Hello FVC, it’s good to be here again, praise God. We will be in Acts tonight, chapter 21:1-14. In this portion of scripture, we will read about Paul’s journey, Following Jesus, being led by the spirit, to Jerusalem.
1st, I want to make sure we don’t take what the Lord has to speak tonight for granted. God is good right! Prepare to Listen to what God has to say to you. Pray, open your hearts and be ready to receive.
Remember, just as the Pharisees with hardened hearts, they didn’t receive Christ. Let’s not do the same and reject what the Lord has to say. Let’s prepare to receive this message.
My wife always quotes this one particular scripture, around the house, or in the car or wherever…
Proverbs 14:12… There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end, is the way of death. I’m like babe, I know… then I always feel convicted after.
Let’s all Pray and get ready for the sermon.
Let’s READ — Acts 21:1-14
Paul travels past many places, Cos – Rhodes – Patara – Tyre – stayed with disciples, hears a prophecy- went to Ptolemais – stayed at Philip the evangelist house. A man named Agabus came down from Judea, and gave Paul’s 2nd prophecy) saying, so shall the Jews in Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the gentiles. BUT… in verse 13 (Here it is) listen to what Paul says… “For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Paul was adamant, persistent and absolutely sure about dying to self, taking up his cross, following Jesus Christ.
Paul knows what awaits him in Jerusalem…the spirit told him long ago… He knew the cost, of taking up his cross. The two accounts of them prophesying to him was not news. This was just confirmation of what was to come, He knew what he was bound to. The Holy spirit already told him.
How are you listening to the Spirit?
Inthe previous chapter, says…in Acts 20:22-24
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. 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.
Also…. In Acts 19:21… It says..
“When these things were accomplished, Paul purposed in the Spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.”
We see that it’s a purposeful act on Paul, to do God’s will and follow Jesus Christ, no matter the cost!
Paul walked out, the great commission Jesus gave us all, that we read in… Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus said, 19“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
And we see in…Matthew 16:24 (NKJV)
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
Paul walks out his faith, runs towards following Christ, towards his calling, regardless of circumstances, situations, fears, what others say, how he feels, or what he sees. He still Follows Christ.
Why? because he committed to Christ, decided in his heart and his mind, to follow Jesus!
Jesus says…Follow Me!
We read about Paul, in Acts 9, when he was named Saul – before his name was changed to Paul… he was traveling to Damascus to jail and persecute more Christians. This was Saul’s mission, to jail and persecute Christians. Where he followed his heart, and decide to follow his own plans (Again – Proverbs 14:12: There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end, is the way of death).
On his way to Damascus, he had a Huge encounter with Jesus… it says in verse 4…. Jesus asked him. “Saul, Saul…why do you persecute me!” And in Verse 6 it says…6 So he (Saul), trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
So, Saul, being blind, followed what the Lord told him, and went to the city.
We see from Saul’s encounter with Jesus… being Saul (not yet Paul), still obeyed and did exactly, what the Lord said to do. Jesus said go into the city and you will be told what to do! Blind, being led and assisted by others, not able to see, Saul obeyed and went into the city.
Now, Further in Acts Ananias… another example, (of Following Christ) was told by Jesus in a vision, to go inquire at the house of Judas for Saul of tarsus.
It reads in Acts 9:11-12 (NKJV)
11 So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. 12 And in a vision, he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.”
Ananias, knew of Saul… his tracheary towards Christians, about what harm he has done to Christians in Jerusalem, and how he had authority from Chief priests, to bind all who call on the name of Jesus.
But Guess what… Regardless of what Ananias knew, or what terrible circumstances he could face or how he could by Saul next victim of persecution. Ananias… still Followed Jesus’ command!
Ananias, went, spoke and touched Saul, then Saul received his sight back (Both of them being obedient and following Jesus Christ) regardless of what circumstances they faced.
Saul soon to be Paul, was then baptized and filled with the holy spirit. Then it says, Then Saul, after staying with Disciples in Damascus for a few days. Verse 20 “Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. (It says immediately after) He met Jesus, obeyed, Followed Jesus, was discipled, then started preaching. Amen!
Now… let’s look back at when Saul was blind, before converting, I know, sometimes in our lives… we can have a similar encounter with Jesus. But listen…Our blindness is due to sin… then only by the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, he corrects us.
If we dabble, play, or entertain sin, we will be blinded by our sin.
Being blinded by sin, we only realize the sin, that we are in… when confronted by Christ. Only then we cry out… Lord, what do you want me to do… then Jesus says (Turn from your sin, do my will and return to Following me). But, at times we don’t like that answer… we try to justify sin, we compromise, we want to feel we have the right and feel we deserve…. But again, we are blinded!
Then, Christ hast to frustrate our plans, kick us off the donkey, to get our attention! And when he does that, we ask… why is this happening to me, and Lord what do you want me to do!
Here you are wanting a different answer, other than the answer Christ gave you the first time. Looking for the way that allows you to keep the sin in your life, looking for the way that caters to yourself, the way that leads to death, compromising following Christ commandments… but again, you don’t see that you are blind, but Christ does.
You’re not praying, not reading your word, have not repented, not seeking wise council.
You are justifying what you think is right, and doing what you think, you deserve.
But Jesus already said (Turn from your sin, do my will and return to Following me).
We have to stop being BLINDED by sin, and turn from our desires, our wants, and turn from what YOU think is right, or how you think you deserve something. And truly Follow Christ.
Cleaning the church – Story
Hindrance, causing me not to complete my work, keeping from the work God has called me to do.
After throwing the cup away, there were no more hindrances, I was able to complete my work, and finish the job that God called me to do.
Just like Paul, you can’t let anything get in the way of you following Christ, not sin, not suffering, not your own satisfaction, not what other people think, absolutely nothing.
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Because His thoughts and ways are higher than ours. As Christians, we are called to turn from our thoughts and ways, and submit to His thoughts and ways.
If this feels completely against your flesh and you feel uncomfortable… Good!
Remember: There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end, is the way of death.
Don’t lean on your own understanding, but walk by faith following and obeying Jesus… which is the will of the Father. Jesus says Follow me; He doesn’t say Follow yourself. He wants us to die to self, take up our cross, and follow him.
Paul suffered to follow Christ and preach the gospel. Trying to reach as many people as he could. Going from town to town and city to city, to reach more. He was ready to die, led by the Holy spirit, following after Christ.
How are you following after Christ?
He didn’t care about chains, tribulations, opposing Jews, gentiles, crowds, chief priest, roman soldiers, or anything. There were times he was tried and worn out, but he still followed Jesus, being led by the spirit.
Paul was so committed to following Christ; he didn’t care what that meant for him or what he would face. He was commitment to following Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:24-25 (Paul says) 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;
He followed Jesus, and if you call yourself a Christian, you must follow Jesus! Paul followed Jesus, Into being stoned, receiving lashes, being shipwrecked and so much more.
What have you endured?
That verse shows Paul’s commitment to following Christ. He was led by the spirit and didn’t waiver or turn from, followed Jesus!
As well, the disciples that followed Jesus, left their families, their jobs, and all they had to follow Jesus.
9 As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he (Matthew) arose and followed Him.
18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.”
The disciples physically followed Jesus, they walked with him and while we might use our physical bodies, this is a spiritual concept with the same expectations. Following Jesus, you must surrender to Him with your life. All of it, not a 25%, not 50%, not 80% or 99.99%, but 100% fully submitted to following after Him.
Yes, it’s a tough road but the promise of eternal life awaits those who endures till the end. That’s a promise from our Lord Jesus Christ. And that’s the promise, we hold on to! Setting our minds on things above in heaven and not on things of this earth.
Jesus say’s, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me! Everything we do, how we live, what we think, how we act, how we react, should be guided by following Jesus.
AT&T Story – 2012-2015, I went from, sales rep, to assistant store manager, to team lead. Before I became a manager, I had this One amazing manager, who I will always remember. Who was literally one of the best mangers I’ve had. He was always encouraging, teaching, coaching, challenging me, to, sale more, do more, be better… he showed and taught me what it took to be a great sales rep. And, showed and gave me the example of a great manager.
With me, following his lead, keeping his examples, mimicking his action of a manger, learning from him, and studying him. When I became a manager, I had all that I needed, to walk the role of a manager. I submitted and I Followed his lead.
I hope you know where I’m going with this…
Jesus is who we follow! He is our teacher, he is our coach, he is the example to follow, he is who we are to be like, as Christians. We are to be Christ like. And He says follow me!
Jesus absolutely, shows us how to walk out our faith, in his word.
We read His word, study His word, meditate on His word. Then we walk out our faith, by applying what the word says, in our life.
Jesus wasn’t disobedient… Jesus wasn’t an adulterer… Jesus wasn’t Prideful… Jesus didn’t hold offense, Jesus wasn’t lustful, Jesus didn’t have idol’s…Jesus didn’t have unforgiveness, Jesus didn’t have unrepentant sin…. He was blameless and sinless.
So… why do we continue to do these things when we are saved? Aren’t we?
Yes, we were born into sin, (we know) but Jesus made a way out from the law of sin and death, through his life, death and resurrection! Right? Isn’t that why He died, to free us? To bring salvation to us all who accept, to free us from the law of sin and death. To reconcile us back to God, to provide a way to eternal life!
Romans 8:1-2There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, WHO do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life, in Christ Jesus, has made me free from the law of sin and death.
So, why do we keep walking according to the flesh, why do we keep sinning, why do we keep sinning, turning back, following our flesh instead of Following Christ?
It’s easy for us to say we follow Christ, but if we are continually Keep sinning, who are we actually following.
Let’s read a few scriptures from the word of God, to see what it says.
1 John 3:4-6
4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. 5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. 6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor
This verse is saying if you live a lifestyle of sin, the word says you have neither seen him or known him.
1 John 2:4
4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
This is not me…this is what the Holy Bible says, this is Jesus! This is the word of God. It isn’t sugar coated, dumbed down, diluted.
Hebrews 4:12 says (NKJV)
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Following the example Jesus, set before us, we see how he submitted to obedience to the Father. He lived a perfect life, and died for us, taking on the sins of the world, for us to have a chance, glimpse, a hope to follow him, in this life, and into eternal life in heaven.
Christians Follow Jesus Christ… If you are not following Christ, How can you really say, you’re a Christian.
Just because you come to church, know pastors, select Christian on surveys, Vote for Christian candidates, have Christian parents, kids, or say you’re a Christian in public, does not make you a Christian.
Being a Christian is a lifestyle walked out, by following Jesus daily. By denying yourself, by denying sin, by taking every thought captive, by meditating on the word, by kneeling and praying to Jesus for all things, by fasting, by listening and following the instructions of the holy spirit, by building your spiritual intimacy with Christ. Being a Christian is a relationship, where you follow and submit your life to Christ.
These are the things you consistently do as a Christian.
Being a Christian is a lifestyle, not a phase or phrase!
Matthew 16:25 (ESV)
25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
Church, which one describes you? Are you busy trying to save your life on earth, living according to the flesh, for your sake, your wants, your desires? Or are you losing your life daily, living according to the spirit, being Christ like, being about our father’s business?
25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
If you haven’t found Life and eternal life in Christ, I want to give you a chance now. To turn in your life, and find new Life, in following Christ. It truly is a joy to follow Jesus, because we hold on to the eternal life in heaven, promised to us.
If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, I want to give you an opportunity now to receive All that Christ has for you.
Every head bowed, If Jesus is new to you or Jesus has been working on you, and you are ready to receive him. I want you to respond now, before its to late. With Christ you will find life, without Christ… there is no life…there is only death.
If there is anyone who needs to give their life for the first time.
I want you to raise your hand, and I’ll have someone pray with you.
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