Message:  In Acts 28 Paul and the shipwrecked crew ran the ship aground and it was destroyed exactly as Paul said it would. They ended up on the shore of an island called Malta. The people were very kind and hospitable, but they didn’t know who they were dealing with so they were watching. When a snake wrapped itself around Paul they speculated that he was a murderer, but when he shook it off and didn’t die they speculated that he was a god. Talk about extremes! As I thought about all of this I realized he was being tested by lots of people. The Jews didn’t trust him, but the Gentiles received him and so did the people of Malta. Paul had quoted old prophesy from Isaiah telling the Jews that they would hear but not listen so the message would be shared with the Gentiles. That was exactly what was happening at that moment, but even that didn’t change their minds. As I thought about this I thought about the relationships in my life. Some were difficult to cultivate and others fell into place. The main driving force behind all of it is the gospel. People either trusted or distrusted Paul because of the gospel. The same is true of us as so this is why it’s so important that we stay focused on the mission. We can’t change the message to appease those who reject it. Paul didn’t change the gospel and he considered his chains a symbol of his suffering and their rejection. The bottom line is that some people will love us and some people will not love what we represent so they will reject us. We can’t allow the rejection to detour us from sharing the gospel. They rejected Jesus also after all.

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