THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A TRAVELING MAN
Intro: Many people in the world love to travel. They
enjoy going from destination to destination seeing one
thing after another. I suppose that if I had the
resources, traveling is one thing I would do as well. Our
text is about such a traveling man.
Paul was probably the greatest missionary that has
ever served the Lord. When he lists some of the things
he endured for the sake of the Gospel, one of the things
he mentions is the fact that he was "in journeyings
often", 2 Cor. 11:26. As this great man moved from
location to location, he did not do so as a mere tourist.
Although the cities through which he traveled contained
some of the wonders of the ancient world, Paul wasn't
looking for a t-shirt, nor was he just trying to fill his
scrapbook with snapshots of the temple of Diana, the
coliseum in Rome or the Parthenon in Athens. No,
Paul's plans and purposes in traveling were far greater
than such earthly things. He traveled from place to
place not as a sightseer, but as a soul winner.
As we investigate these verses about the travels of
Paul, there are insights that we can learn that will help
us as we travel through the Christian life. You see,
every Christian is a pilgrim in this world, 1 Pet. 2:11. If
we are to travel while we are here, then let us at least
learn to make it count for God. Let's see the insights in
these verses as we read The Autobiography Of A
I. V. 22-24 PAUL'S PLANS FOR TRAVELING
(Ill. Paul's plans are detailed for us in the book of
Acts. If you will take the time to read Acts you will
quickly see that Paul made good plans and sought
to carry them out. Let's see what these verses
teach us about Paul's Plans In Traveling.)
A. V. 23 Paul's Plans Were Precise - In verse 23,
Paul tells us that he "has no more place in
these parts." He doesn't mean they have run
him off. He doesn't even mean that all the work
is done and all the sinners are saved. All he is
saying is that he has finished his assignment.
Remember, Paul was a man who laid
foundations, v. 20, 1 Cor. 3:10. He has
accomplished his purposes and now it is time to
move on. Notice that he also has plans to go to
Rome, v. 23. Paul is a man who lays out some
plans and follows them!
(Note: He sets a good example for us tonight.
Many people do not have any plans for their
lives. They just live from day to day with no
sense of directions and no plans for the future.
We could learn a valuable lesson from Paul. We
ought to find out from God what His plan is for
our lives and then we ought to set ourselves to
carrying out that plan. Have you made any
plans for the future? Do you have dreams and
visions of what your tomorrow will be like? God
help us all to make some godly plans for our
B. V. 22 Paul's Plans Were Perplexing - Paul tells
the Romans that he has been trying to come to
see them but that he has been "hindered." This
word means "to be cut into." Paul is saying that
every way he turned, his path to Rome had been
cut off. This was a constant state of affairs with
Paul, Rom. 1:13. 1 Thes. 2:18 tells us that he
was hindered by the devil. Acts 16:6-8 says that
Paul had been hindered by the Holy Spirit.
When he finally made it to Troas, he discovered
God's leading and found his path through life.
(Note: When Paul wrote to the Galatians, he
spoke of their being hindered by other people,
Gal. 5:7. All of this reminds us of the truth that
we should make the best plans for life that we
can make and then expect them to get messed
up. Just because you make plans to serve the
Lord does not guarantee you that the devil will
cooperate. There is no guarantee that other
people won't oppose you. Even the
circumstances of life will often stand contrary to
the plans we have made. There are times when
it may even seem that the Lord is fighting
against the plans we have to follow Him.
Let me encourage you this evening to
continue to live for him regardless of the
problems life throws in your pathway.
Remember, "the measure of a man is what it
takes to stop him!" So, if you are sure you are
following God honoring, God ordained plans,
stick to it and watch Him work it out eventually.
You see, eventually, Paul did make that trip to
C. V. 24 Paul's Plans Were Pursued - Paul
describes the confidence he has in his plans.
He knows that there will be a day when they will
work out. He is hindered now, but he doesn't get
excited about it. He merely yields to the Lord's
work in his life and trusts God to work it all out in
There is a great lesson here if we will allow
ourselves to see it. The lesson is this: there is a
vast difference between our immediate plans
and our ultimate plan. Our immediate plans are
those things we plan to do today, or in the future.
They are what we plan to do. Now, there will be
times when those plans become disrupted.
When they do, we need to learn not to get
excited. It may be that the Lord has intervened
in our lives for His own reasons. This was Paul's
problem. In his immediate plans, he wanted to
go to Rome, but that plan had repeatedly been
hindered. However, that fact did not change his
ultimate plan. Paul's ultimate plan was to tell
men about Jesus wherever he was at any given
The lesson is this: your plans and mine may
be hindered by circumstances and closed doors,
but we must not allow that to get us defeated or
discouraged. God works things out in His time
and in His own way. He doesn't do this to cause
us problems or to bring fear into our lives. He
does it to enhance our journey. Imagine that you
are traveling in a foreign land. Your guide
suggests certain changes to the itinerary. He
doesn't do it to ruin the trip, he does it to make
the journey more enjoyable.
(Note: Instead of fretting when we encounter
hindrances to our plans, may we learn that we
can make our plans anyway we like, but that
ultimately, our lives are controlled by The Master
Planner, and He decides what does and does
not happen in our lives. Therefore, may we learn
to do it His way and not fret when the door
closes or the plan changes.)
II. V. 25-27 PAUL'S PURPOSES IN TRAVELING
(Ill. Paul tells these Romans that before he can
come their way, he must travel to Jerusalem to
deliver an offering for the saints there. Part of the
background for this offering is revealed in 1 Cor. 16
and 2 Cor. 8-9. These newly converted Gentiles
had made a collection for the struggling saints in
Jerusalem and Paul was going to take it to them.)
A. V. 25 The Purpose Of Grace - Paul says that
he is traveling to Jerusalem to "minister" to the
saints. He wants to be a blessing to the
believers in that beleaguered church. Why?
Paul remember where his faith started! He had
been saved as a result of the work and influence
of the Jerusalem church. Even though when he
had first been saved, they hadn't embraced him
right away, even though his motives had been
questioned by those saints, Acts. 9, Paul felt an
obligation to be a blessing to those people.
What a lesson for you and me! Have you
taken the time to thank those who were
influential in your coming to Jesus? Have you
thanked them for praying for you? For telling
you? For loving you? For giving so you could
hear the Gospel? Have you thanked those who
cared? God help us to reach back to those who
have ministered to us and may we have the
grace to say "Thank you!"
B. V. 26 The Purpose Of Giving - This verse tells
us that the Gentile believers where Paul had
been ministering had received an offering for the
struggling saints in Jerusalem. The fact is, the
people in Jerusalem were suffering in a terrible
fashion. The other saints around the world
heard of their plight and received an offering to
ease their misery.
Now, this is the very opposite of how we do
it now. It is us, the established churches, with
some money who send offerings to those around
the world. Imagine for a minute that the tables
were turned. Suppose the folks in Africa or in
South America were to get up a love offering to
send to us! In reality, most of the world worships
in abject poverty while we enjoy our finery.
Would to God we would be more active in our
giving to the cause of missions so that more
people might hear the Gospel.
Now, the whole point here is that these new,
baby Christians wanted ot be a part of what God
was doing. They wanted to be a blessing to the
folks in Jerusalem. Some of them could not
preach. Some of them would never teach or
sing. Many would never travel far from the town
of their birth, but there was one thing they could
all do: give! I don't know if you know it or not,
but it takes money to operate a church! I don't
like to preach about giving, so I don't, but you
still have to do it! If you don't, you are a skinflint
and a God-robber! 2 Cor. 8; 2 Cor. 9:7. We
ought to get excited when it is offering time!
C. V. 27 The Purpose Of Gratitude - Paul says
that the Gentiles gave of their material wealth
because the saints in Jerusalem had given of
their spiritual wealth. Here is a spiritual principle
that many people do not like: If you have
received a spiritual blessing from a ministry,
you owe that ministry a material blessing!
This is especially true of your local church where
you are strengthened and fed in the things of
God. You have a duty to render to this church
those things that are required to meet the needs
of this ministry! Note these other verses that
support this idea, Gal. 6:6; 1 Thes. 5:17-18.
The idea is that the moment you hear the
Gospel, you are in debt. First, you are indebted
to God Who made it all possible and you owe
Him your faith. Secondly, you are indebted to
those who made it possible for you to hear the
Gospel. Sadly, many aren't discharging their
debt to the church, but are forcing the few to
carry the burden of many! Shame on anybody
who will hold back their giving from the house of
(Note: Some complain that they don't agree with
how the money is spent. I say voice you
opinion, and when the vote is taken either stand
with the church or go somewhere else where
they do it your way! Either way, you owe a
material debt where a spiritual blessing is
III. V. 28-29 PAUL'S POWER FOR TRAVELING
(Ill. Much of Paul's traveling was done on foot.
Some by boat. However, the real power behind his
travels was spiritual in nature. He mentions
something of that power in these two verses.)
A. V. 28 A Powerful Mission - In verse 28, Paul
seems obsessed with getting to Spain? Why?
Two reasons. One, it was the intellectual center
of the world in Paul's day. Two, It represented
the furthermost extent of the Roman Empire in
Paul's day. To him, it was the "uttermost part
of the earth." Paul was merely obsessed with
the mission of Christ. He wanted to preach the
Gospel wherever it had never been preached.
He wanted all those brilliant minds in Spain to
hear the Word, be converted, and be used of
God to spread the Gospel for the glory of God.
Would to God that the flame which burned in
Paul's heart for the lost take hold of you and me!
Would to God we would become overwhelmed
with the idea that men were perishing. Would to
God we would become consumed with the
Gospel to the point that we would determine to
tell everyone we met what Jesus can do for a
B. V. 29 A Powerful Motive - Paul says that when
he journeys and when he preaches, he does so
with divine blessing upon his life. He is saying
that everywhere he travels, the presence of the
Lord goes with him to aid him and to empower
him. Therefore, he can carry out the work of
Christ with absolute confidence in the Lord's
power and promises.
(Note: The Lord has called each of us to carry
His message to the whole world, Mark 16:15.
For many, that is a frightening prospect!
However, when the Lord told His men to go, He
also told than that He would go with them, Matt.
28:18-20. What more assurance do we need as
we go with the Gospel? Let us therefore go with
absolute confidence that He will help us and
bless us as we labor for Him!)
Conc: What does you pilgrimage say about you, your
love for the Lord and your burden for the lost? Paul
was a man who traveled, but as he traveled, he was
working for the Master, seeking to bring men to Jesus!
As we await the day when He will come for us, let us
spend our time laboring for Jesus instead of lying lazily
about the Father's house. He has a plan for us, let's
get to it. He has a path for us, let's get on it. He has a
place for us, let's get in it!