Church Extended – Message 8
May 30, 2021
I. Introduction (Hebrews 11:1): Continuing our series called, Church Extended.
A. Today’s message is titled, Conviction.
- What does that mean? Conviction is a strong persuasion or belief, [it’s] being convinced.
- We think first about conviction of sin, but this concept applies more broadly in believer’s lives to being persuaded of truths that determine our decisions and define our lives.
- Hebrews 11:1 (GWT)—Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see. [That’s conviction!]
- Our belief in the intimate, knowing, caring, powerful, Presence of God in our lives as truth, which is faith, enables us to face difficult circumstances, without retreating.
- Theme verse: Acts 21:13 (NLT)—“…I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus” because of his convictions.
- We need convictions that cause us to stand when facing threats, temptations, opposition, resistance, suffering or rejection.
- How do we develop such conviction?
II. Conviction results from… (Acts 21:1-14)
A. #1 - Certainty about calling. (Acts 21:1-6. C/R: Acts 19:21; 20:22-24; Ephesians 2:8-10;
2 Timothy 1:11-12)
- Conviction requires certainty about our spiritual calling to faith in Christ, but also our specific calling to service, which provides a clear purpose.
- Paul was convinced about the path God had called him to pursue, which set the course for his life and determined his steps daily.
- Acts 21:1 (NLT)—After saying farewell to the Ephesian elders [an emotional departure], we sailed straight to the island of Cos. The next day we reached Rhodes [where the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the 7 ancient wonders of the world had stood], and then went to Patara. [Each port represented a day’s voyage and anchorage for the night.]
- In his haste to reach Jerusalem before Pentecost, Paul decided to risk crossing the Mediterranean Sea, rather than sail from port to port hugging the coast.
- Acts 21:2 (NLT)—There we boarded a ship sailing for Phoenicia.
- This was a much larger ship than the smaller coastal vessel they had been sailing on.
- Acts 21:3 (NLT)—We sighted the island of Cyprus, passed it on our left, and landed at the harbor of Tyre, in Syria, where the ship was to unload its cargo.
- Paul’s sea journey reveals that he knew he was called by Christ to sail to Jerusalem and then on to Rome, as he previously said at Acts 19:21; he knew where he was headed!
- Sailing directly across the Mediterranean Sea allowed Paul to spend time in Tyre.
- Acts 21:4a (NLT)—We went ashore, found the local believers, and stayed with them a week.
- This church was not founded by Paul, so he did not know the believers in that city.
- The Tyrian church was founded by believers fleeing persecution in Jerusalem after Stephen’s martyrdom, which was led by Paul (Acts 11:19).
- Apparently, they quickly confirmed that Paul was a true believer, no longer an enemy.
- Acts 21:4b (NLT)—These believers prophesied through the Holy Spirit that Paul should not go on to Jerusalem.
- They warned him, from the Spirit it says, not to go on the Jerusalem.
- Despite their prophecies, Paul returned to the ship to continue on to Jerusalem, because he knew his calling from Christ.
- APP.: Are you certain about your calling, so no one, nothing, can deter you from it?
- Your calling includes your salvation but also your commitment to obedient, moral, living, as well as seeking to fulfill God’s ministry assignment on your life.
- Acts 21:5-6 (NLT)—5When we returned to the ship at the end of the week, the entire congregation, including women and children, left the city and came down to the shore with us. [See the deep affection?] There we knelt, prayed, 6and said our farewells. Then we went aboard, and they returned home.
Conviction results from…
B. #2 - Confidence from the Spirit’s leadership. (Acts 21:7-12. C/R: John 10:2-4; Acts 8:5, 26-40; 1 Corinthians 14:3; Galatians 5:25)
- Acts 21:7-8 (NLT)—7The next stop after leaving Tyre was Ptolemais [25 mi. south], where we greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed for one day. [Also founded by fleeing believers following Stephen’s martyrdom] 8The next day we went on to Caesarea [40 mi. away, Jerusalem’s port, mixed population of Jews and Gentiles] and stayed at the home of Philip the Evangelist, one of the seven men who had been chosen to distribute food. [deacon, Acts 6:5-6, 20 years earlier]
- God honored Philip’s service as a deacon and called him to be an evangelist.
- He was one of the first to preach the gospel to non-Jews in Samaria and nearby cities, then to the Gentile Ethiopian treasurer. (Acts 8:5, 26-40)
- Paul, who had been the enemy of Christians, became a guest in Philip’s home.
- Acts 21:9 (NLT)—He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy.
- Philip obviously lived out God’s calling on his life with integrity, because his daughters also trusted in Jesus and each received the spiritual gift of prophecy. (Ephesians 2:20; 4:11)
- Prophets within a church typically complemented the teaching of the apostles with explanation, including personal, practical, application of the apostle’s divine revelation that strengthens, encourage, and comforts. (1 Cor.12:10; 14:2)
- The four sisters did not prophesy on this occasion regarding Paul—at least it is not reported in the Scripture—however, another prophet did.
- Acts 21:10-11 (NLT)—10Several days later a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. [Caesarea was located in Judea, but considered a foreign city by Jews because it was the seat of the hated Roman occupation forces.] 11He came over, took Paul’s belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, “The Holy Spirit declares, ‘So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.’”
- This prophecy graphically depicted Paul’s impending arrest in Jerusalem and transfer to the Romans.
- Acts 21:12 (NLT)—When we heard this, we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.
- The believer’s concern for Paul caused them to plead with him to avoid risking his life in Jerusalem, but they didn’t convince him to change his plan.
- Why didn’t Paul respond to the warnings of the Tyrians and Agabus, both of which were attributed to the Holy Spirit?
- Was he sinning by disobeying the Spirit? We must consider several points.
- Even though someone states they are repeating what the Spirit said, they need to be evaluated, according to 1 Corinthians 14:29, because people can be mistaken, especially when it is something they desperately want. (Spiritual manipulation?)
- EX.: When I think God is speaking to me, I ask Him repeatedly, reflect on what the Bible says and ask other believers if they are hearing the same. (Ex.: India and clinic)
- Paul was accustomed to being led by the Spirit and had repeatedly obeyed the Spirit’s direction, even when it changed his plan (Acts 16:6-10), so it is unlikely he would have refused to obey if he believed the Spirit speaking though others.
- Perhaps most importantly, Paul knew had been instructed by Jesus and the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. (Acts 19:21; 20:22-24) so he was confident about what he should do.
- Also, I think God will tell you what He wants you to do, so He’ll confirm what someone else suggests, even if that person says the message was from the Spirit.
- It appears that the Spirit’s message to Paul in Tyre was a warning, not a prohibition.
- Neither the threat of persecution nor the pleadings of well-meaning fellow believers could divert Paul from fulfilling his calling. (Acts 20:23)
Conviction results in…
B. #3 - Courage to follow Christ. (Acts 21:13-14. C/R: Matthew 6:10; Luke 14:28; Romans 6:13; 2 Timothy 2:10)
- Paul was certain about his salvation and his mission assignment since he was sure of what Jesus and the Holy Spirit had told him.
- This conviction produced courage to follow Christ wherever He led.
- Acts 21:13 (NLT)—But he said, “Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.”
- Remember that this threat was not news to him.
- He had counted the cost of serving Christ and spreading Good News—even if the cost was imprisonment or death. (Luke 14:28; 2 Timothy 2:10)
- Let’s review a passage from last week: Acts 20:22–24 (NLT)—22“And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, 23except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. 24But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.”
- Paul had already surrendered himself, his very life, to Christ’s service; it was no longer his to determine how he would use it.
- APP.: Have we determined that we will use our lives to serve God? Have we resolved that our decisions in every area of our lives will be made to please God?
- Acts 21:14 (NLT)—When it was clear that we couldn’t persuade him, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”
- This was not a statement of despair, but rather, a declaration of trust in God’s sovereign and perfect will; they committed Paul into God’s care.
Memory verse: Galatians 5:25 (NLT)—Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.