Saturday, October 27, 2007


Acts 21:1-14 What Will You Die for?


Acts 21:1-14
After we tore ourselves away from them and set sail, we came by a direct route to Cos, the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara.
2 Finding a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we boarded and set sail.
3 After we sighted Cyprus, leaving it on the left, we sailed on to Syria and arrived at Tyre, because the ship was to unload its cargo there.
4 So we found some disciples and stayed there seven days. They said to Paul through the Spirit not to go to Jerusalem.
5 When our days there were over, we left to continue our journey, while all of them, with their wives and children, escorted us out of the city. After kneeling down on the beach to pray,
6 we said good-bye to one another. Then we boarded the ship, and they returned home.
7 When we completed our voyage from Tyre, we reached Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and stayed with them one day.
8 The next day we left and came to Caesarea, where we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the Seven, and stayed with him.
9 This man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.
10 While we were staying there many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.
11 He came to us, took Paul’s belt, tied his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews in Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into Gentile hands.’ ”
12 When we heard this, both we and the local people begged him not to go up to Jerusalem.
13 Then Paul replied, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
14 Since he would not be persuaded, we stopped talking and simply said, “The Lord’s will be done!”
Acts 21:1-14 What Will You Die for?
A question asked of pastoral candidates proceeding to ordination. Some ..Nothing, some the gospel of Christ. One challenged the question, Principal Ross Clifford responded “All of Church History is the story of people who found something to die for in the gospel of Christ.”
Man of Lamancha, Don Quixote:
"The Impossible Dream" from MAN OF LA MANCHA (1972) lyrics by Joe Darion
To dream the impossible dream To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary To reach the unreachable star
This is my quest To follow that star
No matter how hopeless No matter how far
To fight for the right Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell For a heavenly cause
And I know if I'll only be true To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm When I'm laid to my rest
And the world will be better for this That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage To reach the unreachable star
“Will you March into hell for a heavenly cause”
Paul was willing. Are you willing?
1. Are You Willing To Die For The Word of God?Acts 20:24 But I count my life of no value to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace.
This is what motivated Paul.
He was turned from an enemy of the gospel to a friend. From the chief opponent to the Gospel to the chief Proponent of the Gospel.
A. Because he discovered it was TRULY Good News.
Luther October 31st , 95 theses. My conscience is bound to the word of God. I can do no other.
Have you discovered it is true? The most true truth that there ever was and ever will be? God became a man and came into our world to die for our sins, was buried and on the third days was raised from the dead as proof to all men that He is Saviour and Lord!
1 Cor 15: Now brothers, I want to clarify for you the gospel I proclaimed to you; you received it and have taken your stand on it. 2 You are also saved by it, if you hold to the message I proclaimed to you—unless you believed to no purpose. 3 For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.
B. Because he discovered it was truly GOOD newsThe gospel of the grace of God!!
October 16th, 1555 was the day the wizened Hugh Latimer and his colleague Nicholas Ridley received the grace to seal their testimony of God with the blood of martyrdom, but we remember it and even celebrate that grace today with the rest of the Protestant churches. We celebrate, because that blood of martyrdom was what seeded Protestantism in England and her many colonies and gave us the great gift of a Bible in the English language, to be read and studied by all.
As a bundle of wood was laid at the feet of Ridley and set ablaze, Latimer uttered what I believe is the greatest, and possibly shortest, sermon of all time:
“Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.”
Have you discovered that this is such good news that every one need to know?
Are You Willing To March Into Hell In A Heavenly Cause?

2. Are You Willing To Die For the Work Of God? Acts 21
Paul’s cause?
Romans 1:13 Now I want you to know, brothers, that I often planned to come to you (but was prevented until now) in order that I might have a fruitful ministry among you, just as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am obligated both to Greeks and barbarians, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the good news to you also who are in Rome.
Paul was warned that to go to Jerusalem would result in imprisonment.
But he still goes up to Jerusalem. He will be beaten and almost torn apart, he will be imprisoned. He will be prepared for torture. He is warned several times of the consequences of going up to Jerusalem..
4 So we found some disciples and stayed there seven days. They said to Paul through the Spirit not to go to Jerusalem.
10 While we were staying there many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 He came to us, took Paul’s belt, tied his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews in Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into Gentile hands.’ ” 12 When we heard this, both we and the local people begged him not to go up to Jerusalem.
aul and party stopped in Caesarea, connected with the church and stayed in the home of Philip the Evangelist.
There are several men named Philip in the New Testament. One was an apostle and one of Jesus’ original twelve disciples. This a different Philip who was chosen 20-some years earlier to be one of the seven key leaders of the Jerusalem church to handle money for widows (Acts 6:5).When forced to flee Jerusalem under persecution Philip went to Samaria as an evangelist who saw thousands become Christians and performed many miracles (Acts 8:5-13). Philip was the evangelist who led the Ethiopian Eunuch to Christ (Acts 8:26-38). Philip eventually settled in Caesarea and continued winning people to Jesus until he was nicknamed “Philip the Evangelist.” Paul was a greatly blessed Christian leader but Philip was clearly his peer and spiritual equal. Philip had four daughters who grew up in Caesarea and became prophets. Then, I guess in accord with the roles of preachers and teachers in the churches, it isn’t Phillip’s daughters who speak to Paul, but a prophet named Agabus comes up and speaks to Paul.
Sometimes it helps to act out a message and that is what Agabus did. He took Paul’s “belt” (actually more like a long sash worn around the waist to hold clothes in place) and used it to tie up his own feet and hands. He then gave a direct prediction from the Holy Spirit that if Paul goes to Jerusalem he will be bound hands and feet and turned over to the Roman authorities.
Paul was directly warned about going to Jerusalem. He heard from male prophets, individuals and groups. They advised him and pleaded with him. God the Holy Spirit warned him about going. The message was clear.
Notice again: “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’”
When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem.
Why does Paul go up? Is he disobeying the will of God? I don’t believe Paul is disobeying God’s will.
14 Since he would not be persuaded, we stopped talking and simply said, “The Lord’s will be done!”
I think that the Lord is forewarning him of the consequences of going up to Jerusalem.
Its Paul’s responsibility to do what he believes the will of God is in this matter.
And Paul demonstrates he is willing to die for the Lord.
Why would God have Paul go to Rome in chains?
Phil 1:12 12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has actually resulted in the advancement of the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard, and to everyone else, that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14 Most of the brothers in the Lord have gained confidence from my imprisonment and dare even more to speak the message fearlessly. 15 Some, to be sure, preach Christ out of envy and strife, but others out of good will. 16 These do so out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17 the others proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely, seeking to cause [me]trouble in my imprisonment. 18 What does it matter? Just that in every way, whether out of false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed. And in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice
A. Paul’s Courage Encouraged OthersPhil 1:14 Most of the brothers in the Lord have gained confidence from my imprisonment and dare even more to speak the message fearlessly.
The Lord reinforces the fact that we must be actively engaged, personally, in order to bring the best out of those whom we influence. When those around you are making such evaluations as "if he can do it, I can" and "he never asks us to do what he won't do himself," those around you must be inspired by you and your efforts. Sometimes what you actually do may not seem so significant, but the fact that you are there and out front does have an impact.
General George Patton had one of those experiences in the United States landing at North Africa.
“On the morning of November 9, 1942, I went to the beach at Fedhala accompanied by Lieutenant Stiller, my aide. The situation we found was very bad. Boats were coming in and not being pushed off after unloading. There was shell fire, and French aviators were strafing the beach. Although they missed it by a considerable distance, whenever they strafed, our men would take cover and delay unloading operations and particularly the unloading of ammunition, which was vitally necessary, as we were fighting a major engagement not more than 1,500 yards to the south.
By remaining on the beach and personally helping to push off boats and by not taking shelter when the enemy planes flew over, I believe I had considerable influence in quieting the nerves of the troops and making the initial landing a suc¬cess. I stayed on the beach for nearly eighteen hours and was wet all over, all of that time. People say that army command¬ers should not indulge in such practices. My theory is that an army commander does what is necessary to accomplish his mission, and that nearly 80% of his mission is to arouse morale in his men.”
B. Paul’s Courage Enlisted OthersPhil 1: 14 Most of the brothers in the Lord have gained confidence from my imprisonment and dare even more to speak the message fearlessly.
How will Christians respond to a deadly pandemic? Will we clamour for the vaccine without regard for our neighbours? Will we be terrorized like those who have no hope? Those of us who know the Gospel should minister out of the grace that we receive in Christ, and should prefer others above ourselves and teach our people to do the same.
Our brothers and sisters have faced this kind of situation before. We can learn from their example.
In the 3rd century Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, preached to his people to minister to those affected by a great plague that lasted from 252 to 254. Unbelievers were so terrified of the disease that they left infected loved ones on the streets to die. Christians, who had been severely persecuted a few years before under Decian, ministered to such persons and took care even of their enemies, having been admonished by their pastor to remember the way of Christ to do good to those who hate us.
Cyprian, who a few years later was beheaded for his faith, wrote a small treatise entitled, On the Mortality, to encourage the church to stand firm in the face of the devastating plague. In it are found these triumphant lines:
What a grandeur of spirit it is to struggle with all the powers of an unshaken mind against so many onsets of devastation and death! what sublimity, to stand erect amid the desolation of the human race, and not to lie prostrate with those who have no hope in God; but rather to rejoice, and to embrace the benefit of the occasion; that in thus bravely showing forth our faith, and by suffering endured, going forward to Christ by the narrow way that Christ trod, we may receive the reward of His life and faith according to His own judgment!
The people of Carthage were amazed at the response of the followers of Christ to the plague. While others were fleeing the infected, Christians were humbly putting their own lives at risk by nursing the sick. As a result the Gospel was put on display and its proclamation was given a loud voice. Many former enemies became believers.
Are You Willing To March Into Hell In A Heavenly Cause?

3. Are You Willing To Die For The Will Of God?Soul winning is God’s will for your life. We all have different personality types, and different giftings. We are different in many, many ways, and have different abilities. But we are all called to tell others in some way about the Lord Jesus Christ.
That is God’s will.
Jesus made this clear in John 15:16: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last.”
Amy Carmichael
The tom-toms thumped straight on all night and the darkness shuddered round me like a living, feeling thing. I could not go to sleep, so I lay awake and looked; and I saw, as it seemed, this:
That I stood on a grassy sward, and at my feet a precipice broke sheer down into infinite space. I looked, but saw no bottom; only cloud shapes, black and furiously coiled, and great shadow-shrouded hollows, and unfathomable depths. Back I drew, dizzy at the depth.
Then I saw forms of people moving single file along the grass. They were making for the edge. There was a woman with a baby in her arms and another little child holding on to her dress. She was on the very verge. Then I saw that she was blind. She lifted her foot for the next step . . . it trod air. She was over, and the children over with her. Oh, the cry as they went over!
Then I saw more streams of people flowing from all quarters. All were blind, stone blind; all made straight for the precipice edge. There were shrieks, as they suddenly knew themselves falling, and a tossing up of helpless arms, catching, clutching at empty air. But some went over quietly, and fell without a sound.
Then I wondered, with a wonder that was simply agony, why no one stopped them at the edge. I could not. I was glued to the ground, and I could only call; though I strained and tried, only whisper would come.
Then I saw that along the edge there were sentries set at intervals. But the intervals were too great; there were wide, unguarded gaps between. And over these gaps the people fell in their blindness, quite unwarned; and the green grass seemed blood-red to me, and the gulf yawned like the mouth of hell.
Then I saw, like a little picture of peace, a group of people under some trees with their backs turned toward the gulf. They were making daisy chains. Sometimes when a piercing shriek cut the quiet air and reached them, it disturbed them and they thought it a rather vulgar noise. And if one of their number started up and wanted to go and do something to help, then all the others would pull that one down. "Why should you get so excited about it? You must wait for a definite call to go! You haven't finished your daisy chain yet. It would be really selfish," they said, "to leave us to finish the work alone."
There was another group. It was made up of people whose great desire was to get more sentries out; but they found that very few wanted to go, and sometimes there were no sentries set for miles and miles of the edge.
Once a girl stood alone in her place, waving the people back; but her mother and other relations called and reminded her that her furlough was due; she must not break the rules. And being tired and needing a change, she had to go and rest for awhile; but no one was sent to guard her gap, and over and over the people fell, like a waterfall of souls.
Once a child caught at a tuft of grass that grew at the very brink of the gulf; it clung convulsively, and it called-but nobody seemed to hear. Then the roots of the grass gave way, and with a cry the child went over, its two little hands still holding tight to the torn-off bunch of grass. And the girl who longed to be back in her gap thought she heard the little one cry, and she sprang up and wanted to go; at which they reproved her, reminding her that no one is necessary anywhere; the gap would be well taken care of, they knew. And then they sang a hymn.
Then through the hymn came another sound like the pain of a million broken hearts wrung out in one full drop, one sob. And a horror of great darkness was upon me, for I knew what it was-the Cry of the Blood.
Then thundered a voice, the voice of the Lord. "And He said, 'What hast thou done, The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.'"
The tom-toms still beat heavily, the darkness still shuddered and shivered about me; I heard the yells of the devil-dancers and weird, wild shriek of the devil-possessed just outside the gate.
What does it matter, after all? It has gone on for years; it will go on for years. Why make such a fuss about it?
God forgive us! God arouse us! Shame us out of our callousness! Shame us out of our sin!
Satan Can Dissuade UsC.S. Lewis speaks of a meeting of demons intent on strategies stopping the church fulfilling its great commission. One demon after another come up with ideas:
“I have an idea, tell them that hell isn’t real.” They won’t believe that..too much tells them there is a god who is just and will punish sin.
“Tell them heaven isn’t real“
“No, Just tell them it isn’t urgent”
Satan Can Distract UsWith our sins. Our sins can trip us up. They can consume our time. Is it worry? Is it covetousness? Is it impatience? These sins can undermine our witness for Christ. We can consume all our time here without acheiveing the goals God has for us. To fddeliver those captive to Satan and see them set free by the gospel of Christ.
Satan Can Dissipate Us
With our stumbling blocks.. things that take up our interest and time. So many of your interests are just time using. What do we need to do to get the job of sooul winning done? Then let's do it!
“Will you March into hell for a heavenly cause”
Will you be strong willed in this? Put aside sin, put aside satanic distractions.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.
Lets focus our eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ
3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart.
Let's march into hell in a heavenly cause!
Centuries before Christ, Alexander the Great conquered most of the known world. On one occasion, he and a small company of soldiers approached a strongly fortified city. When Alexander demanded that the king surrender the city to his little band of fighting men, the king laughed and said, “Why should I surrender to you? You can’t do us any harm!” Alexander then offered the king a demonstration. He had his men to line up single file and ordered them to march. The people gasped as the first soldier walked over the cliff to his death. They were dismayed to see the second. After the tenth soldier had fallen to his death, Alexander ordered them to stop. The townspeople had seen enough and the king immediately surrendered to Alexander the Great. They realized that if a few men were actually willing to walk to their death at the command of their leader, then nothing could stop his eventual victory.
The testimony of the English Reformers was that which Latimer himself expressed: “Embrace Christ’s cross, and Christ shall embrace you.”

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