Paul is beginning a new direction, to take the gospel to the Gentiles in Rome. As he heads to Jerusalem, he summons the leaders of the Church in Ephesus and gives them a warning. As oversseers, they have a responsibility, first to guard themselves, and also to guard the flock of God. It is true, as Paul will later write to them, in Ephesians 6:12 “our struggle is not against blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places”. We first though, must give ourselves to the Lord, and to the message as Paul said in 1 Timothy 4:14-16 “… Fix your attention on yourself and on your teaching. Continue in them, for by doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you”. The word is where faith comes from and with this foundation, we can fulfill the will of God even though we may find ourselves praying as Jesus did in Mark 14:36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you! Take away this cup from me! Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
Bound By The Spirit I Am Traveling
Shepherd the Church of God
Paul offers a warning, not to the congregation of believers, but to the ones who “the Holy Spirit has appointed you as overseer’s” in Acts 20:28.
This warning is two-fold:
- “be on guard for yourselves” Colossians 1:23 “if indeed you remain in the faith, established and steadfast and not shifted away from the hope of the gospel … “ 1 Timothy 4:14-16 “… Fix your attention on yourself and on your teaching. Continue in them, for by doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
- be on guard “for all the flock” Jeremiah 3:15 “Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart and they will feed you knowledge and insight”.
The danger comes from two sources:
- there are those that will come from outside the church, from outside the body of believers in Acts 20:29 “fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock” 1 John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or the things in the world … “
- there are those that will come from inside the church, these are members of the body of believers in Acts 20:30 “from among you yourselves men will arise, speaking perversions of the truth in order to draw away the disciples after them” see 2 Peter 2:1-22.
Though Paul tells them in Acts 20:31 “be on the alert” Paul’s faith is in God to perform His word so he goes on to say in
Acts 20:32 “I entrust you to God and to the message of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified”.
This short statement here “to give you the inheritance”, they would come to know as it is fully developed later in Ephesians 1:1-11 and in Paul’s prayer for them in Ephesians 1:17-23. This is also the message given by Peter in 2 Peter 1:2-7.
We Tore Ourselves Away From Them
Paul was being led to go to Jerusalem, and then to Rome but this meant he would leave behind these strong relationships he built over years. We get a sense of the depth of these relationships when Paul says, in Acts 21:1 “we tore ourselves away from them” and at the stop in Tyre, in Acts 21:5 “all of them accompanied us, together with their wives and children”. But this is sometimes required to follow God’s plan for our lives. Jesus said this in
Luke 14:27 “Whoever does not carry his own cross and follow me cannot be my disciple”.
and isn’t this that we also should do what the Lord asks, to fulfill his will in our lives as Jesus did in
Mark 14:36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you! Take away this cup from me! Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
The Will of the Lord Be Done
Paul has given warnings to others about what was ahead for them and now, Paul is warned. As Paul comes to Caesarea he in Acts 21:8 entered into the house of Philip the evangelist” and in Acts 21:9 “a certain prophet named Agabus” in
Acts 21:11 And he came to us and took Paul’s belt. Tying up his own feet and hands, he said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews in Jerusalem will tie up the man whose belt this is, and will deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’ ”
People who heard this took it as a warning that Paul should not go to Jerusalem, but in
Acts 21:13 Then Paul replied, “What are you doing weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be tied up, but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus!”
Paul knew what the Lord was leading him to do, go to Jerusalem and then to Rome. He didn’t know the details of how that would happen, but he had experience in following the Holy Spirit, and sometimes he had landed in prison. Paul also knew, that the Lord was always with him and his purpose was to carry this message to the Gentile.
The Brothers Welcomed Us Gladly
Purify Yourself Along With Them
He Has Defiled This Holy Place
- Acts 20:28-38 Shepherd the Church of God
- Acts 21:1-7 We Tore Ourselves Away From Them
- Acts 21:8-16 The Will of the Lord Be Done
- Acts 20:17-38
- Acts 21:1-36