God Works His Will in His Servants

I heard of a Christian who used the open window method in seeking God’s will. He put his Bible by a window and (whew) the pages blew and he put his finger on the verse. It pointed to the verse, “Judas went and hanged himself.” Not a very good life verse, and he … More

God's Will

After eighteen months of ministry Paul decided that it was time for him to return to his sending church in Antioch. His friends Aquila and Priscilla went with him as far as Ephesus, where they took up residence. The chief pride of Ephesus was the temple of Diana, which was famed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was 425 feet long, by 220 feet wide, by 60 feet high. There were 127 pillars, each being the gift of a king. Life in Ephesus revolved around the Greek traders who made their home there, and around those engaged in the idolatrous worship and magical art connected with the temple.

From Ephesus Paul went to Caesarea (the seaport of Corinth). Here Paul for some reason made a Nazarite vow and had his head shaved (v. 18). We cannot be sure why he did this because we are not really told. Some Bible scholars think that Paul was definitely out of the will of the Lord in doing this. They maintain that the taking of this vow was really the beginning of the end for Paul.” They go on to say that because of this vow that he took he would ultimately get caught in Jerusalem in a place where he should not have been. Soon he was arrested and was never a free man as long as he lived. Of course this is just the opinion of these particular Bible scholars.

From Caesarea Paul went up to Jerusalem, arriving there in time for the feast of the Passover, and greeted the believers (v. 22). From Jerusalem he went back to Antioch where he reported to his home church all that God had done on his second missionary journey. Even Paul, the great missionary, needed some time to relax and be refreshed, and he did this as he went back to Antioch (v. 22). It was not long before he launched out on his third missionary journey.

Application

It’s not what we do for God that counts. It is what we let Him do through us. So many times I find myself saying, “Lord I’ll never do that again!” and yet I do it. I can never have victory in my own power. Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Acts 18:18-23 (English Standard Version)

After this, Paul stayed many days longer and then took leave of the brothers and set sail for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had cut his hair, for he was under a vow. And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there, but he himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to stay for a longer period, he declined. But on taking leave of them he said, "I will return to you if God wills," and he set sail from Ephesus. When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch. After spending some time there, he departed and went from one place to the next through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »

More Acts commentaries

Acts 15:1-5
Jerusalem Council–Divisions Re: Circumcision

Acts 15:6-11
Jerusalem Council–Discussion Re: Moses’ Law

Acts 15:12-18
Jerusalem Council–Decisions Based on God’s Word

Acts 15:19-29
Jerusalem Council–Decisions for Unity

Acts 15:30-41
Paul and Barnabas Disagree About John Mark

Acts 16:1-5
Paul & Timothy – New Ministry Duo

Acts 16:6-10
Paul – Flexibility in the Itinerary

Acts 16:11-15
Lydia–Conversion to Christ and Hospitality Offered

Acts 16:16-34
Paul & Silas – Praising God While In Prison

Acts 16:35-40
Paul’s Ministry Produces "People” Change

Acts 17:1-9
Paul & Silas – Trust God’s Strategy for Ministry

Acts 17:10-15
Obstacles that Hinder the Work of the Lord

Acts 17:16-34
Religion ... Ridicule ... Results

Acts 18:1-4
Paul Adapts to His Audience

Acts 18:5-11
Opposition Enhances Ministry Results

Acts 18:12-17
Paul’s Roman Citizenship On Trial

Acts 18:18-23
God Works His Will in His Servants

Acts 18:24-28
Tactfulness–Words That Work Mightily

Acts 19:1-7
The Holy Spirit is a Person

Acts 19:8-16
Miracles Performed by Paul for Authentication

Acts 19:17-22
Beware of Cult Practices

Acts 19:21-41
Results of Religious Greed

Acts 20:1-6
Discipleship Despite Difficulties

Acts 20:7-12
When, Where, How & How Long to Worship

Acts 20:13-21
Paul–An Example of Faithfulness

Acts 20:22-24
Paul’s Determination To Go To Jerusalem

Acts 20:25-31
Paul’s Warning to the Ephesian Elders

Acts 20:32-38
Paul Shares About Giving

Acts 21:1-9
Paul Warned By the Christians

Acts 21:10-16
Paul’s Determination & Warning from Agabus

Acts 21:17-26
Compromise Recommended but Refuted

Acts 21:27-36
Disaster is the End Result of Compromise

Acts 21:37-40
Boldness At the Barracks