Intro. Paul is on his way back to Jerusalem with an offering from the Gentile churches for the poor brethren in Jerusalem. He is in a hurry, for he wants to get there in time for the Feast of Pentecost. He has asked the elders of the church in Ephesus to meet him at Melitus, and knowing that he is seeing them for possibly the last time, he reminds them of his ministry among them. He served the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and many trials as a result of the animosity of the Jews toward him. He kept back nothing that would be profitable for them as he daily ministered to them both publicly and in their homes.
I. HIS BASIC MESSAGE WAS REPENTANCE TOWARD GOD, AND FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST.
A. A Sunday school teacher asked her class to define the word repent. One of the children said it was to be sorry for your sin, another said, it is being so sorry that you don't do it again.
1. That is probably as good a definition as I have heard.
2. Some say they are sorry and go right back and do it again.
3. There is a real difference between being sorry that you did it, and that of being sorry that you were caught doing it.
a. If you would take a survey in prison asking them the question, "Are you sorry?" Almost every man, they would answer yes.
b. But if you would press the issue, the vast majority are only sorry that they got caught.
B. The word repent is the first word of the gospel.
1. Matthew tells us:
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judaea saying, Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
2. In chapter 4 he tells us:
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
3. It is interesting that in the seven churches Asia that Jesus sent a message, to five of them He called on them to repent.
4. When Jesus sent His disciples out to preach we read:
And He called to Him the twelve, and began to send them out two by two; and He gave them power over unclean spirits;
He commanded them to take nothing for their journey, except a walking staff; no scrip, no bread, and no money.
Only have your sandals; and do not even take two coats.
And He said unto them, "Whenever you enter into a house, stay there until you depart from that city.
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake the dust off your feet for a witness against them. Truly I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
And they went out, and preached that men should repent.
5. The writer to the Hebrews declared that this was the first principle of the doctrine of Christ.
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.
a. These are important foundations upon which our relationship toward God is built.
b. You are not to keep laying these foundations over and over but you need to start building on those foundations.
6. Some of the last words Jesus spoke to His disciples before He ascended into heaven are recorded for us by Luke.
And He said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
And you are witnesses of these things.
Behold, I will send the promise of my Father upon you: but wait in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
C. Paul also preached the necessity to put their faith in Jesus Christ.
1. God has made only one provision for the forgiveness of man's sin.
a. Peter said to the rulers of the Jews:
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
b. Jesus said: I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man can come to the Father, but by Me.
c. Paul wrote:
For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
2. Paul wrote to the Galatians of the offence of the cross. Why does the cross offend people? It says that there is only one way to God.
a. In the Garden Jesus prayed concerning the cross: O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as You will.
b. If what is possible? Redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
c. Jesus went to the cross for it was not possible that sins could be forgiven any other way.
d. Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
3. There are those who complain that, that is too narrow. Jesus said,
Enter in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there are which go in through it:
But strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leads to life, and few there be that find it.
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
a. They are in the pulpits across America today and they deny that Jesus is the only way.
b. They seek to broaden the gate.
II. AND NOW I GO BOUND IN THE SPIRIT, TO JERUSALEM, NOT KNOWING WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO ME WHEN I GET THERE. ALL I KNOW IS THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT WITNESSES IN EVERY CITY, SAYING THAT BONDS AND AFFLICTIONS ARE WAITING FOR ME.
A. When Paul was first apprehended by Jesus, Jesus told Ananias that He would show him the great things he must suffer for My name's sake.
1. Paul was called to suffer for Christ.
2. We look at the great things that he suffered:
Are they ministers of Christ? So am I, I have labored more, I have had more stripes, I have been in prisons more frequently, I have often faced death.
Of the Jews five times I received I forty [stripes] save one.
Three times I was beaten with rods, once was I stoned, three times I suffered shipwreck, I spent a night and a day floating out on the seas;
I have been many journeys, I have faced the perils of waters, the perils of robbers, the perils by my own countrymen, the perils by the heathen, the perils of the city, the perils in the wilderness, the perils in the sea, the perils among false brethren;
In weariness and pain in I often had to watch for my life, I have been hungry and thirsty, I often fasted, I have been cold and naked.
Beside those things that are without, that which come upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
3. That sort of makes our suffering look foolish.
a. We get hurt and upset when we feel that someone has ignored us, or snubbed us.
b. And often that is just in our minds.
c. We are such babies, so easily upset or discouraged,ready to quit because someone didn't praise us for what we did.
B. As Paul continues his journey toward Jerusalem, we see how that the Holy Spirit warns him again of the bonds that he will experience in Jerusalem.
And the next [day] we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was [one] of the seven; and abode with him.
And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.
And as we tarried [there] many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.
And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver [him] into the hands of the Gentiles.
And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.
Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.
1. Here Paul declared to the Ephesian elders: "But none of these things move me, neither do I count my life dear to myself."