Paul’s Journey to Rome


Introduction.  (Acts 28:11-14)  The account here in the book of Acts describes the apostle Paul completing a journey to the ancient city of Rome.  Rome was the seat of the Roman empire, who ruled the world of the first century.  There are a number of valuable lessons we can learn from this journey that we will consider this morning.


I. Paul’s Desire to Go to Rome.

A.  Paul’s word to the Romans (Romans 15:18-25).  It is believed that Paul wrote these words in about the year 57 AD.  from the city of Corinth.  This is said because.

1.  He mentions Phoebe, from Cenchrea, a suburb of Corinth (Romans 16:1).

2.  He claims to be the guest of Gaius in Romans 16:23.  Gaius is mentioned in I Corinthians 1:14 whom Paul converted.

3.  A greeting is offered from Erastus in Romans 16:23.  Paul speaks of an Erastus in Corinth in II Timothy 4:20.

            It is believed that Paul was planning to return to Jerusalem with his gift for the saints there which the churches had made to help them in their need, and then (he hoped) return and go to Rome and a number of other places as well.

— Paul had never been to the church in Rome (Romans 1:13).

B.  The reason for Paul’s desire.

—  See the great monuments?

—  Meet some of the important people?

    Gain some prestige? (Romans 1:8-12).


II.  The Way to Rome.

            Something happened in the midst of this that changed  his plans.  1.)  Arrival at Jerusalem.  Acts 21:15-17  (All well so far!).  2.)  Entering the temple.  Acts 21:26-31  (A bit of a problem here!  Could be solved easily enough - he hadn’t taken a Gentile with him.  Paul speaks to the crowd about Jesus and his conversion.)  3.)  The outcome.  Acts 22:22-24 (They don’t beat him because he is a Roman citizen, but they do call him before the Jewish council.)  4.  Before the council (Acts 23:10-11).  (Note:  More trouble - but the Lord tells Paul he will get his wish!  He’ll go to Rome.)

— Private audience with Caesar?

— Speak as the guest of honor in the Roman senate?

—  Jews would accept his word and the Romans would want to know what this was all about?

The way it worked out…

A.  The plot to kill Paul.  Forty jews vowed to kill Paul (Acts 23:12).

B.  News of this makes it to Paul and the Romans he is taken to Caesarea by 200 soldiers.  The governor Felix hears Paul before his accusers.  Released?  No!  Held for two years (Acts 24).

C.  New governor, Festus.  Jews renew their complaint.  They want Paul brought to Jerusalem, hoping to ambush him along the way (Acts 25:7-12).  Note: Save his life & fulfill his goal.

D.  The trip. 

1.  Pleasant at first (Acts 27:1-8).

2.  Dangerous upon leaving Crete (Acts 27:10,11 & 18-26). This isn’t looking to good is it!  This isn’t how he hoped to get to Rome!.  The ship is lost (Acts 27:41-28:1).

3.  Snake bitten (Acts 28:1-10).  He doesn’t die.  Finally as we read he makes it to Rome.  


III.  The Challenge to Faith.

            Imagine here how easy it would have been for Paul to feel that things weren’t going right!

Goal: Rome Path: Prison, Shipwreck, Hardship!  Wouldn’t it have been easy for him to give up?  Wouldn’t it have been difficult to accept that God’s way to give him his desire was truly the best way?  We sometimes have the same challenges…

A.  The Goal of Heaven.  The goal: eternal life

            The way: involves…

            —  Giving up things we enjoy.     

            —  Spending our time with God’s people.

            —  Changing ourselves.

            We are tempted to say — this isn’t the way to the goal!  (Matthew 16:24-26; 7:13,14).

B.  The Goal of Honest Living.

The goal: to make an honest living in honorable work.

The way involves…

—  Many all around who profit by dishonesty

—  You see the ways you might prosper by doing what isn’t quite honest.

—  You feel like you are beating your head against the wall trying to make ends meet and never can.

The temptation is to say -  “I’m just going to quit trying to be honest!” (Matthew 6:1-4; Ephesians 6:5-8).

C.  The Goal of Purity.

The goal:  Self-control (temper, sobriety, sexuality)

The way is…

— Face a world where those all around us throw their own immorality in our faces everyday!

—  We face disappointments that make us want escapes from reality.

—  Self-control is painfully difficult.

The temptation is to say - “No one is self-controlled anymore!  Why should I be?”  Or perhaps, “I just can’t resist temptation!”  (I Corinthians 10:13; 6:19,20).

D.  The Goal of Family Fidelity.

The goal: Good husbands & wives / parents & children

The way involves…

—  Putting up with annoying habits.

—  Feeling unappreciated

—  Feeling taken advantage of

—  Feeling misunderstood

            The temptation is to say -  “I’m just going to give up!”  God doesn’t know what I have to go through!  or “My parents don’t know what they are talking about!  or I don’t know how to raise kids anyway!  Colossians 3:18-21


Conclusion.  Paul made it to his goal of seeing the brethren in Rome, even though it wasn’t the way he might have imagined.  He didn’t give up and God used his life to bless scores of people in both his own time and beyond.  How can God use our lives to His glory, if we will but persevere?