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Summary: This message focuses on the need for believers to have courageous commitment as they follow God in this world

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INTRODUCTION

* Those God has used to accomplish his will and extend his mission are people who had courageous commitment

- commitment = completely dedicated to the task at hand

- courageous = complete the task regardless of the threat they experience

* Some examples of courageous commitment:

- Caleb and Joshua: spying out Canaan

(a) Num. 12:27-28, “We can’t do it! It can’t be done!”

(b) Num. 13:30, “Yes, we can!”

(c) Num. 14:6-9, their convictions lead to courageous commitment

- David/Saul and the Israelites: facing Goliath

(a) 1 Sam. 17:10-11, lack of courage and commitment

(b) 1 Sam. 17:32, 36-37, David is convinced

(c) 1 Sam. 17:45-46, courageous conviction causes others to “know that there is a God in Israel”

- Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Dan. 3:16-18)

* Accepting the plan of God requires conviction (convinced to do it), and that conviction must be so strong that it fuels a courageous conviction in our hearts.

* What’s happening with Paul in Acts 21...

- the church in Jerusalem is going through a difficult time; many pilgrims are in the church and they are facing alienation and persecution

- Paul is on a mission to deliver relief funds to this church from the Gentile churches in Asia Minor and Greece

- as he makes his way to Jerusalem, Paul was repeatedly warned about the persecution he would face when he got there (see Acts 20:22-23)

- despite these warnings, Paul is convinced that God has called him to do this, and he displays a courageous commitment in order to do what God has called him to do

* If we are to do what we are called to do, we must also possess a conviction that leads to courageous conviction

1. Courageous conviction is developed when we know our purpose (v. 1-3)

* Paul clearly understood his purpose...

- specifically: to get funds to the Jerusalem church

- generally/overall: to spread the Gospel (to extend God’s glory)

* 2 Timothy 1:11

* Paul likely knew all along that the adversity he would face in Jerusalem would provide him with opportunities to accomplish his purpose in life

* The dilemma Paul is facing (see 20:36-38): he has gotten very close to the leaders at Ephesus

* Does Paul stay where he’s comfortable and where everything is convenient, or does he leave and head to a place where he knows he’ll experience difficulty?

* Paul understood that his main purpose in life wasn’t comfort or convenience or even fellowship: he knew it was to become a servant of Christ and the Gospel

* Had Paul not understood his purpose, or if he had misunderstood it, he would not have developed the courageous commitment he needed

* Confusion today over our purpose as believers and as a church... The solution is to look to Scripture to find our purpose = 2 Cor. 5:18

* When we begin to understand and live that plan/purpose in our lives, God begins to infuse our lives with courageous commitment

2. Courageous commitment does not allow us to stray from our purpose (v. 4-6)

* Knowing his purpose wasn’t enough; Paul had to make sure he did not deviate from that purpose. His courageous commitment allowed him to stay on task.


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