“On Location with Luke”-63

Highlights in Acts-Chapter 21

You probably recall that we said that Paul and his companions stayed with Philip, the Evangelist, in his home. We are informed that Philip had four virgin daughters that prophesied. After these girls, there are no others spoken of in the New Testament who had this gift. Perhaps the Holy Spirit mentions this because it must be a testimony of a Godly upbringing. There is no indication that they used it with men. In fact, during their stay, "….there came down from Judea a certain prophet, named Agabus." (From Verse 10). He did an unusual thing. He took Paul's girdle, bound his own hands and feet, and delivered a message from the Holy Spirit. This is what he shared: "….So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles." (From Verse 11). Luke, and the others there, urged Paul not to go. His response was what might be expected of a man of God, such as Paul. "Then Paul answered, 'What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the Name of the Lord Jesus'" (Verse 13). Seeing that he would not be persuaded, they stopped trying. They said, "….The will of the Lord be done." (From Verse 14). This should be the concern of every true believer. Selah! God had told Paul that he would go through suffering. Conscious of God's will, he was determined to follow it, no matter the cost. He even did this when Christian friends, who undoubtedly meant well, tried to stop him. What an example! God, give us the grace to be that firm in our commitment to your will. Ron

“On location with Luke”-62

Highlights in Acts-Chapter 21

After the sad parting at Miletus, Paul's party sailed straight to Coos. They went from Coos to Rhodes on the day following. They next left Rhodes and reached Patara. They then found a ship going to Phoenicia, went aboard, and set forth. They sailed by Cyprus, which was on their left side, sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre, where the ship unloaded. Finding disciples there, the group spent seven days with them. These disciples through the Spirit said to Paul "….that he should not go up to Jerusalem." (From Verse 4). When it came time to move on, the disciples, with their wives and children, saw Paul and his companions off. They accompanied Paul and the others until they were out of the city. At the shore, they knelt and prayed. When it was time to board, the disciples returned to their homes and Paul's party sailed to Ptolemais, greeted the brethren, and spent a day with them. After leaving Ptolemais on the following day, their next destination was Caesarea. Here they stayed with Philip, the Evangelist, who was one of the seven. (See Acts 6:5). What happened in Philip's home is our theme for tomorrow, God willing. Selah! Do you see a pattern here? Within the flow of the Holy Spirit's working, God's people can and often do experience danger, pain, abuse, make sacrifices, leave dear friends behind, all the while preaching, teaching, nurturing, and seeing a great many people coming to saving faith in our wonderful Lord Jesus Christ. In this costly and rewarding ministry of the Gospel, they steadily move forward in God's leading. In the center of His perfect will, they move toward the ultimate goal, until that moment when it will be worth it all!    Ron

"In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:6).

 

 

 

“On Location with Luke”-61

Highlights in Acts-Chapter 20

Paul had just told the Ephesian Elders that they would see his face no more. How that must have brought sorrow to their hearts. He reminded them that he had faithfully ministered "….all the counsel of God." (From verse 27). He went on record that he was free from the blood of all men because of his faithful witness. Then, he gave them a solemn charge that any faithful minister could profitably give his people today and it would apply if he was staying or leaving that assembly. This, under inspiration, is what he said, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood" (Verse 28). He warned them that "….grievous wolves (shall) enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." (From Verses 29-30). He reminded them of his faithful warnings to everyone, night and day, with tears, for three years. Having said that, he committed them to God and the word of His grace. He went over again with them his own Godly lifestyle. This difficult scene concluded, as they knelt and prayed, wept sore, and embraced him, with great sorrow because of not seeing him again this side of Heaven. Selah! What can we glean from this for God's people today? No matter how faithfully and effectively we preach God's Truth, Satan will always try to infiltrate God's people with error. The only protection is the intense, consistent, effective, communication of sound doctrine, with application. It must be done with the anointing of the Holy Spirit! "….the letter killeth but the Spirit giveth life." (From II Corinthians 3:6).    Ron

“On Location with Luke”-60

Highlights in Acts-Chapter 20

After the scare with Eutychus, Luke and those with him sailed to Assos. Paul decided to go on foot and join his companions at Assos. Meeting them there, he sailed with them to Mitylene. In the days that followed, they came close to Chios, stopped at Samos, lingered at Trogyllium, and came to Miletus. Paul planned to sail by Ephesus in order to make Jerusalem for the day of Pentecost. However, he sent a message requesting the elders from Ephesus to come and meet with him in Miletus. When they joined him, he reminded them that, even with the stress and danger, he humbly served the Lord. He kept back nothing that was profitable to them. He taught them publickly, and from house to house, preaching repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. He informed them that he was going bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing what might happen, except that the Holy Spirit indicated that bonds and afflictions were waiting for him. Even with the possibilities of suffering and death, he was going. He told them that, "….none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." (From Verse 24). He added that they would see his face no more. He went on to tell them that he was pure from the blood of all men because he hadn't shunned to declare to them all the counsel of God. He then gave them a solemn charge that we will examine tomorrow, God willing. Selah! What passion Paul had to give forth God's Truth without fear or compromise. God develop in us a passion that will motivate us to serve with the same intensity!    Ron

“On Location with Luke”-59

Highlights in Acts-Chapter 20

Paul called the disciples together after the uproar in Ephesus ceased, embraced them, and left for Macedonia. After he had gone through those parts and had given much exhortation to the people there, he moved on to Greece. He spent three months in Greece. He planned to go to Syria but learning that the Jews were lying in wait, he decided to return through Macedonia. Eight fellow laborers went ahead of Paul and those who were with him, and waited for them at Troas. Paul and those who journeyed with him sailed from Philippi, after the feast of unleavened bread, and arriving in Troas five days later, spent a week there. Paul, on the first day of the week, as the disciples gathered to break bread, preached to them. That evening,  knowing that he was leave the next day, he preached until midnight. (I take great comfort in that)! A young man by the name of Eutychus sat in a high up window and as Paul kept on preaching, Eutychus fell asleep. He fell from the third storey and was taken up dead. Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him, announced that he was alive. Paul came back up, broke bread, ate, and talked with the folk there until daybreak, and left. "And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted" (Verse 12). Selah! A couple of lessons emerge from this episode. First, even if we were able to preach like Paul, "the brain cannot retain more than the seat can endure." Second, It's costly, one way or another, to go to sleep when God is speaking through His Word. For Eutychus' sake, it was good that God used Paul to overcome the tragedy. However, if we fall asleep in church, Paul is no longer around.    Ron

“On Location with Luke”-58

Highlights in Acts-Chapter 19

The craftsmen, thoroughly aroused by the threat to their businesses from Paul's and others' preaching that idols are not gods, were getting people stirred up to put a stop to it. They used a rallying cry to arouse emotions. They  "…. cried out, saying, 'Great is Diana of the Ephesians." (From Verse 28). They filled the whole city with confusion. Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel were hauled into the theatre. Paul sought for a chance to address the mob but the disciples prevented him from doing this. Other friends, among the chiefs of Asia, urged him not to go into the theatre. Alexander was singled out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. He beckoned with the hand, in an attempt to offer a defense. When it was learned that he was a Jew, the crowd went wild and with one voice cried out, over and over, for about two hours, "…'Great is Diana of the Ephesians.'" (From Verse 34). When the townclerk finally calmed the frenzied mob down, he offered some advice. He suggested that everyone knew how Ephesus was a worshipper of Diana. He warned them to quiet down and do nothing rashly. He reminded them that these men had done nothing chargeable. He told them that they had a legal process to deal with something, if it was wrong. He added that Demetrius and the craftsmen had legal recourse, if they had a case. He further informed them that they might be called to account for this riot. After making his points, he dismissed them. Once again Satan's strategy backfired, as the flow of the Spirit continued. Selah! God will always have the last Word. We can trust His wise plan when things are smooth and when the path is full of danger. If the worst happens, He will only take His own child home.  Ron

“On Location with Luke”-57

Highlights in Acts-Chapter 19

The things that happened at Ephesus, the disciples filled with the Holy Spirit, Paul's extended preaching ministry and his being used to heal the sick, and the incident with the seven sons of Sceva, all were used of God to bring many to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Good works became common for those who experienced salvation. One instance of this is recorded by Luke. "Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together and burned them…." (From Verse 19). The value of these books was 50,000 pieces of silver. The impact of the Word of God increased and prevailed. Paul, thinking ahead, planned to travel to Jerusalem and to Rome. Sending Timothy and Erastus ahead, Paul remained in Asia for a season. So many were coming to Jesus and having their lives profoundly changed that it created a stir about the Way. (See Verse 23). One of the things that changed was worshiping idols. New Christians turned from these idols to serve the Living God, creating an economic threat. Demetrius made silver shrines for Diana who was considered a great goddess. He called fellow tradesmen together warning them that their livelihood was in jeopardy. Throughout all Asia, Paul was teaching people that idols made with hands were not gods. God used Paul to persuade many people and turn them from these false gods. Seeing that Diana's temple and following were likely to be destroyed, the tradesmen became filled with wrath. What would they do? Return tomorrow as trouble breaks out for Paul and his companions. Selah! There is a challenge here for us. Is God so in control of our ministry that it is impacting Satan's domain? If not, how could we see God make it that effective?   Ron