Faithlife Sermons

UnPopular Obedience

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Transcript

Disagreements

Friendly - My team is better than yours
Preferences
Fun spirit of competition
Unfriendly - You are evil if you don’t do it my way
Politics
Human Rights and Responsibilities
Belief Systems
Disagreements are not new. Cain and Abel kicked things off in a big way and humans have been struggling with each other for centuries. Because the church is filled with humans we too will face disagreements. In today’s passage, Acts 21:1-16, we will see fellow believers disagree with the Apostle Paul. When believers disagree we need to know what pitfalls to avoid and how to maintain unity. Today’s message will aim at building into our church family a mindset that will help us maintain unity in the Spirit as we navigate decisions and difficulties together.
Let’s Pray.
PRAY
READ
Acts 21:1–16 ESV
1 And when we had parted from them and set sail, we came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. 2 And having found a ship crossing to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail. 3 When we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left we sailed to Syria and landed at Tyre, for there the ship was to unload its cargo. 4 And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days. And through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 When our days there were ended, we departed and went on our journey, and they all, with wives and children, accompanied us until we were outside the city. And kneeling down on the beach, we prayed 6 and said farewell to one another. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home. 7 When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais, and we greeted the brothers and stayed with them for one day. 8 On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9 He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied. 10 While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’ ” 12 When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.” 15 After these days we got ready and went up to Jerusalem. 16 And some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us, bringing us to the house of Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we should lodge.

God’s Will

The believers plead with him in Tyre
Acts 21:4–6 ESV
4 And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days. And through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 When our days there were ended, we departed and went on our journey, and they all, with wives and children, accompanied us until we were outside the city. And kneeling down on the beach, we prayed 6 and said farewell to one another. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home.
Let’s look at verse 4.
Acts 21:4 ESV
4 And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days. And through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.
Who is right?
If the people were saying something “through the Spirit” doesn’t that mean Paul should have listened?
Why didn’t Paul listen?
Remember after all of the healings by Paul’s handkerchiefs and aprons and the demon that beat up the sons of Sceva, Luke records,
Acts 19:21 ESV
21 Now after these events Paul resolved in the Spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.”
Acts 20:22–23 ESV
22 And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.
So what happened? Did the Holy Spirit change his mind? Did Paul disobey? Were the people wrong?
Most likely explanation: The Spirit revealed to the people what had been revealed to Paul. They did not understand that God’s will was for Paul to walk this path. This was not a warning for Paul but the Spirit making them aware of what Paul would suffer. In their love for Paul, they tried to talk him out of going.
Paul then stops for a day in Ptolemais and then traveled to Cesarea.
Acts 21:8–14 ESV
8 On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9 He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied. 10 While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’ ” 12 When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.”
In the home of Philip
Acts 8:39–40 ESV
39 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
It appears that Philip may have remained in Caesarea in order to lead that local church
Philips daughters
Acts 21:9 ESV
9 He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied.
Literally “virgin” daughters. These were likely young women who all had the gift of prophesy. What a great family legacy. It also reminds us that God can work powerfully through people of all ages.
It is into this godly home that Paul and his companions are welcomed.
Then Agabus came with a prophecy and the people there along with Paul’s companions disagreed with Paul’s decision to go to Jerusalem.
Acts 21:10–12 ESV
10 While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’ ” 12 When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem.
Look at their love for Paul.
How does Paul respond?
Acts 21:13 ESV
13 Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
I am reminded of Peter’s words to Jesus:
Matthew 16:13–23 ESV
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. 21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
From the height of being blessed with the knowledge that Jesus was indeed the Christ to the low of being called satan.
In both the case of Jesus and of Paul, their calling was not easy. No one wanted them to go through what God had ordained for them.
How should we respond?
Acts 21:14 ESV
14 And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.”

Calling, Conflict, and Conviction

How are we to sort out the will of the Lord? What does this passage reveal?
Sometimes we will be in conflict.
Sometimes a believer must move forward as they are led by the Holy Spirit even without full support.
Sometimes we will have to take time to help others get on board with the direction God is leading us.
Potential pitfall:
Selfishness
James 4:1–4 ESV
1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
False Leaders
2 Timothy 4:3–4 ESV
3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
Acts 20:28–30 ESV
28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.
Potential road block:
Fear
Hebrews 13:5–6 ESV
5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
Calling:
Romans 1:1 ESV
1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
1 Timothy 1:12 ESV
12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service,
1 Corinthians 12:27–31 ESV
27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.
Conviction:
Romans 12:1–2 ESV
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Conviction comes when we listen to the Lord, walk with the Lord, and submit to the Lord
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