Summary: Goodbye’s are ineveitable, but Christians never say goodbye for the final time.

West Greeley Baptist Church

January 28th 2001

“Never Can say Goodbye”

Act’s 20:25, Acts 20:37-38, Acts 21:1

By Pastor Mark Hensley

Acts 2025"Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again.

Acts 20:37 “They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. 38What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship. 1

Acts 21:1 “ After we had torn ourselves away from them, we put out to sea and sailed straight to Cos. The next day we went to Rhodes and from there to Patara.

Introduction: The year was 1772, and a Baptist preacher serving a small country church was called to pastor a large, more prestigious church in London, England. As the story goes, John Fawcett delivered his farewell sermon and packed up his family’s earthly possessions, ready to go. It was the tears of his parishioners, helping them load the carts, though, that really got to John and his wife."I cannot bear this! I know not how to go," she said to him. "Nor I, either," he replied "Nor will we go. Unload the wagon, and put everything in the place where it was before." (The Story of Christian Hymnody, by E.E. Ryden, ©1959, Augustana Book Concern, p. 301)

Days after John Faucett wrote these words:

“Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian Love

The fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above.

Before our Father’s throne we pour our ardent prayers. Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one, Our comforts and our cares.

We share our mutual woes, Our mutual burdens bear;

And often for each other flows the sympathizing tear.

When we asunder part it gives us inward pain;

But we shall still be joined in heart, and hope to meet again”.

Transition: Today’s message was inspired as a result of a spirited discussion Sunday night about God’s will and the inevitable saying of goodbye’s. This is not autobiographical! I don’t plan to go anywhere but all of God’s people realize that we must be ready to go as the Master directs! After all, “It’s never the prerogative of the servant to tell the Master what He or she will do” Dr. J.W. McGorman

Today we will look into the heart of the Apostle Paul. We will come away from that experience assured that there’s no fellowship on earth that compares to what Christians can experience.

We will realize, in a message titled “Never can say Goodbye” that we often do, for a time because;

God directs our steps.

God’s love binds our hearts.

God’s call can be painful.

I.God directs our steps. Acts 2025"Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again.

Paul spoke these words to the elders of the Ephesian

Church. Paul was on his way to Jerusalem, and he believed, with good

reason, that he would never see these men again. He had a solemn

burden on his heart for this church he loved. He believed that God was leading him away from his friends for the rest of his earthly days.

From His initial encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus, Paul became acutely aware that the Lord determines the direction of our lives! That’s not to say that everything is predetermined after all we have free will and our choices often cut against the grain of Gods plans. Yet!

God directs our steps! If we will allow Him access to our hearts our wills we can know that His hand rests on our shoulder steering us in the way that is right.

*In November I975, 75 convicts started digging a secret tunnel designed to bring them up at the other side of the wall of Saltillo Prison in northern Mexico. On April 18, 1976, guided by pure genius, they tunneled up into the nearby courtroom in which many of them had been sentenced. The surprised judges returned all 75 to jail. *Campus Life, September 1980.

Left to our own plans we many times turn up in unlikely and UN welcomed places!

Acts 2025"Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. Paul’s words were based on his own impressions of mounting opposition to the Gospel message. He had surveyed the scene. Harsh realities were apart of his daily life. The Holy Spirit according to verse 23 had warned Paul that in every city prisons and hardships awaited him!

When was the last time you heard this Pastor or any other call people to faith in Christ with the admonition that prison and hardships would follow their commitment? Well? They can and do!

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