Though the Spirit they urged Paul not to go . . . we continued on our way. On the beach we knelt and prayed. Acts 21:4-5
Phillip the evangelist had four unmarried daughters who prophesied. Acts 21:9
The prophet Agabus warned, “The Holy Spirit says, the owner of this belt will be handed over to the Gentiles.” Acts 21:11
We pleaded with Paul not to go. Acts 21:12 But then we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.” Acts 21:14
Often we think an open door is God’s will. Or that a closed door is his answer to our prayer. Other times the nudging of the Holy Spirit seems to point us in a direction . . . or stop us in our tracks. In all cases we need to test the spirits.
In the above passages, twice the Holy Spirit warned Paul of the trials he would face if he proceeded. Paul’s godly friends begged him to turn back, but Paul remained sure of his calling and God’s will for him. The Holy Spirit did not tell Paul to turn back, but the Spirit of Christ did prepare him for the trials he was to face. And all that the Holy Spirit warned of came true, and yet Paul did not die. Though he was imprisoned, God opened a door for him to witness in Rome to those in the household of Herod.
If we pay close attention we can hear the Holy Spirit speaking of the trials we may face. This warning may not be our call to retreat, but, like Paul, to advance boldly. Are you leaning forward in your walk with Christ, or looking back?
While I testified to the gospel of God’s grace I have served the Lord with great humility and with tears. Although I was severely tested by the plans of others, you know I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you. Acts 20: 19-20
I have declared that all must turn to God in repentance and faith in our Lord Jesus. Acts 20:21
Now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going, not knowing what will happen to me. Acts 20:22
I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the WHOLE WILL of GOD. Therefore, keep watch over all those whom the Holy Spirit has placed in your care. Acts 2028
I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples. Therefore, I have warned you: Be on your guard! Acts 20:29-31
If you are properly devoted to the Lord Jesus, you have reached the lofty height where no one would ever notice you personally. All that is noticed is the power of God coming through you all the time. – Oswald Chambers
About the time Paul visited the province of Asia there arose a great disturbance in the city of Ephesus about the Way. A silversmith named Demetrius called together the craftsmen and said, “You see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all. There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name but the goddess Artemis will be robbed of her divine majesty.” Acts 19:23, 26-27
When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: “Great is Artemis.” Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Paul’s traveling companions and rushed as one man into the theater. The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting on thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there. They all shouted in unison for about two hours: “Great is Artemis.” Acts 19:28-29, 32, 34
How about us? Are we in an uproar over some grievance or offence? Have we been insulted, disrespected, disenfranchised, under counted, over looked, left behind, or misunderstood? Are our hurts worth the division and violence that will follow from our outburst?
The city clerk quieted the crowd and said: “Men of Ephesus, you ought to be quiet and not do anything rash. If you have a grievance against anybody, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. They can press charges. If there is anything further you want to bring up, it must be settled in a legal assembly.” Acts 19:35, 36, 38-39.
When we died in Christ and were born into his Spirit, we agreed that our natural born rights granted in the Kingdom of Man became secondary to the rights gained in the Kingdom of God. Now the only right that matters is the right to be called a child of God. In our actions are we imitators of Christ? Let us live in peace with others through the Spirit of Christ, not as the ungodly who worship the idols of some fading movement. Our neighbors are watching.