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Summary: Paul shows us how to avoid allowing peoples’ sentiments deter us from following God’s will

Why Paul Did Not Let People’s Sentiments Determine His Direction

(Acts 21:1-16)

Quote:Sometimes the Lord calms the storm. Sometimes he lets the storm rage and calms his child.

Illustration:Louis Pasteur is reported to have had such an irrational fear of dirt and infection he refused to shake hands. President and Mrs. Benjamin Harrison were so intimidated by the newfangled electricity installed in the White House they didn’t dare touch the switches. If there were no servants around to turn off the lights when the Harrisons went to bed, they slept with them on.

Jane Goodsell, Not a Good Word About Anybody, Ballantine.

1. Why do think Paul chose to reject the warnings about going to Jerusalem? We live in an age when we are encouraged not to offend anyone.

Many people are led more by public sentiments, polls and media pressure than by anything else.

In this passage we learn that Godly brothers, with the gifts of prophecy, tried to dissuade Paul from entering in to Jerusalem. Dr. Luke even uses the phrase, “Prompted by the Holy Spirit, they kept telling Paul not to go to Jerusalem.” (Acts 21:4)

However, with confident determination, Paul replied, “Why are you breaking my heart? I hold myself in readiness not only to be arrested and bound and imprisoned at Jerusalem but also (even) to die for the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 21:13)

Ask the Lord to help you follow the good example of Paul who was willing to sacrifice everything for who he believed.

Quote:Keep your fears to yourself; share your courage with others.

Robert Louis Stevenson.

2. When the Godly brothers saw Paul’s determination they consented to the will of God. Be strong in your determination to do whatever God directs you to do. Occasionally, the Godly will come to realize that your decisions are in alignment with the will of God.

Ask the Lord to help you not buckle under the pressure of subjective sentiment, social pressure or public approval ratings. The crowds do not have to pay the penalty when you fail to do the will of God.


Researchers at Johns Hopkins University reported that 30 years ago, the greatest fears of grade school children were:

1) Animals,

2) Being in a dark room,

3) High places,

4) Strangers,

5) Loud noises.

Today, kids are afraid of the following:

1) Divorce,

2) Nuclear war,

3) Cancer,

4) Pollution,

5) Being mugged.

Back to the Bible Today, Summer, 1990, p. 5.

3. Paul did not allow other people’s agendas to determine God’s will for his life. The Holy Spirit that lives within you can best direct you in God’s will. The great apostle was able to say, “Herein do I exercise myself to have a conscience void of offense toward God and men.” (Acts 20:24)

Remember that your conscience must be right with God before it can be at ease with people.

Trust the Lord to help you resist the social pressures to settle for nothing less than God’s best.


Peladophobia: fear of baldness and bald people. Aerophobia: fear of drafts. Porphyrophobia: fear of the color purple. Chaetophobia: fear of hairy people. Levophobia: fear of objects on the left side of the body. Dextrophobia: fear of objects on the right side of the body. Auroraphobia: fear of the northern lights. Calyprophobia: fear of obscure meanings. Thalassophobia: fear of being seated. Stabisbasiphobia: fear of standing and walking. Odontophobia: fear of teeth. Graphophobia: fear of writing in public. Phobophobia: fear of being afraid.

Fraser Kent, Nothing to Fear, , Doubleday & Company, 1977.

4. Paul knew that he did not want to set a precedent for listening to people’s fears instead of his faith. Paul expressed a willingness to face his fears through the power of the Spirit.

The great apostle feared the consequences of failing to obey God more than he feared men.

Ask God to help you follow your faith not fears.

5. Paul determined in his mind what God wanted him to do and refused to be dissuaded.

Many people suffer because they do not have clear goals to follow.

Ask the Lord to help you set clear goals and determine to not get detoured.

6. Paul knew that human emotions deter us from what is the best.

Too often people are gradually led to a life of mediocrity because they follow their emotions.

Ask the Lord to help you be more objective and less subjective in your decision-making – just like Paul.

Illustration:I am inwardly fashioned for faith, not for fear. Fear is not my native land; faith is. I am so made that worry and anxiety are sand in the machinery of life; faith is the oil. I live better by faith and confidence than by fear, doubt and anxiety. In anxiety and worry, my being is gasping for breath--these are not my native air. But in faith and confidence, I breathe freely--these are my native air. A John Hopkins University doctor says, "We do not know why it is that worriers die sooner than the non-worriers, but that is a fact."

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