Introduction: A key idea in the book of Acts is that believers should be witnesses for the Lord, everywhere we go. Today, we hope to discuss Paul’s journey to Caesarea and the Jerusalem Church.
Read Acts 21:1-14
4. From Miletus to Caesarea. In this section of the book of Acts Paul and company are making their way to Jerusalem. They run into fellow believers who warn Paul of the danger found in Jerusalem. Agabus may have been the most vivid messenger of the persecution to come. Paul’s resolve to continue led to his company saying that the “the Lord’s will be done.”
- Networking and fellowshipping. Notice in vss. 1, 4-8 that it is good to be a part of a network/fellowship that helps you do God’s will. Look at the various brothers and fellow believers who gave Paul a place to stay and encouragement on the way. The church and churches should be places of networking and fellowship for believers.
We should develop relationships that allow us to be mutually beneficial to one another as well as encouraging to one another. This calls for humility and vulnerability. Some have too much pride to initiate a conversation and relationship. Others have too much fear and suspicion to share in a new relationship.
Let’s work on the quality of networking and fellowshipping we have in our churches. The idea of networking and fellowshipping among churches and then denominations raises this area of application to even higher levels.
- Discern and obey God’s will. Notice in vss. 4, 10-13 of this section of the book of Acts that people were encouraging Paul to do what Paul believed was contrary to God’s will. On one side, the best way to know God’s will today is to prayerfully study and obey God’s word with the wise counsel of others.
On the other hand, we cannot always do ministry by way of opinion polls. Sometimes our “wise” counselors are not as wise as we would like for them to be. Let’s work on discerning and obeying God’s will for our lives. If by chance, we make a mistake, we should simply repent of our mistake and then strive to discern and obey God’s will again.
- God’s choice of servants. Notice in vs. 9 that God was using Philip’s daughters to be prophets. Many Christians have grown to accept the fact that God is using females in the clergy ministry.
In the same neighborhood of thought, we should remember that God is able to use whomever He chooses to use. God can use sinners who we would never vote for. Most of us would not have supported Abraham being the father of the faithful nor David being the King of Israel.
Let’s work on being open to whomever God uses. Furthermore, let’s let God use us in whatever way He wants to use us. We already know that He wants us to be witnesses for Him.
- A time to advise and a time to trust. Notice in vs. 14 that Paul’s company moved from trying to dissuade him to trusting God’s will to be done. On one hand, all humans are subject to misinterpret God’s will. We should share those things that we think will be helpful in discerning God’s will, as opportunities allow (e.g., family life, church, and community).
On the other hand, after we have shared our thoughts, we need to learn how to trust God’s will to be done. There is a great difference between advising the leader and lobbying for your position.
Let’s learn to share our prayerful advice and then trust God’s will to be done. There are too many who never mention God’s will in the agenda that they try to promote. And too many keep pushing their agenda well past a healthy level of advice. The result is often a lack of trust and too much discord in what should be a team effort.
Read Acts 21:15-26
5. Paul with the Jerusalem Church. In this section of the book of Acts Paul makes his way to the Jerusalem Church. The leaders are happy about seeing Paul and hearing about the work of God. They coach him on how to make peace with the hostile Jews in the area. Paul carries out their instructions.
- Affection and warmth. Notice in vs. 17 that there was a display of affection and warmth. The church ought to be a place of affection and warmth for all believers. There are too many who are too cold and distant. And then some are too selective with their affection and warmth.
I remind us that God commands believers to love one another. This command is not contingent on how we feel or what we prefer. Let’s work on making our churches places of affection and warmth among believers.
- Accountability. Notice in vss. 18-19 of the book of Acts that Paul was still accountable to the church. There are too many people who behave as if their age, position, or seniority means they don’t have to be accountable anymore.
When body parts do what they want without accountability to the body, especially the head, there is bound to be chaos and confusion, and there is certainly a lower level of effectiveness than it has to be. Let’s work on staying accountable to the body.
Every ministry group should do what it has been assigned to do, gain permission for anything beyond what it was assigned, and report on how it is coming with its assignment.
As for James being some type of a bishop over churches, Baptist would not favor this kind of interpretation. We would note that Paul was not a local Pastor as much as he was a traveling missionary/minister.
Conclusion: Let’s work on being witnesses for the Lord, everywhere we go. God has much for those who obey His will.Please click here to let us know, if this has been quality and helpful information for you (i.e., make sure you let us know the name of the article). Feel free to share your questions and comments about the article as well.