We have just spent a lot of weeks concerning the Gifts of the Holy Spirit which must become part of our daily lives. Today we jump back into Paul’s arrest and journey back to Jerusalem.
Acts 21:10 Several days later a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. 11 He came over, took Paul's belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, "The Holy Spirit declares, 'So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.'" 12 When we heard this, we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 13 But he said, "Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus." 14 When it was clear that we couldn't persuade him, we gave up and said, "The Lord's will be done."
Paul, what a great man of God! He was even willing to die for what He knew to be truth. When it was prophesied he would be bound and imprisoned, they started weeping but Paul said (translated) dry up the tears, being imprisoned is nothing since I’ve already been there and done that, I’m ready to die for Jesus. No wonder he later wrote to live is Christ and that is better for you but to die is gain and that is better for me. In the coming days, we must begin to think with those type of Kingdom Thoughts.
In the next verses we see Paul arriving at Jerusalem to stand trial.
15 After this we packed our things and left for Jerusalem. 16 Some believers from Caesarea accompanied us, and they took us to the home of Manson, a man originally from Cyprus and one of the early believers. 17 When we arrived, the brothers and sisters in Jerusalem welcomed us warmly.
After they could not persuade him not to go to Jerusalem, they got everything packed and continued their journey. His arrival in Jerusalem was a warm reception but soon the fireworks would start.
18 The next day Paul went with us to meet with James, and all the elders of the Jerusalem church were present. 19 After greeting them, Paul gave a detailed account of the things God had accomplished among the Gentiles through his ministry.
Paul is one of those you would want on your ministry team. He liked to get things done. No time to rest from the long trip; the next day he was up and meeting with the leaders of the early church. He preceded to give them details about his ministry among the Gentiles.
20 After hearing this, they praised God. And then they said, "You know, dear brother, how many thousands of Jews have also believed, and they all follow the law of Moses very seriously. 21 But the Jewish believers here in Jerusalem have been told that you are teaching all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn their backs on the laws of Moses. They've heard that you teach them not to circumcise their children or follow other Jewish customs. 22 What should we do? They will certainly hear that you have come.
Here comes the conflict. The early leaders praised God for all those who had got saved but then they were concerned about the religious people (not the sinners) because Paul was teaching faith and works not just works of the law. Rumor was that Paul was teaching against the Bible but the truth was this, Paul was teaching New Covenant.
23 "Here's what we want you to do. We have four men here who have completed their vow. 24 Go with them to the Temple and join them in the purification ceremony, paying for them to have their heads ritually shaved. Then everyone will know that the rumors are all false and that you yourself observe the Jewish laws. 25 "As for the Gentile believers, they should do what we already told them in a letter: They should abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality."
To show that Paul was not against the law, he performed the law’s requirements with four other men. Then they rehearsed what they had told the Gentile converts to observe: 1. Don’t eat food offered to idols; 2. Don’t consume the blood of animals; 3. Don’t engage in sexual immorality. The early church leaders were not trying to make Jews out of the Gentile converts but they were trying to convert them into being disciples in the Kingdom of Father God. The Gentile believers were not commanded to keep all the laws which the Jews kept since they were living by a New Living Way (faith). Next week we will find that this offended some of the religious Jews who would not accept Jesus as their Messiah.
Prayer Points: Father God in Jesus Name, help us to live our lives like Paul who feared no one but One. Let us have his type of faith which said, all you can do is kill me and if you kill me I’m better off. Help us Father to live our lives pleasing to you in Jesus Name!
Next week we pick up Paul’s journey back to Jerusalem in Acts 21: Several days later a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. He came over, took Paul's belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, "The Holy Spirit declares, 'So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.'" When we heard this, we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.
This week I want to give a review and some practical knowledge concerning the Nine Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Remember the Nine Gifts are divided into three categories of three:
1. Gifts to Say (Speak or Utterance Gifts): Prophecy, Tongues and Interpretation of Tongues.
2. Gifts to Know (Reveal or Revelation Gifts): The Word of Wisdom, The Word of Knowledge and The Discerning of Spirits.
3. Gifts to Do (Power Gifts): The Gift of Faith, The Gifts of Healing and The Working of Miracles.
All the gifts are available to the children of Father God today. The gifts of the Spirit are needed today and the Holy Spirit wants to express His Gifts through each one of us but we must be in position spiritually:
1. To hear His voice 2. Faith to obey His promptings 3. Live a clean life with His help & guidance 4. Fellowship with Him so you will know His gentle voice
If you are desirous of flowing more freely in these Gifts, apply yourself to the following practical pointers:
· Ask God to help you. We have not, because many times we ask not. Remember it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom. We are made perfect through the blood of Jesus and if you are saved then you have the qualifications needed to be used in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Failing does not make you a failure if you get back up and repent.
· Set aside time so that God can speak to you. Remember what we do in private is manifested in public. Never expect Father God to trust you in public if He can’t trust you in private. Use your personal private prayer time to learning to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit so you can stand in confidence when He desires to use you publically.
· Confess any sin, fears, doubts or unbelief that is in your life, so you can be a much more effective instrument in His hand. A lifestyle of repentance when we see things in our life allows the Holy Spirit to use us. Remember Father God knows our shortcomings, our weaknesses, our fallings but He still loves us and desires to use us as long as we repent (feeling Godly sorrow and turning from the sin). Since He already knows about our sins, never try to hide them, confess them.
· Cultivate a strong desire for the Gifts. Read about the supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the Word of God and in biographies of people who were used supernaturally in the past days (Smith Wigglesworth, John Lake, etc..) Learn to stay around people who are used in the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, attending revivals, watching them on the internet, etc.
· Expect God to use you. Being to imagine how it would feel to be used by the Holy Spirit and realize if not you then who is He going to use.
· When the opportunity allows, work alongside people who are already flowing well in the Gifts. Learn as much as you can. Watch, serve, help in any way you can. If you have opportunity, ask them questions about how the Holy Spirit speaks to them, about their prayer life, fasting life, study habits etc.
· Seek an impartation for a greater release of the Gifts. We don’t seek the gifts (ask for), we seek the Gift Giver and then He uses us supernaturally.
· Always remain teachable. No one person understands everything about the supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit so remain open (as long as what you are hearing is lined up with God’s Word) to learn more. Everyone has something to offer so be willing to listen to others.
· Stay under God given spiritual authority because Father God sets up order because it is His Church. So work within the guide-lines/frame-work set by the leadership of your local church.
· Stay humble, know it’s the power of the Holy Spirit working through you and in you and never sell the gift He has given you. The gifts of the Spirit are not for sale!
Prayer Points: Father God in Jesus Name, I realize now I need to be used supernaturally in the Gifts of the Holy Spirit so I open myself up to the Holy Spirit completely. Use me daily in Jesus Name!