Acts 20.18-23

Calling the elders of the church in Ephesus to him (v.17) Paul says:

“You yourselves know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I set foot in the province of Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears, and with the trials that happened to me because of the plots of the Jews. You know that I did not hold back from proclaiming to you anything that would be helpful, and from teaching you publicly and from house to house, testifying to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus. And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem without knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit warns me in town after town that imprisonment and persecutions are waiting for me.”

(Acts 20.18-23, NET)

Despite the difficult circumstances that it has produced, Paul has resolutely stuck to declaring the truth among those he visits (v.20). His message is one of repentance and faith and is for all: both Jews and Greeks. He says that compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem despite not knowing what will happen when he gets there, only imprisonment and persecutions.

Living the Christian life can be far from easy. Paul has been hit with tears and trials and is expecting imprisonment and persecutions. Still, he is compelled by the Spirit to stay the course that he has been given.

The same is true for you and for me. The life we are called to is one of self-sacrifice (Romans 12.1) where are promised no less than the Lord Jesus received (John 15.20). Comfort and prosperity are not promised to you, and standing up for the truth will often produce the exact opposite (v.19). The important thing is that we stay the course we have been given, as the reward that is promised is truly exceptional:

“Happy is the one who endures testing, because when he has proven to be genuine, he will receive the crown of life that God promised to those who love him.”

(James 1.12, NET)

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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