Summary: I would like to thank Pastor Jerry Shirley for sharing this series on Acts. It has been a blessing as well as a great help. I have used these for our church, as I spend my days caring for my dying father.
Inside the Heart of the Apostle Paul part 3 Acts 20:18-38
Most of us wear more than 1 hat, whether we get paid for it or not. You may have a career, but have a heart for other things.
The Apostle Paul was much more than a tentmaker. He had other interests and those other interests helped mold him into the man of God that he was.
If you remember, when we began looking inside the heart of Paul we found…
1. Faithfulness, 2. Humility 3.Compassion
The next thing I believe we will find is
4. Courage. Look at verses 18-19.
Paul was constantly persecuted by the Jews, but he never gave up, he never ran and the term “political correctness” had not yet been thought of. Paul knew that in order to do God’s will, he must be willing to reach out to others no matter the cost.
He also knew God wanted him to go to Jerusalem. He also knew that he would be in danger, the moment he arrived in Jerusalem because God had already warned Paul that bad things would happen to him there.
Look at verses 22-23
Let’s say that I asked you to make a visit to a local family tomorrow night, and I said, “Don’t worry but when you pull into the driveway the people living there will probably throw rocks at your car. If you will just get out of the car quickly they will stop throwing rocks at your car…but then they’ll likely throw rocks at you. Don’t worry but go ahead and walk right up to them. You need to know that when you get face to face with them they will start beating on you with their fists or sticks or whatever they ca get their hands on. You won’t be able to stand for long and once you fall to the ground they will stomp and kick you. After that they will tie you up and haul you off to jail, claiming you have committed crimes against them.
Now, how many want to sign up for that visit? How many suddenly feel “led” to make a different visit or just stay home?
This is exactly what Paul is headed for. He already knows about the danger, but Paul has the courage and desire to do the will of God.
Here’s part of God’s warning to Paul about what was waiting for him:
A prophet named Agabus illustrates what will happen using Paul’s own belt in, [Acts 21:10-11 NIV] “10 After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 Coming over to us, he took Paul's belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, "The Holy Spirit says, 'In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’”
What do you think Paul should have done after hearing this?
Paul did what he felt he had to do, even though he knew he would be in extreme danger.
[Acts 21:12-14 NIV] 12 When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, "Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." 14 When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, "The Lord's will be done."
That is the kind of courage the church needs in our world today.
So what would it take for us to develop this same courage Paul displayed?
1. We must count the cost. Verse 24: “nor do I count I my life dear to myself”
This is an accounting term, which means to examine the ledger like a profit and loss statement, and count the cost.
In the ‘50s five men decided they would take the gospel to the Auca Indians in Ecuador. One of them was Jim Elliot. Jim, and 4 other men believed God wanted them to reach this remote Auca tribe, known as the meanest savages on earth. They were a brutal, murderous tribe. The men flew over their village, and found a beach that ran alongside a river where they lived. They decided to fly low, dropping gifts and food to the Indians. This they did for several days, and the villagers would run out and retrieve the things dropped and disappear back into the jungle. Then they decided to land on that beach and make contact. The people came out of the jungle slowly to see these white men, and at first it looked like they had made friends, but then men jumped out with spears and slaughtered these five missionaries!