Summary: What’s your motivation? Where do your interests lie? Are they transparent? What is your motivation? Why do you do what you do? Is it for Jesus and Him crucified or is it to see your own self lifted on high? What is your motivation?
Scripture: Acts 21:30-40, 22:1-30
What’s your motivation? What compels you to get out of bed in the morning? A desire not to be late, or a desire to get a head start on the day? What compels you to eat? Is it hunger, taste, or the price you paid for the meal? When you go to church, what compels you to go to church? Is it God, your spouse, your kids, or the need for social interaction or recognition (i.e. a ministry)? Or is it guilt?
Following Paul’s encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, his whole motivation changed. He tells us in 1st Corinthians chapter 2, verse 2, that he did not desire to know anything outside of Jesus and Him crucified. That was his motivation. He desired nothing else. His actions and desires were transparent to those around him. When people looked at Paul they could readily see that only Jesus mattered. There was no hidden agenda. There were no hidden programs, there were no hidden interests. Only Jesus, and Him crucified.
Jesus tells us in scripture that no one lights a lamp and puts it in a jar, or under a bed, but puts it up where it will be the most benefit. The preaching of Jesus is transparent. There is no hidden agenda, no hidden program or interests.
As Christians, we, too, should be as transparent as we can be in order to bring more to Jesus. Our silent actions speak just as loud as our complaints. Our silent service speaks volumes not only to those that we are serving, but also to those that are standing on the side and watching.
Our motivation to serve God should be motivated by the love that He has spread abroad in our hearts. Any other motive, any other incentive, any other purpose, will defile the service. Any other motivation, however small and imperceptible, will blemish the gift and it will be deemed unacceptable.
Selfless motivation is an integral part of one’s testimony. For those looking on, for those that are watching you, your actions may become their testimony in the future. What you selflessly do today will go down into the heart of those watching. And what you did may very well become part of someone’s witness to an unbeliever in the future. Your actions may become a story that an evangelist will use in five or twenty years!
Your unselfish sacrifice may inspire or motivate someone to move forward into ministry, or, your selfish actions may cause them to move backward and authenticate their beliefs that the Christian life is no better than anything else.
A testimony based on Jesus and Him crucified is simple and it’s maintenance free and only concerns you and Jesus. A testimony based on anything else, such as lies and intrigue takes lots of work, lots of concern, lots of time, and lots of people.
What’s your motivation?
The motivation of the Jews
The motivation of the Crowd
The motivation of the Romans
The motivation of Jesus
The motivation of Paul
I. The motivation of the Jews
Our scripture text tells us that the whole city was aroused, however, the very fact that they pulled Paul from the temple indicates they were Jewish, since Gentiles were not allowed inside the gates of the temple.
So, what was the motivation of the Jews? Why were they so against someone that had formerly been an active part of the Sanhedrin?
There are many reasons, but there are two very good reasons that remain prevalent even in today’s society. Money and power.
Without animal sacrifice, the vendors around the temple made no money. Worshipping Jesus required no sacrifice, other than the self. Without the priests there would be no reason to make their fine clothes and all the stuff that goes with them, therefore stores would go out of business. You see, worshipping Jesus requires no fine clothes.
The motivation of the Jews was money and power. Power to make people do what you want them to do. It gives an evil satisfaction to some people to be in control of others. Worshipping Jesus, puts Him in control, it puts Him in power.
The Jews of that time would tell you that their motivation was to preserve the law that had been handed down over the ages, and that is why they wanted to get rid of Paul. They would tell you that their motivation was to ensure that God’s temple was not defiled and that His commandments were not broken. Yet, the root of their motivation was money and power.
The motivation of the Jews was rooted in the sin nature and manifested itself in dragging Paul out of the temple.
II. The motivation of the Crowd
What was the motivation of the crowd? Was it sincere or was it based in the motivation of the Jewish leaders? I would have to say a little of both. The crowd reacted to what the Jewish leaders told them. They told them that Paul was teaching against Moses, which is punishable by imprisonment or death. The crowd was told that Paul brought a Gentile into the temple area. Yet another reason to see him put into prison, or put to death.