Summary: People remember the next day because it indexes our life chronologically and it indexes our life emotionally. It stands in time as a point of transition from bad to good or from good to bad.
Title: The Next Day
Scripture: Acts 21:1-26
Let someone pick a random day in your life and chances are you won’t be able to remember exactly what you were doing that day. But, ask any older American what they were doing on December 7th 1941 and they can tell you. Or ask someone what they were doing on the infamous 9/11 day, or even more recently the day the tsunami hit southeast Asia.
People can associate dates, times, and facts readily. They can tell you what they were doing, and, usually they can tell you about the next day as well.
At approximately 4 p.m., August 7th 1998, raindrops bigger than a quarter started failing on the northern region of the Republic of Korea. The next day, many cities north of Seoul were flooded with 1 to 6 meters of water. People remember that day, and they remember the next day.
People remember the next day because it indexes our life chronologically and it indexes our life emotionally. It stands in time as a point of transition from bad to good or from good to bad. It stands like a signpost on the highway, marking the spot in our lives when improvement began, or when decisions were made, or when hope was given up. The next day.
The next day… There always seems to be a next day in scripture. But, in the New Testament the odd fact is, there is only the next day in the four gospels and the book of Acts. It occurs 31 times in 31 verses, but it occurs four times in our verses that we are looking at today. There is no next day in the epistles. I find that a little odd, but it’s no big hang up.
In these 26 verses, the next day not only transitions us in time, or chronologically, but it transitions us from thought to thought, or, more simply, it separates our points for us. For Paul, Luke, and their fellow travelers, it marked significant milestones and significant changes in location, in focus, and even in people.
I. The Next Day: The Praying and the Parting (vv. 1-7)
II. The Next Day: The Prophets and the Prophecy (vv. 8-17)
III. The Next Day: The Praise and the Propaganda (vv. 18-25)
IV. The Next Day: The Rites and Riots (vv. 26-29)
I. The Next Day: The Praying and the Parting
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. 2 We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went on board and set sail. 3 After 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. 4 Finding the disciples there, we stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 But when our time was up, we left and continued on our way. All the disciples and their wives and children accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. 6 After saying good-by to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home. 7 We continued our voyage from Tyre and landed at Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and stayed with them for a day.
Paul had chosen to bypass Ephesus and instead go to Miletus. From there he summoned the Ephesian elders to that city. Probably to give them some guidance, advice and warnings. Additionally, Luke gives us a very short but emotional description of the parting.
Why were they so emotional? What is it that binds Christians together on this earth that causes such emotions when they part?
Shared Spiritual Experiences
Going through tough times together in the Spirit with another solidifies relationships. Going through great times together in the Spirit with another solidifies relationships as well. Paul had this with the Elders of the Church of Ephesus. He spent more than three years developing that relationship in Christ and it was rock solid.
I’m sure they went through many rough experiences together, one of which was the big riot with Demetrius and the metal craftsmen concerning the Greek god Artemis.
Shared Spiritual Dependency
Leaning on the Spirit to lead and direct your congregation or group is the only way to develop a shared Spiritual Dependency. Leaning on the Spirit together builds up not only those sharing the experience, but those watching the experience from the sidelines. You and those that you go through experiences with, whether you like it or not, become the testimony of those onlookers of God’s work. That’s right! Those people watching from the sidelines are going to use that experience that they witnessed, to witness to others. You became their testimony.