Elements of Practical Faith
Paul set sail for Rome with other prisoners and was accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica. Paul admonished them when the voyage became dangerous, but the majority decided to sail for Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, to spend the winter. When they had gone without food for many days, Paul said that an angel of God appeared to him to not be afraid since he would appear before Caesar. He told them to be courageous since his belief in God would protect them as he had been told. He also said they must run aground on a certain island" (Acts 27:1-26). The elements of practical faith is trusting God and taking precautions so you don't test Him.
Essence of Practical Faith
Paul said that unless they remained in the ship, they would not be saved. He encouraged them to take food since they had not eaten for 14 days while watching for land. Paul took bread, gave thanks to God in the presence of all, broke it and ate. They were encouraged and took food. All 276 people were brought safely to land (Acts 27:27-44). The essence of practical faith merges the spiritual and physical.
Proof of Practical Faith
The natives showed kindness to them on the island called Malta. Paul shook off a viper that fastened on his hand. When he did not die, the natives said he was a god. The father of Publius, the leading man of the island, was lying in bed with fever and dysentery. Paul prayed, laid his hands on him, and was cured (Acts 28:1-10). The proof of practical faith is physical healing.
Empowerment of Practical Faith
After three months, they sent sail, landed in Puteoli and stayed with some brethren for seven days. When others heard about them, they came from the Market of Appius and Three Inns to meet them. Paul thanked God and took courage (Acts 28:11-15). The empowerment of practical faith is encouraging other believers.
Entry of Practical Faith
When they entered Rome, Paul stayed by himself with a soldier who guarded him. Paul called together the leading men of the Jews saying he did nothing against his people, but was delivered a prisoner from Jerusalem to Rome. They had not received letters from Judea but desired to hear his views concerning this sect spoken against everywhere (Acts 28:16-22). The entry of practical faith looks for open doors so God's word can be shared with others.
Outcome of Practical Faith
Many people came to Paul's lodging from morning to night as he explained the kingdom of God and tried to persuade them concerning Jesus, from the Law and Prophets. When some believed and others did not, Paul spoke through Isaiah: They keep on hearing without understanding and seeing without perceiving. Their dull hearts scarcely hear and see so they can understand and return to God for healing. God sent salvation to the Gentiles so they could listen. When Paul spoke these words, the Jews departed and disputed greatly among themselves. He stayed two years in his rented quarters welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness and unhindered (Acts 28:23-31). The outcome of practical faith is preaching the kingdom of God and teaching Jesus openly and unhindered so people are persuaded.
Answer the following questions about practical faith:
1. Are you trusting God and taking precautions so you don't test Him?
2. Are you merging the spiritual and physical in your faith?
3. Are you demonstrating physical healing in your faith?
4. Are you strengthening faith by encouraging other believers?
5. Are you looking for open doors so God's word can be shared?
6. Are you preaching the kingdom of God and teaching Jesus openly and unhindered so individuals, the Church and the world are persuaded?