As the Apostle Paul mused awhile over his ministry we see in Acts 20:24-26, he uses six graphic pictures to paint a picture for us.
1. He saw himself as a responsible accountant – v.24.
2. He saw himself as a runner who wanted to finish the course.
3. He saw himself as a steward who owns little, but possesses everything.
4. He saw himself as a worshiper first, who could from that.. witness – v. 24.
5. He saw himself as a herald – v. 25. He was preaching the Message of the king, not his own message.
6. He saw himself as a protective watchman – v. 26. Lookin' out for the flock. In Acts 18:6 we see a reference to the “watchman on the wall” like in Ezekiel 3:17-21; 33:1-9. Please stay awake and alert, ready for the right actions.
* Paul Traveled as a Peacemaker. He wasn't perfect but did his part and finished his course with joy 15-25.
* Paul Traveled Righteously. With holy-fear inside he moved forward always looking for an opportunity to plant seeds and reap.. sometimes with mixed emotions both glad or sad. Why? Cuz he really loved the people, and this landed him in Prison 26-40.
-- Paul progressed in his travels forward with an Eternal Purpose. Life here isn't always a cake-walk, ya know like with non-stop wonderful emotions and 100% helpful circumstances. When we follow Jesus there is opposition, trials and suffering at times. It’s cuz the How we feel can be a trial on any given day. Our experience here just goes like that sometimes. Paul knew what lay ahead of him, but he kept on loving the Lord (Luke 9:51). You remember how years earlier the Lord instructed Paul to get out of that city Jerusalem (22:18-21). And this begs the question.. was Paul wrong in going back there now? We all know know Paul was a man of prayer, and don't have many of the facts of his life of intercession so I trust he was obeying the Spirit's directives here.
“The Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become.” ~ Henry Martyn
“We Christians are debtors to all men at all times in all places, but we are so smug to the lostness of men. We've been ‘living in Laodicea’, lax, loose, lustful, and lazy. Why is there this criminal indifference to the lostness of men? We know how to live better than we are living.” ~ Leonard Ravenhill
The Bible says, “Now when we heard these things, both we and those from that place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. When he had come to us, he took Paul's belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, ‘Thus says the Holy Spirit, 'So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'" (vv. 10-12).
“The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed.” ~ Hudson Taylor
-- Paul the Peacemakin’-traveler loved God most and then people.Sure, he just loved to win and disciple souls for Jesus too. And you want to know how to win people to Jesus as well -- here's how (audio)! He lived and preached the word. You don’t have to do that in a pushy-preachy sorta way ya know. Read and watch how he tactfully moved from "the will of the Lord be done" (v. 14) to "do what we tell you" (v. 23). Paul was a bit motivated inside (some commentators say he was anxious) to bring spiritual-unity to the Jews and Gentiles in the church so he quickly agreed to the plan. He LIVED filled with HOPE for their UNITY! Do you think that Paul was following earthly wisdom or God's kind of wisdom (James 3:13-18) -- again, I think he was walking according to the later. Who am I "to judge another Man's servant" (Romans 14:3-)? Remember, not every decision we make turns out to bring peace.
“Jesus gives us hope because He keeps us company, has a vision and knows the way we should go.”~ Max Lucado
-- Paul's obedience got him imprisoned, but the missionary-traveler still had JOY! Nothing could rob him of it. He was seeing his plan work-out pretty well it seemed.. until the last day when trouble started up (v. 27). Paul walked by faith and nothing could rob him of JOY, but now he had to deal with totally absurd charges. Mobs could give a flip about real facts -- they live on "could have been" and "suppose" instead. Now it seemed like all Paul's efforts were in vain after he carefully played it safe so as not to cause any urban trouble-makin'-unrest there at all (24:10-13). Talk about trials! He would literally spend the next five years in a cold-dank Roman prison.
It's so easy to hyper-focus on the circumstances of life and let em choke out your fruitfulness.
It's too easy to get discouraged, down, distressed, dismally-defeated or distracted.
Why do that; why neglect the word or prayer and look to yourself? Put a hook in every opportunity; be willing enter their culture short of sin to win em -- willing to cross the street or a sea. Walk in victory and choose to all-out praise the Lord! Make this a lifestyle!
“Do not look to your hope, but to Christ, the source of your hope.”~ C.H. Spurgeon
We obey, we play, we fray, we pray, we stay, we prepare.. and go SAY!
"We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God." ~ John Stott
"I am just like one beggar telling another beggar where to find food. I am not better than anyone, only better off." ~ Greg Laurie
Clearly explain the whole nine yards of the Gospel. Until they understand. Use their language, but clean. You don't have to use churchy terms. If you do, just define em. Like Paul, you too can purpose to glorify the Lord, but sometimes our plans, goals and good intentions still seem to just bring on problems. Sup with that? Well, listen up, God can communicate. He is still sovereign trouble or no trouble -- yup, still in control. In your heart, let Him rule without rival. God used His servant Paul in the middle of his personal trials and God also used the trials in Paul's life.. to accomplish His own eternal purposes. Guess what, Paul with his writing ability was brought to Rome (23:11) and now we too are blessed. Turn and trust -- the Lord will fill you with His Spirit and use you to bless others, Buckaroo!
"God is the master of the scenes; we must not choose what part we shall act; it concerns us only to be careful that we do it well, always saying, 'if this pleases God, let it be as it is.'" ~ Jeremy Taylor