Summary: This sermon looks at Pauls obedience as the Lord sought to direct him.
When it comes to doing the will of God…
Our intentions are not good enough. v.6
Here Paul and his companions clearly intended to go into Asia to preach the gospel. But intentions alone were not sufficient. Certainly their intentions were noble and even right but for whatever reason they were not in line with the will of God at that particular time. Therefore the Holy Spirit would not allow them to act on their intentions. We too can be guilty of having good intentions that are outside the will of God. We must be careful to seek the Holy Spirit’s leading in all that we do.
Our best efforts are not good enough. v.7
Next we see them trying to go into Bithynia. They had failed at following their intentions and now their best efforts were being stopped as well. This course of action was also outside of the will of God. Many times we accept the truism “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” as a rule for living. We must be sensitive enough to the Holy Spirit to recognize when it is He who is blocking our efforts.
Only complete and unconditional obedience will do. V.10
Now after the vision Paul has a clear understanding that God had another purpose for him and he was obedient “immediately” to follow what the Lord had called them to. The problem was not that Paul didn’t want to do anything for the Lord. We have seen that he had good intentions and was willing to give great effort in doing something yet when he knew what God desired he didn’t hesitate to be obedient. We too must be ready to obey the Lord at a moments notice even when it may be different than what we intended for ourselves.