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Summary: MANS ADVICE VS GODS VOICE (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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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.

Ill:

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.

Verse 1b:

“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.

Verse 3:

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”,

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