Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Paul's Goodbye (Acts 20:13-38, Philippians 4:10-13, )

After the Apostle Paul left the house where the young boy fell asleep and fell out the window, Paul didn't give up or get embarrassed.  He kept going.  His personality type is definitely a driver.  He never stopped even when he was put in prison.  Maybe that's why I like Paul so much, I'm a driver too.  Keep going until it works!!!  I think Peter was an expressive.  He always said what he thought.  And probably regretted it at times.  I can relate to that too : )

I like these verses written by Paul:

I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
(Philippians 4:10-13 NKJV)
Truly the Bible must be inspired by God.  We can all relate to it, if we pay attention.

13 Then we went ahead to the ship and sailed to Assos, there intending to take Paul on board; for so he had given orders, intending himself to go on foot. 14 And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and came to Mitylene. 15 We sailed from there, and the next day came opposite Chios. The following day we arrived at Samos and stayed at Trogyllium. The next day we came to Miletus. 16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost.
Pentecost is the celebration of Christians receiving the Holy Spirit from God. It gives me chills to think of it : )  How amazing!

1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
(Acts 2:1-4 NKJV)
Some people believe to speak in tongues shows they are Spirit filled.  I've always thought speaking in tongues is for missionaries and those who need to communicate with people of other languages.  I ask the Holy Spirit for words to say when I'm confused, I sound much better after.  The Holy Spirit provides our needs when we need them.  Others may disagree with me which is fine.  My Greek professor, in college used to laugh and say, "Well Paul's talking again.  You can see all the run-on sentences : )"

17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. 18 And when they had come to him, he said to them: “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you,

These verses that Paul wrote, sum up what it's like to be Christian, none of us are perfect:

  • 19 serving the Lord with all humility,
  • with many tears 
  • trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; 
  • 20 I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, 
  • 21 testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 
Sometimes we feel like we have to be perfect to serve God.  Really a simple prayer for others can change another person's life. 

22 And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. 
God's Holy Spirit is within us.  At times I feel I've said or done something wrong.  I know it's His Spirit helping me get on the right track.  So I pray for forgiveness and healing so I can stay on the right track.

24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
Paul was willing to lay down everything to serve the Lord.

25 “And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 
Originally, Paul set out to destroy Christians.  But Jesus saw more in him than even Paul realized.  With a bolt of light Jesus stopped him and Paul learned the truth.  He openly shared the gospel and lead many people to faith in Jesus.

27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears."

32 “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. 34 Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. 35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Then they all wept freely, and fell on Paul's neck and kissed him, 38 sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they would see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship.
(Acts 20:13-38 NKJV)
The Bible doesn't say how the Apostle Paul died.  Tradition tells us that he was beheaded and tortured in Rome in AD 67.  Unfortunately, it was the time of Nero's persecution of Christians.  Word of Nero's actions probably spread.  And Paul was never one to let fear control him.  The good news is we will see Paul in the New Jerusalem, after Jesus returns.