GOD ESTABLISHES HIS CHURCH IN THE WORLD
Godís Messengerís can Expect Hostility
Jerry A Collins
There may be situations you face
that will require that you take a conciliatory course of action in order to
avoid conflict. I was ushered into the side room of the church I grew up in one
morning after a service by our new pastor. He asked me and two others to cut
our hair above our ears and remove any sideburns so that he could use our gifts
and leadership in the church. If we refused we could not expect to become part
of the ministry leadership he hoped to have in the church. I had a decision to
make. I was conciliatory enough not to cause any conflict so I left the church.
Another situation involved a girl I dated while I was beginning college. I was
beginning my study of NT Greek at the time and using a NASB. She informed me
that in her family they only used the KJV and if her parents learned of my
study and preference it might break their hearts knowing that she was dating
me. Again, the opportunity to be conciliatory. No, I
did not marry her! The Apostle Paul warmly received by the spiritual leadership
when he arrives in
1. SOMETIMES IT IS APPROPRIATE TO FOLLOW THE ADVICE OF OTHER BELIEVERS
(1) Delighted to receive Paul 17-21. In vs
17-21 the leadership in the
(2) Their joy is mixed with concern 20-22. a
potentially serious problem had developed, one they needed Paulís help to
resolve. First, they reminded him of large numbers of Jewish believers
who remained devoted to the ceremonial aspects of the law vs
20 like the feasts, Sabbath regulations, ritual vows and dietary laws. But why
would they still cling to these? 1. Apostles did not oppose the continuation of
these practices. Nowhere are they condemned for observing them. The
(3) They advise him on a conciliatory course of action 23-25 Paul
is advised to (1) associate with 4 men who have taken a ritual vow by
participating in a ritual purification with them and (2) by paying their
expenses for a head shaving as part of keeping their vow. In this way all will know that there is nothing to the
things which they have been told about you but that you yourself also walk
orderly, keeping the law vs 24b. Then, after
giving this advice, they reaffirm that they still stand behind the principle of
gentile liberty in no sense retreating from or compromising this decision at
1. Not lightly or hastily given 23. This had been an ongoing problem and seemed to begin having given a lot of thot to this. Contrasted with earlier advice (,14) which was quick and not thot out. 2. Based on principle not subjective. 1st advice emotional but elders advice truthful. Even well-intentioned concern can produce ill-conceived advice. 3. 1st advice urged him to look out for self while Elders advice sought action to benefit others.
(4) Paul listens to their advice 26. Paul agreed to the proposal. Doing so would not compromise biblical truth as he himself will write in Romans 14-15, such matters are issues of Christian liberty (1 Cor 9:19-23). Paul had taken similar vows before (). However, tho the advice is wise, and tho Paul graciously complied, nothing could penetrate the perverse blindness into which the Jewish nation had fallen in unbelief. A chain of events now set in motion culminating in Paulís arrest. We have little control over the consequences of the advice we either give or follow. Even with the elders and Paul the advice given and followed does not produce the hoped for result.
2. WHILE WE ARE FREE TO FOLLOW ADVICE WE ARE NOT FREE FROM ITíS CONSEQUENCES†
(1) Before this conciliatory gesture can be completed hostility erupts 27-29. It has been the same everywhere Paul has served. The grace and patience of god reaching out to the Jewish people thru his ministry never seemed to be allowed to run itís course but repeatedly met with violence and antagonism (-45; 14:5, 19).
(2) The irony is that the slander against Paul at the moment is in direct contradiction to his present activity 28-29. Hatred jumps to slanderous conclusions with only slivers of evidence.
(3) Thru the most ill-founded slander a near riot provoked 30-32. Interesting that the doors to the temple were shut. This is
the last time in Acts that the
(4) Once again the roman power appears as protector of the Christian witness (18;12-17; 19;35-41) 33-36. God is in control and the powers that exist are ordained of God and can serve His concerns against the violence and hatred of unbelievers.
1. You must decide for yourself if you will follow advice or not.
2. You may have to reject advice even when it represents majority view as in 1st view even Luke objected.
3. Do not base advice given or received on assumption that God does not want you to suffer.
4. Good advice will stand on scripture and not apart from it.† 5. Good advice can produce difficult situations.
6. Be sure you are willing to live with the consequences of advice you follow or not.