you wonder if you are missing something? Maybe you are missing something and you don’t know it? We’ve been tracing the ministry of the Apostle Paul for many weeks, and while he wasn’t perfect, it could be said that Paul was a confident and complete Christian. Keep reading as we learn what that means.
Paul was on a long journey to Rome, and as we saw in the previous post, he not only made it there, but he also did there what he did everywhere, as we read in the final verses in the book of Acts: “For two whole years Paul stayed in Rome in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!”
So what are we getting here? I think, to put it in a short Twitter-sized way: that whole “we’re going to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth” thing—it’s being fulfilled. It’s happening in this moment. Paul is sharing in the hub of his world—the New York City of his time. He is sharing and proclaiming about the kingdom of God and about Jesus Christ. And he is not holding back.
That’s the end of the story, but that’s not the end of the message because, for us, there are some applications that we can take from this passage. Here is the first one. God is sovereign, and that means that we can be confident in the way that we serve, leaving the results up to God. We can be confident as we speak about Jesus. At the end of the day, God can work through us—through our service and through our words—because He has been at work.
In the story of Acts, you can see how God was working in the lives of Peter and James and Paul and Luke. He can and does work in our lives in the same way. God is sovereign, so we can be confident.
The second point is this. Let’s make sure that our message is complete. In both places where it talks about what Paul is saying, not only to the Jews but also to the Gentiles who visited him, it says that he was preaching about Jesus (for sure) but also about the kingdom. The two go hand-in-hand.
The point that I want to make here is that God’s purposes are for the world—His kingdom coming—and not just on an individual, personal basis. When God’s kingdom comes to this earth, the rule and reign of God will set things aright. If we’re followers of Jesus and we pray to God “YOUR kingdom come and YOUR will be done,” then that means we’ve got to be agents of God’s kingdom in this world. We talk about Jesus, and we let people know about Jesus. And we tell people about the life that Jesus can bring. But we also should be SHOWING them the difference that God’s way would make in the world. That means we care about things like justice. That means we care about righting the wrongs in our culture.
I’m so encouraged about the steps that Faith Church is taking to help women who have been stuck in less-than-ideal, unjust, unfair, hurtful situations. You’re giving them the tools that they need to have dignity and thrive in their lives. When we provide hope for the hopeless, when we provide help for the helpless, when we give love to the unloved, we are ushering in God’s kingdom.
People want to talk about 2020 being messed up? The truth is that the world is messed up. But as agents of God’s kingdom, we can actually help usher in something that is the opposite of messed up. Something that is so right that people are thirsting for it. Paul’s message is complete. It’s not just about Jesus. He talks about the kingdom of God. And those things are not mutually exclusive. Obviously, Jesus is all about the kingdom. And the kingdom is all about Jesus.
How about you? As you live out your faith in Jesus, are you confident in him? Do you not only proclaim, but also demonstrate a message of the Kingdom’s rule and reign that is complete?