Word for the Week...OCT 24---30 / 2005

(v.8)"And the next day, we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesaria:and we entered into the home of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven, and abode with him.(v.9) And the same man had four daughters,virgins, which did prophesy.(v.10) And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judea a certain prophet named Agabus.(v.11) 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.(v.12) And when we heard these things, both we and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.(v.13) Then Paul answered, what mean ye to weep and 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.(v.14) And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased saying, the will of The Lord be done." 

There are several points to note...

[1] Philip the evangelist did not start his Ministry with a 'multimillion-dollar crusade', but was 'one of the seven'-men appointed by the Church elders to serve and distribute food to the Greek widows.(Acts 6:1-6).After all, according to Jesus, to minister is to serve:(Matt.20:25-28). 

[2] Philip had evangelised Samaria, the Ethiopian eunuch, and the coastal plain; (Acts 8:5,26,40), before making his home at Caesaria.The Lord's will is progressive... as we continue in obedience to Him, new vistas open up to us, which were previously undisclosed, unless prophesied...

[3] Agabus, (Heb.Hagab-'locust') had previously prophesied concerning the famine in A.D.44;(Acts 11:28).Therefore, he was a recognised prophet in the Church. In the manner of the O/T prophets, he acted out symbolically the fate he foresaw for Paul in Jerusalem.

[4] What did it mean to be 'delivered into the hands of the Gentiles'...(Matt.20:19.,Mk.10:33,34) When Jesus used this phrase it meant suffering, at the hands of ungodly men..

[5] How often have we tried to dissuade one dear to us from a path leading to trouble? Those close to Paul did this, but to no avail ! The Lord will not overrride our will and Paul was no exception ! He had determined his course and no-one or nothing would stop him from it's completion, despite the personal danger ! Where are those of similar steadfastness today ?? They are present, but they do not always have 'centre-stage' in their walk of faith.More often they are unsung heroes/heroines, whose names are recorded in Heaven. The Lord knows them by name;(John 10:3). That is all that matters, in the final analysis ! 

[6] Others spoke similar words to Paul, perhaps not of faith but more of presumption...(Matt.26:35).We can make such great and wonderful promises, but can we always back them up by our deeds???(Matt.26:56).

Paul 'went the distance' and remained faithful to his commission of preaching the Gospel (Acts 26:15-19), despite the cost to his personal safety.In this last hour, before Jesus' Return, we can , by The grace of God and in The Power of The Holy Spirit, follow Paul's example, as he follwed Christ's.(John10:27).                        May The Lord Bless you.

     

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