I Will Share Your Chains, I Will Share Your Storm: Companions In Conflict & Struggle

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament scriptural account of the spiritual body of Jesus Christ which is the church as it was written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke in the book of Acts. More specially, today’s passage is found in verses thirteen through twenty-six of the twenty-seventh chapter. PAUL AND CERTAIN OTHER PRISONERS! PAUL, A PRISONER OF JESUS CHRIST! PAUL, NOT A PRISONER OF MAN, BUT OF JESUS THE CHRIST! THE WIND NOT SUFFERING US! WHEN SAILING WAS NOW DANGEROUS! THIS VOYAGE WILL BE WITH HURT AND MUCH DANGER! THER EAROSE A TEMPESTUOUS WIND! WE BEING EXCEEDINGLY TOSSED WITH A TEMPEST! WHEN NEITHER SUN NOR STARS IN MANY DAYS APPEARED! ALL HOPE THAT WE SHOULD BE SAVED WAS THEN TAKEN AWAY! IGNORING THE SIGNS! IGNORING THE WARNINGS! PRESERVED FROM THREATS ON LAND! PRESERVED FROM THREATS AT SEA! PRESERVED TO STAND TESTIMONY AND BEAR WITNESS! WHEN A CARPENTER SAYS LAUNCH OUT! WHEN A PRISONER SAYS STAY PUT! JESUS INSTRUCTED THE DISCIPLES TO LAUNCH OUT INTO THE DEEP! THE APOSTLE PAUL INSTRUCTED THE CENTURION TO STAY PUT! SEIZED IN THE MIDAT OF A RIOT! JOINT PRISONER OF CHRIST! ACCOMPANIED IN THE STRUGGLE! COMPANIONS IN THE RIOT & COMPANIONS IN CHAINS! STILL WITH YOU AFTER THE RIOT & IN THE SHACKLES! I’M STILL HERE IN THE MIDST OF THE STRUGGLE! ACCOMPANIED IN AFFLICTIONS & REFRESHED IN THE COMPANY OF FRIENDS! ARISTARCHUS: FELLOW LABOURER! ARISTARCHUS: FELLOW PRISONER! When you come to this particular portion of scripture you will find the time of the apostles Paul’s accusation having come to an end. After having spent some time before those who would stand to accuse him you will find that eventually there came a point when the accusations ceased and when the voice of the accuser no longer had a place within the life of the apostle. It’s actually quite interesting to think about and consider the fact that what began in the twenty-first chapter with the apostle Paul in Jerusalem and having been seized and beaten almost to the point of death reached its culmination and climax in the twenty-sixth chapter. After standing before various political leaders and figures you will find the time of accusations, the time of questions, the time of interrogation, and even the time of trial coming to and end. As you come to the end of the twenty-sixth chapter you will find a statement made which had been made previously by the other political rulers whom the apostle stood before. The final verse of the twenty-sixth chapter presents us with the declaration of Agrippa the king declaring that the apostle Paul made have been set at Liberty were it not for the fact that he appealed to Caesar. Pause for a moment and think about and consider that tremendous fact, for at the end of it all and after all the voices of accusation had been silenced and had ceased we find Agrippa the king declaring that the apostle Paul would and could have been set free if it weren’t for the fact that he had appealed unto Caesar. How absolutely incredibly intriguing and captivating it is to think about and consider the fact that after all the accusations had been silenced and after all the questions and interrogations had come to an end the apostle Paul might very well and could have been set free and set at Liberty.

The more I read and the more I consider the account of the apostle Paul within these chapters the more I can’t help but see something truly extraordinary and remarkable. In all honesty, as you read the words which are found within these chapters you will find something taking place within the life of the apostle Paul that actually took place within the life of Jesus the Christ. It was true the apostle Paul walked with and followed his Lord and Master Jesus the christ, and that by walking with and following Him he would ultimately and inevitably make his journey unto Jerusalem where he would be seized and bound by the Jews and ultimately handed over to the Gentiles. If you read and study the life of the apostle Paul within these chapters you will not only find him willing to be bound in Jerusalem, but also to die within the city itself. Please don’t miss and lose sight of the tremendous significance of this reality, for even when speaking unto the elders of the Ephesian church the apostle Paul declared unto them that he went bound unto the city of Jerusalem not knowing what would befall him there—only that bonds and afflictions abided him in every city withersoever he traveled. It’s quite unique to think about and consider the fact that the apostle Paul would come unto the city of Jerusalem to worship together with his people and with his nation, and to bring offerings and gifts unto the Lord his God, and in the midst of his time in the temple in Jerusalem he was seized by the Jews who were invited and incensed against him because of the Jews of Asia who spoke out against him in the midst of the crowd. It’s quite telling to think about and consider the fact that the apostle Paul would come unto the city of Jerusalem to worship before the Lord his God, and in the midst of his attempt to worship Him he found himself being seized and dragged out of the temple with the doors shut behind him. In all reality it would be the last time the apostle Paul would enter into the temple, and it would be the last time the apostle Paul would see the city of Jerusalem. As you read the final verses of the book of Acts you will find it written how the Sofitel Paul would be brought forth from Jerusalem and would ultimately be brought unto Caesarea where he would stand before Felix the governor, Porcius Festus, and finally king Agrippa. It would be after he stood and appeared before each of these political rulers the apostle Paul’s journey unto Jerusalem would ultimately lead and bring him unto Rome itself. What began in Jerusalem with the accusations of the Jews and standing trials before political leaders and rulers would ultimately lead the apostle Paul to Rome itself where he would bear witness and give testimony concerning Jesus the Christ.

As I sit here this morning I can’t help but see two distinct principles at work within the life of the apostle Paul during this time. Before we get into that which is found in the twenty-seventh chapter of the book of Acts I find it absolutely necessary to present you with a wonderful contrast and dichotomy which was present within the life of the apostle Paul during this time in his life. If and as you read the words which are found in chapters twenty-one through twenty-six you will find two distinct and two different voices. It might not initially become evident and visible when and as you read the words within these chapters, however, as you come to the end of the twenty-sixth chapter you will undoubtedly have encountered the voice of accusers and those who would accuse the apostle Paul before government leaders and rulers. It is absolutely undeniable and unmistakable to think about and consider the fact that when you read the account of the apostle Paul during this tome of his life you will find THR voice of the accuser and the voice of accusation present within his life. You cannot read the account of the apostle Paul during and at this time and not be directly confronted with the fact that while in Jerusalem the voice of the accuser was raised up against him and was manifested through the Jews you sought to accuse him before those who had the power to condemn the apostle to death. You cannot read the words which are found within this passage and not think about and consider the fact that at this point within the life of the apostle Paul—perhaps more than ever before you will find the voice of the accuser which raised its ugly head against the apostle in order to bring judgment and condemnation against him. The more you read and the more you consider the words which are found within these chapters the more you will encounter and come face to face with the tremendous reality that once the apostle Paul was seized in Jerusalem and beaten almost to the point of death by the Jews he would be rescued by Lysias and a group of soldiers and guards who would bind the apostle Paul in order that they might rescue him out of the hands of the Jews. It would be once the apostle Paul was bound by Lysias and kept under guard and in custody the voice of the accusers would truly pick up steam and would gain traction. The voice of the accuser would raise its ugly head before the city would be incensed against the apostle Paul and before he would be seized and beaten as the Jews which were in Asia accused him of strange doctrine and of polluting the temple by bringing a Greek or Gentile into the midst of it. It would be this initial voice of accusation that would so incense and incite the Jews against the apostle Paul that he would be seized and laid hold of, dragged out of the temple, and would have been beaten to death if it weren’t for the fact that Lysias and his guard of soldiers came and rescued the apostle Paul. It’s worth nothing the initial voice of accusation would incite the crowd and mob of the Jews against the apostle Paul, however, the voice of accusation and the accusers of Paul would continue their railing against Paul unto the twenty-sixth chapter. How incredibly captivating it is to think about and consider the fact that the apostle Paul would be accused of his own countrymen and his own brethren in the midst of the temple—accusations which would ultimately lead to the apostle Paul being bound and being held in custody before finally being handed over to the Gentiles and set on a ship for Italy where he would testify and bear witness of Christ there in Rome.

I have previously written concerning this particular point and place within the life of the apostle Paul how the voice of the accuser had raised and reared its ugly head against him in the midst of Jerusalem in order that through accusation he might pass judgment and condemnation against him. There is not a doubt in my mind when reading the account of the apostle Paul during this particular point within his life that the voice of the accuser desperately and vehemently sought to cast judgment and condemnation upon and against the apostle Paul in order that through that judgment and condemnation he might bring the apostle Paul to an end. Oh please recognize and please understand that the voice of accusation within and against your life has one objective and one underlying goal within and against your life—namely, to bring an end to your life and to utterly and completely destroy you. The voice of the accuser raised its ugly head against the apostle Paul and deliberately and intentionally sought to kill and destroy him in order that it might once and for all be relieved of the gospel and message he preached and proclaimed in Asia, in Damascus, in Jerusalem and in the various areas and territories surrounding Judaea. We dare not and must not lose sight of this incredible reality, for to miss this reality is to truly misunderstand and fail to discern that which the accuser truly seeks to accomplish within our hearts and lives. We must recognize and understand that the voice of the accuser has always and will always be against you, and can and will seek to utterly and completely destroy you. Make not mistake about it—the accuser of the brethren and the voice of accusation can and will rise up against you in order that it might bring an end to you in this life and ultimately and utterly destroy you once and for all. We dare not, we cannot, we must not miss and lose sight of this awesome and incredible reality, for if we fail to discern this reality we fail to understand the tactics and strategies of the enemy and adversary within our lives. Through the apostle Paul we encounter and come face to face with the first of two distinct voices which were found to be present within his life during and at this time. It is undeniable and unmistakeable when reading the account of the apostle Paul within these chapters that the voice of the accuser raised its ugly head against the apostle there in Jerusalem and deliberately and intentionally sought to destroy him and once and for all remove him from the face of the earth. If you aren’t careful when reading the words which are found within these chapters it would be very easy to read it only in the natural and see the Jews who stood before and stood up to accuse the apostle Paul in this life there in Jerusalem. If you aren’t careful you can read these chapters in the natural alone and fail to discern the true voice and presence of the accuser of the brethren within these chapters. In all reality, I would dare say that it wasn’t merely the Jews who stood to accuse the apostle Paul which were present at this time, but there was an unseen, invisible and unrecognizable voice that was moving in the shadows and moving behind the scenes there in Jerusalem in order that it might accuse the apostle Paul and cast judgment and condemnation against him.

I cannot help but read the account of the apostle Paul during this particular time within his life and consider the fact that while in Jerusalem—as well as in Caesarea—there were two distinct and two contrasting voices which were present within his life. If and as you read the words which describe the life of the apostle Paul during and at this time you will find the first voice which is the voice of the accuser—that voice which would seek to condemn and pass judgment against the apostle. With that being said, however, there is a secondary distinct and discernible voice which was found within these chapters and during this time within the life of the apostle Paul. This second voice is perhaps not one that you would easily recognize and discern, and yet it perhaps one of the greatest voices that combats and goes against the voice of accusation. The truth of the matter is that there are times when the voice of the accuser is met with a secondary voice which runs completely contrary to that voice, and actually combats the accusations that voice seeks to hurl and raise up against you. In all reality, I can’t help but come face to face with the tremendous reality that the first voice which we find present during and at this time within the life of the apostle Paul is the voice of the accuser, while the second voice is the voice of one that actually pronounces the innocence of the apostle. What I mean by this, and what you must understand when reading the account of the apostle Paul during and at this time is that while it is true that there were voices which were accusing him before men, there were other voices which were not only pronouncing his innocence, but also declaring that they found no fault in him. You cannot read these chapters and not encounter the awesome and unmistakable reality that while it was true the apostle Paul was accused by various Jews, there were those before whom he was accused who could and did not find any fault within him, and even made the declaration that they could find no such fault and wrongdoing in his life. Oh please don’t quickly glance over and miss this reality, for to do so would be to miss the awesome and wonderful reality that as surely as there were voices that sought to accuse the apostle Paul in the earth during this time, there were others who upon hearing the voice of the accusations could find no wrong and could not find any fault in the apostle. There were those voices who sought to accuse the apostle Paul and who sought to cast judgment and condemnation against him, however, there were other voices which spoke up and emphatically declared that they could find no wrong and could find no fault within the life of the apostle. What’s more, is that these voices which spoke and declared that they could find no wrong and find no fault in the apostle Paul would go on to declare that they didn’t find him guilty of anything that warranted his being put to death. How truly astonishing it is to think about and consider the fact that the apostle Paul would be accused in Jerusalem and would be accused in Caesarea, and would be accused before Lysias, Felix, Festus and Agrippa, and yet none of these rulers whom they sought to accuse him before could find any wrong or any fault in him.

As we read and consider the account of the life of the apostle Paul during this time within his life we must understand that there were those voices which sought to accuse him, and there were those voices which could find no wrong or fault in him. With that being said, we must also recognize and understand the voice of the accuser and what that voice of accusation looks like within our own lives. In all reality, I would dare say that we must truly discern and recognize the voice of the accuser within our hearts and lives, for there has always and there will always be the voice of the accuser who can and will seek to cast judgment and condemnation toward and against us. Within the life of the apostle Paul at this particular point and juncture within his life we find a stark contrast between the voices of his accusers and the voices of those who would pronounce that they could find no wrong and could find no fault within him. Within the life of the apostle Paul during this time we find those voices which would in fact seek to cast judgment and condemnation against him, and in stark contrast to those voices which would accuse him we would find those voices who would profess and declare that he had done nothing wrong—and certainly nothing worthy of death. It’s truly remarkable to think about and consider the fact that the final voice that would be heard and the final words which would be spoken concerning the apostle Paul before we find him setting sail for Italy is the voice of Agrippa which declared that he might be set at liberty if he had not appealed to Caesar. Pause and think about that for a moment, for the apostle Paul would and very well could have been set free as none of those rulers whom his accusers told before could find any wrong or fault within him. I find it absolutely astonishing and remarkable to think about and consider the fact that as much as there were voices which sought to accuse the apostle Paul of crimes worthy of death, those before whom the apostle Paul and his accusers stood could indeed and could in fact find no fault within him. In fact, as you read these chapters you will discover and come face to face with the fact that the more the political leaders and rulers listened to the accusations which were raised against the apostle Paul, and the more they listened to and heard the words which the apostle Paul himself spoke, the more they were convinced of his innocence and that he had done nothing worthy of death. What’s more, is that while standing and appearing before Agrippa the king the apostle Paul would speak of Christ, and it would be his words concerning Jesus the Christ that would actually cause Agrippa the king to make an even greater declaration than that he would and could have been set at liberty were it not for the fact that he appealed unto Caesar. If you read the twenty-sixth chapter you will find Agrippa declaring unto the apostle that he would almost convince him to be a Christian and to turn and surrender his life unto Jesus the Christ. Think about that for a minute, for not only would Agrippa speak of the innocence of the apostle Paul, but Agrippa would also declare unto the apostle Paul that he almost persuaded him to be a Christian and to become a follower of the way.

I read the words which are written and recorded within these chapters and I can’t help but be absolutely and incredible gripped and captivated by the fact that within the life of the apostle we do in fact find the voice of the accuser and we do in fact find the voices of those who would cast judgment and condemnation against him. With that being said, however—in addition to finding the voices of those who would accuse and pass judgment and condemnation against the apostle Paul—we also find the voices of those who would declare that they found no wrong and found no fault in the apostle Paul. Please don’t miss the awesome and incredible reality of this matter, for it would have been one thing for the apostle Paul to hear and listen to the voice of the accuser who sought to pass judgment and condemnation against him and not also hear the voice of those who would declare that they had found no wrong and fault within him. It would have been very easy for the apostle Paul to have been present before these political leaders and rulers and to simply and merely hear the voice of the accusers, and those who would pass judgment against him, and not at all hear the voices of those who would speak of his innocence and speak of the fact that they could find no wrong or fault within him. What I so absolutely love about this passage of Scripture is that while it is true that you do in fact find the voices of the apostle Paul’s accusers, you also find the voices of those who would speak to and speak of the apostle Paul’s innocence. While it is true that you do in fact find the voices of those who would accuse the apostle Paul and cast judgment and condemnation against him, you also find the voices of those who would declare that they could find no wrong and could find no fault within the apostle Paul. Think about that reality for a moment, for I am convinced that while it is true that we might very well hear the voice of the accusers, and while it is true that we might hear the voice of the accuser who has raised up his ugly head against us, we must train our spiritual ears to a different sound and a different voice. I am convinced that while we hear the voices of our accusers in the natural we must look beyond the voices of our accusers in the natural and hear and listen to the voice of the accuser of the brethren in the supernatural and unseen realm. IT is only when we are able to look past the voices of our accusers in the natural and hear and discern the voice of the accuser in the supernatural realm that we are then able to hear and listen to the voice of that One who declares that He finds no fault in us. With that being said, it’s worth noting that not only was this reality played out in the life of the apostle Paul, but this reality was also played out in the life of Jesus Christ as He stood trial before the Sanhedrin, before the high priest, before the chief priests and rulers of Israel, and even before Herod and Pilate. Having stood before Herod, the Sanhedrin and all the religious and political leaders of Judaea and Jerusalem our Lord Jesus the Christ would hear the voices of His accusers who would cast judgment and condemnation against Him in order that through their voices they might bring Him to death and put an end to Him. What is so absolutely incredible and intriguing about this is when you consider the fact that when you find the Lord Jesus standing before Pontius Pilate you will find him declaring concerning Jesus the Christ that he found no wrong or fault in Him, and would have even released Him unto them. How absolutely astonishing it is to think about and consider the fact that Pontius Pilate found no wrong and fault in Jesus the Christ and would have released Him unto the people, and that Felix, Festus and Agrippa all found no wrong and fault in the apostle Paul, and Agrippa would have released him had he not appealed unto Caesar.

The account of the apostle Paul during and at this time is absolutely and wonderfully amazing and astonishing when you think about and consider it, for while the voices of accusation sought to bring an end to him and ultimately put him to death, their accusations would ultimately fall on deaf ears. Despite the fact that they would accuse the apostle Paul of great things before Lysias, before Felix, before Festus, and even before Agrippa—none of these rulers found any wrong and fault within the apostle Paul, and when it was all said and done Agrippa would have thought to release the apostle Paul. The only thing that kept Agrippa from releasing the apostle Paul and setting him at liberty was the fact that he appealed unto Caesar, and once he appealed unto Caesar he would be bound and connected to Rome and would have to make his way unto Rome where he would appear before Caeasar. When we come to the twenty-seventh chapter of the book of Acts we find it being determined that the apostle Paulo should set sail for Italy in order that he might stand and appear before Caesar. When you begin reading the twenty-seventh chapter of the book of Acts you will find the beloved physician Luke speaking of how it was determined that they should sail unto Italy, and how the apostle Paul was delivered with other prisoners unto one who was named Julius, a centurion of Augusts’ band. The first thing I notice within the opening verses of the twenty-seventh chapter is the fact that the apostle Paul was delivered with other prisoners unto one named Julius in order that they might set sail and chart a course for Italy where the apostle Paul would stand before Caesar and make his defense and his case before the most powerful ruler in the known world at that time. What I so love about what is found here is that it is at this juncture where we begin to find and truly discover Paul who a prisoner of Jesus the Christ. I have always believed and have always seen fit to declare that the apostle Paul was never bound by any man, nor was the apostle Paul ever a prisoner of any particular individual, or any particular ruler. Despite the fact that you find the apostle bound and in chains, and despite the fact that you find the apostle Paul being held in prison calls, you will never find him standing as a prisoner of men, but rather as a prisoner of the Lord Jesus the Christ. What’s more, is that as you read the words which the apostle Paul would write in his epistles you will find that even he never viewed himself as being bound to any man, nor even that he was a prisoner of any man. In fact, I would dare say that if you read the words which the apostle Paul wrote within his epistles, and were even permitted to go back in time and speak to him you will find him emphatically declaring that he was never a prisoner of any man, but was in fact a prisoner of the Lord Jesus the Christ. How absolutely incredible it is to think about the fact that first and foremost the apostle Paul was bound by, was apprehended by, and was a prisoner of the Lord Jesus the Christ, and as such could and would never be a prisoner of any man, nor of any city, kingdom or empire. Despite the fact that the physical and natural chains were very much real, the apostle Paul would and could never be a prisoner of any man here within and upon the earth.

I sit here this morning and I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that what we find and what we read in these chapters is the apostle Paul being a prisoner of Jesus the Christ and being bound by the Lord Jesus Christ in the spirit, and never once being bound by man. Though in the natural the apostle Paul had very real chains and shackles which bound and secured him, the apostle Paul was never bound to any man because he was first and foremost bound by the Lord Jesus the Christ. The apostle Paul might very well have chains and shackles upon his hands and his feet, and yet he was always first and foremost bound and apprehended by the Lord Jesus the Christ. With that being said, we must understand that while it is true that the apostle Paul was bound by the Lord Jesus the Christ there was a freedom and liberty that was found and contained within that being bound. It might not seem to make any sense that we could be bound and apprehended by the Lord Jesus the Christ and be free and have liberty within our hearts and lives, and yet the truth of the matter is that so long as we are first and foremost bound by the Lord Jesus Christ we are truly free in this life. Regardless of what the experience might be in the natural, and regardless of what we might be facing in the physical realm, we are first and foremost apprehended by the Lord Jesus Christ, as He alone has full and ultimate control and authority within and over our lives. The apostle Paul might very well have been bound in the natural by physical chains and shackles, and the apostle Paul might very well have been a prisoner of Rome, yet you will never find him speaking of and referring to himself as a prisoner of Rome, but rather as a prisoner of the Lord Jesus the Christ. The apostle Paul was bound in the spirit by Jesus the Christ, and it was his being bound in the spirit by Jesus Christ that allowed him to be bound in the natural and in the physical realm. We dare not and ought not miss and lose sight of this incredible and wonderful reality, for to do so would be to miss the awesome reality that the apostle Paul might very well have been bound in the natural realm, however, there was an even greater reality which was at work within his life—namely, that he was bound. By the Lord Jesus the Christ, and was a prisoner of the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone. There might have been physical and natural chains within the life of the apostle Paul, and yet for the apostle he was never a prisoner of man, but was in all reality a prisoner of the Lord Jesus the Christ. The apostle Paul was bound and apprehended first and foremost by the Lord Jesus the Christ, and whatever experience and expression he faced outside of and apart from that would be a secondary manifestation of his being bound first and foremost by the Lord Jesus the Christ.

With all of this being said, there is something written and something found within this passage that actually struck me when I read it earlier. If you read the second verse of this chapter you will find that when the apostle Paul and the other prisoners entered into a ship of Adramyttium, they launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia, and there was one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica who was with them. While this might seem like an insignificant detail and something that doesn’t warrant any consideration, I would dare say that there is something truly remarkable and astonishing within this reality. This man named Aristarchus would be mentioned before in the book of Acts when you read of the apostle Paul in the city of Ephesus. If you turn and direct your attention back to the twentieth chapter of the book of Acts you will find that when the great riot broke out in the city of Ephesus because of one named Demetrius this man named Aristarchus who was one of the apostle Paul’s traveling companions was seized by those who were present within the city. There in the midst of the mob and in the midst of the riot, this man who was one of the apostle Paul’s faithful travel companions would be seized by an angry mob, and might very well have been killed and put to death were it not for the fact that the town clerk stood up in the midst of them and intervened. This is quite interesting and intriguing when you think about and consider it, for this same man who was with the apostle Paul in Ephesus and in the midst of the riot and uproar in the city was still with the apostle Paul as he set sail from Caesarea to Italy. What’s more, is there are two distinct passages within Scripture which help shine an even greater amount of light onto this particular travel companion who was with the apostle Paul as he was now bound and setting sail for Italy where he would stand and appear before Caesar. In the fourth chapter of the epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Colossae you will find the following words which were written concerning this man named Aristarchus who was one of the traveling companions of the apostle Paul—“Aristarchus my fellow prisoner salueth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him)” (Colossians 4:10). If you turn and direct your attention to the epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto Philemon you will find the following words written by the apostle concerning this man named Aristarchus—“Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow labourers” (Philemon 24). Both of these passages are absolutely astonishing to think about and consider, for within these verses we read of this traveling companion of the apostle Paul that he was not only a fellow prisoner of the apostle Paul, but he was also a fellow labourer. How absolutely wonderful it is to read and consider this language concerning this traveling companion of the apostle Paul—particularly when you consider the fact that here was the apostle Paul setting sail for Italy, and this man named Aristarchus was still with him. It was true the apostle Paul was bound and was headed to Italy as a prisoner of the Lord Jesus Christ in order that he might appear before Caesar, and yet this man named Aristarchus was still with the apostle.

I’M STILL WITH YOU! I’M STILL HERE! I happen to find that which was written concerning this man named Aristarchus to be absolutely and completely fascinating, for what we find and read concerning him is not only that he was present with the apostle Paul in the midst of the riot which took place in Ephesus, but he was also with the apostle Paul when he traveled into Asia. It’s interesting and worth noting that it is said of Aristarchus that he was a traveling companion of the apostle Paul, and yet when we think about that we tend to think of traveling companion in comfort and ease. When we think about and speak of being a traveling companion of the apostle Paul we tend to think that it was all glamorous and that it was all comfort and convenience. The truth of the matter is that for Aristarchus being a traveling companion of the apostle Paul not only meant that he would be present in the midst of the riot which took place in Ephesus, but he would also be on the same ship which would set sail unto Asia in order to bring prisoners unto Rome where they would await their judgment and punishment. This man named Aristarchus was a traveling companion of the apostle Paul and would not only be a traveling companion in the midst of riot and uproar, but we also find him being a traveling companion in imprisonment and being bound in chains and shackles. What I so absolutely lover about this reality is that this man who was with the apostle Paul in Ephesus was still with him here as he set sail for Italy where he would stand before Caesar there in Rome. Oh, there is something to be said about those who are willing to be your traveling companions—not only when times are good, and not only when it is convenient and comfortable, but also when it is chaotic, when struggle and conflict abound, and even in the midst of that which causes all your comforts and freedoms to be removed from your life. There is something about those who are willing to stand beside you and partake in the struggle and conflict which you yourself experience in this life. There is something about those who are willing to stand with and stand beside you—regardless of the conflict and struggle that might arise within your life and against you. There is something to be said about someone who will remain beside you and will not abandon, nor forsake you when times are tough and when things become difficult. It would be very easy for men and brethren to abandon and forsake you during your darkest moments of trial, trouble, conflict and struggle, and yet there is something truly wonderful about those who are willing to remain with you through the conflict and struggle—those who refuse to leave and abandon you. Oh how I am absolutely and wonderfully convinced that there is a great and wonderful need within our hearts and lives for those who are willing to stand beside us and remain with us—regardless of the conflict and struggle which we face in this life.

This twenty-seventh chapter is not only a testament to the apostle Paul, but it is also a testament of Aristarchus and Luke who were undoubtedly with the apostle Paul during this time. What we find in the midst of this chapter is a tempestuous storm that would rise up in the midst of and upon the sea and would threaten the lives of all those who were on board the ship. So fierce were the waves and so strong was the wind that they all feared for their lives. What I find to be so absolutely wonderful and remarkable about that which is present in this chapter is that not only was this man Aristarchus present with the apostle Paul in the midst of riot in the city of Ephesus, and not only was this man a prisoner with the Lord Jesus Christ, but this man was also still with the apostle Paul in the midst of the storm. COMPANION IN RIOT! COMPANION IN IMPRISONMENT! COMPANION IN STORMS! Oh how I’m sitting here this morning and absolutely gripped and captivated with and by the fact that this man was not only a companion of the apostle Paul in the midst of riot, but this man was also a companion of the apostle Paul in the midst of imprisonment and in the midst of chains, bonds and shackles. What’s more, is this man was a companion of the apostle Paul in the midst of the storm as well. Oh how absolutely wonderful it is to think about and consider the fact that there is a great and present need within our lives for men and brethren women and sisters who will be faithful companions—not only in times of comfort, calm, ease and convenience, but who will also still be there in the midst of riot, in the midst of chains and bonds, in the midst of conflict and struggle, and even in the midst of the storm. SHARING THE CHAINS & SHARING THE STORM! Perhaps the single greatest question I must ask myself when reading the words which are found in this writing is not only whether or not there are those who are willing to stand beside and stand alongside me in the midst of the conflict and struggle I face, but whether or not I am willing to come alongside those who face conflict and struggle within their lives. Am I one who is willing to stand beside those who are facing conflict and struggle, bonds and affliction, and even the storms of life which threaten to overtake and destroy them. It isn’t enough for others to be willing to stand beside and come alongside me in the midst of chains and bonds, and in the midst of the storm, for I myself must be willing to come alongside others, and stand beside them in the midst of the storms they face, and in the midst of the chains and shackles they face within their lives. Oh that we would read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and ask ourselves what type of companion and fellow traveler we truly are. Can it be said of us that we are indeed a fellow laborer? Can it be said of us that we can be a fellow prisoner with others in this life? Are we so selfish and so self-seeking that we are unable to look and get past ourselves in order that we might be able to stand with and stand beside others in this life.

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