“Growing in Lockdown” – Paul in lockdown part 3

A sermon for the Watford and Wokingham ministries

Acts 28:16-31

How can we maintain our passion for spreading the good news?
How can we notice opportunities God is giving us to spread the good news?
What could we do to capitalise on those opportunities?

How can we notice the opportunities God is giving us for spiritual growth?
What can we do to capitalise on those opportunities?

Introduction

– Could you use some inspiration?
– Looking at Biblical character in ‘lockdown’ circumstances
– Circumstances beyond our control – how react? In faith?

– House arrest – “When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.” (Acts 28:16 NIV11)
– Two years – “For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him.” (Acts 28:30 NIV11)
– Last two weeks – spreading encouragement, and prayer; hospitality
– This week……

1. The word of God grows in lockdown

– Converted Onesimus: “I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains.” (Philemon 1:10 NIV11)
– God brought him to Paul – are we noticing who God is bringing to us
– Impact on the guards: Philippians 1:12–13; 4:22
– Unique opportunities given to us via lockdown

Discussion: “What creative ways could we use to spread the Word to more people?”

– Ideas:
– Blog
– Recorded testimonies
– Podcast
– Videos on youtube
– TikTok
– Send material to me if not sure what to do with it


2. Spiritual growth in lockdown

– Practicing what he preached: “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3–5 NIV11)
– In what spiritual areas has God got your attention?
– Rejoicing in sufferings: “Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.” (Colossians 1:24 NIV11)
– “But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.” (Philippians 2:17–18 NIV11)
– Might be best opportunity for spiritual growth you’ve had in years!
– “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.“Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.” (Hebrews 12:7–13 NIV11)
-Renovare Book Club
-Lectio 365 App

Discussion: “What is it about this time that is, or could be, a catalyst for your spiritual growth?”


Conclusion

Key scripture:
– “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 5:7–10 NIV11)

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: [malcolm@malcolmcox.org](mailto:malcolm@malcolmcox.org).

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://[www.malcolmcox.org](http://www.malcolmcox.org/).

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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm