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Friday, December 30 2011

Introduction

Twelve traits of a genuine leader were the focus of our last week's study. We saw Paul through the help of the Holy exuding these traits which include offering continuous encouragement, enjoying believers' fellowship, possessing decisive faith, being focused, transparency, fearlessly trusting God, serving others, showing vulnerability to mention a few . No doubt, every believer is in one way or the other a leader or rather will soon be one so it is important not only to covet these traits but consciously develop them in his/her life. This week, we will continue in the same spirit; Looking at Paul and his companions on their way to Jerusalem.

1.      BONDING OF BELIEVERS vs. 1-7

As they set out to Jerusalem, they had a stop-over at a major seaport at Tyre in Syria. As we have seen in their practice since the beginning of the book of Acts, one of their main priorities whenever they arrived at a place was to locate the disciples (vs. 4).  

"... not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as ye see the day drawing nigh." - HEB. 10:25

More interesting among these believers was the rate at which they bonded. In just seven days that Paul and his entourage stayed with them, they became so close that when they were leaving, all the members of their family escorted them (vs. 5). They knelt down publicly unashamed to pray together. In this season, our bonding and unity must be non-negotiable! Few miles down the road in verse seven, they arrived at Ptolemais and again went to greet the brethren there.

2.      THE HOUSE OF PHILIP vs. 8-14

In verse 8, it is interesting to note how believers made their home available for the work of the ministry! Equally important is the humility exhibited by the Apostle to stay in different houses and with different people. Is there anything for us to learn in our present day church?

Virginity of Phillip's daughters (vs. 9): In this world where sexuality is at all time all, believers (especially our unmarried singles) might to ask if it is possible to be a virgin before marriage. The answer is yes! The exciting thing is, if you a single sister or brother, you are not the only one who is looking forward to being a virgin before marriage as the world and its systems will want us to believe. By tapping into God's grace each day and determination (purpose) from your heart, it can be done.

"Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22);

"Marriage is honorable with all and their bed is pure, but fornicators and adulterers God judges." HEB. 13:4

Furthermore, there is one-to-one mapping between these ladies' virginity and their ability to speak inspired Word of God (being prophetess). Would you like to be used greatly by God? If yes, then stay as virgin before marriage!

Agabus' prophesy and Paul's response (vs. 10-14): Here we see the gift of prophecy revealing the happenings in the future. The local disciples and Paul's entourage discouraged Paul from proceeding further. Sound familiar? Remember similar incidence concerning Peter and Jesus when the latter told the former of all that would happen to Him in Matt. 16:21-23? Lesson: We must be careful of what we say to people when the goings will be tough or are already tough. In as much as we want to be sympathetic/empathetic with them in their situation, we should endeavor to find out what the will of God is in that situation and speak along that line.

On Paul's response, it is important to stress that Paul was not out rightly in the dark concerning what lies ahead (Acts 20:23, vs. 4). Often times, prophecies should not be things that are entirely new to believers. They must either confirm what God has been speaking to you or the Holy Spirit confirms them immediately they are spoken. Paul answer to the disciples was based on one of the traits that we looked at last week: FEARLESSLY TRUSTING IN GOD

The will of God be done (vs. 14). After much persuasion, all the parties resigned to the will of God. This must be our attitude at all times too.

3.      PAUL IN JERUSALEM  vs. 15-25

Accountability (vs. 18-20a): Although Paul was also an Apostle but on getting to Jerusalem, he was humble enough to give the report of all that God did through his ministry. "Paul ascribed all his success to God, and to God they gave the praise. God had honored him more than any of the apostles, yet they did not envy him; but on the contrary, glorified the Lord. They could not do more to encourage Paul to go on cheerfully in his work." Henry commentary

A word of Caution (vs20b-25): James and the elders of the church at Jerusalem requested that Paul comply with the ceremonial law in order to gratify the believing Jews thinking that it was prudent for him to conform. That marks the beginning of his troubles in Jerusalem

Henry Commentary puts it this way:  "It is vain to attempt to court the favor of zealots, or bigots to a party. This compliance of Paul did not answer, for the very thing by which he hoped to pacify the Jews, provoked them, and brought him into trouble. But the all-wise God overruled both their advice and Paul's compliance with it, to serve a better purpose than was intended. It was in vain to think of pleasing men who would be pleased with nothing .... Integrity and uprightness will be more likely to preserve us than insincere compliances. And it should warn us not to press men to doing what is contrary to their own judgment to oblige us."

CONCLUSION:

In sum, the importance of believers' bonding and unity in God's church cannot be over emphasized. The more we see the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ approaching, the greater we need to fellowship with one another. God always uses pure vessels especially as it concerns sexuality. Every believer must purpose in his/her not to defile himself/herself (as Daniel did) so that God can reveal His glory in him/her. Finally, believers must be accountable to one another. However in doing this, care must be taken not to see such occasions to please men. Our ultimate goal must be to please God and Him alone.

 

Contributor: Akin Akande

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 05:24 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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