Summary: MANS ADVICE VS GODS VOICE (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
MANS ADVICE VERSUS GODS VOICE
Reading: Acts chapter 21 verses 1-17:
A quick reminder:
• The apostle Paul was convinced that he should go to Jerusalem,
• Two reasons why:
(1st). He wanted to personally deliver the money donated by the churches.
• If you cast your minds back a couple of weeks,
• Paul has been collecting money from the different churches in Greece & Macedonia.
• He is planning to take it to Jerusalem, to give to the church there.
• Because they have experienced a famine and persecution and they were in a bad way.
(2nd). Chapter 20 verses 16b:
• He was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost.
• Pentecost was a time of feasting and celebration and Paul wanted to be there.
Plan to be somewhere for Easter or Christmas day.
• Paul knew that maximum number of people would be there then,
• So he wanted to be there.
• That’s why, as we read Luke’s diary of the trip,
• There is a sense of urgency, he is a man in a hurry.
(1). urgent traveling (vs 1-3):
1After we had torn ourselves away from them”.
The “them” refers to the elders at the church of Ephesus:
• They had such a close relationship with Paul,
• He had to literally “tear himself away”,
• It’s easy to leave ‘a sinking ship’ when things are going bad, and your to blame.
• But it is not so easy leave when things are good and you are wanted.
“we put out to sea and sailed straight to Cos.
The next day we went to Rhodes and from there to Patara.
2We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went on board and set sail.
• Each of these ports represents a day’s voyage,
• The ship sailed during the day and anchored in each port at night.
• Fed up with a local coastal ship that stops at every port,
• They manage to find an express boat going straight to Phoenicia.
3After sighting Cyprus and passing to the south of it, we sailed on to Syria. We landed at Tyre, where our ship was to unload its cargo.
• Paul makes a journey of about 450 miles,
• It probably took them about 5 days (For Paul that was 5 days to many – urgency).
• The ship then spent a week (vs 4) at Tyre unloading its Cargo and taking on supplies.
• So Paul uses this opportunity to meet with local Christians in Tyre.
(2). Paul under pressure.
(a). Disciples at Tyre (vs 4-6)
4Finding the disciples there, we stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.
• This is Paul’s first meeting with the church at Tyre,
• It was probably founded, started after persecution scattered the Christians.
• When Stephen was martyred,
• Many of the Christians were forced to flee as far as Phoenicia (11:19)
Verse 4: tells us Paul had to search out, find the Christians there:
• When he manages to find them,
• He is surprised to hear them objecting to his journey to Jerusalem,
• One translation puts verse 4 this way:
• “They kept telling Paul your life is in danger; don’t go to Jerusalem!”
It would seem that Paul the Apostle endured a continuous barrage of “Don’t go!”
• And these weren’t just frivolous opinions,
• For Luke says that they kept telling him, urging him “through the Spirit.”
For this reason:
• Many commentators are divided regarding this passage:
• Some interpret it as Paul’s courage, others call it Paul’s mistake.
• People are split as to the way Paul acts & responds,
• Was it stubborn pride or courageous insight that Paul is demonstrating in these verses?
Personally I think it was courage:
• Paul’s motivation for pressing on to Jerusalem was not stubborn pride, but courage:
• Paul was not ignorant of what was awaiting him in Jerusalem.
• He knew he would be facing hardships and prison, and even death itself.
• He was reminded constantly in all the cities he went to.
• And although the prophecies in this chapter may have been more detailed,
• He was already aware of their general content & flavour.
Four reasons why it was courage not pride:
(1). He was under Godly orders.
• Acts chapter 20 verse 22-24 Paul describes his mission to Jerusalem this way:
• “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem”,
• He goes on to say it is “the task the Lord Jesus had given him”.
• Paul was operating under a divine compulsion, twice he was told to “Go”,