Paul In A Basket
(A Sermon Outline)
Text: “In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me; and through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.” (2 Cor. 11:32-33)
Introduction: I have heard many sermons preached with Paul as the subject. I have heard sermons on, “Paul Saved on The Road to Damascus”, “Paul and Silas In Jail” and “Paul’s Message on Mars Hill.” I have never heard a sermon on, “Paul In a Basket.”
Paul was in trouble. He had been preaching in Damascus when Aretas, the king, ordered his capture. He wanted to execute the great missionary. The houses in Damascus were constructed on top of the huge wall that surrounded the city. The soldiers had locked the gates and were searching each house for Paul. Paul was in trouble and a small band of Christians rushed to his aid. One ran and got a rope; another a basket. Someone tied the rope onto the basket. One of Paul’s friends opened the window of his house, Paul climbed into the basket, and was carefully lowered down beside the wall until the basket touched the ground. Paul than headed for another city to preach the gospel.
What can we extract from these two small verses in the big Bible that might be of practical help?
I. THE IMPORTANCE OF SMALL THINGS
(Paul’s friends did not have an elevator or escalator to use in rescuing Paul; They only had a rope and a basket. These were small, ordinary household items, but when dedicated to the cause of Christ, God blessed them and they were used to save the life of Paul.)
“For who hath despised the day of small things…? (Zech. 4:10)
All David had was a sling shot. All the lad had was five loaves and two fish. All these Christians had was a rope and a basket. When ordinary people dedicate ordinary things to Christ, they are used to accomplish large things.
It may seem a small thing, but go ahead and send that card; go ahead and pray that prayer; go ahead and make that call; go ahead and teach that child; go ahead and make that visit.
“For want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe, the horse was lost; for want of a horse, the rider was lost; for want of a rider, the message was lost; for want of the message, the battle was lost; for want of the battle, the war was lost. And all for the want of a nail.”
(an old English nursery rhyme)
2. THE IMPORTANCE OF COOPERATIVE SERVICE
(Someone had to run and fetch a basket. Someone had to get a rope. Someone had to tie the rope to the basket. Someone had to open the window. It took more than one person to hold the rope as they lowered Paul down the wall. They cooperated together and got the job done.)
These folks must not have been Baptist; they cooperated together without getting into a fuss! What would have happened if they had begun to argue about who knew how to tie the best knot or who was going to get to stand at the head of the rope so they could see Paul when he hit the ground? The soldiers would have captured Paul and ended his ministry.
What are the names of these Christians? We don’t know; they were not recorded in Scripture. They are mentioned again in Acts 9:25, but no names are given. They did not care about their names being recorded, to be noticed in future generations. They did what they did simply because they loved Christ and wanted to further the gospel.
When is the last time you did something for Christ that nobody knows about?
All believers should cooperate with other believers in a local church. (Eph. 3:21) The Lord does not need a “Lone Ranger”, He needs soldiers of the cross working with other soldiers.
Too many Christians act as if they are “Secret Agents” in the army of God.
Some say that do not like organized religion. They must prefer disorganized religion.
The difference between a mob and an army is organization. The difference between a junk pile and a locomotive is organization.
Every Christian should be a member of an organized local church cooperating with other members in: praying, giving, witnessing, singing, etc.
3. THE IMPORTANCE OF DOING THINGS WELL
(What would have happened if the person that weaved the basket had done a sloppy job? It could have torn and Paul could have fallen to his death. What would have happened if the person that spun the rope hadn’t paid much attention to what he was doing? It could have broken and Paul could have fallen to his death. What would have happened if the person that tied the rope unto the basket hadn’t taken the job seriously? It could have slipped and Paul could have fallen to his death. These people did what they did well and therefore were successful in their mission.)
If you are going to preach a sermon, study and pray; do your very best. If you are going to teach a class, study and pray; do your very best. If you are going to sing a special, practice and pray; do your very best. (Rom. 12:1)
The only instrument God has never learned to play is second-fiddle.
Success in God’s work is about 98% perspiration and 2% inspiration.
Conclusion: Christ came that you may live the best life possible. (John 10:10) Life does not begin at 40, it begins at Calvary. The cross is not a minus, it is a plus. Only with Jesus can you do well in living your life.
John Dillinger was public enemy number one. He had killed several people and terrorized the Midwest for years. On Sunday, July 22, 1934, he walked out of the Biograph Theatre with a lady dressed in orange. He was shot dead by the FBI. A reporter for a Chicago paper featured a picture of his feet on the front page the following morning. The caption read:
“These Are The Feet Of John Dillinger.” The article that followed asked what would have happen if those feet had been led to Sunday School? A 31 year old man had lived a wasted life that ended in tragedy.
The importance of small things: What if a Christian had taken the time to witness to him while he was a child?
The importance of cooperative service: What if churches, small groups and other faith-based groups had taken a sincere interest in reaching John while he was growing up with is grandparents. (His mother died when he was three.)
The importance of doing things well. John Dillinger is a classic example of someone who did not live life well. He settled for the temporal rather than the eternal. His void violent life is a picture of a person who does not have Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.