Acts 25:1-12

And the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews laid out their case against Paul,

Sermon Transcript:

Well good morning to you all here and in Collingswood. And I’m not sure if anybody ventured outside, it’s kind of cold out this morning, into the prayer garden. Maybe they’re out there. We’ll see, uh, later this morning. But we just sang some words and, you know, it’s so easy to get comfortable with a melody of a song and just mow on through them, close your eyes and do it, without knowing what we’re singing.

So here in Mount Laurel, no fate I dread. No fate I dread. I know I’m forgiven. The future is sure. The price, it has been paid. For Jesus bled and suffered for our pardon. And he was raised to overthrow the grave. And in Collingswood, uh, they just finished singing. Well, they will finish singing when they see this.

This is weird. In you, I rest. In you, I find my hope. In you I trust, you never let me go. I place my whole life within your hands alone. Be still my soul in your presence. It’s a gift to be here together this morning with you to study God’s Word, but also to worship and be centered with some of these songs that just bring us back to what is true.

I’ll ask you to turn with me in your Bibles this morning to Acts chapter 25. We’re going to be making our way through here. Maybe you’ve been away for part of the summer, kind of traveling in and out, catching a sermon, then you skip a few weeks and then you come back. We know, A. And B, if you do do that, you probably don’t know what’s happening in the book of Acts.

I’m just kidding. We don’t know, sort of. Um, It can be tricky, though, to stay connected to the overall narrative. And so I want to walk through a little bit of that with you this morning, offer you kind of a brief catch up and and rather than be deeply theological in this narrative explanation this morning.

I kind of got a little creative this week and I wanted to do it for myself. I just drew some pictures and I thought, maybe I’ll put them up there on the screen. And now at this point, I’m thinking to myself, I have the artistic abilities of a two year old and you’re all about to witness my art project this week.

So follow along as we work through the book of. Luke wrote the book of acts. It is a compiled book of church history, the earliest church history following the early days of the followers of Jesus. You know, we just quoted acts chapter one verse eight. It is kind of the theme. I know the book is opening the wrong direction.

You’re already judging me about this book. Now you can’t unsee it. But if you’ve been if you’ve been memorizing along the It’s just there, like the thing is coming out the wrong, oh forget it. Uh, if you’ve been memorizing along, Acts chapter 1 verse 8 is really the summary statement. That’s why we picked it to memorize first.

It is helpful in knowing where we’re going. So you can say it again with me. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. Judea, all Judea.

and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. And that’s exactly what happened. Those were the words Jesus spoke. To his followers as they were waiting upon the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem. Acts chapters one through seven happens over six year time span and Pentecost happened, which is when the believers were in the upper room waiting.

Okay, it’s gonna happen a lot of times. You’re gonna laugh my pictures. That’s fire. I think we’re a beautiful flower, um, descended upon those early believers in tongues of fire. Many were added to their number. They lived together and had all things in common. Persecution picked up quickly though, and the local Jewish ruling authorities came and, uh, oppressed those early believers.

One of the brothers, full of faith, Stephen, was martyred. They’re all gonna be stick figures, I promise you. Was martyred. He was stoned as he was sharing the testimony of Christ. It’s good, right? No, it’s not good. I’m not even sure. They were rocks in my head. There’s an angry crowd there. I just, I don’t know.

Okay, according to God’s plan and because of the Spirit’s allowance, the believers were scattered. Now, where were they scattered? Exactly where Jesus in Acts chapter 1 verse 8 said. Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. And so here we are in Judea and Samaria. Acts chapters 8 through 12 happens over the next nine years.

And a mostly messianic Jewish people came from Judaism and moved into following Jesus movement, expanded now into a multi ethnic movement. Saul, who we now know as Paul, was, uh, encountered Jesus and became a sold out evangelist. Can’t you tell? That’s Jesus. That is Jesus with all of the red on his hands and his feet.

It’s, come on guys, like, okay. Where the followers of Jesus were growing was in a place called Antioch. Peter and Cornelius, uh, gathered there, and they began to grow in their leadership in the church. The followers of Jesus then were first called Christians, and finally the message of Jesus spread even further, as promised in Acts chapter 1, verse 8, the words of Jesus to the ends of the earth.

We’ve been studying through the last 16 chapters of Acts, which happens over 17 years. So we’re working through a lot of years covered in the book of Acts. Paul’s missionary journeys, uh, through Asia Minor, through Greece, and kind of back again. I didn’t even bother with a map. Um, it’s just, it’s a walking journey he did there.

And some sailing, um, but he would routinely go to the synagogues, a place where he, uh, would go and share about the good news of Christ to these religious leaders and hopefully bring them to a knowledge of Jesus. Paul was faced with opposition in sharing this message. And this message was really a message of hope.

And it was important that he walked in and shared that with the people in the synagogue. But what was the message? The message was simply that the membership in the kingdom of Jesus, membership in the kingdom of Jesus, is not based on your ethnicity or your religious heritage. It has no bearing on that.

It is not based on observing the laws of Torah, but it is based on trusting and obeying King Jesus. There is this reality though that was happening here. This movement as it was going, a multi ethnic movement of a whole bunch of people, it was a bit of a paradox. People weren’t exactly sure what was happening.

There was a merging of many cultures. There was men and women involved in this. There were slaves and free people. There were rich and poor invited to the table, treated as equals in a nonviolent allegiance to Jesus movement. And so as we go from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria and then to the ends of the earth, we’re coming in on the final chapters here in this is not the best time for Paul in his life.

Chapter 21, he is arrested. We were there just a few weeks ago, accused of blasphemy and terrorism and being an absolute menace, they said, in society. Chapter 23, he appears before the Jewish Sanhedrin, and he’s put on religious trial. Chapter 24, last week he appeared before Governor Festus, I’m sorry, Felix, who’s a Roman ruler.

And this week, chapter 25, we are in the next trial appearing before So if you’ll turn with me again, flip back just a page, if you have it, uh, 24, chapter 24, the very end is where we’re going to kind of pick up this story leading into chapter 25. After some days, Felix came with his wife, Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus.

As Paul reasoned about righteousness and self control and the coming judgment, Governor Felix was alarmed and said, Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity, I will summon you. At the same time, he hoped that money would be given him by Paul. So he sent for him often and had conversation with him.

See what’s happening here. Paul is repeatedly going back and forth, getting brought in. The, the Roman ruler’s hoping that Paul gives him money to be released from prison. And Paul is preaching the explicit gospel, not only to him, but his family. Paul would later write in 1 Corinthians 1, verse 18, that the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to the ones who are being saved, it’s the power.

of God. Maybe he was thinking about these interactions with Governor Felix. Verse 27. When two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porteous Festus, the new governor. And desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison. Now, three days after Festus had arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea.

And the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews laid out their case against Paul, and they urged him, asking as a favor against Paul, that he summon him to Jerusalem, because they were planning an ambush to kill him along the way. Festus replied that Paul was being kept at Caesarea and that he himself intended to go there shortly.

So, said he, let the men of authority among you come down with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them bring charges against him. After he stayed among them, not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea. And the next day took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought.

When he had arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him that they could not prove. Paul argued in his defense, Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense. But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and there be tried on these charges before me?

But Paul said, I’m standing here, before Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you yourself know very well. If then I am a wrongdoer, and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can give me up to them.

I appeal to Caesar. Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council, answered, To Caesar you have appealed, to Caesar you shall go. Pray with me this morning. Lord, we know it is a work of your spirit to bring us to the knowledge of Christ as our Savior. Lord, we know even now it’s a, it’s a work of your spirit to take words on a page.

Written so many years ago to illuminate them, God, that we might see and be changed people leave us not where we are, God, but lead us into a saving relationship with you ones that that change us, that produce fruit and God, as we continue through this narrative of Paul’s life, might we see and trust you leaning not on the things that we can understand in our world, but leaning on you, God, we pray these things In your name.

Amen. So you’ll notice between chapters 24 and 25, there’s a period of two years Paul was in prison. There is also a transition of leadership. One governor. Felix is out and Festus is now in, but Paul has not moved. He is still in prison. We’re going to walk through the text this morning with a few different headings.

The first one here is the assassination plotted. We notice in verse 1 here, three days after Festus arrived in the province, where does he go? He went Caesarea. Now, why would a new governor, as soon as he is elected, leave the place where he’s sitting and move on to a place in Jerusalem? Well, we know that Jerusalem is the religious center of the province.

It’s the place where the Jewish high priest and the Sanhedrin were located. And as we read, the previous governor, Felix, left Paul in prison as kind of a favor to the Jews. However, not so much a favor to the next guy in charge, because the problem of Paul. Paul still very well much existed. So seeking to keep this peace, Hephaestus goes to Jerusalem to kind of meet with these leaders and say, okay, what’s going on here?

I came into power here and now I have the exact same problem that we faced two years ago. So verse two, the chief priest and the principal men of the Jews laid out their case against Paul and they urged him asking as a favor. Against Paul that he summoned him to Jerusalem because they were planning an ambush to kill him along the way two years.

It passed. Remember that. But these religious leaders hadn’t missed a beat. They were still on this thing against Paul. The religious leaders held onto their argument. And not only that, it grew. They were looking here for another favor from the next governor Festus. Can we just move this trial to Jerusalem?

Let’s bring Paul here out of where he is in Caesarea and we’re gonna bring him to Jerusalem and we’ll try him there. Can you do that for us? Well, why are they asking for a favor? Well, they, did they really intend to have any sort of a good trial here with justice being served? No, they still had a two year old carried over murderous plot to kill Paul before trial even happens.

Their spirit of bitterness grew. They weren’t looking for justice. They were out for murder. The Bible is no stranger to murderous plots and villainous people of ambush. But this time, it’s the chief. And it’s the principal Jewish men, religious leaders. And here we are faced with the fruit of their religiosity on full display.

Jesus called these religious leaders at times whitewashed tombs. Looks good on the outside, but there’s death on the inside. A brood of vipers, blind guides. And he even quotes the prophet Isaiah saying, you hypocrites. Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, these people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

They worship me in vain. Their teachings are merely human rules. And here again, these religious professionals, the ones who should know all of these things enforced a bunch of rules and allowed murder and lies to be the things that festered in their hearts. And so near to God’s truth. And yet so far. If you’re like me and you hear this, the text is really crying out, even still today.

Jesus came to die for our sins, that we might not have this spirit of bitterness. That actually the religion that Jesus preaches is one of heart deep change. If you’ve trusted him as saver, you’ve been redeemed. And God’s spirit lives within you. You’ve been given a new heart. The old has gone, the new has come.

The converted person is not merely just a new and improved version of themselves. They’re totally made new. So there will be fruit. There will be evident fruit of God’s spirit. He says that in Luke chapter 6. For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit.

For figs are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good and the evil person out of the evil treasure produces evil for out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaks. There’s a kid’s song that maybe you have ever heard of.

If not, you’ll hear it now. Rain for Roots. It’s kind of like a coalition of people that write music for kids. There is a kid’s song that’s really infectious and if it gets into your head, you’re going to be singing it forever, but it’s called Apples Don’t Grow on Pear Trees. And it’s a little kid’s song, but it’s simply true.

Apples cannot grow on pear trees. And the chorus goes, Jesus, change our lives so we can bear good fruit. Sadly, these religious leaders have rejected Christ. They have been slaves to their own religiosity and rules. Rejected the good news of the resurrection. And they’ve even rejected Paul as he shared about the testimony of who he once was, the chief of religious scholars.

And now changed by Christ. So back to the story, Festus, the newly appointed governor, hears their requests to try Paul in Jerusalem. And he says, Paul was being kept at Caesarea, and he himself intended to go there shortly. So Festus said this, Let the men of authority among you, why don’t you come down with me?

And if there really is anything wrong with this guy, Paul, Let them bring charges against him. No favors. We’re not transporting this guy, Paul. Come with me and let’s go. I’ll hear the case. We’ll uphold justice. Not the answer. These religious leaders we’re looking for. Okay, second accusation is now presented as we walk through here.

Verse six. After Governor Festus stayed among them, the Jewish leaders, not more than eight or 10 days, he went down to Caesarea. And the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought. If you picture this tribunal, it’s really a place of, uh, a courtroom. Typically, it was a raised platform.

It was in a court of law and commonly called the judgment seat. The Greek word is the bima seat. The same words… Judgment seat. The Bema seat we find in other places. Matthew chapter 27. Governor Pilate this time sat on the same Bema seat and offered up the innocent Jesus instead of the guilty Barabbas.

It’s really interesting that Pilate’s wife counseled him to get rid of the righteous man, Jesus, because she was plagued by dreams about him, similar to Felix’s wife in chapter 24. She didn’t want Paul to be there. Get rid of him. The spirit of God was not only speaking to these governors, but to their very families, and they rejected Christ Festus, the Roman Gentile ruler, hearing a group of angry religious men in an official capacity sat on the judgment seat.

Verse seven. When he Paul had arrived, the Jews had come down from Jerusalem, stood around him, and they brought serious, many serious charges against him. So what were the charges over the things that were being brought up? Mark shared about this last week in chapter 24 verse five. It says this for we found this man was a plague, one who stirs up riots among the Jews throughout the world.

And he’s a ringleader among the sect of the Nazarenes. He even tried to profane the temple, but we we seized him. So they’re essentially re upping the exact same charges from two years ago new governor brought in and here they come to present proof of this, but there is an absence of proof. Verse seven.

So Roman law, if you think about the Roman governors here, Roman law is actually one of the greatest gifts, contributions that Rome has made to mankind. The Romans borrowed a lot of their concepts from the Greeks. Essentially, it was then codified by the Romans. They established laws as a means of protection.

Not only from each other, but from the system, the power of the state. They desired, as a society then, to really trust in this system, this rule of law. In order that they might, uh, be guided in the way that they lived. Emperor Justinian, later on, finished the daunting task of, of compiling all of these laws together.

And he organized them into three separate volumes. The Institutes, the Digest, and the Revised Code. It’s a, a really a momentous legal work that served as the foundation for much of where we get most of the Western law code that we have today. This comes right out of the code. Listen to this, uh, phrase here.

This, this quote. Accusers should not bring criminal charges unless they can be proven by proper witnesses, by conclusive documents, or by circumstantial evidence which amounts to indubitable proof and is clearer than day. Nothing better than putting my own artwork up there and getting to say indubitable in a sermon like that was just the coolest.

I wish I could just read it again. Indubitable. Um, yeah, basically you can’t convict anybody on just suspicion alone. There has to be some proof brought. The Roman Emperor Trajan would say it this way. It’s actually better to permit the crime of a guilty person to go unpunished than to condemn one who is innocent.

And so, verse seven, as these religious leaders are gathered, they brought many and serious charges against Paul that they could not prove. Still, after two years, no credible witness, there’s no verifiable documents of this happening, and there’s no hard evidence of his crime. Verse eight, Paul argued in his defense, Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar, have I committed any of these offenses.

A point by point denial of the charges being brought against him. And so, Governor Festus faces a dilemma. Paul is innocent, he postulates in his brain. So, if I can’t convict him, um, what am I going to do here? I have to uphold justice. But if I don’t convict him of this crime, the religious leaders will get mad, which creates chaos among the new place that I have been made governor over.

Uphold justice, upend the peace. So what am I going to do? Look at verse 9. This is what he does. Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, a lot of favors given to these people and asked for, said to Paul, Hey Paul, do you wish to follow me to go to Jerusalem and there will be tried on these charges before me?

Location change. There’s nothing different, nothing new. It’s that we’re just going to walk 55 miles from Caesarea to Jerusalem and we’ll be tried there. What’s happening in his brain, in his heart? He’s essentially dodging the thing that he’s needing to do. Let’s see if we can compromise. We’ll keep the Jews happy and we’ll go to Jerusalem.

Don’t worry, I will still be the judge. I’ll sit on the judgment seat. I will be governor in Roman rule. It’s a win win, right Paul? Verse 10, but Paul said, I’m standing before Caesar’s tribunal where I ought to be tried to the Jews. I’ve done no wrong as you, Festus, very well know yourself. If then I’ve really done anything wrong, committed for which I deserve to die.

I don’t seek to escape death, but if there is nothing to their charges against me. No one can give me up to them. Paul’s right. There’s no evidence being brought, and you fastest know it. We know the religious leaders had no intention of a fair trial. The location of the trial, totally irrelevant. But listen to Paul’s integrity along the way.

If there really is anything that I’ve done, I am not seeking to escape death. I’m willing to face it. If there is wrong found, bring on the death penalty. But if not, you can’t hand me Over. Finally, here, the appeal is proposed. Verse 11. Look with me. I appeal to Caesar, Paul says. Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council, answered, To Caesar you have appealed.

To Caesar you shall go. Paul invokes this right he has as a Roman citizen to escalate his case, similar to the Supreme Court of our day. Appealing to the highest official, and at this time it was Caesar Nero, and if Nero kind of rings a bell, not the biggest fan of Christians. In fact, he would burn them and light his gardens with them on stakes later in his life.

However, at this time, Nero was actually an okay guy. In the first five years of his reign, he was surrounded by influential people in a good sense, and he was regarded as a wise and just man. Ruler and so Governor Festus confer with this group and he agreed, and so we’ll see in the days ahead as Paul is making his way to the next governing official, and eventually he makes his way to Rome.

Paul was before the Sanhedrin. In chapter 23, you remember he was getting punched in the face by some of those officials. Things got dicey, and the guards took him back into the barracks when the crowds were just moving in to want to kill Paul. And, and they brought him in, and they locked him in the barracks as a measure of safety for his life to have a fair trial.

What happened in chapter 23, verse 11? It says this, The following night, the Lord stood near Paul.

And here we are, years later, years later, it’s exactly as the Lord said, standing by Paul in those barracks. He’s on his way to Rome. Was Paul elated or excited? Maybe just plain exhausted from this whole journey? It’s possible that amidst all of the emotional highs and lows of these trials, there’s a moment that happened where Paul remembered those words, that the Lord met with him and said a confirmation from the Holy Spirit, treasuring the audible words spoken to him.

I Judea, Samaria, and that all happened, but I also told you to take courage. I’m sending you to Rome. Nobody else heard those words in the barracks, but Paul knew the Lord was near and spoke encouragement to him. I don’t know where this text lands for you as you think about this narrative of Paul trusting in this timetable in a way of God that he can’t understand.

But as we come to any place of application, kind of bringing things out of the text that can really matter to my life, I want to share with you a few principles that maybe you already use, and if so, wonderful, it’s a review. If you don’t, I’d encourage you, join with me in learning to apply a text like we just worked through.

We use these as pastors as we comb through the text and really seek to do it honestly, faithfully for what the text is saying. Pastor Mark shared some of these ideas kind of in his opening thoughts last week. You kind of, you come to God’s Word and the question you ask is, why does this matter to me? I mean, I’m not a prisoner.

How can I relate to Paul? The times have changed. It’s a great story, but this book seems to be not helpful in in this passage. Chapter 25. It’s just a passage of time. Well, in an effort to be faithful, ask a few questions. Maybe you can write these down if you want to. What does the author say? Why does he say it in this way?

Why does he say it here? Is there something surprising about the way he says it? Is there a way that he presents it that is surprising? What does it reveal about who God is? This unchanging, omnipotent, omniscient God. If it’s true of God, it’s true of God. And so as we come to the text, ancient or not, it’s ever true of who God is.

There’s a relationship between the original context of the scriptures And where we are today. I want you to look at a visual this morning. Maybe you’ve seen this. But God’s Word is there at the top. It was written in and to a specific original context. It’s, it’s there. It is not written first to us today.

Paul wrote letters. This one we know was written to, uh, by a man named Luke to Theophilus. That’s not my name and it’s not your name. But it is who was written to it was meant to encourage him in his journey as a young believer. And so can we be encouraged as we read this text today? Absolutely. All the more as we apply it faithfully, the overall theme.

Remember again here is not that we would just take God’s word and pull it to us today, but that as we go through this process of the original context, we really can get a meaning out of it that might make sense that might. Change the, some of the frameworks and things that we think about. Remember, there’s some overall themes in the book of Acts that we’ve been talking about since the beginning of this series, like 10 years ago when we started.

The first one, you probably can quote them right from 10 years ago, to carry God’s gospel to all nations. Man, is that happening in spades all over. To sustain God’s people amidst every opposition to fulfill God’s sovereign purposes and to unite God’s church. There’s a summary verse that kind of is, uh, in part appears at the top of your sermon outline today, but it’s Proverbs 3, It, for me, is the summary.

If I were to take this text and I’d hear something out of it. Trust in the Lord. With all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding in all your ways, acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths. What’s happening as Paul is lodged in prison for two years, trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding the interruption to, uh, justice and failure of the Roman leadership to get this right.

It actually allowed the gospel of Jesus to enter the officials homes, make its way into their families. Paul was able to recuperate from the previous many years of traveling around those three laps of a missionary journey, given some time to recuperate. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.

What’s happening as religious leaders continue to lie and, and hurl these murderous threats against Paul. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. And do not lean on your own understanding. Is it possible that our own understanding might lead us to think there’s a, been a delay in Paul’s trial? But if we trust in the Lord, maybe we would see that the delay in trial is actually God’s generous mercy and grace to these Jewish leaders.

Paul was able to defend and share with them multiple times as they were hurling these threats back and forth. He’s bringing the hope of Christ to them. We’re so quick to define God’s mission and God’s intent as get to Rome, make its way there, get through all these trials. They’re just kind of in the way.

But God’s mission doesn’t work around the religious leaders and kind of get them out. God’s mission is after them just as it is you and I. It includes them. Trust in the Lord. And do not lean on our own understanding what’s happening through the years of Paul receiving abuse for sharing Jesus and doing it with gentleness and respect, only to be beaten and flogged and and imprisoned at the end of this season, accusations are made.

They’re delivered here, and the text says they are without proof. God used the record of an obedient man, suffering, innocent man to escape death, trust in the Lord. With all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. God’s spirit may be prompting you and I this morning to apply this passage in a variety of ways.

Maybe you’ve been wrongly accused of something or you’ve been faithfully serving Jesus, representing him and walking. With downtrodden ways because you’re just tired of getting abused from all of the different voices. You want to give up and lash back in anger as Paul probably had that desire to as well.

Can I encourage you, trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean. On your own understanding, maybe there’s an existing framework or worldview that you hold on to that Paul’s trial narrative is redefining for you at the Christian life following Jesus. Certainly Paul, right? Guarantees and worldly success and happiness and safety and comfort and mental stability and obedient kids and a supportive family and friends.

That’s redefined now in Paul’s narrative. Or maybe that persecution is the great enemy and interferes with God’s mission. It’s not so it’s not so trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Maybe like Paul, the timetable of events happening in your life. They’re just dragging on.

It’s laborious. It seems unnecessarily delayed. If we learn anything from Paul’s life, God is trustworthy and our understanding. of time and how and why is so limited. And so again, we come, we trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding. Father, we come to this text this morning.

We want to rush past it. Chapter 25, even this first part here just feels like an interruption to the, the end goal. But God, what you’re doing is something far deeper, more rich than we can even imagine. God, I know that through this crushing and pressing and squeezing of Paul, books like Romans and 1st and 2nd Corinthians and Philippians and Colossians all come out of this, this momentary suffering and produce the text for our very faith.

And so God, as we stand here, we don’t want to be people that rush past a season or a moment or a time that you’re asking us to sit in. We trust in you with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding. I thank you for this passage this morning. Might you teach us to trust you, Lord. We pray these things in your name.