Paul Warned By the Christians

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Warning

It was hard for Paul to leave the Ephesian Elders. Luke implies that he had to literally tear himself away from these dear friends (v.1). He found a ship going to Phoenicia, so he got on board and sailed off (v. 2). From there he headed south. The voyage itself was uneventful and probably took five or six days. They landed in Tyre where the ship unloaded some of its cargo (v. 3). While the ship was unloading, Paul and his party looked up the (Bible teaching) church in town. Hospitality was extended to the travelers, and a week of warm fellowship followed (v. 4).

During this time Paul was warned by the Christians, under the leading of the Holy Spirit, not to go on to Jerusalem (v. 4). Paul was determined in his own mind to not let this change his plans. God will allow the Christian to have his own way, but often there is a severe price to be paid. In severe cases, when believers get out of the will of the Lord, He will send sickness, and even physical death, as in the case of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5). Other times He may give them their request, but send leanness to their soul. Regardless of whether Paul was in God’s will on this issue or not, the fact remains that Paul had ample warning of what to expect in Jerusalem.

When the week was over, they went with their friends to the beach and prayed (vv. 5-6). From here Paul travels to Ptolemais and Caesarea, where he stayed with Philip the Evangelist (vv.7- 9).  Philip was one of the seven deacons of the Jerusalem church, the one who won the Ethiopian eunuch to the Lord. He had settled in Caesarea, the Roman capital of Palestine, and had been there ministering for twenty years. What a joy it must have been for Paul and Philip to be together again.

Application

I need to be very careful that I do not want my way so badly that I don’t care what the Lord wants in my life. I need to be sensitive if God is putting up a roadblock or bringing some pressure to bear in my life that is a warning. I want to be able to give the Lord a blank sheet and sign it to indicate I will go and do whatever He wants me to do.

Acts 21:1-9 (English Standard Version)

And when we had parted from them and set sail, we came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. And having found a ship crossing to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail. When we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left we sailed to Syria and landed at Tyre, for there the ship was to unload its cargo. And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days. And through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. When our days there were ended, we departed and went on our journey, and they all, with wives and children, accompanied us until we were outside the city. And kneeling down on the beach, we prayed and said farewell to one another. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home. When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais, and we greeted the brothers and stayed with them for one day. On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied.

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