"A HARMONY OF THE LIFE OF PAUL" First Roman Captivity (61-63 A.D.) INTRODUCTION 1. After his fateful voyage, Paul and his companions arrived at Rome... a. Where he was placed under house arrest - Ac 28:16 b. Where he waited two years to make his appeal before Caesar - cf. Ac 25:9-12; 28:30 2. Yet Paul was not idle during this time - cf. Ac 28:30-31 a. He received many visitors b. He was not forbidden to teach those who came to see him c. He likely composed several epistles -- Indeed, it was a fruitful time for Paul [At the close of the book of Acts, we are given an indication of what it must have been like during those two years, as we read of...] I. HIS MEETINGS WITH JEWISH LEADERS A. THE FIRST MEETING... 1. Paul called for the leaders of the Jews in Rome - Ac 28:17a 2. He explained why he was there, and the reason for his appeal - Ac 28:17b-20 a. He had done nothing against the Jews or their customs b. Though Roman officials wanted to let him go, Jews from Jerusalem spoke against it, forcing him to appeal to Caesar c. Yet it was for the hope of Israel he was bound in chains 3. The Jewish leaders desire to learn more - Ac 28:21-22 a. For they neither received letters or heard anything evil of Paul b. But they did want to hear what he had to say about this "sect" spoken against everywhere B. THE SECOND MEETING... 1. On an appointed day, they came to his lodging - Ac 28:23a 2. They heard him explain and solemnly testify - Ac 28:23b a. Of the kingdom of God and concerning Jesus - cf. Ac 8:12 b. From both the Law of Moses and the Prophets - cf. Lk 24: 44-47 c. Lasting from morning until evening 3. Their reaction was mixed; some were persuaded, while others disbelieved - Ac 28:24 4. They departed after Paul gave them solemn warning - Ac 28:25-28 a. Of being hard of hearing and closing their eyes - cf. Isa 6:9-10 b. That the message of God's salvation has been sent to Gentiles and they will hear it 5. They departed and disputed among themselves - Ac 28:29 [The closing verses in Acts indicate that similar meetings were repeated time and again during the two years of Paul's first Roman captivity (Ac 28:30-31). When we turn to Paul's epistles, we can glean more things about...] II. HIS CIRCUMSTANCES IN ROME A. PAUL'S COMPANIONS... 1. Timothy a. The young disciple Paul had picked up on his second journey - Ac 16:1-3 b. Who joined Paul in several salutations in epistles written from Rome - Phm 1; Col 1:1; Php 1:1 c. Who was sent to Philippi in behalf of Paul - Php 2:19-23 2. Epaphras a. Whose visit to Paul prompted the writing of Colossians - Co 1:3-8 b. Who sent his greetings to his beloved brethren at Colosse - Col 4:12-13 c. Who was described as Paul's "fellow-prisoner" - Phm 1:23 3. Onesimus and Tychicus a. Onesimus, the runaway slave converted to Jesus Christ, who was sent along with the letter to his master Philemon - Phe 10-21 b. Onesimus also accompanied Tychicus who bore the epistle to the Colossians - Col 4:7-9 c. Tychicus, who was from Asia (Ac 20:4) was also the bearer of the epistle to the Ephesians - Ep 6:21-22 4. Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, Jesus (Justus) - Phm 24 a. Marcus, also known as John Mark, Barnabas' cousin - Col 4:10; cf. Ac 12:25; 13:5,13; 15:37-40 b. Aristarchus, Paul's "fellow-prisoner" - Col 4:10; cf. Ac 19: 29; 20:4; 27:2 c. Demas, who later forsook Paul - Col 4:14; cf. 2Ti 4:10 d. Luke, the beloved physician who traveled off and on again with Paul, and accompanied him on his voyage to Rome
- Col 4:14; cf. Ac 16:10-12; 20:6; 21:1-17; 27:1-28:16 e. Jesus (also called Justus), a "fellow-worker" with Paul - Co 4:11 5. Epaphroditus a. Who brought a gift to Paul from the Philippians - Php 4:18 b. Who became the bearer of the epistle to the Philippians - Php 2:25-30 -- His companions undoubtedly were a great source of comfort for Paul, and enabled him to do much good while imprisoned in Rome B. PAUL'S PREACHING... 1. Continued preaching despite his chains - Col 1:23-29; Ep 3:1-9 2. Requested prayers for wisdom and boldness to continue preaching - Col 4:3-4; Ep 6:18-20 3. Converted Onesimus, the runaway slave - Phm 10 4. Had opportunities among the palace guard, and apparent success in Caesar's household - Php 1:12-20; 4:22 -- Paul's success in preaching reinforce the idea that the gospel cannot be bound C. PAUL'S LETTERS... 1. The epistle to Philemon (61 or 62 AD.) - Phm 1 a. Purpose: To secure forgiveness for Onesimus b. Theme: Restoration Of A Slave Brother c. Brief Outline: 1) Greetings - Phm 1-3 2) Thanksgiving and prayer for Philemon - Phm 4-7 3) Plea in behalf of Onesimus - Phm 8-21 4) Concluding remarks - Phm 22-25 2. The epistle to the Colossians (61 or 62 A.D.) - Col 1:1-2 a. Purpose: To warn against the "Colossian heresy" b. Theme: Christ, The Fullness Of God And Pre-Eminent, All-Sufficient Savior c. Brief Outline: 1) The pre-eminence of Christ - Col 1:1-23 2) The apostle of Christ - Col 1:24-2:7 3) Warnings against the Colossian heresy - Col 2:8-23 4) The Christian solution - Col 3:1-4:6 5) Paul's companions - Col 4:7-18 3. The epistle to the Ephesians (61 or 62 A.D.) - Ep 1:1 a. Purpose: To remind Christians of their spiritual blessings and responsibilities b. Theme: The Believer's Riches In Christ c. Brief Outline: 1) Doctrine: Our riches in Christ - Ep 1:1-3:21 2) Duty: Our responsibilities in Christ - Ep 4:1-6:20 4. The epistle to the Philippians (63 A.D.) - Php 1:1 a. Purpose: To thank the church for their gift, and encourage faithfulness b. Theme: Rejoice In The Lord! c. Brief Outline: 1) The situation in Rome - Php 1:1-26 2) Exhortation to behavior worthy of the gospel - Php 1:27- 2:18 3) Plans involving Timothy and Epaphroditus - Php 2:19-30 4) Warnings against Judaism and antinomianism - Php 3:1-21 5) Exhortations to unity, joy, and peace - Php 4:1-9 6) Thanksgiving for their generous gift - Php 4:10-23 -- The letters of Paul exemplify the power of letter-writing, especially when limited by circumstances D. PAUL'S LOVE AND CARE FOR THE CHURCHES... 1. Evidenced in the epistles he wrote during this time a. Such as Colossians, to a church he had not seen - Col 2:1-5 b. Such as Ephesians, to a church with whom he had spent much time - Ac 20:17-21 c. Such as Philippians, to a church that was dear to his heart - Php 1:3-5; 4:1 2. Evidenced in the prayers he offered for them a. His prayer for the Colossians - Col 1:9-11 b. His prayers for the Ephesians - Ep 1:15-21; 3:14-19 c. His prayer for the Philippians - Php 1:9-11 -- Paul's love and concern for others despite his own circumstances exemplifies the mind of Christ - cf. Php 2:4-8 E. PAUL'S FAITH AND JOY IN HIS SUFFERING... 1. He rejoiced in his sufferings - Col 1:24; Php 2:16-18 2. He sought to magnify Christ in his sufferings - Php 1:20 -- Paul's imprisonment gave him an opportunity to practice what he had been preaching (and practicing) all along - cf. Ro 5:3-5 CONCLUSION 1. Paul fully expected to be released from his imprisonment, as expressed... a. By his plans to visit Philemon - Phm 22 b. In his epistle to the Philippians - Php 1:23-27; 2:24 2. That he was released and traveled some more is evidenced... a. By references made in such epistles as 1st and 2nd Timothy, Titus b. By the testimony of those who came along later: Chrysostom, Jerome, Eusebius, and even Clement of Rome, who lived in the latter part of the first century A.D. J. W. McGarvey notes in his commentary on Acts: "No two years of Paul's life were better filled with earnest labor than these two spent in his Roman prison." Indeed, we have seen that such was the case, as Paul himself wrote: "But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear." (Php 1:12-14) May we learn from Paul's example of how "good can come out of ill", and use whatever circumstances in which we find ourselves to be utilized for the glory of God!