Summary: Exposition of Acts 21:16-26 about how Paul’s arrival in Jerusalem was used to build up the church in three ways
Text: Acts 21:16-26, Title: Impacting the Body, Date/Place: NRBC, 3/8/09, AM
A. Opening illustration: tell about when Bailey Smith created such a stir at SEBTS,
B. Background to passage: the third missionary journey of Paul’s ends here in Jerusalem. And when he arrives, as usual, his presence impacts the church in a powerful way. And of course, his desire is to build up the church that it might impact the world for Christ. And God uses him and the elders at Jerusalem to do that.
C. Main thought: in the text, we will see three ways God builds His church
A. A Testimony of God’s Work (v. 19-20)
1. We are told that the church leadership at Jerusalem received them joyfully (who wouldn’t receive somebody with a bag of money for them gladly). Notice that it mentions specifically, James and the elders. The transition in Jerusalem had been made completely from apostles to elders. And the first thing that Paul does after that is spend time telling them all that God had done in the last two missionary journeys. This was common practice in the early days of the church by both Peter and Paul. It was also the practice of OT saints as they built markers according to God’s command so that when the children asked why, they could tell the story of God’s deliverance among them. Luke does not elaborate, but since we usually focus on a small portion of the text, let’s review, and hear what the elders heard. Do a review slide on the PowerPoint. And it says that they (imperfect tense) kept on glorifying God for what they heard. Testimony brings God glory. Remember that is the reason that we exist.
2. Acts 11:4-18, 14:27, 15:4, 15:12; Rom 15:18, 15:19, Ps 111:1, 22:25, 35:18, 40:10
3. Illustration: tell about Lew wanting to know what’s going on in our lives, tell about testimony time in the membership class, tell about doing testimony in the first and second services at LSCC so that we would know one another better, Don’s prayer team meets monthly, and one of the first things they do is share how God has been speaking to them over of the course of the last four weeks,
4. Testimony is one of the most encouraging aspects of believers sharing their lives together. This is how Jesus did discipleship—sharing life together. And we really should work on hearing from each other more often. The body needs to hear of God’s work in your life. It encourages our hearts, reminds us about the God that we serve, and strengthens our faith. It creates a longing in us for God to work in our lives that way. It creates a bond within the body, especially as we bear one another’s burdens. Reading Christian biography powerfully challenges us to look for the moving of God’s hand like He did in days gone by. Missionary stories are particularly impactful. Some of you should share how God is working in your lives with our congregation. The Spirit will use it to work in our congregation and to bring glory to Christ. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so in the midst of the congregation.
B. A Potential Ecclesiological Disaster (v. 21)