Every Single Detail

November 13, 2020

Acts 23

“This man was seized by some Jews, and they were about to kill him when I arrived with the troops. When I learned that he was a Roman citizen, I removed him to safety.” Acts 23:27 (NLT)

Big Idea: God’s sovereignty directs the circumstances of our lives to advance the mission of the Church of Jesus. 

This week, I was putting a new water filter on our faucet (the filter change light on the old one had gone out). In the bag, there were several pieces that were obviously for different sized sink faucets, as well as a few plastic washers. I did not see what point the washer served, so I put it together without it. When I turned the water on, my wet shirt gave me a hint that maybe I needed the washer after all. I have had the opposite experience too. When building the playset for our kids in the backyard, there were a few trips to Ace hardware to pick up some bolts which did not come in the four massive boxes. Sometimes it seems we have too many pieces, other times too few. Our text today is a powerful reminder that when God is building our lives, He includes precisely the tools and hardware we need. 

As Paul prepared to address the Sanhedrin, he noticed that there happened to be a mix of Sadducees (who only accepted Genesis-Deuteronomy and did not believe in the resurrection of the dead) and Pharisees (who accepted our whole Old Testament). When he addressed them, he was able to use that fact to show that the issue at hand was the resurrection, and pull them away from condemning him to fighting among themselves. Before Paul was ever born, his parents were Roman citizens (a fairly elite group). How they acquired that citizenship is lost to the mists of time, but they could not have known how that fact would change the course of history when Paul was able to preach the gospel before kings because of it. When a group was trying to kill Paul in ambush, his nephew happened to hear about it, and was able to warn Paul and the man in charge of his care, so his life could be saved. 

These “coincidences” were not coincidences at all, but the master plan of the Master. It is a mystery how our free will and God’s sovereignty work together, but they do. Your address, the language you speak, your citizenship, your career, your parents, or your education are no accidents. Do you have a medical problem? A friend? A heartache? A joy? All of these are not ends, but tools in the hands of Jesus, to bring the hope of forgiveness and life to the world. Every detail has purpose and meaning, so you certainly do too. 

Discussion Idea: What is a small thing that has had big consequences in your life? How does God use things which we would not expect and might not be able to control to help us be witnesses for Him?

Prayer Focus: Thank God for the family He gave you, and how He uses its positives and negatives to shape you and equip you.