Summary: Paul is heading to Jerusalem, even though he knows bad things will happen.
a. When Charles Spurgeon was pastor at New Park Street in London, God used his words to bring about amazing changes in the lives of people. A man who was on his way to get some gin saw the crowd at the church door and pushed his way in to see what was going on. At that moment, Spurgeon turned and faced the man and said that there was a man in the gallery who had a gin bottle in his pocket and had come with no good motive. The startled man listened to the rest of the message and was converted.
b. One evening a prostitute, on her way to Blackfriars Bridge to commit suicide, stopped at the church, hoping to hear some word that would prepare her to meet her maker. Spurgeon was preaching from Luke 7:36-50, the story of the prostitute who wiped Jesus feet with her tears. His text was verse 44; “Seest thou this woman?” As Spurgeon preached, the woman saw herself but also saw the grace of God and trusted Christ.
c. Now, there are some in the church today that teach that prophecy has ceased, that God doesn’t impart knowledge to individuals anymore by the Holy Spirit. In our text today, we will look at how God uses his people to impart divine knowledge, as we have seen before in the book of the Acts.
d. Personally, I think it would be presumptuous of me to say that God does not give divine revelation to people any more by the power of the Holy Spirit, but I believe that these kinds of messages need to be governed by and line up with a scriptural model, in order for them to be truly divine.
e. These manifestations of God’s power are called prophecy, and we will examine the gift of prophecy in depth today, as we continue our journey through the book of Acts.
a. This week, we are picking up with Acts chapter 21. Paul is winding down his third and final missionary journey here. This will be the last missions work Paul will do as recorded in scripture.
b. Last week, in the second half of chapter 20, we see where Paul sailed past Ephesus to Miletus, and it was there at Miletus where Paul sent for the Ephesian elders.
c. Paul knew that he would never see these men of Ephesus ever again, and so the main thrust of his message was that the Ephesians should stay true to the faith. He did this first of all by example.
d. He encouraged them to continue on in all of the things that he did while he was in Ephesus – hard work, self sacrifice, and caring for the needs of others, and really, when you think about it, that’s a good way to teach anyone – by example.
e. The second way by which Paul gave the Ephesians instruction was by telling them. We see in chapter 20, where Paul said he taught them with many words. He exhorted them to teach and watch over the flock that God had given to them.
f. The third and final way that Paul taught them was by turning them over to God, and to God’s Word. He commended them to God. Paul was trusting that God’s grace would take over at that point, to guide and instruct the Ephesians, as he could not do it anymore.