SERIES: The Book of Acts

TEXT: Acts 23:11-35

MESSAGE: “Beyond the Trials”


“Theism allows us to live within our humanity more comfortably…We are not ‘accidental collocations of atoms,’ as Bertrand Russell put it—we are characters in the middle of the greatest story ever told.” — Gavin Ortlund

“While the popular adage declares that “the devil is in the details,” it is more accurate to avow that God is in the details. The doctrine of providence declares that God’s providential rule extends to all things great and small, from the huge to the minute, the infinite to the infinitesimal.”  — RC Sproul (The Invisible Hand)

TEXT: Acts 23:11-35

Q: How does Paul find comfort and protection in knowing God is in the details? It’s when he experiences: (1. God’s Assurance 2. God’s Hand 3. God’s Plan)

  1. God’s Assurance (v. 11)

The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”

“Luke…is highlighting not only the judicial trials, but (Paul’s) personal trials. He’s helping us to enter into his world personally.” — Leo Shuster

Hebrews 13:5 — “God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

      2. God’s Hand (v. 19-24)

The commander took the young man by the hand, drew him aside and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?” 20 He said: “Some Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul before the Sanhedrin tomorrow on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about him. 21 Don’t give in to them, because more than forty of them are waiting in ambush for him. They have taken an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are ready now, waiting for your consent to their request.” 22 The commander dismissed the young man with this warning: “Don’t tell anyone that you have reported this to me.”  23 Then he called two of his centurions and ordered them, “Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at nine tonight. 24 Provide horses for Paul so that he may be taken safely to Governor Felix.”

“Sometimes God delivers his children by the simple word of a young relative. Sometimes he has to call in the calvary. At all times, he is ultimately in charge.” – Kenneth Gangel 

      3. God’s Plan (v. 31-35)

So the soldiers, carrying out their orders, took Paul with them during the night and brought him as far as Antipatris. 32 The next day they let the cavalry go on with him, while they returned to the barracks. 33 When the cavalry arrived in Caesarea, they delivered the letter to the governor and handed Paul over to him. 34 The governor read the letter and asked what province he was from. Learning that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will hear your case when your accusers get here.” Then he ordered that Paul be kept under guard in Herod’s palace.”

“So the nephew thwarts the plan. Lysias reports the plan. Soldiers transport the prisoner. And all this occurs under the sovereign rule of the King…God has an infinite number of options for working out his will in our lives. While our daily lives may not look spectacular, we can be assured that God is involved in the affairs of his people.” – Tony Merida

“…Job answered the Lord and said: 2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” — Job 42:1-2


  • Remember His presence

“Our life is full of brokenness – broken relationships, broken promises, broken expectations. How can we live with that brokenness without becoming bitter and resentful except by returning again and again to God’s faithful presence in our lives.” – Henri Nouwen

  • Remember your calling

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” — 1 Corinthians 1:26-27

  • Remember His story

He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer…”— Isaiah 53:9

…and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. — Isaiah 53:10

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