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​After Acts

Paul’s Fifth Journey

Paul’s first journey was to the southern Galatia area. His second journey was to Macedonia and then the Achaia area. The third to Ephesus. The fourth was to Rome. I do not know why this is not counted as one of his journeys since Paul made the determination to go to Rome while in Corinth in 58 A.D. I understand it was accomplished while under arrest, but it was his decision, and it was accomplished. That makes this his fifth journey to preach God’s Word and to establish strong leadership in the fellowships.

Paul is released from this imprisonment by Rome, after standing trial before Emperor Nero. God has shared some information with us about the trial so that we can see the deliverance Paul received. 

First, the Jerusalem leadership did not send charges against Paul.

Acts 28:21
And they said unto him, we neither received letters out of Judaea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came shewed or spake any harm of thee.

Jerusalem sent neither written nor verbal communication against Paul. 
Second, God showed us the opinions of both King Agrippa II and Governor Festus.

Acts 26:30-31
And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them: And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds.

In sending Paul to Rome Festus needed to send charges with him.

Acts 25:27
For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.

So, the charges by Roman officials say Paul has done nothing worthy of death or imprisonment.

Finally, we have the words of God, that were delivered by an angel, concerning the trial.

Acts 27:24
Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.

The angel of God stood by Paul and told him he must be brought before Caesar. “Be brought before” is the Greek word paristemiParistemi means to stand before, or alongside of. Paul stood before Emperor Nero on trial, but the only evidence shown is evidence in favor of Paul. Therefore, Paul was released.

A logical question to ask at this point is if Paul spent any time in Rome fellowshipping with those who have believed, especially those who have believed since he arrived two years ago. By the manner Paul has shown since Acts chapter thirteen the answer would be yes, he would stay for a while.

Acts 14:22
Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

Acts 16:39-40
And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city. And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.

After the arrest and beating in Philippi, when Paul and Silas were released from prison the town’s magistrates desired them to leave town immediately. But Paul wanted to make sure the believers were comforted, encouraged before he left town.

In Colossians chapter four Paul sends Tychicus to Colossae to learn how they are doing and to share with them how Paul is doing. 

Colossians 4:7-8
All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord: Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts.

We saw the same thing when Paul sent Timothy to Corinth in First Corinthians chapter four. Mentally we need to stop and consider the first century separations by distance and time. Today, we have text messages, email, maybe even a Zoom, or Skype, or a video phone call. In our world time and distance have been rendered moot. But in the first century they are separated for years.

Most would consider Antioch in Syria to be Paul’s home base. It is now 63 A.D., and the last time Paul was in Antioch of Syria was about 53 A.D. Taking time to fellowship with one another, not knowing when they will meet again, brings comfort to their hearts. 

The earliest Paul would be leaving Rome would be around mid to late May of 63 A.D. The most important aspect of this fifth journey is time. By that I mean Paul is under a time constraint although it is unknown to him. 

In fourteen months, a fire will destroy two-thirds of the city of Rome. This fire proves to be the catalyst for Paul’s second imprisonment in Rome. The fire will occur on July 18 of 64 A.D., in the evening. Tacitus, a Roman historian said, “But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called "Chrestians" by the populace.

Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular.

Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.”

The fire will burn for six days, go out and then start again the following day. There were fourteen districts or divisions within the city. Of these ten were destroyed completely or beyond the ability to function. That means two-thirds of the city was destroyed in the fire. How many died is unknown. How many thousands were left homeless is unknown. Food stores were destroyed, the city lacked food to feed the many. Even before the flames were extinguished, Romans were saying Nero had started the fire. On July 24, 64 A.D. Nero began arresting Christians and using them as his scapegoat.

Paul has no time constraints in his mind, he is moving from one city to the next setting up leadership.

The route I am about to lay out is my logic, my opinion, it is not a route laid out in God’s Word. God’s Word shows us places he visited.

From Rome Paul sails to Crete. Yes, I am skipping any thought of Paul going to Spain. Spain would be an entirely new area for preaching God’s Word. Considering the amount of time Paul spent in each of his first three journey’s there is not enough time for Paul to travel to Spain and still go to these other locations.

Until this time the Book of Acts has not mentioned outreach on the island of Crete. Even when Paul was traveling to Rome and they sailed to Crete, there is no mention of believers or a fellowship on Crete. But there has obviously been some outreach. The Book of Acts, since chapter thirteen, has followed Paul, he was not the one who brought God’s Word to Crete, therefore it has not been spoken of before this time.

Titus 1:5
For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:

Crete needed better leadership, godly leadership.

Titus 1:9-11
Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.

As we have seen in so many cities, the Judeans fight against the words of God. But the problem is also the Christian leadership. “Filthy” is the Greek word aischros and means shameful or disgraceful. “Lucre” is the Greek word kerdos and means gain or profit. These leaders were filling their own pockets with money.

Paul, along with Titus, is dealing with leadership. The only mention of Judaism is as a hindrance to the movement of God’s Word. 

God inspired Paul to work with the leadership of Ephesus when he was on his way to Jerusalem. 

Acts 20:29-30
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also, of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

Paul warns the leadership that attacks are coming. The Adversary will attack from without, and he will find some from within that will not stand. The parable of the sower and the seed shows us that the Adversary will work to pressure people away from God’s Word, or he will use pleasure to bribe people to leave God’s Word, consider Demas in Second Timothy.

Paul spoke to them of the grievous wolves that would come into the fellowships after his departure. This will happen in every city where there are fellowships of believers. Remember Elymas. Elymas, and others like him, seek to pervert the right ways of the Lord. The leadership needs to stay sharp in the words of God. It will be God’s Word and the power of God’s gift of holy spirit that will equip a leader to stand and care for those in the fellowship.

From Crete Paul sails to Ephesus and there he leaves Timothy for the same reasons he left Titus on Crete.

1 Timothy 1:3-4
As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

Strong leadership is important. Staying faithful to the right doctrine is important.

2 Timothy 2:16-18
But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

It does not seem like the best doctrine to change, but I am sure Hymenaeus had it thought through. By the turn of the first century, those theology calls the Church Fathers, are putting forth some very strange doctrines for a centralized church. Under the direction of the Apostle Paul there was not a centralized church, there was a centralized doctrine. The church was left under the direction of the head Christ Jesus.

When you share God’s Word, why do you share it? Is it for personal gain or personal profit? When you teach God’s Word, why do you teach it?

Some teach God’s Word like it is a business. They are looking for the money, “filthy lucre.”
Some others teach God’s Word to exercise power over other people, collect disciples to themselves.
These have lost the integrity of God’s Word.

Why share these words of God with another person?

1 Timothy 1:5
Now the end of the commandment is charity [agape = love] out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

1 Timothy 1:5
The goal of our instruction is the love
 that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a sincere faith.
Berean Study Bible

1 Timothy 1:5
But the goal of our instruction is love [which springs] from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
Amplified Bible

Why share the words of God with another person?

My first reason would be, it is the Will of God. 1 Timothy 2:4
For another, to present reconciliation with God. Romans 5:11
For another, to open their eyes, to turn from darkness to Light. Acts 26:18
For another, for freedom and liberty. Galatians 5:1
For another, to give hope. Ephesians 1:13-14
For another, to edify and minister grace. Ephesians 4:29
For another, to know the heart of your Heavenly Father Romans 8:15-16

Finally, to walk in love toward another person. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Leaders are men and women who have to give and want to give. They did not receive more holy spirit, or an extra manifestation, or more access to God.

1 Timothy 3:1
This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 

Paul is going from city to city and strengthening the leadership. 

From Ephesus Paul goes up to Colossae to visit with his friend Philemon.

Philemon 1:22
But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.

Philemon is overseeing a fellowship in his home, within his brief letter to Philemon Paul gives the key to having an effective family fellowship in your home.

Philemon 1:5-7
Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.

The visit to Colossae and Philemon may have a twofold purpose.

Philemon 1:1-2
Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer, and to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house:

The opening greeting is to Philemon, Apphia, his wife, and Archippus, his son.

Colossians 4:17
And say to Archippus, take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.

Paul has been going from city to city, and from one area to the next to set the leadership in order. From Colossae Paul goes to Miletus. Taking a ship from Miletus Paul sails up to Troas. We have seen throughout Paul’s travels to and from the Macedonia and Achaia areas that Troas is the port of call coming from or going to Macedonia.

2 Timothy 4:13
The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.

Paul wants Timothy to come to Rome and to bring the cloak he left at Troas, as well as the scrolls and the parchments.

From Troas Paul goes into Macedonia.

1 Timothy 1:3
As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

Where does Paul go while he is in Macedonia?

Philippians 1:26
That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

There are no indications concerning Berea or Thessalonica. Did he stop at any of these places, I do not know. Just as I do not know if Paul went down into Achaia to visit Corinth.

How much of the fourteen months has Paul used up?
Has the fire already happened?
Has the persecution in Rome started?

Paul goes to Nicopolis and writes to Titus.

Titus 3:12-13
When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter. Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them.

Paul does not mention returning to Rome, or a Roman persecution, or a fire in Rome.

We do have this information which I think is Paul setting up more leadership before he heads to Rome.
    Crescens to Galatia
    Titus to Dalmatia
    Erastus remains in Corinth.

The persecution of the Christians in Rome started quickly. Nero was arresting Christians before the embers had grown cold. Fourteen months is barely enough time for Paul to have traveled this far.

We are not told if Zenas and Apollos came with Titus to Nicopolis, but we know Paul returned to Rome and that he was arrested and sentenced to death.

If Zenas and Apollos did go to Rome with Paul, you have to wonder what happened.

2 Timothy 4:16
At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.

I can read these words and they can register in my mind, but my heart cannot comprehend what I am reading. No man, no one stood with Paul! All “forsook” him? This happened almost two thousand years ago, and it broke my heart again tonight.

As my Lord said at another crucial point in time, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

2 Timothy 4:17a
Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me…

Paul has another vision. The grammar of the verb stood tells us that Jesus Christ was standing next to Paul as he faced his judges. I stand in awe of my Lord and savior.

Thank you for joining me on this journey through the Book of Acts. It has been a privilege to share God’s Word with you.

​© Auxano Ministry 2023

The Journey Beyond  the Book of Acts