A Mind Changing Look
A. In verse 6 we find these words, "After they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds."
B. What was the reason that these people changed their minds about Paul? They thought surely he must be a murderer.
C. When they saw how Paul reacted to the viper that clung to his hand, they realized that Paul was a Christian in a crisis.
D. When he did not go into a screaming rage, they realized that Paul was a Christian with courage.
E. When they saw Paul gathering wood to go on the fire that they had already built, they realized that Paul was a Christian with concern.
I. PAUL WAS A CHRISTIAN IN A CRISIS.
A. Paul was a Christian with a viper on his hand.
1. He could have reacted by cursing or swearing.
2. This viper was not enough to make Paul curse or swear - Paul had been in other crises.
B. Paul was a Christian in all perils.
II Corinthians 11:24-27
C. Paul was a Christian in a hurricane.
D. It is no wonder that Paul could control his emotions when he was in a critical situation.
1. Philippians 4:11, "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content."
2. Paul knew that serving the Lord would bring crisis.
3. The Christian who can only shine for God in fair weather is a Christian who is of little value in the midst of a storm.
4. God allows us to be placed in critical situations in order that we might be of help to others.
E. God could have kept Daniel out of the den of lions or Paul and Silas out of jail.
1. But God has never promised to keep us out of hard places.
2. He has promised to go with us through every hard place and bring us through victoriously.
II. PAUL WAS A CHRISTIAN WITH COURAGE.
A. He faced the fearful unafraid.
1. Romans 13:7, "Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute [is due]; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour."
2. When the poisonous viper latched on his hand, he simply without fear shook it off into the fire.
3. Paul realized he was filled with the Holy Spirit and he was God's preacher.
4. On his way to Rome to preach the Gospel.
5. What did he have to fear from a little serpent?
B. Paul had courage to worship.
1. Acts 28:16, "And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him."
2. Paul was the only Christian within many miles to say the least, if not the only Christian in the city of Rome.
3. No one would know if Paul kept his Christian faith and the Gospel to himself or not.
4. Yes, God would know.
5. Paul would not let Satan talk him out of testifying just because he had no earthly witnesses.
6. Acts 28:23, "And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into [his] lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and [out of] the prophets, from morning till evening."
7. One of the most important qualities that a Christian can possess is this quality to witness.
8. Witness when only God is watching.
C. Peter Cartwright was preaching in a little church and as he began to denounce sin, someone near him whispered, "General Stonewall Jackson is here!"
1. The fearless preacher asked, "And who is General Jackson? If he doesn't repent of his sins, he'll go to hell forever."
2. Many feared that General Jackson would become angry - he didn't however.
3. The sincerity and courage of the preacher deeply moved him.
4. He said to the preacher at the close of the service, "If I had an army of such fearless men, I could win every battle; I could be victorious in every battle!"
D. Are we soldiers of the cross?
1. Are we soldiers of the cross marching as to war, or are we sitting in the holy temple?
2. Are we men in active duty or are we in the reserves?
3. Are we running the race of life, or are we only spectators of the ones who do run?
4. Let me ask you a very important question - would you cultivate a tree that would not bear fruit?
5. Would you hire a helper who would not work?
6. If you think being a member of the Lord's Church is like being a statue in a museum, you don't realize how wrong you are!
7. The commission of the Church is a working commission - going takes effort.
III. PAUL WAS A CHRISTIAN WITH CONCERN.
A. He was concerned about their physical well being. “He gathered a bundle of sticks.”
B. More importantly, Paul was concerned about their soul.
1. He gave them a proper testimony. His life exemplified his personal relationship with his Lord. Our lives should exemplify “Christ In Us.”
2. He showed the power of God in laying on of hands and diseases being healed. “Whatever ability or gift given to us must be used to the glory of God.”
3. His manner of life netted a change of mind in those witnessing his life. Our lives should be so lived that others will have a change of mind based partly upon our demeanor.
A. Paul was a pioneer missionary.
B. He went where the buildings were not yet erected.
C. He went where the message had not yet been accepted.
D. Where are we taking the message of God today???