Sunday, January 13, 2013

From Acts to Revelation Part 59 – Steadfast

From Acts to Revelation
Part 59 – Steadfast
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

Last week we saw Paul, and his party reach Tyre, where Paul was once again tested by believers in whether or not he should continue to Jerusalem, to the Feast of the Passover.

Sometimes God will test us, not because He doesn't know what we will choose or do, but so we know. Sometimes we do not realize our own resolve, or devotion, and we need to, to make us stronger.

Testing edifies us, just as it was with Abraham, who was instructed to sacrifice his son to God. At no point did God want Abraham's son sacrificed to Him, but instructed Abraham to do so, and at the last moment, an angel stopped Abraham, and gave him a ram instead...which showed Abraham a few things.

a) Abraham realized his dedication, and devotion to God was 100%
b) This was how God would save humankind, with the sacrifice for sin.
c) We would not have to sacrifice ourselves, but a sacrifice would be given in our place...Jesus.

Paul will face more tests as he travels closer to Jerusalem, each one making him stronger.

Acts 21:7-16
We continued our voyage from Tyre and landed at Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed with them for a day. Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.
10 After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.11 Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’”
12 When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”
15 After this, we started on our way up to Jerusalem. 16 Some of the disciples from Caesarea accompanied us and brought us to the home of Mnason, where we were to stay. He was a man from Cyprus and one of the early disciples.

a.      In Tyre, Paul confirms his direction and calling by God

b.     Paul said goodbye to the Elders in Ephesus, and to the believer's in Tyre.
i.       Who begged Paul not to go.

ii.    They heard from the Holy Spirit that trouble and hardship and prison awaited Paul in Jerusalem.

iii. Paul let them know that he too heard this same thing from the Holy Spirit, however, he was called to do this, and must obey God.

c.      Paul's party (approximately 9) now traveled to Caesarea, where they meet up with Philip the Evangelist.

d.     This is the same Philip from
i.       Acts 8:26-40, where Philip meets the Ethiopian Eunuch

ii.    Acts  6:5, where Philip was named one of the Deacons

a.      Philip apparently had a large house in Caeserea
i.       Large enough to house his family, as well as the 9 or so traveler's in Paul's party.

b.     The scriptures tell us Philip had 4 daughters
i.       They were virgin's (in the Literal Greek text)
ii.    Which insinuates to the reads, that they had no intentions of getting married, and had given themselves over to totally serving the Lord.

c.      The scriptures also say that they prophesy as their father did.
i.       They were evangelists, exactly like their father Philip.

ii.    This strikes down the idea that women cannot preach.

III.                        STEADFAST
a.      While staying with Philip, Brother Agabus came to visit.
i.       If you remember, he was a prophet from the church in Antioch, who prophesied of a coming famine; Acts 11:28

b.     Agabus took Paul's belt (sash/Paul's girdle), and tied his own hands and feet, (presents what the Holy Spirit told him to do as an object lesson), saying, “The Holy Spirit says the Jews in Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him to the gentiles.”
i.       Sometimes knowing something, and seeing something are two different things.

ii.    Even today, many Preachers and Pastors use Object lessons to help God's people understand what the scriptures are saying.

c.      The reality hit those who were traveling with Paul, and they began to beg and plead to him not to go to Jerusalem.
i.       Paul was once again being tested.

ii.    However, the Holy Spirit is about to show Paul, and those around him, his direction, his calling, and his steadfastness to the Lord through his obedience to God rather than man.

d.     Both Paul and the others heard from the Holy Spirit about the tribulation, hardship and imprisonment which awaited Paul in Jerusalem.
i.       The difference between Paul and the others though, is, the others took the information the Holy Spirit gave them, and decided for themselves, Paul should not go to Jerusalem, where Paul heard instruction from the Holy Spirit to GO to Jerusalem.

e.      They cried and pleaded to the point it was emotionally hurting to Paul.

f.       However, Paul obeyed God rather than men.
i.       Paul says, “I am ready to not only be bound, but to die for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

ii.    In vs. 11, we see that when Paul could not be persuaded, they stopped trying and said, the Will of the Lord be done.

This means that all had now realized what Paul was doing, and the direction he was going were indeed the Will of God.

Paul was a chosen vessel to offer the Kingdom to Israel, as well as proclaim it among the Gentiles.

The final offer he would shortly give to Israel was a divine necessity, but we will see, they rejected that offer and went to their doom.

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